How to Link Contacts and Companies to Associate Related Records
Your sales and marketing teams rely on accurately associated records for context in sales conversations and account-based marketing applications. When these associations are missing, prioritizing opportunities is difficult, and your staff fails to engage effectively with important stakeholders.
With Insycle, you can automatically detect and link contacts, companies, deals, and custom objects in bulk. This will maintain order in your CRM and give your teams a complete picture of every account.
If the records you want to associate are already in your CRM, use the Bulk Operations module. To associate new records from a CSV while importing, use the Magical Import module.
Associate Contacts to Companies Using the Bulk Operations Module
To associate existing records, use the Bulk Operations module. Here, you can associate contacts, companies, deals, and custom objects as needed, including child and parent associations.
- Filter records down to those you want to associate.
- Set rules for making the associations.
- Preview and apply the changes to the CRM.
In the Bulk Operations module, select the database and the record type in the top menu. Then explore the default templates for a pre-built solution.
Each row in Step 1 is for a field you want to look at to determine whether to include or exclude a record from this task. With this filter, you're telling Insycle what records you would like to update.
In the below example, contacts that do not have an Associated Company ID but do have a Company Name, will be included in the results.
When you click Search, Insycle will list records in the Record Viewer at the bottom of the page. If you make changes to the filter, you need to click the Search button again to refresh the viewer.
Under Step 2, you'll define the rules for bulk matching the two record types during the association process. This example will associate Contacts to Companies.
Click the Associate tab. Note that this tab may be labeled differently, depending on what it's called in the CRM you are working with (i.e., Linking, Mapping, etc.).
Configure the rules that will create the relationship between the two record types. In the first row:
1. Action tells Insycle what to do to the records surfaced in Step 1. All CRMs allow you to Add or Remove associations. Additionally for Hubspot, you can use the Replace action to remove existing associations and create new ones.
2. Associate specifies the type of record you want to create the relationship with. In the example above, Contacts will be associated to Companies.
3. Hubspot users will see a Labels field which is used to name the relationship.
4. Click the Companies Filter button to narrow the target records down to those that would be a good fit for this relationship.
In the Company Filter popup you could, for example, add the "Company name," field and set the Condition, "exists." This tells Insycle to only consider companies for association if the Company Name field has a value in the database.
Click Search to apply the filter and close the popup. Note that the Company filter will not update the results in the Record Viewer, only in your final Review steps.
The next line tells Insycle what values to use to identify company matches:
5. The Field Name is the field from the source record (Contact) you want to try and match with the target record (Company). In the example above, Company Name from the Contact record will be used.
6. The Match Field is the target field to be matched with the source record. In this example, the Company Name field from the Company records will be analyzed for a match.
The Field Name and Match Field are often the same for both records.
7. The Comparison Rule tells Insycle whether the values between the Contact and Company records must be an Exact Match or Similar Match. In most cases, you'd select Exact Match, but you can learn more about these Comparison Rules in the Pro Tip below.
8. In the Ignored field you can specify parts of a field value to ignore, such as specific text, whitespace, or characters. In the dropdown, check the box for the values you'd like to ignore.
In the example, the Ignore rule tells Insycle to ignore a list of Common Terms that may appear in the Company Name field such as "LLC," "Inc." or "Co." This is often a necessary field for matching companies. To view or alter the list of Common Terms, click the Terms button at the bottom of this section (see below).
9. The Match Parts field tells Insycle whether to match the entire field or just part of it—such as the first or last few words, or first and last characters.
10. If no matching Company is found, an association will not be created. In these cases, you can choose to automatically create a new Company record based on what is in the Contact record. Check the Create new Companies when no matching is found box to enable.
There are a couple of things to note when using this setting:
- This feature only works when associating Contacts to Companies, not Companies to Contacts.
- When using the "Exact Match" Comparison Rule, the "Create new..." setting could potentially create duplicates, so you should be thoughtful with the Matching Field and Comparison Rule that you use.
11. The Ignored "Common Terms" can be edited using the Terms button.
Preview Changes in a 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 the relationships are being created as expected before those changes are made in your live database.
First, under Step 3, click the 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.
On the When tab, click the Run Now tab and select which records to apply the change to (in most cases this will be All), then click the Run Now button.
Open the CSV file from your email in a spreadsheet application and review the columns. For each contact record that didn't already have an Associated Company ID value, Insycle tried to match it with a Company record using the Company Name values. You can see the two Company Name values side by side, and the Result column tells you if the relationship was added.
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, this time select Update mode.
On the When tab, click Run Now and select which records to apply the change to (in most cases this will be All), then click the Run Now button.
