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HubSpot CRM: 9 Best Practices and Pro Tips

Written by Ryan Bennett on 4, December 2019

Learn how to improve your HubSpot CRM

No matter if you have been in HubSpot for a month or a couple of years, whether it is the dead of summer or the middle of winter, chances are your HubSpot portal could use some spring cleaning.

Since everyone uses HubSpot’s tools a little bit different, we have outlined some of the best practices and pro tips that we recommend to our clients to help them clean up their portal and start fresh.

In this case, the topic at hand is geared more towards the HubSpot CRM, but these tips and best practices apply to the HubSpot system as a whole.

What Are Some Tips to Improving My CRM?

Needing to see results from your CRM but don't even know where to start? Our experts can help. Here are nine tips to help you clean up your CRM and improve company efficiency. 

1. Delete Contacts

That’s right. Get those contacts out of the system that are no longer valuable to you.

Deleting contacts may seem counter-intuitive because you don’t want to miss any sales opportunities but take the time to determine how to establish contacts that are no longer valuable to you.

Here are some contacts you should consider removing from your HubSpot account.

  • Contacts who have incorrect emails (hard bounces)
  • Contacts who have not interacted with your content in a year
  • Contacts who have not visited your website in a year
  • If you have a form you use internally or for purposes other than lead generation

HubSpot increases software fees every thousand customers, so managing your total customers can help reduce costs and keep your system clutter-free.

HubSpot CRM Best Practices

Also, remember to store the contacts you delete somewhere safe. Export them before you remove them with all of their contact properties, so you don’t lose that information.


*PRO-TIP: Just because you delete an old contact doesn’t mean they are gone forever. If they fill out one of your forms, they are back!

 Unlock Your Free HubSpot Audit


2. Merge Duplicate Contacts

Before you delete contacts, you may want to consider merging duplicate contacts. For example, if John Smith at John Smith Inc fills out one of your forms with his work email address and then a couple of days later, at home, he fills it out with his personal email, this will create two contacts in HubSpot. John Smith is now in your system twice, taking up space, so you need to merge these two contact records.

When merging contacts, make sure to determine which contact will be the primary contact. The primary contact will be the one that stays in the system.

When you do this, the contacts’ timeline activity will show on the primary contact record. All data will be merged so you can be sure that when you look at John Smith’s contact record, you will see all accurate data about him, and you will be saving contact space in your HubSpot system.

HubSpot CRM Best Practices

3. Clear Unwanted or Unused Contact Properties

One issue digitalJ2 sees a lot is contact properties that are wrong and need to wiped clear to a blank slate. Sometimes we create contact properties with one thought in mind, and before we know it, there is no organization or sense to be made of the record in question. If you come across this situation, you can quickly clear out contact properties for all contacts.

Create a workflow in your HubSpot portal and choose the action “Clear Contact Property” then select the proper contact property.

Be sure to enroll the contacts you want to clear this contact property for and activate your workflow. In just a couple of minutes, you have a clean slate for your contact property!

HubSpot CRM Best Practices
*PRO-TIP: There are specific fields that are REQUIRED when importing data into HubSpot.
    • For contacts, the only required field is email address; however, we highly recommend including first and last name as well.
    • For contact records, it’s the company domain name (AKA the company website URL).
    • For deal records, HubSpot requires you to have the Sales Pipeline and Deal Stage for each deal.


4. Assign Your Contacts to Personas

Whether your company uses them or not, you have probably created a buyer persona for your ideal buyer. In HubSpot, you can enter these personas and keep them on record so you can associate contacts to specific personas.

If you are a sales rep looking at a prospect, it is a great tool to know what persona that contact is most closely related too. You can manually associate these personas by importing your contacts with their associated persona into HubSpot.

Moving forward you should add a form field to your forms that will let you know what persona a contact belongs. For example “What best describes you?” from options that you create, you can have HubSpot automatically bucket contacts into different personas.


