Conducting a HubSpot Contact Audit

August 5, 2019 / by Tanya Wigmore

After a while, your HubSpot CRM will be full of contacts that are great leads and customers but you'll also have a lot of contacts that are terrible leads, outdated contacts, or just straight up junk records that are taking up space. They could also be spending your hard-earned cash as you have you pay for additional contacts in HubSpot as your account passes certain thresholds. The easiest way to keep a clean database is to check your new contacts on the regular to clean up junk submissions and update contact records. If you've missed that window and need to weed through a mess of a CRM, here are some tips to conduct a HubSpot contact audit. 

Find and Remove Invalid Contacts 

Your HubSpot contacts list likely has records that are invalid. They might be people who are entering asdf@asdf.com as an email address, putting in other random junk, or (my personal favorite) they might make up some funny alter-egos when submitting forms. People are not usually super creative and searches in your database for 'asdf' or 'test' will likely surface a few results.

HubSpot Contact AuditBounced Emails

Hard bounces are when emails are completely rejected by the server, usually in cases where someone has entered in an email address or domain that just doesn't exist. Finding the hard bounce emails in your HubSpot CRM is usually a good way to filter out those who you should remove or at the very least update to have correct information. 

Soft bounces can happen for a variety of reasons including the recipients inbox was full, the server couldn't connect or the email that you were sending was too large and was rejected by the receiving server. When you filter your HubSpot contact list by those who have had a marketing email bounce, your list will be full of these soft bounces. Some will be old contacts who have moved on from their former roles but some will be legitimate contacts who should be receiving your emails. They may also be receiving your 'normal' emails but 'marketing emails' are not being sent. When you encounter these situations, you'll want to 'Unbounce' that contact. 

Unbouncing a Contact in HubSpot

Your contacts, who are legitimate contacts that want to receive your communications, are not getting emails from you because they soft-bounced one and now they're flagged. It's OK, you can fix this. Go into the contact record and first double check that all of their contact information is correct. If it really is right, you can click the "Unbounce" link right above their name and you can get them back on the mailing list. 

Unbounce a HubSpot Contact

Find & Merge (or Delete) Duplicate Contacts

HubSpot generates contact records based on email address so if you're dealing with people who are using more than one email address - you're likely to have duplicate records in your CMS. This can happen automatically when you're sending emails from within HubSpot or when they're filling out forms and you have two active records for that contact. In that case you'll want to merge the records to keep the activity records for both contacts. In other cases you'll have new records for people who have moved on to different jobs and now have new email addresses. You'll want to use your discretion on that one as to whether the old activity record still matters for your business.   

Date of Last Activity

Some contacts are still legitimate contacts who are receiving your emails, but who have completely checked out of whatever you're trying to say to them. They're not opening emails, they're not coming to the site, they've AWOL'd. Filtering your list of contacts by date of last activity can help to identify those contacts who haven't engaged in the last however many years and who are more than likely not going to. 

Missing Contact Info (First Name or Last Name Unknown)

If your forms aren't forcing people to enter in a first and last name, or if your team is being lazy on their data inputs, you might have some contacts who don't have a name associated with their contact record. If you're emailing these contacts, they're going to get messages that are showing your system defaults instead of personalization, and if you're hoping to get them as sales leads, you're already starting at a disadvantage. Every industry and use case is a bit different, but in many cases, a missing name field is a good idea that you don't know who you're selling to, which makes is harder to move towards a conversion. 

Additional Conversion Points & HubSpot Scores

If you're using HubSpot Sales Pro, you're able to set some custom HubSpot Score properties so you can identify actions that make someone a great sales potential. If you have this set up and are generating HubSpot Scores you can filter your contacts to identify the really poor fit candidates who you might want to just take out your list. It can also help to flag those potentially high-value contacts that you won't want to remove. If you're not using a HubSpot Score attribution, you can still identify some of the main KPIs for your contacts and filter (and delete) unqualified contacts based on those KPIs. 

Bonus Activity: HubSpot List Audit

It's easy to create a bunch of lists that end up gathering dust on page 35 of your HubSpot Lists. Go through your lists and delete old imports, lists that were for old workflows, lists that were invites for special events, lists that are... you get the drift. When you delete a list you are not deleting the contacts on that list, just the unique grouping of them in that particular list. 

If you think you're going to need to group them for that particular reason again, tag them with a custom property (or update the regular property) with whatever it was that connects those contacts. 

If things are out of control it might be hard to know where to start. A HubSpot CRM Expert can help you identify those main indicators of which contacts should stay and which ones can go. There's always a bit of anxiety associated with hitting the 'delete' button on contacts that you've worked so hard to attract in the first place. Be assured that as you clean up your list more of your emails will go through and they'll go through to the right people which makes a bigger impact on conversions.

Topics: HubSpot, CRM


Tanya Wigmore

Written by Tanya Wigmore

Tanya Wigmore is the founder of CRO:NYX Digital and is passionate about inbound marketing and search marketing. When she's not digging into web analytics to improve CRO & UX, she's developing content strategies for our clients.