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How-to: Avoid Importing Duplicates in HubSpot

on August 21, 2018

It’s easy to make the mistake of importing thousands of records into HubSpot only to realize that you just imported a heaping mound of duplicates. Now you have to go into each of those contacts, find the other duplicates, and merge them using HubSpot’s merge feature.

First of all, what a nightmare! Second of all, this could have been easy enough to prevent with just a little preparation.

So, it does take a bit or prep up front, and sometimes it isn’t so obvious:

For Contacts

When importing contacts make sure you use the Email field in your CSVs. HubSpot deduplicates by the Email address so unless you have this you run the risk of peppering HubSpot full of duplicates.

The reason why first name, last name and other fields aren’t used for deduplicating is that, multiple people can have the same first name. Usually it’s very rare for two people to have both the first and last name, but it can happen in the cases where a son if named after his father (e.g. Henry II).

However, it’s generally not a safe default for a CRM to dedupe by first or last name, even when considering both first and last name. Take for example very common full names like John Smith or Juan Lopez. Especially in countries like Brazil, Mexico or the US where there are many people with the same first and last names.

For Companies

All companies you import, in order to dedupe, require a Company Domain Name included in your CSV or Excel sheet. If you include the domain, companies with the same name will be duplicated. They also have to be a valid domain name tld format: as in, “some-name.tld”.

The challenge here is that many times companies with similar names are often, the same company. And unless you’re keeping really good tabs on which company names belong to which domains, it’s easy to import duplicates.

Another challenge is that not every company has a domain name and this can cause you to force fake domain names for the sake of deduping. That said, are you going to remember the fake domain names next time you import that same company? If you’re not careful you can easily end up with both duplicates and domain names that don’t exist.

Conclusion

This is not an easy task to always get right and it’s something we’re working on solving with the Dedupely HubSpot integration we’re working on right now.

HubSpot has an excellent course (with videos) on how to properly prepare and import data in your database. I recommend you go through it to get a better idea on avoiding duplicates as well.