Save Templates and Setup Automation to Maintain Formatting
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, and set up automation so this formatting operation runs on a set schedule.
By automating with a template, you'll save time and ensure that your fields are consistently associated on an ongoing basis.
"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 companies that have slightly different values between the records.
You can specify more than one matching field when making associations in the Bulk Operations module.
For example, maybe you want to compare a contact's Website Domain against a Company's Website, along with any listed in the Additional Domains field.
To do this, select the Associate tab in Step 2, then the Advanced Tab from the sub menu. There, you'll be able to add Related Match Fields to catch more associations.
Associate Contacts to Companies 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 people and companies to existing records in your database when you import.
To learn more about the importing process, review this help article: Import new records or update and append to existing from CSV.
- Upload the CSV file.
- Map the CSV columns to the CRM fields and specify how to import the values.
- Select the unique identifier field.
- Set rules to make associations between CSV and CRM records.
- Import the data with the specified associations to your CRM.
Select the CSV File for Import
Select the Magical Import module from the left navigation, then select the database and the record type in the top menu.
Click the Choose button and select the CSV file that you would like to import. Uploading a file into Insycle does not import it to the CRM right away, instead, you can prepare the data in a variety of ways before actually importing it to the CRM.
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. 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 warning icon will show.
These unmapped fields need to be mapped manually by clicking the dropdown and finding the appropriate CRM field. If they remain unmapped, the column will not be imported. If you choose to leave these unmapped you can remove them by hovering over the column name and clicking the “X”.
Specify How to Import Values for Each Column
With all relevant fields mapped, tell Insycle how to use the data on a field-by-field basis by selecting the Import Mode, in the third row of the table.
Four Import Mode Options
- Update – Update CRM records with all non-empty field data contained in the CSV.
- Fill – Import CSV values only when the corresponding field in your CRM is empty.
- Overwrite – Insycle will replace any existing data in your CRM with the data in the CSV—even if the CSV field is empty.
- Append – Import values from the CSV and append (add them to) the existing data already in your CRM. A typical example of how “Append” is used would be in a “Notes” field, or to add to existing dropdown data without including historical selections in your CSV.
You can also preview and edit the import data directly in Insycle by clicking the pencil icon next to any field when you hover over it.
If a record has errors, the red exclamation point notification will be shown on the left side of the record. When you hover over the red exclamation mark, an explanation of the error will be displayed.
Records that have errors in them will not be imported.
Insycle uses identity fields to compare your CSV to your CRM data. Identity Fields must be "unique identifiers." This is data that would only belong to a single contact, such as email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, or ID numbers.
For example, no other contact in the database would have Maria Hernandez's email address, phone number, or ID number listed on their contact record. If a contact record contains a match for Maria Hernandez's data in one of those fields, we know that is the contact record for Maria Hernandez.
Under Step 2 on the Import tab, select the Identity Field from the dropdown.
Select the Records Mode to tell Insycle how the imported data should be handled during the import process.
- Update existing and create net new – If unable to find a corresponding record, a new record will be created in your CRM.
- Only update existing – 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 – 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 updated.
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 the Column Name from the CSV file.
Select a Function for each column, telling Insycle how the data should be formatted when it is imported. When finished, click Apply.
In the above example, the settings will do three things:
- Capitalize First and Last Names.
- Format phone numbers to the E.164 international standard.
- Standardize US states to their full name.
Explore the list of options in the Function dropdown to find formatting options for any field in your CSV.
Click the Apply button to apply any changes made. These changes are applied to your CSV data in Insycle before importing.
Under Step 4, click the Associate tab (this may also be called the Link tab, depending on the naming convention in your CRM).
Configure the rules that will create the relationship between the two record types:
1. Select the Action to take. All CRMs allow you to Add or Remove associations. Additionally for Hubspot, you can use the Replace action to remove existing associations and create new ones.
2. Click the Associate field and select the type of record you want to create the relationship with.
3. Hubspot users will see a Labels field which is used to name the relationship.
4. In the CSV Column field, select the field from your CSV to use to identify matches. If you were associating contacts to companies, for example, you would likely choose the “Company” or “Company Name” field from your CSV import.
5. On the Match Field, select the field in your CRM that should match your CSV value. For example, if you are using the “Company” field from the CSV, you'd want to match that to the “Company” or “Company Name” field in your CRM.
6. Additionally, you have the option to create a new record in the CRM when there is no match automatically found by Insycle by checking the Create when no matching is found box.
By default, Insycle will attempt to import all of your CSV data into your database. If there are only a few records you want to apply the association to, 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.
Note that changes are applied to your CRM immediately, there is no preview step. To import, click the Import X Contacts button under Step 5.
