If you’ve been using your CRM for a decent amount of time, there is a good chance that you have “stray” contacts in your HubSpot contact database.
There are many cases that commonly cause stray contacts in HubSpot databases too. Stray contacts are simply contacts that exist within your system but aren’t associated with a company inside of the HubSpot database.
Maybe you need to manage parent and child company associations. Maybe you’ve bought a list of leads, or enriched an existing list of leads and need to associate contacts with their companies. Maybe you’re migrating from a different system and have relationships that you would like to Maintain — for instance, you might want to match contacts based on the “Salesforce Account ID” property of the contact and company.
These stray contacts can cause several problems for companies:
- Overlook Stakeholders in Account-Based Marketing. Stakeholders that aren’t associated with their company in HubSpot might not be sent marketing materials or contacted by your sales team, leaving you with a clear disadvantage with that account.
- Increase the Likelihood of Duplicate Hubspot Contacts. When your team sees that a contact is missing in your company profile, they may accidentally create a new record for them, not realizing the contact is in the system, just not associated with the account. This punctures the single-customer view.
- Slow down sales and marketing teams. If your team consistently has to double-check to make sure a company doesn’t have contacts that are floating outside of what should be their company record, it adds another step to the process before delivering any marketing or sales materials.
- Sales reps stepping on each other. Two sales reps may contact two different contacts at the same account, without being able to verify that they belong to the same account.
- Managing lifecycle stage for companies and contacts. Hubspot allows you to sync the Lifecycle Stage value between companies and contacts. However, contacts that are not associated with the company will not have their lifecycle stage synced.
Of course, a quick look at their profile would probably make it easy to discern what company they work for. They probably have a company email. Maybe they share a phone number, website, or a custom unique identifier with the company. There’s usually some field that you can use to figure it out, but HubSpot automatic association can’t use that field to make the connection between the records. .
Trying to match contact records to companies by-hand would take hours. Often, it will have to be done with each new import of contacts, as not all new contacts will be properly associated with companies within HubSpot.
These problems are compounded by the way that the HubSpot automatic association system works.
- Why Associations in HubSpot Can Be Tricky
- Insycle Delivers Bulk Association with Quality Control
- Use Insycle for Contact and Company Association
Why Associations in HubSpot Can Be Tricky
In HubSpot, contacts can be automatically associated with companies based on their email domain. That email domain is matched to the “Company Domain Name” of a company record in your database.
The issue with this is that you don’t always want to use email domains to associate contacts with companies. Yes, you can exclude domains from automatic association so you don’t end up with, say, a bunch of franchisees associated with their parent company, when you want to treat each as a separate entity.
If the contact has a free email account (gmail.com, yahoo.com, etc.), HubSpot will also look at the contact's Website URL property to associate the contact with a company's domain name.
If the company does not exist in the account with a match to the contact’s email domain, HubSpot will automatically create a company record and populate it with information from HubSpot’s database.
In theory, this sounds great. Every new contact that you add could be automatically associated with the correct company, or have a new company record automatically created.
But — you may run into some problems with this approach.
First, contact emails might not always match their intended company in your database. If a contact is a company founder of multiple companies with multiple emails, their contact record may be accidentally associated with the wrong company.
Or what if the company’s domain name is “company.com,” but your contact is still using an email from their previous domain name, “company.io?”
There’s no way to differentiate
Or what if you wanted to match by company name? When you use LinkedIn sync, HubSpot uses the personal email on the chosen account, not company email. But — it does include the “Company Name’ field. In this situation you may want to associate records using the company name.
B2C and retail companies might not collect an email address for all of their contacts. In that case, you might want to use another field (like a unique identification field) to match customers to companies.
Another example can be found here, where a HubSpot user deals exclusively with contacts that work for Keller-Williams Realty. There were more than 4,000 contacts in total. Naturally, they all had a Keller-Williams email address. But they didn’t want to treat them all like they work for the same company, as they work for independent branches and offices around the U.S. They need to be treated as separate companies.
Second, users don’t have a lot of control. They can’t choose which fields they use for association with company records.
Also — the HubSpot automatic association feature must be toggled on or off. In other words — either HubSpot is automatically associating all of your contacts with companies (including both existing records and imported) or they are associating none of them.
