How to Overcome Messy Data in HubSpot – IMPACT Interview

Written By Sean McGauley
August 15, 2023

Truth talk…How clean is your HubSpot portal? 

A messy CRM database can lead to various inefficiencies and hinder your ability to effectively manage customer relationships, achieve sales, and effectively market. Plain and simple – when data becomes messy, it can’t be trusted for accurate reporting, duplicate information and records create confusion, and a lack of standardization creates inconsistencies.

But, don’t worry, you’re not alone – in my experience, organizations’ CRMs are usually more messy than they may like to admit. Truth be told, it’s a common scenario because it’s not only about getting clean, it’s about staying clean.

So to get the best cleanup advice around, we reached out to Advanced HubSpot Trainer, CRM Expert, and overall data clean freak, Will Smith.

In his role as a Certified HubSpot Trainer, Will has helped 100+ companies achieve success with the HubSpot platform and has seen it all when it comes to messy portals.

So, to help you through your HubSpot Hygiene journey, we’ll partner with Will to provide tips, resources, and a special HubSpot User Group (HUG) event to help you get cleaned up for good!

Here's what's covered in this article - just click to jump to the section you're most interested in:

Watch the Session Replay - Boston HubSpot User Group Virtual Meetup


Never been to a HUG event before? Here’s more information about the Boston HubSpot User Group.

Five & Five with Will Smith, IMPACT

What exactly is a Five & Five interview? It’s a great way to get even more from the event. 

The first five interview questions for Will are focused on the event topic. This will prepare you to dive deep into the subject matter of HubSpot Hygiene, spurring your curiosity and setting the stage for an enriching session. 

But we won’t stop there! Next, we’ll follow up with five questions about our featured speaker, Will Smith. This way, you’ll have a personal introduction to who Will is.

Make sense? Good, then let’s get on to the interview!

Five Questions about HubSpot Hygiene

Watch the full Five and Five Interview with Will Smith, or read through it below.



Wish You Could Automate Your HubSpot Cleaning Tasks? Here Are 5 Automated Workflows for Keeping Your Database Clean

1. Messy data can be a common issue for businesses. What are some of the key challenges that organizations typically face with their HubSpot portal?

“We usually hear the phrase, “Hey, we got HubSpot so we can have our single source of truth.” Which is only half right. Single source of truth only works when your users are consistently inputting data in the same way. To really achieve a single source of truth, your organization needs a single process, with a single goal. Everyone in the organization needs to know the goal and have a clear understanding of how to use HubSpot to achieve it. 
If your organization’s HubSpot users aren’t on the same page, things can get messy quickly and bleed into even non-technical things like your communication and how you communicate about your data. 

A messy HubSpot can also prevent you from using the latest and greatest tools from HubSpot efficiently. The HubSpot administrators we talk to always want the newest tools, but if you’re running them on bad data, then it’s the old saying of, “garbage in, garbage out.” 

HubSpot cleanliness is a foundation to HubSpot success!”

"Garbage in, garbage out"
2. Could you share some real-life examples of how poor HubSpot hygiene can impact businesses and their marketing efforts?

“I worked with an organization that has been using HubSpot for years. Let me rephrase that – half using HubSpot. In the beginning, everyone was excited to use this new tech toy and started using it in different ways – soon it became so messy that the majority of users simply gave up.

I see a lot of real-life examples of how poor data quality in HubSpot can impact marketing efforts, but they all revolve around three categories of challenges.

The first category goes back to what I mentioned in the first question, everyone wants the latest and greatest tools and cool new features HubSpot is putting out there. But, in order to use these tools efficiently, you need clean, reliable data.  

Case in point, HubSpot enterprise customers have access to journey analytics – which provide a view of the impact of every interaction a contact has with your business. With a journey report, you can find out which touchpoints work best for attracting customers. Could you imagine how powerful this is? 

But, you imagine the disappointment on somebody’s face when you say, “Oh, your data is too messy to leverage this in the right way.”

The second example I see a lot is not being able to make data-driven decisions with confidence. Everyone likes to say that they’re a data-driven organization and make decisions based on data. Those decisions are only as good as your data is. If it’s a mess, you can’t do this confidently. 

The third example I see from poor data quality is team alignment issues. Your team can align around clean data, leverage new tools, immediately, effectively, data-driven decisions with competence and team alignment.”

The importance of a clean HubSpot portal

3. Maintaining a clean HubSpot portal is essential, but how can businesses ensure they keep it that way in the long run?

“If you’re just one person trying to pick up after everybody else in your organization, that’s going to be frustrating and impossible.

It’s important to make sure that we get everybody on board with a HubSpot cleanup. If we all have a single source of truth, a singular process, a singular understanding of how we’re utilizing HubSpot, and how the data is expected to show up how the data is expected to be input, and how we can realize that data, that’s what’s going to help you keep it clean. 

I always like to say, “Would you rather clean everything in a two-hour session every quarter? Or would you rather just go through the small steps every day and just make that part of your process?”

It’s the small events that add up in the long run.” 

Make cleaning a part of your process

4. What are the potential benefits of having a well-organized and clean HubSpot portal in terms of marketing performance and efficiency?

“If you have clean data and good data, you can leverage all of the new tools and new features from HubSpot immediately and effectively, make data-driven decisions with confidence, and align your team around the data. 

HubSpot Hygiene sounds like a boring topic, but it’s not. It’s truly fundamental to your success in HubSpot and once you get cleaned and have your process in place to stay clean, you’ll immediately notice these benefits.”

5. Can you give us a brief overview of what attendees can expect from the “HubSpot Hygiene” webinar?

“We’re going to start by shining a bright light into your HubSpot portal with an audit. I have a process checklist that will guide you through your audit during the session and help you with planning your quarterly cleaning to maintain your clean portal.

I also have a cleanup process resource that covers everything you need to know to get cleaned up in the short term.

Then, we’ll talk about organization and using folders. 

Finally, we’re going to cover how to document everything and present your cleanup plan to your team.

I promise you will not be bored!“

Get the Ultimate HubSpot Cleaning List - Here Are 6 Ways to Clean Your Database

Five Questions about Will Smith

1. What’s on your summer reading list (fun or work)?

“I really enjoy listening to my books and Audible is like my best friend. For fun, I’m a big Star Wars fan and tried getting into the prequels leading up to the Ahsoka series, and I just couldn’t get past chapter eight. I guess I’m more visual when it comes to Star Wars.

For work, I just finished MOVE: The 4-question go to market framework. I probably never would have picked this book myself, but read it through a business-related book club I’m a part of. It’s awesome and I’ve already listened to it twice.

MOVE: The -Question Go-to-Market Framework

And just this morning, I started the JOLT Effect: How High Performers overcome customer indecision and I’m loving it already.”

The Jolt Effect

2. Current tv binge?

“From the comedy genre, I just finished The Righteous Gemstones on HBO Max. My boys and I like to watch that together. A friend recommended that we check out Vice Principals next, also starring Danny McBride. 

The Righteous Gemstones

And then for drama, I’ve been enjoying Suits because it brings me back to the days when I was watching L.A. Law as a youngster.”

3. When you’re not being a HubSpot pro, what do you like to do outside of work?

“My wife and I are very much involved at our local church. She is a former youth minister. In my previous career before I got into marketing, I was a church music director. 

I still love getting to play music here and there on the weekends.

I also volunteer as a Faith Formation Speaker for adults at our church.“

4. