How to Efficiently Migrate Your Lead Database to HubSpot

Whether you choose HubSpot as your first CRM or have decided to switch solutions to develop your activity thanks to all the functionalities provided by HubSpot, there is a good chance that you already have a database of leads to import into your new HubSpot portal.

In this article, we won't dwell on the technical limitations of database imports to HubSpot, we'll focus on how to perform an efficient migration by taking advantage of the various tools offered by HubSpot.

Summary :

  1. The different HubSpot data import methods
  2. Clean up your import files
  3. Create the necessary properties on your HubSpot portal
  4. Basic imports: “one object”
  5. Complex imports: “multiple objects” and activities
  6. Survival Rules 
  7. Endnotes



The different HubSpot data import methods


To import Leads into HubSpot (whether we are talking about contacts, companies, deals or any other object), simply go to a contact or company view and select the “Import” option located at the top right of your page.

import 1

By clicking on this option, you will have the choice between two options: the “classic” import and the “synchronized” import.

import 2

  • Synchronized import

HubSpot being a dominant tool in the CRM industry has developed more than 100 native integrations tools allowing you to easily migrate your lead data from an old tool to HubSpot.

import 3

You will find all the available integrations on the HubSpot MarketPlace. Each integration will benefit from different options depending on the chosen software. Chances are that in the case of a migration from a SaaS to HubSpot, you will find the desired synchronisation.

  • Classic import

The option on the left allows you to perform database imports in the form of an Excel spreadsheet or CSV.

It is this option that we will explore in this article because it allows greater flexibility, greater control and applies to all migration situations.


Clean up your import files


The first step in your lead database migration consists of creating one or more import files (CSV,XLS orXLSX).

Retrieving this raw file is a good excuse to operate some cleaning of your database.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What information do you want to transfer to HubSpot?
  • Is all my information formatted the same way? (cf: phone numbers, country information, title of contacts, etc.)

Formatting and cleaning up an Excel file is much easier and faster than creating data standardization automations in HubSpot after the import.

HubSpot will understand your file like this:

  • Columns are properties
  • Lines are “Records” (contacts, companies, transactions, etc.)

import 4

In our example of importing contacts, each line is therefore equivalent to a contact and the properties mentioned by each column will be fed by the value corresponding to the line of the contact.

So take the time to structure and standardize your import file to ensure a healthy database and a painless import.


Create the necessary properties on your HubSpot portal


After creating your import file containing all the information you want to send to HubSpot, you must check that your portal is able to receive all this information.

To do this, you just need to create a property for each type of information to import.

In our contact import example, the “Favorite Food” information is not a native HubSpot property. If you try to import the file as it is, you will be unable to store this information.

Go to Settings -> Properties -> Contacts Properties -> Create Property

import 5

Then create the property corresponding to the desired information.

In our case, it is a property filled in manually by the lead, so we choose the type “Text on a single line”.

import 6

Attention: It is essential to think about the best way to store and generate this information in order to select the appropriate type of property!

Repeat this process for each new piece of information you want to send to HubSpot.

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Basic imports: “one object”


Now that we have seen how to build an import file and prepare your portal for accepting various information, let's see together the example of a “basic” import, the case of importing a single object, here, a simple contact list with their properties.

Let's go back to our import file from the beginning of the post:

import 4

When choosing import, select the option on the left “Classic Import”.

You will then have three options, select “Import from a file”

import 7

Then select the number of files to import, choose “Single object” (in our case we simply want to import a list of contacts) and select the object corresponding to your import.

import 8

Then simply drag and drop your import file, determine if you want to Create, Create and Update or just Update your contacts, and click next.

You, now, arrive at the mapping window.

import 9

If you named your columns the same as your HubSpot properties, the mapping will be automatic. Mapping status will be indicated in column 1

If not, you'll need to modify columns 2 and 3 to match your columns to the different HubSpot properties.

Column 4 is made to replace a potentially already existing value with the new import value (in the case of updating contacts).

Take the time to validate all of the different mappings to ensure that your import will go smoothly.

Once validated, remember to create a list of the import so that you can easily identify the different leads in the event of a problem. You must also check the consent box in order to validate the import on HubSpot.

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After a few seconds or minutes, your import will be correctly carried out and you will find all these new contacts on your portal.


Complex imports: “multiple objects” and activities


One of the main interests of HubSpot is to be able to create associations between different objects (cf: a contact and his company), and the recorded activities of leads.

To be able to carry out an import taking into account these different associations, it is necessary to carry out a “multiple object import”.

Let's take a new import file aimed at importing contacts with their company information and the various tasks associated with them on an old CRM:

import 11

Start your import as in the previous example but select Multiple Objects:

import 12

Then select only the objects and activities you want to import. (In our example: Contacts, Companies, Tasks).

import 13

As in our previous example, take the time to check the mapping carefully. Everything looks good here, except for a company property that has been mapped to a contact property:

import 14

It is therefore needed to manually rectify the mapping.

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If HubSpot does not interpret all the information, define the mapping manually.


Survival Rules


Before concluding this article, I wanted to share 3 survival rules for any successful import!

  • Perform an import test on your Sandbox

During large imports, do not hesitate to carry out a test version on your HubSpot Sandbox to ensure that everything goes smoothly and to analyze the potential conflicts that a large import could cause on your automations.

  • Marketing Contacts

Please note: when you import contacts, you will be asked to define them as Marketing contacts or not. During a large import, this option can be dangerous knowing that you are billed according to the number of your Marketing contacts.

  • Record ID Vs Email

During an import, HubSpot has several rules for identifying your leads. If this is a contact update, be sure to include a “Record ID” column considered the unique identifier of your contacts.

If this is an import of new contacts, the email will be the unique identifier considered for your import.




I hope this article answered your questions about the different lead imports on HubSpot.

If you want to deepen your HubSpot skills and find all the workflows created and presented by HS Simple, do not hesitate to request your free access to the workflow box. A private web page listing all the workflows requested by the community with an explanatory video and a simple action plan in the form of a "to-do list".

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Grégoire Bolnot


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