Migrate Salesforce To HubSpot: Traps To Avoid, Tips To Win

Posted in HubSpot by Claire Blacker

So for one reason or another you’ve decided to migrate from Salesforce to HubSpot CRM. Now migrating your CRM isn’t as simple as exporting data from one database and importing it into another. There are a number of things to think about to make sure the process runs smoothly and that nothing is lost or overlooked. 

Having helped a few businesses migrate legacy systems onto HubSpot, our team has learnt a few things along the way so here are the essential steps you need to take when migrating between systems...

Migrating vs Integrating

First of all let’s establish whether you are integrating Salesforce with HubSpot or migrating from one system to another. 

If you’re looking to integrate that means you’re planning to use the systems side by side. You might be planning to keep using Salesforce for your CRM but need data to pass over to HubSpot because you’re using their sales, marketing or service hub features. If this is the case, then this blog isn’t for you - but here’s a useful resource on how the integration works

If you are looking to migrate from Salesforce to HubSpot, here are some of Noisy Little Monkey’s top tips to ensure everything goes smoothly...

Planning 

Identify key stakeholders

Firstly it’s important to understand why you are migrating systems. Ask yourself, how does migrating your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system align with your business goals? To get the whole company on board, you need to make sure you have specified why migrating will be better. People don’t like unnecessary change so you have to be able to convince the board of the benefits the change will bring! 

It’s important to note down who will be most impacted by this migration. It’s likely that it will be the people in your sales and marketing teams that will experience the biggest change, but the effects are likely to trickle down to all areas of the organisation. Start to understand the biggest obstacles or objections that people have about this change and figure out how best to alleviate these worries. 

The next step is to identify key stakeholders. Who is going to be in charge of running this project? Who else is essential to making this work? (The RACI model can help with planning projects like these). It’s a good idea to document what the key milestones are in this migration and who is responsible for reaching them and when. Remember this is essentially a change management process, so it needs to be treated as such. 

Create a timeline

It’s important that you establish a timeline with clear dependencies and flexible deadlines. Set short and long term goals, and if you don’t meet them adapt and set new ones. Sense check your timeline with key stakeholders and hold a process review meeting to ensure everyone is on the same page. 

Key dates or milestones for your timeline should include: 

  • When is the data going to be cleaned?
  • When are all the properties going to be mapped? 
  • When is your first import going to be? 
  • By what date do you want all the data migrated? 
  • When will you run staff training? 
  • At what point do you want to completely sunset Salesforce? 

Establish who is responsible for the completion of each stage and who that team member should report back to. This isn’t a process that you want stretched out for too long, so holding people accountable for meeting deadlines will help ensure your target finish date will be reached. 

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How do you migrate the data? 

There are a couple of ways to get your data into HubSpot, let's have a look at your options: 

HubSpot/Salesforce integration - HubSpot has a native integration with Salesforce that allows you to sync the two systems. HubSpot can extract all the data from Salesforce in one go and then allow you to retire from using Salesforce completely.

Third Party Integration - You can also use third party integrations such as import2. This will migrate all your contacts full sales activity history data from Salesforce into HubSpot for a certain price, dependant on your level of contacts.

Import CSV - The next option is to export your contacts from Salesforce and import them into HubSpot using the import contact function. This is a fairly simple process and probably the least technical. 

If you follow these next steps it should ensure a smooth migration process no matter which option you choose. 

Tidy up your data

Once you’ve decided which method you want to use, it’s time to tidy up your data. If you’ve been using your Salesforce CRM for a while now it’s likely you have stored data that is no longer relevant and doesn’t need to be uploaded to HubSpot. Use this opportunity to manage duplicates and delete or remove unengaged contacts. Make sure you review how GDPR compliant your data is so that you can import explicit consent as well as contact info. If someone has been in the system for over two years and hasn’t engaged with your company in that time, it's time for them to go. 

You’ll also want to identify where you’re most likely to lose data. Timestamps and notes might be lost in the migration so we would always recommend backing up all your data from Salesforce just in case something goes wrong. If you have too many associations you’ll probably want to go down the route of using an API or the Salesforce integration as the CSV import won’t allow this. 

The next thing you need to do is make a list of custom properties and field types that need creating in HubSpot based on what you use in Salesforce. It’s also a good idea to make a list of new properties or data you’re not currently recording and wish to use going forward. This will help you when you start mapping your data...

