How to prepare for a migration to HubSpot

If your business is currently planning to migrate to HubSpot, you’re probably right in-between two hefty initiatives.  

The first was making the decision to change and deciding on the perfect CRM for your company. Now, it’s time to prepare for the migration.  

Whether you’re moving from an overdeveloped Salesforce with 12 years’ worth of data or upgrading from a cobbled system of spreadsheets and disconnected tools, roll up your sleeves: there’s work to do.  

In this post, we’re laying out the steps that most businesses will need to take to prepare for a migration to HubSpot.    

Step 1: Create a Migration Project Plan  

As with most things, preparing for a smooth HubSpot migration starts with a good project plan. For this project, your plan should include the following:  

  • Timeline 
  • Tasks to be completed 
  • Required resources  
  • Time estimates 
  • Ranked priorities  

The details of your plan should account for your specific requirements. In particular, this will be influenced by how much compiling and cleanup is needed before onboarding, the level of complexity or customization of your data and what Hubs you’re migrating to (i.e. switching to just the free CRM will entail far fewer tasks than switching to the CRM, Marketing, Sales and Service Hubs).   

Step 2: Assemble Your Team 

Moving CRMs is not a one-person lift, so if you’re running point on the migration, the first thing you’ll need is to define who is going to help you and in what capacity.  

The exact makeup of your HubSpot migration team will of course depend on what internal and external resources you have available. That said, you’ll need people who can cover the following bases as needed: 

  • Project manager – keeps execution on track and ensures the team has what they need to move forward 
  • Operations lead – builds out assets, manages data requirements and oversees tech stack 
  • Technology/IT specialist – helps with third-party and custom integrations, API usage or technical architectural challenges outside of the expertise of the operations lead 
  • Developer support – assists in creating website, blog and landing page templates, customizing themes and modules and styling assets   

Again, the size and complexity of the migration will determine whether one person can cover multiple roles or if you’ll need additional help to support the roles above.    

If your team has never completed a migration project like switching CRMs or if you simply don’t have the in-house capacity to fill these roles, bringing on help will be a wise investment. Your best bets are to either hire a certified HubSpot Solutions Partner (hi!) that has a track record migrating businesses like yours to HubSpot or pay for HubSpot support.  

Keep in mind: With HubSpot support, you’ll get guidance, but you’re in charge of the actual work. With a solutions partner, you also get the actual hands-on implementation along with guidance.  

Step 3: Prepare Your Data for Migration to HubSpot

After you’ve pulled the trigger on your new CRM, you may be eager to just get your contacts imported right away. Chances are, there’s some cleanup to do first.  

Especially if your database hasn’t been carefully maintained in a while, now’s the time to give it attention and ensure you’re starting with clean, accurate data. (Remember: garbage in, garbage out. Do you really need to keep the leads you haven’t heard from in five years?)   

Here are some common areas that might need work to prepare for the switch:  

  • Old and outdated data  
  • Confusing/overlapping properties 
  • Duplicate contacts and companies 
  • Outdated/unused lists and segments 
  • Unnecessarily complex rules and automation 
  • Missing or incorrect data, typos and formatting issues 

Along with cleaning up the data, this is a good time to map where your data will live in HubSpot (spreadsheets are fine for this) as well as define and attribute any useful property values that may be missing in your current database. For example, do you need to assign any or all of your contacts with a lifecycle stage, owner or lead status?  

Step 4: Implement Custom Properties, Custom Objects and Sales Pipeline Updates in HubSpot 

As you’re mapping where your data will live in HubSpot, you’ll likely discover that you need to do some customization in HubSpot to have it match your business’s processes.  

In a typical migration or onboarding, we typically help clients create at least a handful of custom properties and configure their deals pipeline. In more complex instances, this step may include creating custom objects or custom behavioral events as well.   

When it comes to configuring your deals pipeline(s) in HubSpot, here are a few things to consider: 

  • If you have conversion rates for each stage in your sales funnel, be sure to add those in so that you can use the deals tool for accurate revenue forecasting. If you don’t and can’t calculate them with the data you have, fill in the rates with your best guess and make it a to-do to revisit these with actual percentages once you have a good amount of data in your system.  
  • Decide upfront how long a deal can be inactive before it should be considered closed lost (or closed no decision). This way, you can make sure the sales team knows when to close them – or better yet, set up automation to close the deals when they’ve become inactive.  
  • If you have segments with distinct sales cycles, consider using multiple deals pipelines rather than forcing everything into one as this will create a more accurate view of your performance.  

Step 5: Import a Sample of Data for Review  

At this point, you should be ready to start importing or syncing data. Before you move everything over, we recommend starting with a small test first.  

The point of this step is to have a manageable and representative sample size to review (and to avoid the fun of having to do a complete purge/re-import if there are issues). So, if your data is comprised of contacts, companies, deals and a custom object, start with around 25-50 of each object type. 

HubSpot’s import process is very straightforward, and you can use their sample import spreadsheets to ensure formatting is correct. You can also reference this guide on migrating contacts from another CRM or ESP (email service provider).  

Once you’ve completed your test import, do a thorough review to ensure the data is appearing as it should, and that all settings, associations and properties are configured as you’d like them. If everything looks good, you’re ready to migrate all your data and make the switch!   

Maximizing Your HubSpot Investment  

We’ve seen firsthand how the HubSpot platform has helped our clients in a multitude of ways – from simply getting organized and aligning customer-facing teams with one centralized data source to accelerating revenue with more efficient and effective operations.  

We may be biased, but in our experience, the best way to see value from the platform is to partner with an experienced team of HubSpot experts who know what to expect and can do the heavy lifting from prep and onboarding to training and ongoing managed services.  That way, you can be assured your migration to HubSpot is seamless and you’re set up for success right out of the gates.    

Interested in learning how we can help? Send us a note and we’ll be happy to chat.