Associate or Link Parent-Child Companies, Create Accounts Hierarchy and Relationships


Establish Relationships between Parent and Child Companies in Bulk

Your sales and marketing teams rely on properly associated data for context in communications and sales conversations. Without proper child-parent company associations in place, you lack vital context and may miss opportunities in account-based marketing and sales. .

With Insycle, you can automatically detect and associate child companies to parent companies in bulk using advanced matching. This can be done on existing data in your CRM or new data being imported from a CSV.

Two different modules could be used to address this.

Which Module to Use When

To associate child and parent records that are currently in the database, use the Bulk Operations module and the Associate action. 

To associate new records from CSV, use the Magical Import module and the Associate action under the Manage Data Step. 

Associating Child-Parent Companies In Bulk Using the Bulk Operations Module

To associate existing records, use the Bulk Operations module. Here, you can associate child and parent records, contacts, companies, deals, and custom objects as needed.

Process Summary

  1. Filter records for association.
  2. Configure rules and make the associations.
  3. Preview changes in a CSV report.
  4. Apply the changes to the CRM.
  5. Save the configuration as a template.
  6. Set up association automation.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Select and Filter Records

Select the Bulk Operations module from the left navigation, then select the database and the Companies record type or comparable record type in your CRM at the top of the screen. 

bulk operations companies

Select the “Associate Child to Parent Companies” pre-built template for associating or linking child-to-parent companies. 


This template provides you with a solid starting point for making child-to-parent company associations and can be customized to fit your specific situation.

This configuration tells Insycle how to filter your database down to only companies that may be candidates to be a child company. The filter configuration looks for:

  • Companies where a Parent Company value does not exist
  • Companies where the Company Name does not include the value “hq”

Identifying Parent Companies In Your Database

You will need a convention for identifying parent companies in your CRM. Common ways to do this include:

  • Adding a tag to parent company names, such as "HQ." Like, "Microsoft HQ."
  • Adding a custom field to manually tag parent companies before associating

Depending on your data, there may be other ways to identify parent companies, but every situation is different. Without a way to identify parent companies within your database, there is no way to associate them in bulk. 

As with all Insycle templates, this is an excellent starting point, but you can customize this filter as needed.

Click Search to see the records that match these criteria at the bottom of the page in the Record Viewer

define filter parent company company name

With this filter in place, you have a list of companies that meet those specifications.

Click the Search button to preview the companies identified using this filter in the Record Viewer at the bottom of the page.


When you make changes to the filter, you must click the Search button again to refresh this preview.

Step 2: Configure Rules for Parent-Child Associations

Let’s break down how the child company to parent company association process works, piece by piece.

Under Step 2, click the Associate tab.


The Action setting tells Insycle to “Add," “Remove,” or "Set" associations. To create new child-parent company associations, choose “Add.”

In the Associate dropdown, select "Company to Company," and in the Labels dropdown, select "Child to Parent."


Then click the Companies Filter button.


The Company Filter popup is where you tell Insycle how to identify the parent company. With this filter in place, Insycle will only match parent companies when they have “HQ” in the company title—such as Microsoft HQ. 

company filter

Next, you need to tell Insycle how to match child companies and parent companies with some flexible rules.

In the Field Name picklists, the template matches child to parent companies using two fields - Company Name and Company Domain Name. 

These are the Fields from your child companies.

In the Match Field, select the corresponding company field that we will match with. These are the fields from your Parent Companies. In this example, we match using two fields—Company Domain Name and Company Name. 


Most often, the Field Name and Match Field will be the same, unless you are using a custom field to track an identifier.

For the Comparison Rule, you can choose Exact Match or Similar Match.

When to Use Similar Match

"Similar matching" works by analyzing the “closeness” of two different data points.

Closeness is determined by measuring the number of changes necessary to make the two data points match. This is known as "edit distance,” which looks at the number of insertion, deletion, and substitution differences required to make two different points of data exact matches.

  • insertion: bar → barn
  • deletion: barn → bar
  • substitution: barn → bark

While not ideal for every situation, similar matching can be a good way to find more child and parent companies to link during this process.

Next, specify the Ignored portions of each field. 

top level domain

Here, you can tell Insycle to ignore things like:

  • Common Terms
  • Symbols
  • Digits
  • Letters
  • Whitespace
  • Specific Text
  • Top-Level Domains
  • Subdomains

Common Terms for company names include things like Inc., LLC, etc. This is often a necessary field for matching companies and making child-parent links. To view or alter the common terms, click the Terms button at the bottom of this section.


