Contact record databases may be the most important tool that a company has, but it becomes useless if it is not well maintained. For some companies, their contacts are their customers, so they want to be as efficient as possible when communicating with them. The best way to do that is to ensure that you are keeping contact records up to date. It may be wise to implement a system or schedule when you perform the following tasks to make sure that they are done on a regular basis. Some companies may need to do these tasks on a more regular basis depending on the size of the contact records. Qualifying leads is an important step in marketing, however it does not account for the regular due diligence needed for contact data management. No matter the size of any company’s contact records, companies should do maintenance at least once a month. Here are the four steps that any company can use to maintain their database and keep their records as efficient as possible.
Before we hop into the steps, it is good to understand why and how oftencontact database maintenance is done. While maintaining your contacts is very important, as I am stressing, it is also important to remember not to over do it. Besides it being a time intensive process, it can be overdone. Sometimes, when de-duplicating contacts two different contacts can be merged into one. Other mistakes can also be made when managing contact records. So having a set amount of time in between maintenance is wise.
Step One: DeDuplication
In HubSpot deduplication is the process of merging contacts that HubSpot’s algorithm recognizes as the same due to the same/similar names, emails, phone numbers, or other contact properties. The process for how to deduplicate contacts is listed below. A good reason to do this is because most HubSpot accounts limit or charge based on how many contacts are in a company's database. To keep contacts under a certain amount, deduplication can cleanse contacts that aren’t adding any value anyways.
When deduplicating, there is the dilemma of choosing the “main” contact record. It is important to remember that when merging contacts that no information gets deleted. However, to choose the main account consider some criteria: which contact is subscribed to your company’s newsletter, which contact has the last recorded activity date, and which contact records have social media linked. These are just some properties that will reveal the value of each contact record. Remember, that you are more so completing one contact record rather than picking a contact to keep and one to delete.
Step Two: Workflow Upgrades for Contact Management.
Workflows in HubSpot are useful in many cases for multiple different reasons. In the case of contact management, it can help qualify your leads and recognize important contacts without going into each new contact one by one. Workflows are automated sequences that are triggered by a certain criteria. For instance, if a contact is tagged under a certain category it may enroll that contact into a workflow. This can be used for multiple different uses in terms of contact database management. It can be used to filter out spam contacts, if filters do not catch them for you. Also, they can be used to find “hot leads” or some of your most important leads that may need immediate and special attention.
Workflows make it easy to do this without manually going through each and every new conversion. With all this being said, it is important to go through your workflows and make sure that they are correct and are effective. If done incorrectly, it can be messy because depending on how the workflow is set. The first step to avoid a workflow disaster is to test your workflows before they are set, and afterwards test them regularly so that they are working the way that they are intended to.
Lists are an excellent way to keep track of contacts. Active lists are created by creating a criteria and enrolling contacts in that list if they meet the criteria. This way lists do not need to be constantly updated. These types of lists are useful when filtering contacts by their properties, which is noted in their contact record. However, a problem that you may encounter when using active lists is that contact properties may change. For instance, if you have a list of journalist contacts some of those journalists may leave their jobs and no longer be journalists. So instead of manually removing them from the active lists, you will need to change their contact property and they will automatically be un-enrolled in the active lists. For the purpose of updated and useful contact lists, updating contact data is crucial.
A good source for contact information is social media. If you have contacts on social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, you can check their profiles for information such as career changes. Often times, a career change or job change will result in other changes such as an email change or location/ time zone change. Make sure you update those in the contact record as well.
Adding new contacts into HubSpot, one by one, sounds tedious right? Well luckily you can import new contacts in mass by importing an Excel workbook, or CSV file to HubSpot. This process is efficient and necessary for most businesses because contacts may not automatically enroll through conversion forms on your website. Some contacts may fill out forms in-person, or perhaps your company is switching CRM software. Either way, HubSpot has a simple way to upload contacts. It is important to remember that uploading new contacts is just as important as removing old contacts, and it is a part of good practice in contact database management.
When creating a list of contacts in Excel, or another program, it is important to label each column with the property you want it to go under in HubSpot. When you upload the file to HubSpot you will have to assign each column to an existing property in your contact database. Such as First Name, Last Name, Job Title, etc. Take extra care to label each column properly in order to save time.