7 min read

Episode 284: How To Manage Your Contacts in HubSpot Efficiently

Episode 284: How To Manage Your Contacts in HubSpot Efficiently

Welcome to HubShots Episode 284: How To Manage Your Contacts in HubSpot Efficiently

This edition we dive into:

  • Managing contact hygiene
  • The hidden danger of churn
  • Finding bounced contacts, including Mailbox full
  • Unbouncing contacts manually
  • Managing duplicate contacts
  • Using surveys to check customer interactions
  • Automating notifications and tasks to help manage contacts
  • What to do versus How to do it
  • Using contact validation services
  • Quotes of the week
  • Need help with your HubSpot portal

You can watch this episode on our YouTube channel (or just listen to it on our YouTube audio channel).

We’re also available on Spotify or Soundcloud if that’s easier for you.

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Recorded: Wednesday 17 August 2022 | Published: Friday 26 August 2022

Table of Contents

🌱 Shot 1: Growth Thought of the Week

The Hidden Danger of Churn

If you’ve ever gone down a ‘marketing stats’ rabbit hole trying to get a sense of ‘normal’ then you’ll know it’s a futile activity. There’s probably no better example of this than trying to get benchmarks on the ‘average’ churn rate for email subscribers - ie how many people change their email address during a 12 month period. You’ll read everything from 5% through to more than 50% depending on industry, ideal persona, fads, etc.

I’ll spare even linking through to some of the ‘studies’...

But actually, it hardly matters what the specific numbers are - the important point is the trend. And the trend is definitely that your contacts will change their contact details over time. Which can result in bounced emails, out of date company and job title details, lack of engagement, etc.

The focus needs to be on how you respond to this - what do you do to keep your contact list ‘clean’?

In this episode we’ll go through a few of the basic ways you can look after your contact database.

Before that though, let’s confirm what our goal is - what’s the outcome we ideally want?

Here is it in a nutshell:

To have confidence that a contact’s details are up to date, and they are being ‘touched’ regularly.

That’s it. Keep your contacts clean and engaged.

Obligatory meme for you:

On a Personal note

My wife was in hospital this week. She blogged about it here. It’s such a wonderful read. You should read it.

✨ Shot 2: Quick Shots of the Week

Here’s a few quick items of interest we noticed:

  • Date Delays in Workflows - this is a nice new Workflow action that allows you to delay a workflow until a date (eg a contact property) is reached. Will be very handy - we haven’t used it yet, but looking forward to putting into practice, and we’ll chat about it in a future episode.
  • Super Admins can opt in to enable public beta => Check in your Product Updates section:
  • (Public Beta) Workflow action to delete contacts - perfect for managing those spammy contacts you get filling out forms on your site:


🚀 Shot 3: HubSpot Marketing Feature of the Week

How to Find Bounced Contacts

Remember: Active Lists are your friend :-)

See also our full episode on how to use lists in HubSpot here.

You can use HubSpot lists to build out lists of bounced contacts using the ‘Email hard bounce reason’ contact property.

Use this to build out lists based on different criteria:

And then you can combine lists into other lists:

Depending on the size of these lists and your internal processes you can then create workflows for:

  • Internal notifications to contact owners
  • Creating tasks for users (eg to review the contacts)
  • Creating tasks against the companies (eg to review the company and reach out to other stakeholders if needed)
  • See later in the show for more details

The goal here is to at least get a good understanding of the size of the list, and how much work is required to keep it updated.

💰 Shot 4: HubSpot Sales Feature of the Week

Manually unbounce Mailbox Full contacts

One common issue with contacts is if your emails are bouncing due to them having a full inbox (ie as opposed to them having left the company).

You can easily create a list for these contacts as well:

Once you have the list of contacts, you can review and manually unbounce the contacts if needed:

After clicking on the Unbounce link you’ll be presented with a popup like this:

Simply review, tick the ‘I confirm’ checkbox and then Unbounce them.

Manage duplicate contacts

Another common area of contact management is reviewing potential duplicates (ie usually contacts who signed up with different email addresses over time).

HubSpot has processes for deduplication of records (not just contacts, but also companies) which is easy to use.

It’s available as both a bulk process, and at an individual contact level:

[1] Bulk Manage Duplicates tool in HubSpot:

[2] Single Merge

In our portal we have close to 2000 duplicates (yikes!):

Which raises the question about how to best manage so many - since it would take hours (days even!) to go through them all.

Some considerations around merging contact:

  • The first ones we aim to fix are when the email address obviously has a typo (Eg @gnail.com, gmsil.com etc). We fix these easily by simply Reviewing and accepting
  • Next is if the contact doesn’t have an email address (eg this usually happens if they came in via Facebook Messenger into conversations). We Review and accept
  • Sometimes it is fine to have duplicates eg someone has signed up with a personal email address, and also a work email address. You might be tempted to merge, but we’ll often leave them both in there, so that they receive emails in both places (they might be more receptive at one - and they can always unsubscribe from the other if they don’t want to receive it any more)

👨‍🔧 Shot 5: HubSpot Service Hub Feature of the Week

Using Surveys to Check Customer Interactions

Customer Satisfaction Surveys after people have had an interaction with the sales team - this one goes out 5 days after their initial form completion.

