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Video: Why are contacts the central piece of the Growth Stack? (1:38)

An introduction to the importance of contacts

Hey, it’s Kyle from HubSpot Academy. Let’s talk about contacts. Contacts are the most fundamental part of any CRM. They’re your prospects and customers--the living, breathing human beings your business works with on a daily basis. Your success and the success of your company depends on these people. So I’m going to let you in on a little secret: People like to be treated like people. Yes, your job is to turn people into customers, but the best way to do that is to connect with them in a human way and find ways to help them achieve their goals. The better you understand the individual people you’re selling to, the better you’ll be able to help them move forward in their buyer’s journey.

That’s why everything you do inside the HubSpot Growth Stack will revolve around your contacts. Each contact record in your CRM has a timeline. Here you can see the entire story of your company’s relationship with that person. Using that as context, you can design the personalized outreach today’s empowered buyers demand and deserve. And as you do your daily work of sending emails and making phone calls, they’ll all get added to the timeline automatically. No copy-pasting, no writing out notes for your manager’s benefit. Just do your job, and the timeline will create a record of your efforts for you. With all of the administrative work being taken care of automatically, you’ll be free to focus on the best part of sales, which is selling.
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Video: Managing contacts in HubSpot CRM (7:09)

In this video, you'll learn best practices around getting organized using HubSpot CRM

Hey, it’s Kyle from HubSpot Academy. There are three main kinds of records inside HubSpot CRM: Contacts, companies, and deals. Contacts are the individual people you work with; companies are the organizations those people are associated with; deals are the sales-in-progress you have with those people and organizations. Contact and companies records are where you’ll do the bulk of your daily work inside HubSpot CRM, so let’s take a quick tour of what they look like and how they work.

Here are four key things your should keep in mind.

First, use contact records for individual people and company records for organizations. If you’re in B2B sales, you can use company records to keep track of the businesses you’re working with. But remember, your goal should be to interact with people, so you should still create individual contact records for the people at those businesses. For example, if the prospects tool shows you that a particular company has been visiting your website a lot, you might call that company and only get in touch with various receptionists and assistants. Even though they probably won’t have purchasing power, you should still add them as contacts. You never know when you might need to circle back with someone to get more information.

The easiest way to start adding contacts into your CRM is to log your emails. If Google or Office 365 provides your email service, you can use the HubSpot Sales email extension, and your emails will be logged automatically. Just make sure the “Log in CRM” checkbox is checked. Then the emails you send will be automatically recorded in the CRM without any extra work from you. If you’re emailing someone who doesn’t have a record, the CRM will create one for you, and the email will be put on their timeline. As an added benefit, the email extension puts information from your CRM right inside your inbox so you can reference and update it as you send and receive emails. Easy as that.

If you use an email provider other than Google or Office 365, you can log your email using your CRM’s BCC address. Just save the email address as a contact in your email system and be sure to add it to the email’s BCC line anytime you send a message you want recorded in the CRM.

Second, associate contact and company records with each other. When a contact record is associated to a company record, the two are linked together inside the CRM, and information will flow between them. You can associate multiple contacts to a single company, and then your interactions with all of those people will be combined together on the company record’s timeline. If you’re creating contact records for everyone you work with at a particular company, the company record will give you a full account of everyone you’ve talked to and what they’ve said. That way, you’ll be able to see exactly who said what and what’s coming next.

In many cases, the CRM will associate contacts and companies automatically. In fact, the CRM will often create the company record for you and automatically associate it to the appropriate contacts. Anytime you add an email address to a contact record, the CRM will take the domain from that email address and use it to search for company information in a database of public records. Any information it finds will be used to create a company record, and that company will automatically be associated with all of your contacts who have emails at that domain.

So if you’re capturing inbound leads from your website, your contact and company records will both get created automatically, without any work from you at all. But, if some of your leads have freemail addresses like Gmail or Outlook.com, the CRM won’t be able to create and associate the company record automatically. For these leads, you’ll need to create and associate company records manually.

