HubSpot Duplicate Contacts: Your Step-by-Step Cleanup Strategy

Bastien Paul
Bastien Paul
·
March 15, 2024
·
10
minutes

Dealing with HubSpot duplicate contacts?

Learn to tackle this common CRM hurdle through effective identification, management, and preventative tactics that streamline your HubSpot data and maintain its integrity.

Key Takeaways

  • Duplicate contacts in HubSpot CRM can lead to skewed data analysis, reduced productivity, increased marketing costs due to redundancy, and negatively impact customer service and loyalty.
  • Duplicates can be identified in HubSpot using criteria like email, name, and company, with deduplication tools available in certain HubSpot subscriptions, and third-party tools offering additional support.
  • Preventing duplicate contacts involves data quality automation, clean form submission practices, proper import file preparation and regular data audits, ensuring consistent data and a pristine database.

Understanding the Impact of Duplicate Contacts in Your HubSpot CRM

Illustration of tangled network connections

Duplicate contacts in your HubSpot CRM can be a thorn in your business’s side. They wreak havoc on your data integrity, leading to skewed data analysis and inaccurate conclusions. Imagine multiple sales representatives assigned to the same contact, resulting in confusion and reduced productivity.

Moreover, duplicate contacts can have several negative impacts:

  • They can eat into your marketing budget by sending redundant materials to the same person, hampering marketing effectiveness and potentially leading to revenue loss.
  • Customer service productivity can suffer when representatives contact the same customers multiple times due to duplicated records.
  • Duplicate contacts can give you a bloated, unrealistic view of your prospects and create unnecessary friction in your sales and marketing processes.

The Trouble with Duplicate Records

Multiple records for the same customer can be a recipe for confusion, making it challenging to determine the most accurate or up-to-date existing company record for customer interactions. This can lead to missed sales opportunities when different salespeople contact the same lead, causing internal conflicts and a poor customer experience.

As a result, sales teams may lose trust in the CRM data, leading to inefficient practices such as extensive vetting of every contact or ignoring background data entirely. Thus, managing duplicates is crucial for ensuring that workflows are effective and customer interactions and data are accurately tracked and managed.

How Duplicate Data Affects Customer Experience

Apart from internal complications, duplicate records can also adversely affect the customer experience. Imagine a customer service representative sifting through multiple profiles to resolve an issue, leading to extended resolution times and frustrated customers. Moreover, the inability to maintain a unified view of the customer profile due to duplicate data can significantly reduce the effectiveness of personalized marketing and sales efforts.

This can lead to customers receiving duplicate marketing communications, potentially harming the brand’s reputation and customer loyalty.

Identifying Duplicates in Your HubSpot Account

Illustration of data identification and management

Now that we’ve understood the impact of duplicate contacts, let’s delve into how to identify them in your HubSpot account. HubSpot identifies duplicate contacts based on a matching email property and considers various criteria like:

  • name
  • emails
  • country derived from IP
  • phone number
  • zip code
  • company name

However, not all users will have access to HubSpot’s deduplication tools as it requires a subscription to Marketing Hub Professional.

Even with a subscription, the process can be challenging due to individuals using different email addresses, making it hard to maintain a single, unified record for each customer with the exact same email address. For additional assistance in identifying duplicates, users can use third-party tools such as Dedupely and apps from the HubSpot App Marketplace like Insycle. Also, with HubSpot performing duplicate scans daily, you can rest assured that duplicate entries are regularly checked however you can deduplicate automatically with HubSpot workflows or using HubSpot active or static lists.

Using HubSpot's Manage Duplicates Tool

hubspot contact properties choiceaHubSpot duplicate contacts tool

HubSpot’s Manage Duplicates tool is a handy resource for HubSpot identify duplicates. To access this tool, you need to:

  1. Navigate to Contacts or Companies from your dashboard
  2. Click on Actions > Manage duplicates
  3. The tool identifies potential duplicates using user token, email addresses for contacts, and company domain names, displaying the most likely duplicate pairs for review
  4. You can review a potential duplicate pair in HubSpot by clicking ‘Review’ next to the pair
  5. Select which record to keep before merging
  6. Customize the properties displayed for comparison

It also supports deduplication by specific Record IDs, which can be helpful during the import process or when looking for specific records.

