CRM: Importing Contacts
I want to import my Contacts!
Before you're ready to import your contacts, you will need to do some thinking about how your data will be configured. Will you be using Custom Fields? Will you be operating in Company First mode?
These are important questions that you will need to know the answers to before you import because after all of your data is imported into your account, it can be time-consuming to remove it, especially if you import a very large data set.
What is a CSV Import?
An alternative to adding your Contacts manually, or having them self-register, is that you can choose to add them in-bulk via CSV file import. CSV stands for Comma Separated Values, and it's a very common method for importing/exporting data. A CSV can be easily created using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets as they both have built-in methods to export a CSV.
Getting ready for your Import
Before you pull the trigger on your import, do yourself a favor and take some time reading through the sections below. The time you save may be your own :)
COLUMN HEADERS & MAPPING
You can create a CSV from scratch, or you can start with the sample CSV and then modify that CSV as needed. When you're viewing the CSV in Excel or Google Sheets, each row of the CSV (except Row 1) will be a Contact to be imported, and each column will be a data point associated with that Contact.
Row 1 will serve as the 'Column Header' and in Row 1 is where you will put the label for the data contained in that column. The values in Row 1 are not imported. Row 1 is used exclusively for identifying & mapping the columns.
HOW ROLE IS ASSIGNED
You have two options on how you will assign the Role to each of your imported Contacts
You can assign every imported Contact a specific role by choosing Lead, Prospect or Client from the first set of values in the Role selector.
In the example above, every Contact imported during this operation would be imported as a Lead, regardless of how the CSV is configured.
Or, you can include a Role column in your CSV and select that column using the Role selector. In this case, each Contact will have the role assigned based on the value assigned to their row in the Role column.
In this example, Art Venere will be given the role of Lead, while Kris Marrier will be given the role of Client
You can create a Companies column in your CSV and import Companies just as you would Contacts.
If you want to assign Contacts to an existing Company during import, the Company will need to already exist in your account. The Company name in the CSV will need to match the existing Company name in your account EXACTLY. That means if the Company name has capitalization, punctuation, or spacing, that should be carried over precisely to your Company column of your CSV. The Company name as it appears in the "Name" column of the table at CRM > Companies is what will be used to match and assign Contacts during import.
If you want to import a new Company and assign Contacts to that Company during the import, you can create new Companies using the setting below:
In Step 2, you will see a mapping selector for Primary Contact, and in this selector is where you'll select the column you designated as Is Primary Contact.
IMPORTING CUSTOM FIELDS
If you will be using Custom Fields with your Contacts, you'll want to go ahead and create those Custom Fields in the platform before you attempt your import. Then, you will configure your CSV with a column for each one of those Custom Fields, and then during the import steps, you'll 'map' the columns in your CSV to the Custom Fields that you've already created in your account.
If you decide not to add your Custom Fields beforehand you do have the option of adding them 'on the fly' during the mapping phase of the import.
After you add your Custom Fields, you will be provided with a new field for each Custom Field so that you can map it to the columns in your CSV.
Executing the Import
The import happens in a TWO STEP process. First, you will upload your CSV, then you will "map" the columns.
Get started by uploading your CSV and proceeding to Step Two.
After your CSV is uploaded, you will be taken to a page where you will be able to associate the various columns in your CSV with fields in your account.
On this page, the existing fields in your account will be listed in the dropdown menus. Simply use the dropdowns to select the desired column headers that match up with the corresponding existing fields. For example, for the "First Name" field, you would want to use the dropdown to select the column header that matches the column from your CSV where you placed the Contact's first name data.
When you've mapped all the necessary fields you will have some additional Import Options presented to you before you initiate the action by clicking Import.
Here are a few items to understand as you prepare for your import.
SENDING WELCOME EMAIL
If you check the 'Send Welcome Email to these Contacts after Import?' option, all Prospects/Clients that are imported will immediately receive their welcome email. If you leave it unchecked, then they will all be given a 'Not Invited' status, which means they will not receive a welcome email until it is manually triggered by you.
ASSIGNING BY ID NUMBER
If assigning Contacts to Event Templates or Email Marketing Lists during import, you will want to be sure to use the numerical "ID" of these items in your CSV. The ID numbers of Event Templates and Email Marketing Lists can easily be found in the "ID" column of the tables at CRM > Events > Event Templates and Marketing > Lists respectively. You will want to enter only the numerical ID of the desired Template and/or List in your CSV, not the Name. Please see the example CSV attached to this post for an example.
USING IMPORT TO UPDATE CONTACTS
If you check the "Update existing Contacts if included in import?" checkbox, this will allow you to update the data of existing CRM Contacts via CSV import. With this box checked, any rows in the CSV that match up with existing Contacts in your CRM (by having the same email address) will automatically be marked as "existing", and those CSV rows will not be imported as new Contacts. Instead, the existing Contact's data will be overwritten by the data from the CSV. This feature is useful if you have a database of existing Contacts in your platform CRM, and you would like to update their information "in bulk", instead of needing to edit/update each Contact individually.
IMPORTING VERY LARGE DATA SETS
After you have all of your fields matched up, and your desired settings checked, you can click the "Import" button to import the CSV file. If it is a smaller file, it will be automatically imported, and you will see a success message. If the file is larger, you will see a message saying that the import has been queued, and it will be imported shortly (usually in just a few minutes).
Testing your CSV Import
There is not an UNDO mechanism for importing, so it's a good practice to test with only one or two rows of data before making the full import. By doing this, you can save yourself a great deal of time in the case the import doesn't work as you expect.
Import Logs: Understanding any errors
In the event of any issues, the system will import any rows that it can successfully, and omit any problem entries. You can view the status of any imports (pending and successful), as well as view specific errors related to problem imports, from the menu at CRM > Contacts > Import Logs.
Download a Sample CSV
This CSV is not meant to be static, but rather a starting point for you to help understand the concepts. Every scenario is different, and you'll want to modify, add to, rearrange, etc.. your CSV before importing.