Third, use notes and tasks for internal communication. The emails and calls you have with your contacts will get recorded automatically, but contact records can also capture the conversations that happen behind the scenes. There are two tools that will help you with this: notes and tasks. You can use these tools to add information to the timeline without notifying the contact. Notes are good for capturing miscellaneous information. So if you need a place to jot down some ideas for an upcoming call, for example, you could save that as a note, and it would be added to the timeline. You can also pin a note to the timeline if there’s particular piece of information you want to keep at the top of the list. Tasks are simple reminders. So if you want to remember to follow up with one of your contacts who’s going out of town for a couple of weeks, you could create a task for the day they get back, and you’d get a reminder email to follow up with them on that day.

Tasks and notes are great ways to collaborate with other people on your team, too. Anytime you need to have a conversation about a contact, notes are the place to do it. You can @mention teammates to bring them into the conversation, and then your notes back and forth will be recorded on the timeline for future reference. You can also assign tasks to your teammates if there’s something you need them to do on a certain date. This way, all communication, both internal and external, will show up together on the contact’s timeline, giving you a full account of what’s happening with that contact.

Finally, use properties and views to keep your contacts organized. Every contact record has a bunch of fields called properties. Contact properties hold basic information like name, phone number, and address. There are also properties that store important internal information like who a contact is assigned to or when they were last contacted. One of the handiest properties is Lead Status, which you can use to keep track of where you are in your outreach to a person. If you keep the information in these contact properties updated, you’ll be able to create custom views of contacts so that you only see the people who meet certain qualifications. When you create a custom view, you’ll filter your contacts based on the information stored in their contact properties. This way you can see the contacts you should be focused on right now. For example, if you want to see a list of people you should be following up with, you can filter based on their Last Contacted Date and their Lead Status. You can then save that view for easy access in the future. You can also create custom views of companies and deals.

If you’re the leader of your team, you should definitely invest some time in making custom views for your reps to help them focus on the most promising leads. Check out the training on custom views for ideas to help you get started.

Regardless of your role, being invested in keeping your contacts organized will be well worth the effort. So decide which properties you care most about, create a custom view based on those properties, and get selling.

Quiz

Quiz: Organizing your contacts

Test your knowledge about contacts

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Video: Contacts in Action (2:03)

An example of how you might use contacts

Let’s take a quick look at how you might use a custom view to organize your contacts. We’ll use the fictional example of Bob, a sales rep who works at a landscaping company called Groundskeeper, Inc. He sells landscaping services to small property management companies. Groundskeeper’s website has a form where property owners can request a quote, and Bob wants to create a custom view where he can see a list of people who have filled out this form.

First, Bob goes to the Contacts page and adds a filter for “Form submission” and sets it to “Quote Request.” The view now shows anyone who has ever submitted this form, but Bob wants to focus on the people he hasn’t made contact with yet. Bob uses the Lead Status property to keep track of his outreach efforts, so he adds a filter for “Lead Status” and sets it to “New.” As he makes contact with them, he’ll change their Lead Status to either “Open” or “Unqualified,” depending on how the conversation goes.

Bob’s view is now showing the people who have requested a quote but haven’t been contacted yet. To make this information more digestible, Bob edits the columns. He removes the “Form submission” and “Lead Status” columns because they’re the same for everyone in the list. He also adds columns for “Job Title” and “Services Needed.” Bob uses Job Title to better understand the authority of the person who submitted the form. “Services Needed” is a custom property Groundskeeper has created to hold the landscaping services a custom is interested in. Both of these properties are collected on the Quote Request form.

Bob’s view now shows all of the people who have submitted the Quote Request form but haven’t been contacted, and it shows him the most important information from that form. Bob saves this view as “Uncontacted Quote Request,” and now he has an actionable list of leads to work through. Nice going, Bob!

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Tool Walk-Through: Filtering Contacts (3:11)

A walk-through of creating and saving contact filters

User Guide

Help Doc: How can I customize my views in the HubSpot CRM?

A guide to filtering your contacts in HubSpot CRM.

User Guide

Help Doc: How can I use the Lead Status property in my sales process?

A brief explanation of how to use the lead status property

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Tool Walk-Through: Installing the HubSpot Sales email extension (3:09)

A brief demonstration of how to install the HubSpot Sales email extension

User Guide

Help Doc: How to log emails in the CRM without using the email extension

A brief explanation of how to log emails in HubSpot CRM if you can't use the email extension