What is data mapping?

Data mapping is the process of matching a piece of information or datapoint in one system and then signposting where that information will live, or ‘map’ to, in your new system.

e.g. Salesforce: Lead owner -> HubSpot: Contact owner 

When mapping data not only will you need to map individual properties, you'll also need to understand the relationship between your different objects. An object or record type in HubSpot is a specific data set with its own associated properties. For example you may have an object which is specifically for recording contact information, this information will likely have a relationship or association with a company record type and/or deal record and the various associations they have. Two contacts might be a member of the same company, one of those contacts might have an open deal in progress which needs to be attached or shown on the central company record. 

Diagram showing how to map relationships between different objects  in HubSpotAn example of the relationship between different objects in a data import

Understanding the relationship between your different data sets will help you decide if you need to do a simple single object import or a cross-object import with multiple record types. This can make or break a migration as you may end up losing critical info. We'll cover this in more detail when we get to the import stage.

Mapping your data 

Once you’ve identified which properties you’re keeping, you’ll need to map these to properties in HubSpot (we usually use Excel or Google Sheets for this part). Before you map your properties have a look at the HubSpot default properties and see which of these correlate to what you have, then identify which new properties need to be made. 

When mapping like for like information make sure any field options match to avoid syntax errors. Ideally you need to transform your data before importing so that there is an exact match for your property options, for example, if you have a dropdown field in Salesforce with mismatched options to your mapped field in HubSpot, this won’t import.

Salesforce Field HubSpot Field
First Name First Name
Last Name Last Name
Lead Owner  Contact Owner

(An example of what your mapping spreadsheet could look like)

Importing your data into HubSpot

Once you’re ready to import your data into HubSpot there are a couple of things you need to check.  If you’ve chosen to import via CSV you’ll first need to make sure you’re using the right import type. If you’re only importing contacts, for example, you’ll choose the ‘one object’ import. If you’re importing contacts and deals at the same time you’ll need to choose the ‘multiple objects’ report. 

Next you’ll want to check if there are any active contacts that are currently being worked, that you can’t import quite yet. If this is the case you might want to do your import in chunks. 

Even if you’re sure you’ve mapped everything perfectly it's ALWAYS a good idea to take a small batch of data to test with first. This way you can do the import and make note of any issues. If there are any syntax errors make sure you go in and make the changes on your test import and try again. Repeat this until you’re happy that there are no more import issues, then go in and import the rest of your data. 

Final Checks 

Once you’ve migrated the data your job isn’t over! Check that the data is actually showing in HubSpot how you expected it to. Go into contact and company records and check if deals have come across as you expected. 

You’ll then need to make sure to set up your team members on the system. Make sure the right people have access to the right areas of the system and that they can add and edit information (it might be a good idea to train your team first before giving them these permissions though!) You can also customise and set up the record views so that the correct properties are showing by default when it comes to training your team.

Train your team on using HubSpot 

If you’ve chosen to migrate to the HubSpot CRM it’s probably because you’re impressed by its many features and capabilities - so you need to make sure your team is actually using them! If you don’t train your team properly there's a good chance this will lead to underperformance from your CRM and will make the whole process redundant. Bring your stakeholders back into the discussion and agree how everyone is going to use HubSpot alongside the processes you’ve previously outlined. 

Don’t just run one ‘classroom’ session. To make sure everyone is using the system effectively it’s better to run small batches of group training, making sure there’s an element of “show me, tell me” to check understanding.

Regular reviews should be held during the first few months to sense check uptake and deal with issues. Set homework in between these reviews if possible and even consider incentives to anyone showing particular initiative or who you notice putting effort into learning the system. You might even want to create a project board or shared spreadsheet to centralise and keep track of issues and stakeholder wishes for the CRM.

Don’t be afraid to get an expert in

The data in your CRM is important and sensitive. Experts who have done data migration many times before will be able to make sure the process runs smoothly and that no major bits of data are lost in transition. If you’d like a helping hand migrating to HubSpot - feel free to get in touch to see how we can help! 

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Claire Blacker
Claire Blacker

Claire Blacker is Junior Digital Marketing Executive at Noisy Little Monkey.

Meet Claire Blacker

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