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.

DOWNLOAD: Sample CSV Import File

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

Option 1

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.

Option 2

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


IMPORTING COMPANIES

You can create a Companies column in your CSV and import Companies just as you would Contacts.

Existing Companies

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.

New Companies

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:

The import will look for Companies in the CRM Company column, and associate each Contact with the Company that exists in that column. So, in this example, James Butt, Art Venere & Lenna Paprocki will all be imported and associated with Primus Associates, Inc.

IMPORTING USING COMPANY FIRST MODE
When you're running on Company First mode and you want to import Contacts / Companies at the same time, you will want to designate which Contact will be set as the Primary Contact.
In your CSV, you will want to set a column with header like Is Primary Contact, and in this column, the accepted values are yes, no or you can leave the cell empty. 

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.

If the row is read as yes, then that contact will be set as the Primary Contact for the associated Company. If the row is read as no, then nothing will be set. If the row is empty, then nothing will be set.

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.

DOWNLOAD: Sample CSV Import File

TIP: If you have added Custom Fields to your account and you want to do an import that includes data for those custom fields, then the best way to get started it to do an export from your CRM Contacts list. That CSV will have the appropriate column headers for all of your existing Custom Fields, and you can use that CSV as a template to build your import CSV.

Executing the Import

The import happens in a TWO STEP process. First, you will upload your CSV, then you will "map" the columns.

Step One

Get started by uploading your CSV and proceeding to Step Two.

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.

Import Tips

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.

IMPORTANT: If you are Updating existing Contacts and you leave a field blank for a data point where existing data was present, that existing data will be overwritten and the existing data will be lost.

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.

DOWNLOAD: Sample CSV Import File

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