Or a quarterly / half yearly NPS Survey.  This is a great way to gauge how people are feeling and can uncover opportunities.

🔧 Shot 6: HubSpot Workflow Feature of the Week

Create Tasks for Contact Owners based on Contact Issues

Eg if they bounce, etc

Other scenarios - contact has a policy update (eg if your emails aren’t getting through - based on bounce reason)

Also check other contacts at the same domain (add this in the task)

Here are some lists you may want to create as entry criteria for the workflows:

💡 Shot 7: Insight of the Week

What to do versus How to do it

In these episodes our goal is two-fold: on one hand we want readers/listeners to be alerted to what they can do with HubSpot. And on the other, we want them to learn how to do it.

Getting the balance can be tricky - focus too much on ‘what’ and it can get theoretical, focus too much on the ‘how’ and it can be easy to forget.

So what we’re aiming for is a balance where you mentally register what’s possible, and hear enough of the details of how, to be able to come back to the show notes if needed.

But even though we’re aiming for a balance, the ‘what’ is the most important.

(Ie make sure you remember what’s possible, and then mentally register to check the show notes for the details on how to implement it.)

BTW, this is one of the reasons that technical exams are often less than useful. When we’re interviewing candidates for roles, it’s more important to see they know the outcome that is possible than the exact way to implement it on the spot.

I’ll give you some examples…

Example 1: Prospects tool

Question: off the top of your head can you tell me how to access the Prospects tool?

Answer: it doesn’t matter - that’s what the HubSpot global search is for (or Google it)

What’s important though is what you can do with the prospects tool. Remember the ‘what’ it enables - you can always find the ‘how’ later.

(If you are wondering, you can also access the Prospects tools from Contacts > Target Accounts)

Example 2: Lead rotation

I was getting myself confused on a client call the other day trying to rotate leads between sales reps in a workflow. I couldn’t find the rotate option in the Set Property action (ie I was trying to assign to the Contact owner automatically between team members):

Fortunately Tara was on the call and (politely :-) reminded me to use the Rotate action:

After all these years of using HubSpot workflows I got myself confused between these two actions:

But here’s the point - it didn’t matter. I knew the outcome we were aiming for (the ‘what’) and the ‘how’ was just a matter of discovery (or in this case, reminding).

And that’s the important point here - make sure you absorb what’s possible - you can always come back to find out the specifics of how later.

🏈 Shot 8: Using Tools

Contact Validation

To avoid contact churn when outside lists are imported but then receive irrelevant emails make sure you carefully think about what you want to send them so they stay engaged or have the opportunity to unsubscribe.

Think about using Neverbounce to validate your contacts before attempting to send any emails!

✍️ Shot 9: Quotes of the Week

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.

-Margaret Mead

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

-Benjamin Franklin

🏋️ Shot 10: Training of the Week

From HubSpot Academy

Creating a Contact Management strategy

🏋️ Shot 11: Need help with your HubSpot Portal?

HubShots HubSpot QuickCheck

Our new HubSpot QuickCheck service has been popular with companies who are looking for a quick review of their HubSpot portal to understand:

  • Are there parts of HubSpot I’m not using yet that I should be?
  • Am I using best practices in the key parts of HubSpot (eg Workflows, Forms, Emails, Landing Pages, Lists, Deals, Reports)?
  • Are there any ways I’m using HubSpot that are cause for concern that I need to address?
  • Are my processes efficient (eg qualifying new leads, creating tickets, managing Marketing Contacts, etc)?
  • My renewal is coming up - is my HubSpot subscription giving me good value?
  • Should I consider upgrading my Hub or adding new Hubs into my portal (eg I’m using Marketing Hub, should I consider Service Hub)?

If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, our QuickCheck call might be ideal. Here’s the details:

  • We organise a 90 minute Zoom or Teams call with you
  • On the call we start by getting a brief overview of your business, your goals and how you currently use HubSpot
  • We then guide you through our 50 point checklist through your portal, to gain a high level understanding of how well you are using your portal
  • We provide recommendations for improvements, features to use, and processes for increasing efficiency
  • Pricing is available on the site

You can view more details and book in your session here.

Hubshots QuickCheck


🧲 Shot 12: Follow Us on the Socials

Connect with HubShots here:

Connect with Ian Jacob on LinkedIn and Craig Bailey on LinkedIn 

HubShots, the podcast for marketing managers and sales professionals who use HubSpot, hosted by Ian Jacob from Search & Be Found and Craig Bailey from XEN Systems and XEN Solar.

HubShots is produced by Christopher Mottram from Podcastily.

Please share this with colleagues - it helps us improve and reach more marketers.



HubShots Episode 284


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