After the import runs, the Import Result breaks down the import information—how many records you tried to import and how many succeeded, failed, were updated, deleted, or unmodified. Click the Run ID to open a CSV record of the import.
A record of these changes can be found anytime in the Activity Tracker.
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, to reproduce the same formatting operation in the future.
You can select more than one Identity Field in Step 2, however, Insycle will check all the fields to match. If one single field does not match, a corresponding company CRM record will not be identified.
Using the Update existing and create net new setting, Insycle will fail to match many records and instead will create a new record.
With the Only update existing setting, you will identify far fewer existing records and much of your CSV data will not be imported because Insycle will not be able to find the correct record to update.
If you're using a field that is not truly unique as an Identity Field, it's likely that Insycle won't be able to identify one single record to use. For instance, there could be many companies with the Industry, "Education" in your CRM, this wouldn't help you ensure you are pulling data from the correct company. This is why uniqueness is key.
Tips for Creating Associations between Records
- To create associations between records, you need a field with a similar value in both records. For example, "Email Domain" on the contact, and "Website Domain" on the company. Then, you can pick those fields to match the records and establish the association.
- You can make associations in both directions: Contacts to Companies, or Companies to Contacts
- Though making associations will work in both directions, consider that Contacts to Companies is the standard direction and some features (such as the "If Company is Not Found Create New Company" feature) are only designed to work when Contacts are being associated to Companies.
- For straightforward relationships with obvious matching fields, the direction of the relationship doesn't matter. But in some cases, such as creating associations with custom objects or child and parent companies, the direction may be important.
If you receive a "Multiple Sources Matched" error, this indicates Insycle found multiple records that meet the criteria. Try changing the direction of the association to resolve the error.
Bulk associations require that you have a field that you can use to match the two records. For instance, you might select "Company" for contact records, and "Company Name" for company records. You then use these two fields to associate the two records.
But what do you do if you have no obvious matching field between the two record types that you would like to associate?
This is a fairly common scenario. For example, maybe you would like to associate contacts not only with the company that they work for but with the parent company as well. In this scenario, it is not very likely that you capture the parent company on the Contact record, which means that you may have no field to use to match the association. As a result, you'll need to create a custom field for contacts and companies, such as "Custom Parent Company." Ideally, if child companies are already associated with parent companies, you'll be able to pull this data from your company records and populate both custom fields using your CRM's automation features.
Then, you'll be able to use the Custom Parent Company field for both contacts and companies to make the patch.
The key is finding a data point that would allow you to match the associations, even if it is only available for one record type. Then we create the custom matching fields that allow us to make the associations.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use any field in your database to create relationships between records, you just need to figure out which field in each record type will have the same value. For instance, you might select "Company" for contact records, and "Company Name" for company records. Or you could use "Email Domain" on the contact, and "Website Domain" on the company.
Commonly used fields for linking include company names, company domains, and company URLs.
Yes. You can associate in either direction.
Though making relationships will work in both directions, consider that contacts to companies is the standard direction, and some features (such as the "If Company is Not Found Create New Company" feature) are only designed to work when contacts are being associated to companies.
Or in some cases, such as creating relationships with custom objects or child and parent companies, the direction may be important.
Yes, Insycle can help manage parent-child associations. For more information, see the Associate or Link Parent-Child Companies article.
Yes. If no matching record is found, you can choose to automatically create a new company record based on what is in the contact record. Under Step 2, check the Create new Companies when no matching is found box to enable, then select the field to use for naming the new company.
When Insycle creates a company record during the association process, the Original Source Data 2 property value will be "Insycle Data Management."
It means that when Insycle goes to make the association, it is finding multiple records that meet your criteria. Often, this is either because you are using an Identity Field that is not a uniquely identifying field (so Insycle will detect multiple records that match the criteria), or you have duplicate records that need to be merged before the association can take place.
No, Insycle does not currently allow you to access, update, or associate activities. When you merge companies, it would re-associate activities from the duplicate company to the master company, and re-assign contacts and deals to the master, see below and attached help article.
Related Help Articles
- HubSpot Multiple Associations and Labels
- Associate or Link Parent-Child Companies, Create Accounts Hierarchy and Relationships
- Module Overview: Bulk Operations
- Import New Records or Update and Append to Existing from CSV
Related Blog Articles
- Fix Stray HubSpot Contacts With Bulk Association — Connect Contacts to Companies and Deals With Complete Control
- How Insycle Solves Common Problems with HubSpot and Salesforce Integration
- Considerations for Using HubSpot’s Automatic Contact to Companies Association
- Salesforce ABM - Associating Leads and Contacts to Accounts