There is no way to preview the changes before they go live, either. You just have to accept that some contacts will slip through the cracks, be associated with the wrong company, or create duplicate company listings based on the contact’s email address.
So what if there’s a problem? What if you turn this feature on and automatically associate 4,000 Keller-Williams contacts with their parent company, instead of their local branches?
Well, there’s no way to automatically undo it. You’ll be stuck fixing all of those association problems by-hand. Or more likely — you’ll just decide that it’s not worth your time and figure out some way to work around the problem.
The other alternative is to export all the records with unique IDs then re-import them. It works, but it’s certainly not a fun exercise. Workflows cannot be used to make custom associations because different fields on different records are involved.
These are just a few of the many examples of roadblocks that companies run into with HubSpot contacts, company, and deal associations.
Insycle Delivers Bulk Association with Quality Control
Insycle can help you to associate existing records (and newly imported contacts) with the correct company or deal records in your HubSpot database.
Just take a look at what Jason Levy from Revenue River had to say about the tool:
“With regards to keeping your HubSpot data clean and healthy, it’s an invaluable tool. Setting up scheduled actions to occur so we, nor our clients, have to worry about having consistent data is a tremendous time savor and headache reliever.” – Jason Levy | Sales System Architect | Revenue River
Let’s show you how it works.
1. Navigate to Bulk Operations
2. Set Your Filter
There, the first thing you’ll have to decide is how you want to filter your results.
Now, you may not want to filter your HubSpot contacts at all. Maybe you are working on associating every stray contact with a company. You don’t have to apply any filters if you don’t want to.
However, in some situations, applying a filter might be smart.
Like if you had 4,000 contacts from Keller-Williams that you needed to associate with companies, you might filter your contacts to show only those that have a “@kw.com” email address.
3. Set Associations
With your filters showing the right segment of your contacts, you can then set your associations.
In the “Step 2: Pick Bulk Operation” menu, select the “Associate” tab just below it.
Here, you’ll start by defining the HubSpot association type. There are two options:
- Contacts to Companies
- Contacts to Deals
In this example, we’ll assume we’re using “Contacts to Companies.”
Then, you can choose the fields that you will use to associate contacts to companies. For instance, if you wanted to follow HubSpot’s lead and match the contact’s email domain name to the company’s domain name, it would look like this:
Insycle will match the email domain on the Contact record with the domain on the company record. Most importantly, it would ignore subdomains, such that firstname.lastname@example.org would match to company with the domain school.edu
Or you could associate contacts to companies using the "Company Name" field on the Contact record, matched with the "Name" field on the Company record:
In this example, we configured it to ignore common terms, like inc. and incorporated (you can customize the list of terms to ignore), and use only the first 2 words on the name for improved matching.
You can use Insycle to associate contacts to companies using any field, as long as you can match it to a corresponding data field for companies. For example, using the "Salesforce Account ID" field:
Additionally, you can tell Insycle to create a new company record if a matching record is not found in the system.
4. Review, Preview, and Associate
Now you click on "Review," to start associating.
This will open a popup where you can decide to run the update as a preview to see what changes would be made, or update your data.
In preview mode, if there are some unintended consequences, you can back out without any issues.
Go through the steps and you will be taken to a preview summary that shows you some important information about the attempted associations, including the number of associations that succeeded and failed.
You can click on “Failed” and Succeeded” tabs to see the specific records and how they were affected.
6. Bulk Associate Records
Then, if you like what you see, you can go back, turn off preview mode, and run the association operation.
Additionally, you'll have the ability to send the .CSV report of the changes to an email address.
Just like that, you can bulk associate HubSpot contact records to companies, with full quality control to avoid mistakes.
Associating Records During Import
You don’t have to wait until records have been imported into your database to associate contacts with companies or deals.
With Insycle, you can directly associate contacts with companies as you import them.
In step 4 in the “Import + Compare” tool, you’ll see a tab for “Associations.”
Here you can choose whether you want to Add (or remove) associations between contacts, companies, and deals. You can select any column in your import .CSV file, and match it to any field in your company database.
Use Insycle for Contact and Company Association
Want to clean up stray HubSpot contacts? Read more about how to bulk associate Contacts, Companies, and Deals by any field and automatically in the Insycle Help Center.
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