Comparing Records Manually

hubspot contact properties cho

While HubSpot’s Manage Duplicates tool is valuable, there are situations where manual comparison of records is necessary. HubSpot allows you to click on the ‘View all properties’ option to see all of the contact’s properties and manually compare them to identify duplicates. The primary properties of a record, like name, email, phone number, original source, lead status and lifecycle stages, are easily editable in the left sidebar, aiding in manual comparisons.

Users can filter activities by type or use the search function in the record timeline to locate specific interactions and assess whether records are duplicates. By customizing property views and the order of activity icons, you can optimize the manual process for pinpointing duplicate records. To ensure successful manual deduplication, each contact’s email address should be verified as unique, avoiding unintended merges. To further improve this process, it’s essential to deduplicate records efficiently.

Strategies for Preventing Duplicate Contacts

Illustration of data quality automation

Prevention is better than cure, and the same applies to duplicate contacts in HubSpot. Implementing data quality automation in HubSpot’s Operations Hub can automatically format property values, which helps maintain consistency and minimize the chances of duplicates. Moreover, creating up to ten custom properties with unique values for contacts and other objects in HubSpot ensures that each record has a distinct value, preventing duplicate values across multiple records.

But setting up these preventative measures isn’t enough. You need to consolidate and standardize your data fields to avoid issues such as multiple, inconsistent entries for the same information. By creating systematic rules and habits for data cleanup within sales and marketing teams, you can prevent further errors and maintain a single, unified customer view.

Clean Form Submissions Practices

A crucial part of preventing duplicate contacts lies in clean form submissions practices. When a new contact is added through a form submission, HubSpot checks their user token (hubspotutk cookie), do not forget to use HubSpot tracking url builder, to determine if it matches an existing contact. This helps in managing and identifying contacts effectively. When two form submissions are received from the same browser and computer, HubSpot will merge them into one record, as it detects the same user token..

You can create a new contact for each unique email submission from the same browser by enabling the ‘Always create new contact for new email’ setting in a HubSpot form. This allows you to maintain separate contacts for different email submissions. With unique email addresses submitted via a meetings link always creating a new contact in HubSpot, regardless of matching user tokens, you can ensure that each interaction is accurately tracked.

Import File Preparation

Another effective strategy for preventing duplicate contacts is through proper import file preparation, you can view a real example when you want to import LinkedIn contacts to HubSpot. When preparing import files for HubSpot, ensure the file:

  • is in .csv, .xlsx, or .xls format
  • contains one sheet with a header row, with each column corresponding to a HubSpot property
  • includes unique identifiers such as email addresses for contacts or domain names for companies
  • uses the Record ID or a custom property that requires unique values to prevent creating duplicate records in the import file.

Ensure proper data formatting for the import file, with attention to UTF-8 encoding for foreign languages and standardized date formats like day-month-year, month-day-year, or year-month-day.

The Process of Merging Duplicate Contacts in HubSpot

Illustration of merging duplicate contacts

Despite your best efforts, duplicate contacts may still find their way into your HubSpot CRM. But worry not, merging duplicates in HubSpot involves a straightforward process. In the contact merging process, HubSpot typically retains data from the record with the most recently updated value for most fields. The primary contact’s email information properties, including opt-out properties, are the ones retained after merging, emphasizing the importance of the primary contact selection.

When duplicates are merged in HubSpot, the following actions are taken:

  • Values for email engagements properties and the number of unique forms submitted from all records are combined.
  • Logged activities and associations from both original records are merged, ensuring comprehensive activity tracking.
  • The create date of the oldest record is preserved when merging duplicates, retaining the historical context of the contact.