For the Company Domain Name field, the template instructs Insycle to ignore top-level domains and subdomains. This way, Insycle only looks at the domain name and not at the extension or subdomain. For example, with the above settings,,, and would all be matched.

Then, specify which parts of the field you would like to include in the match.

entire value

For most use cases, you’d select "Entire Value." But there are many options available, and there may be unique circumstances where you only want to match part of the field, such as:

  • First/Last X Words
  • Any X Words
  • First/Last X Characters

You can add new fields by clicking the Field button in Step 2.


This setting is typically only used for specific use cases. If you would like to use this setting, start by running in preview mode to view the effect without creating accidental clutter in your database.

Preview Changes in CSV Report

Now, with the filters and association/linking actions in place, you can preview the changes you are making to your data. That way, you can check to ensure your association configuration is working as expected before those changes are pushed to your live database. 

First, under Step 3, click the Review button.

review button

In the Bulk Associate popup, select Preview and click Next.


On the Notify tab, add any additional recipients who should receive the CSV (and make sure to hit Enter after each address). You can add colleagues and additional context here.

bulk associate

On the When tab, click Run Now and select which records to apply the change to. You can run it only on the records you selected in the Record Viewer using the checkboxes next to each record row, on a small chunk, or on all of the fields that met the criteria.

When ready, click the Run Now button.

bulk associate

Open the CSV file from your email in a spreadsheet application and review the columns. For each field you’ve set up to change, a column will appear for both (Before) and (After). This will let you know what you started with and what changes will be made to your CRM.

Apply Changes to the CRM

If everything in your CSV preview looks correct, return to Insycle and move forward with applying the changes to the live CRM data.

Under Step 3, click the Review button, select Update mode, then click Next.

On the Notify tab, add any additional recipients who should receive the CSV along with additional context.

On the When tab you can choose to run and apply the update now, or you can set up an automation to run the template regularly. The first time you apply these changes to the CRM, we suggest you Run Now.

In the Run Now tab, you can control how many records to run the template on. Click Run Now to apply the changes to your CRM.

When you select the Run Now tab, you are choosing to run the child-to-parent association operation one time, immediately.

Save Templates and Setup Automation to Maintain Formatting

Save the Configuration as a New Template

After you've seen the results in the CRM and you are satisfied with how the operation runs, you can save all of the configurations as a template. This will save you time and provide consistent results.

Return to the Template menu at the top of the page and click the + to give it a unique name and then click the Save button.


Setup Automation to Run the Template on a Regular Basis

Under Step 3, click the Review button, select Update mode, then click Next

On the When tab under Automate, you can schedule this template to run on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

bulk associate automate

After setting up an automation, Insycle will scan your database and automatically associate companies on the set schedule. When the operation runs, you'll receive the CSV in your inbox showing the changes that were made.

You can view all automations you have scheduled on the Automations page of your dashboard, and all updates to your data can be viewed and downloaded as reports in the Activity Tracker.

You can create multiple templates for different types of associations, and bundle them together using Recipes. Additionally, Hubspot users can integrate Recipes into HubSpot Workflow Builder

Associating Child-Parent Companies from a CSV Using the Magical Import Module

If you have a CSV file containing data to be imported as new records, use the Magical Import module to associate child and parent companies directly from CSV files.

To learn more about associating, refer to the Link and Associate People to Companies article.

Process Summary

  1. Select the CSV file.
  2. Map the CSV columns to the CRM fields and select the import mode for each field.
  3. Select the unique identifier field.
  4. Optionally, specify how to prepare and modify your data before importing.
  5. Set up the association between the CSV and CRM records.
  6. Select rows to import, then import the data with associations
Step 1: Map CSV Columns to CRM Fields

After uploading your CSV data, Insycle analyzes your file and compares the columns in the file to fields in your CRM database. 

A column is included for each field in the CSV, with the CSV column header appearing as the top row. Then, Insycle automatically detects the matching CRM fields and maps them for you. The second row shows the mapped CRM field names. If your CSV contains fields that are not matched to your CRM, a red exclamation point error notification will show.


These unmapped fields need to be set manually by clicking the dropdown and finding the appropriate CRM field. If they remain unmapped they will not be imported. You can leave those columns unmapped, or click the “X” next to the column when you hover over it to remove it from the list.

If a field in your CRM includes defined values to select from a picklist and the data included in your CSV does not match the values in your CRM, the row will display an "Invalid picklist value" error.

errors for picklist

Set the Import Mode for Each Column

With all relevant fields mapped, you tell Insycle how to use the data on a field-by-field basis by selecting the Import Mode, which is the third row in the table.

append to multi-select picklist
Step 2: Select Unique Identifier Field and Prepare Data for Association

Insycle uses Identity Fields to compare your CSV to your CRM data. Identity Fields must be "unique identifiers." These are data points that would only belong to a single company—such as company name, company domain, phone numbers, addresses, or ID numbers.

