Import Contacts in HubSpot CRM

Time Estimate: 20 Minutes

This self-paced track will teach you about CRM object structure, how to store information on objects, and ultimately how to import your contacts into the CRM. 

Start the Learning Track

What is this learning track? Hint: Click Play


Prefer 1:1 Training?
Purchase the CRM & Sales Starter Kit

Step #1: How the CRM is Designed

To fully understand how to import, let's talk CRM first.

The CRM is comprised of three equally important pieces (or "objects", in engineering parlance): contacts, companies, and deals. It is first critical to understand that each of the CRM objects are independent and unique, but they can also be associated to one another.

Contacts represent individuals that you regularly communicate with and can include prospects, leads, customers, partners, users, etc. Contacts are the most fundamental pieces of information in the CRM.

Companies represent the organizations that the above contacts belong to and can include companies you do business with, businesses you partner with, or companies you'd like to sell your product or service.

Deals represent revenue opportunities for your business and should only be created when there is a potential dollar exchange at stake for your product or service.

This learning track focuses on how to import Contacts into HubSpot CRM. Click here to read more about the CRM platform.

Understand Basic CRM Structure


Key Takeaway: Contacts are the fundamental object in HubSpot and are unique based on email address.

Looking for help with importing Companies or Deals? Check out some of our migration partners who may be able to assist further.

Learn more about migrating from another CRM

Step #2 Explore the Contact Record

The Contact record is at the heart of the CRM.

Every single one of your contacts will get his or her own "Contact Record" in HubSpot. Stored within every record are a set of demographic details and other attributes such as the contact's name, email address, phone number, job title, and more.

In HubSpot, we store these details into "properties," which can be searched or filtered in the CRM. Think of these properties as a way of "tagging" your contacts with specific information that you may want to find later.

Out of the box, HubSpot generates some basic properties for you so that you do not have to build these from scratch. If there is a property that you would like to store and that does not yet exist in HubSpot, you can create custom properties to house this data.

Learn about Contact Records


Key Takeaway: See which properties HubSpot has created for you automatically and add the ones you'd like to have.

Step #3: Preparing to Import

Importing starts with preparing a CSV spreadsheet of contacts.

First start by creating a spreadsheet (try Excel or Google Docs). You'll want to be sure your output file (the final spreadsheet you use) is saved in a .CSV format.

Next, think about each of your columns in the spreadsheet as representing a contact property in the CRM on the contact records we discussed above. Add a column header to represent the information you wish to store about any given contact.

Every row in your spreadsheet will represent a net new contact that you'll be importing to HubSpot. The corresponding columns for a particular row should house the other data you wish to store about a contact: first, last name, email address, phone number, Lifecycle Stage, to name a few.

Once you've added all the contacts you wish to import into separate rows in your spreadsheet, Save OR Export your spreadsheet into a CSV file and move onto the next step below.

Check out this quick cheat sheat on how to move from Excel to HubSpot CRM or look at a sample spreadsheet for an example.

How to Prepare a CSV for Import


Key Takeaway: Add columns for each individual piece of information that you wish to store about your contacts.

Step #4: Import CSV into HubSpot

With an import-ready spreadsheet, now let's load your contacts.

After prepping your spreadsheet, click here to go to the import tool in HubSpot. When initiating an import, be prepared to walk through a series of steps to upload and map your spreadsheet properly to HubSpot.

Check out this guide which walks through the tactical steps you'll need to take to complete a successful import of contacts.

When you come to the "Map" section, HubSpot will prompt you to assign the column headers from your spreadsheet to corresponding contact properties in HubSpot. For any column headers that HubSpot cannot match to properties automatically, there will be an option to create a custom property.

How Import Your Spreadsheet of Contacts


Key Takeaway: Map all column headers to contact properties in CRM and then you're ready to go.

Need help importing Companies or Deals? Check out our Company Import and Deal Import resources.

Join the HubSpot Community

Find and share solutions. Collaborate and discuss. Contribute your ideas.

Check out the community