Assessing Which Record to Keep

When merging duplicates, it’s crucial to decide which record to retain as the primary. Consider selecting the record with the most relevant and recent engagement data, the earliest creation date, or the one with the most recent updates as the primary record. Selecting the most valuable record ensures that key contact information and interaction history are preserved, supporting more effective customer relationship management.

Consistent criteria in determining the primary record help in maintaining a clean and efficient database for all marketing and sales activities within HubSpot.

Combining Contact Information

HubSpot takes the guesswork out of combining contact information when merging duplicates. When two form submissions come from the same computer and browser in HubSpot, they are automatically merged into one record. In the merged record, the details from the second form submission will overwrite those of the first if they are for the same fields.

Also, during the import process, if an existing contact record or company record already exists with a matching email address or domain name, the new information will be combined with the existing record, updating it with the latest details.

Advanced Deduplication Techniques for HubSpot Users

Illustration of advanced deduplication techniques

While HubSpot provides robust tools for deduplication, there are more sophisticated techniques that advanced users can employ. It’s worth noting that HubSpot’s deduplication tool prioritizes safe matching criteria, which can lead to less effective identification of all potential duplicates. The process of merging duplicate contacts in HubSpot may also result in the loss of key data pieces due to lack of granular control.

To augment the limited advanced data retention options during deduplication in HubSpot, businesses use third-party tools like Dedupely and Insycle.

Bulk Merge Duplicates Feature

For users with Operations Hub Professional or Enterprise, HubSpot offers the ability to merge duplicate records or reject suggestions in bulk. This feature provides users the ability to bulk merge or reject duplicate records, saving time in managing large sets of data. Users can select multiple records at once to merge based on criteria such as oldest engagement, most recent engagement, created first, created last, and most recently updated.

Custom Objects and Unique Identifiers

Custom objects and unique identifiers serve as additional weapons in your arsenal against duplicate contacts. HubSpot deduplicates contacts using email addresses and companies using company domain name property, while Record IDs are used for deduplication across various records. To avoid creating duplicates, import files must include a unique identifier property, like a Record ID or custom property that mandates unique values for each object.

Using custom objects, such as those in Data Pads of Dedupely, allows for exploring various fields to find possible matches that could indicate duplicates.

Optimizing Your HubSpot Operations Hub for Duplicate Management

Harnessing the full potential of your HubSpot Operations Hub is key to effective duplicate management. HubSpot’s Operations Hub facilitates centralized revenue operations strategy, enhancing collaboration and data flow across the marketing, sales, and customer service teams. With the Data Sync feature in Operations Hub, you can ensure seamless synchronization and integration of business apps with your HubSpot account, aligning with business goals and averting data inconsistencies.

The Automation tools available within HubSpot Operations Hub expedite the process of managing duplicates, enabling handling of duplicates at scale. By fully optimizing your HubSpot Operations Hub, you can ensure a smooth, frictionless customer experience free from the hiccups caused by duplicate contacts.

Leveraging Machine Learning for Smarter Deduplication

Machine learning has revolutionized many aspects of business operations, and duplicate management in HubSpot is no exception. HubSpot’s Operations Hub uses machine learning to enhance the efficiency of identifying duplicate data and contacts, streamlining the user experience. The machine learning model considers various factors such as:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Country (derived from IP)
  • Phone number
  • Zip code
  • Company name

This allows the duplicate management tool to manage duplicate entries and pinpoint duplicates effectively.

User actions such as merging or dismissing duplicates provide valuable feedback to the machine learning model, thereby improving its precision with ongoing use.

Syncing Data Across Apps to Maintain Consistency

In an interconnected digital environment, it’s vital to maintain consistency across all your business apps. HubSpot’s Operations Hub includes a Data Sync feature that helps maintain consistency by synchronizing records with over 90 built-in integrations with various business applications, thereby reducing the chances of creating duplicate data across different platforms.

The Data Quality Command Center within HubSpot’s Operations Hub provides an overview of the CRM’s data storage, identifying potential quality issues that users can address to maintain high-quality data. Through HubSpot’s Operations Hub, the Data Sync feature detects records that fail to sync between connected apps, allowing users to troubleshoot and resolve these issues to prevent the occurrence of duplicate entries.