Under Step 2 on the Import tab, and select the Identity Field from the multi-select picklist.


Select the Records Mode to tell Insycle how the imported data should be handled during the import process.

  • Update existing and create net new – Insycle will attempt to match imported records to existing CRM records using the identity field. If Insycle is unable to find a corresponding record, a new record will be created in your CRM.
  • Only update existing – Insycle will attempt to match imported records to existing CRM records using the identity field. If a corresponding record is found, it will be updated with the data from your CSV import. Records that are not matched with an existing CRM record will not be imported.
  • Only create net new – Insycle will attempt to match imported records to existing CRM records using the identity field. Only records that can not be matched with an existing record in your database will be imported. Records that already exist in your CRM will not be.

For example, if you want to make associations for existing records but do not want to create new records in your database, you can select "Only update existing."

Using Multiple Identity Fields

You can select more than one identity field, however, Insycle will check all the fields to match. If one single field does not match, the corresponding matching CRM record will not be identified and will not be deleted.

Using the "Update existing and create net new" setting, Insycle will fail to match many records and instead will create a new record.

If you use the "Only update existing" setting with many Identity Fields, you will identify far fewer existing records and much of your CSV data will not be imported, and data will not be appended because Insycle will not be able to find the correct record to update.

too specific

Outside of specific use cases, it is typically best to use a single identity field.

Troubleshooting: Using Overly Broad Identity Fields

If you're using a field that is not uniquely identifying, Insycle will likely identify the wrong record in your CRM as a match and will not be able to identify a record to use. For instance, there are probably many people with the first name "John" in your CRM, but you want to make sure that you are pulling data from the correct record for John. This is why we must use uniquely identifying fields.

Step 3: Optionally, Modify Your Data before Import

You can make changes to the CSV data in Insycle before it is uploaded to your CRM. You could apply formatting to a field, cleanse data, organize, and perform other actions before import.

On the Functions tab of Step 3, select fields and functions to apply to the field data.

prepare data
Step 4: Set Up the Parent-Child Associations

Under Step 4, click the Associate tab (this may also be called the Link tab, depending on the naming convention in your CRM).

associate on import

Choose an Action, either to Add or Remove associations. For associating on import, choose “Add."

Here, we can tell Insycle how associations should work, using the dropdown selections contained in the tab.


Click the Associate field and choose Company to Company. Then, under Labels choose Child to Parent.

In the CSV Column field, select the CSV field to use for matching and associating. Often, for child-to-parent associations, companies will match using things like company domain names, email domains, or other relevant uniquely identifying fields that you can use.

Step 5: Import the Data with Associations to Your CRM

If there are only a few records you want to apply the association to—perhaps to test things out before importing the entire CSV—return to the table under Step 1 and check the boxes beside the select records. Leave the checkboxes blank to import all of the records.


Click the IMPORT X CONTACTS button under Step 5, and the matching associations will automatically be created in your CRM based on your settings.


A record of these changes can be found anytime in the Activity Tracker.

Associating Child-Parent-Grandparent Companies

Insycle can associate multiple levels of child-parent relationships by mapping child companies to parent companies and parent companies to grandparent companies.

  • Child Company → Parent Company → Grandparent Company

Similar to other association use cases you can use Bulk Operations to associate based on existing properties or Magical Import to associate based on CSV files.

For example, to associate child-parent-grandparent using Magical Import, here is an image that demonstrates how this would work in your CSV file, while also providing additional context. For in-depth instructions on how to do this, please see the Associating Child-Parent Companies from a CSV Using the Magical Import Module section above.


Frequently Asked Questions

How does Insycle know which company is the parent?

Insycle does not know what company the parent is. You have to make that clear through the data itself. A common way of tagging the parent company is to include "HQ" in the company name field. Or, you can create a custom field and manually tag parent companies before bulk associating with relevant child companies.

Can I have Insycle create a new company record and associate it if no match is found?

Yes, you can instruct Insycle to create the new company record if no match is found in both the Bulk Operations module and Magical Import module.

create when no match found
Can I make child-parent associations from a CSV?

Yes. See the Associating Child-Parent Companies from a CSV Using the Magical Import Module section above for information about making child-parent associations from a CSV file.

Can I make child-parent associations in bulk?

Yes, you can make child-parent associations in bulk using the Bulk Operations module.

Additional Resources

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