Unlock Your Free HubSpot Audit


5. Properly Update Lifecycle Stages

HubSpot is a tool that allows you to centralize all of your sales and marketing efforts into one secure platform.

However, if you can’t discern between contacts in terms of their lifecycle stage, how valuable is the system? It is essential to know who is just a lead compared to a contact who is a customer.

To control this in HubSpot, you need to create workflows that update lifecycle stages based on actions taken.

You likely have smart lists in HubSpot to segment your contacts, maybe you imported a list of customers, or you store all of your eBook downloads in a specific list. You can easily enroll your lists into a workflow that update lifecycle stages.

Cleaning up your lifecycle stages will allow you to understand your different contacts in the system and make reporting easier so you can see how well your team can take contacts from leads to paying customers.


HubSpot CRM Best Practices


6. De-Duplicate Contact Properties

A huge problem we notice over and over again is contact properties that mean the same thing. You probably have many hands in your HubSpot portal, or you have been at it for a long time and accidentally created the same property over and over again.

For example, over time you may end up with contact properties that look something like this: “first name,” “first,” “fname” and “fn.” These are all meant to denote a contact’s first name, but this is not clean data.

Lucky for us, HubSpot has created a simple project to follow that you can follow in every portal to de-duplicate properties that may end up in this situation. Click this link to de-duplicate your contact properties!


*PRO-TIP: Add descriptions to every custom contact property you make, so you know the exact purpose. Descriptions will reduce the chances of duplicate properties.


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7. Fix Data Formats

One of the most common errors we will see in HubSpot CRM, and HubSpot marketing portals are inconsistent data formats. Data is always moving and changing; from contacts entering their information in forms, data uploads, or integration between systems, the data never stops moving.

When data formats are off, reporting becomes nearly impossible. If you want to pull data on specific data points, but those data are formatted differently, you will get incomplete and inaccurate datasets.

It is vital to have data formatting standards so you can keep good data hygiene and reduce time digging for what you are looking for in the future.

Below are some formatting issues you can start by cleaning:

  • Proper Case for First and Last Names
  • Phone Number Formatting
  • Mailing Address Formatting
  • Email Address Formatting


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8. Update Your Contact Record View

In your CRM, you are always looking at contact records for information. You may be monitoring activity or checking emails you sent to the contact using HubSpot’s integration.

As we are navigating the CRM, efficiency is critical. If it takes us a minute to find what we are looking for, rather than two minutes, we cut our time in half. Multiply that by how often you look for something in the system and that time adds up.

One of the ways to make your contact view more effective is to update the contact properties you see in the “About this Contact Section.” HubSpot provides a default view for you, but you know what matters to your company the most.

You can easily update this by going into your settings and setting the properties your team sees on contact records in the “Contacts” portion of the settings.


HubSpot CRM Best Practices


9. Keep Your Deals Clean

The deals portion of the CRM is the heartbeat of your system. Because of the deals, you can report on revenue, predicted revenue, sales efficiencies, speed to lead and much more.

Like anything else in the system, if your deals aren’t cleaned up, your data is not going to complete or accurate. Make sure your sales team is always updating deals with new information as prospects pushed through your sales process.

The cleanliness of deals requires these fundamental updates:

  • Moving deals through stages in real time
  • Updating close dates as they become more clear
  • Updating amount of deal as it becomes more clear
  • Associating contacts and companies to deals

So there you have it. Nine tips that can help you get your HubSpot portal back on track or keep it on track.

Of course, there are many more aspects of HubSpot that you can tweak and update to make the system run smoothly for you and your company, but we see these as the biggest bang for your time and money.

Free HubSpot Audit

Feeling stuck and need some help? Fret not - call in the experts!

digitalJ2 is offering a Free HubSpot Audit (seriously, free means free, no strings attached) to any company with an existing HubSpot portal. We will learn about your goals and then walk through your portal to see where you can improve and create a plan personalized just for you and your company.

Free HubSpot Audit

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