Maintaining a Pristine Database: Regular Audits and Cleanups

Regular maintenance is the key to a pristine HubSpot database. Proactively keeping your HubSpot account in order before it becomes cluttered is crucial for maintaining a pristine database. CRM audits should be comprehensive and conducted during business downtime to minimize the impact on customer interactions.

For maintaining a clean database, it’s important to have routine checks and cleanup protocols in place.

Scheduling Regular Data Audits

Regular data audits play a crucial role in maintaining a clean database. Regularly reviewing and cleaning contact lists is crucial to prevent inflating metrics like Influenced Revenue and ensure accurate campaign reporting. The end of the business year is an optimal time for conducting a CRM audit, aligning with the preparation of company reports and typically coinciding with periods of lower business activity.

A thorough data quality analysis during a CRM audit should include removing unused data, cleaning up redundant data, and ensuring the remaining data is accurate and up-to-date. Deleting bad leads, such as those who have unsubscribed or hard bounced, refines the contact list and reduces maintenance costs by focusing on viable contacts.

Implementing a Robust Cleanup Protocol

A robust cleanup protocol is the backbone of a pristine HubSpot database. Assigning tasks to update fields as the database grows ensures that the information remains accurate and can contribute to improved sales conversions. By leveraging the custom reports tool in HubSpot, users can attribute specific interactions and campaigns to contacts and deals more accurately, thus identifying and eliminating duplicate contacts.

Utilizing cross-data set reports in HubSpot involving deals and contacts can aid in ensuring accurate data and reducing the chances of duplicate contacts skewing the data. Engaging users to get updated information can be an integral part of the cleanup protocol, helping to maintain an up-to-date database with relevant contact details.

Summary

Duplicate contacts in your HubSpot CRM can be a headache, causing confusion, inefficiencies, and negatively impacting the customer experience. But with the right strategies and tools in place, you can effectively identify, merge, and prevent duplicate contacts. From utilizing HubSpot’s in-built Manage Duplicates tool and conducting manual record comparisons to leveraging advanced deduplication techniques and optimizing your HubSpot Operations Hub, you have a plethora of options at your disposal. Regular audits and a robust cleanup protocol are key to maintaining a pristine database. As you keep duplicates at bay, your HubSpot CRM becomes a well-oiled machine that drives your business operations smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some strategies to prevent duplicate contacts?

To prevent duplicate contacts, you can use data quality automation in HubSpot's Operations Hub and create unique custom properties, while also consolidating and standardizing data fields to avoid inconsistent entries. These strategies help maintain clean and accurate contact records.

How does duplicate data affect my business operations?

Duplicate data can significantly impact your business operations by leading to inaccurate reports, inefficient allocation of resources, and unrealistic sales targets. It can also result in multiple sales representatives being assigned to the same contact, causing unnecessary confusion and redundancy.

How do I handle duplicate contacts in HubSpot?

To handle duplicate contacts in HubSpot, go to Contacts and click "Actions" on the top right, then select "Manage Duplicates" to review and manage any duplicate contact entries (Professional and Enterprise only).

Why are all my contacts duplicated?

To resolve duplicate contacts, ensure that your phone is set to display contacts from only one source like Google, Phone, or SIM card, and disable syncing contacts from multiple sources. This will prevent duplicate entries from appearing.

How do I remove duplicates from HubSpot report?

To remove duplicates from a HubSpot report, go to Contacts or Company, then click on "Actions" > "Manage Duplicates" to find and eliminate any duplicate entries. Make sure to double check your hub tier if you're not seeing the option.

Bastien Paul
Bastien Paul
Bastien is the CRO of Hublead. With over 5 years in marketing and sales, using Hubspot, Bastien has written several studies and marketing guides based on data, many of which are well-known in the industry. Bastien likes to question standard marketing and sales beliefs and aims to make things simpler and more efficient.
hubspot linkedin integration with hublead

Connect HubSpot to LinkedIn with Hublead

Try for free