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Migrating From Excel to HubSpot CRM (Checklist)

As a business, the quality of your customer data, in either excel sheets or CRMs, determines the efficiency of your processes. However, even high-quality data, when scattered in multiple locations, won’t yield the desired results.

Whether you’re a new business working out of Excel sheets or looking to migrate to HubSpot from another CRM, it is a critical step. Understanding the ins and outs of your CRM is essential to set it up for growth right from the beginning. Additionally, being prepared for the migration is key to minimizing the upheaval that the transition can cause for any business. 

HubSpot CRM migration – The Pre-Preparation Checklist

Bidding goodbye to your Sales Excel or legacy CRM doesn’t exactly begin with importing your data into HubSpot. As excited as you are to take your business processes to this exciting tool, knowing all the variables involved is key to ensuring a smooth transition. With the fear of losing out on valuable data already shadowing the process, being prepared to avoid errors is the only approach that works. 

Before preparing your data to import into Hubspot, the first step is to figure out how HubSpot CRM supports your existing organizational processes. If your current business processes need to be customized before being implemented into the CRM, you should know!

Here we list out several crucial steps that can help you ensure the success of your migration.

Step 1 : Discovering How Your New CRM Looks

Discovering how HubSpot CRM is going to be different from your legacy CRM or excel is a significant part of preparing for the migration. Although you’d like to begin with some training, knowing the basic structure of the CRM will help you make the transition smoother. 

HubSpot works on broad categories of objects, including Contacts and Companies. The associated information that enables further segmentation is in the form of properties. For instance, many CRMs categorize Contacts and Leads as different entities. However, in HubSpot, it is the ‘Lifecycle Stage’ property  that allows you to segment leads or customers out of all the contacts. 

Figuring out the basic elements that your new CRM works on will help you save a lot of time and trouble going ahead in the migration. The planning that you do in order to have a smooth migration will solely depend on how well you know the platform you’re migrating to.

Step 2 : Structuring Your Leads

Now that you know how HubSpot is organized, the next step is to structure your leads accordingly.

Although probably based on the conventional funnel, your sales process would have evolved over the years. Clearly documenting your lead structuring process will be vital to preserving this process on the HubSpot CRM. If your sales team classifies leads into specific stages, beginning from Prospects all the way to Customers, recreating this process in HubSpot is what’ll help you set up your CRM for growth. 

By default, HubSpot offers several lifecycle stages that refer to unique stages of the lead journey. If these stages fit your categorization, you’re in luck. If not, migrating anyway gives you the window to optimize while recreating processes. You can choose to redefine how you structure leads into different lifecycle stages. A possible lead structure could look like this:

If you’re looking to implement a scoring framework like BANT going into HubSpot, setting it up before migrating might be a good idea.

It’s critical to remember that the best time to make changes in your processes is while you’re on the bridge from your legacy CRM to HubSpot.

Step 3 : Customizing your Sales Funnel

Besides working on the lifecycle stages, aligning the handoff between sales and marketing before moving to a new CRM is equally important. Mapping out all the definitions and processes in the planning stage is how you make the migration process dramatically easier. So, building on the lifecycle stages, you should identify when your leads become opportunities or get handed off from Marketing to Sales. Deciding upon custom lead status labels and developing a process before moving to HubSpot might be a good idea. 

A possible Sales Funnel could look this:

In addition, since you’d want to take your existing deals to the HubSpot CRM, deciding on the deal stages will help your sales team’s adoption easier. Documenting all the stages that your deals go through to eventually become ‘Closed Lost’ or ‘Closed Won’ can help you quickly set up the pipeline in HubSpot. 

Step 4 : Figuring Out Properties

Now that you’ve structured a process that ensures a smooth handoff between your teams, the next step is to ensure that your new CRM has just the required data to facilitate it. 

Cleaning Up Your Data

A review of your sales Excel or legacy CRM will help you understand how your team currently categorizes data. HubSpot organizes information and associations in the form of properties, built around four primary objects- Contacts, Companies, Deals, and Tickets. Each property contains a unique piece of information for an object record. 

Building Custom Properties

Although HubSpot offers a vast range of properties by default, you’d need to create custom ones to organize all your data. Since the naming convention is integral to property mapping, the first step should be to note down your properties that are already available in the HubSpot CRM, but under different names. For instance, you won’t find any HubSpot default property called ‘Contact number’, but there is one called ‘Mobile Phone’

For the properties that you don’t find equivalents in HubSpot, building custom properties is the answer. HubSpot allows you to choose from as many as 11 field types for your custom properties, such as Dropdown, Date Picker, Single-line text, etc. Since these properties will be used for segmentation, it’s critical to ensure uniformity while you prepare your data for import. For instance, if you create a custom dropdown property for ‘Location’ with ‘New York’ as an option, typing down ‘NYC’ in the import sheet won’t work. 

Additionally, take special note of the ‘Read-Only’ properties in HubSpot CRM. Mapping information from your dataset to these properties won’t work, as these can’t be edited. For instance, HubSpot does offer a ‘Create Date’ property, but it’ll be set for when your contacts first enter your HubSpot CRM. Therefore, if it’s a crucial piece of information for your business, you might want to build a custom property to preserve the actual ‘create date’ for your contacts.

Important items for a seamless HubSpot CRM setup:

Now that you’ve finally scrubbed and mapped your data, importing it into HubSpot is the next step. Even after all the cleaning up, if the files aren’t set up properly, it can lead to the loss of precious information. 

Here are some things you should keep in mind when it comes to importing data into HubSpot:

Pro tip: You can import a few contacts first and then download the file from HubSpot to get the required import template.

  • If you haven’t set up the custom properties yet, there’s no need to worry. HubSpot does allow you to create custom properties during the import as well!
  • Do not fret about the import errors. HubSpot gives detailed descriptions on the errors, making it quite easy to fix them.
  • Adding unique identifiers for objects in the import files is how you prevent HubSpot from creating duplicates. 

Tip: HubSpot uses email address and domain name for Contacts and Companies respectively. 

Having given all CRMs a run for their money, HubSpot has all that your company’s processes need to thrive. However, a well-planned migration is essential for you to begin your journey perfectly with the HubSpot CRM. When it comes to migrating your processes, you need things to go smoothly. 

Check out – Inbound Marketing Agency

Although these steps help, having a comprehensive strategy is essential for brands with larger sales and marketing processes. If you’re struggling with that, explore HubSpot with ContentNinja, India’s leading HubSpot agency partner, and deploy tried and tested processes for migrating and onboarding to HubSpot.

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Aayush Bhatt
A seasoned writer and a budding Mar-tech enthusiast, Aayush juggles between HubSpot and content projects at ContentNinja. He's studied literature followed by digital marketing and thus, writes B2B content for clients by day and poetry for himself by night. When he's not working, he can be found addressing an audience in his head.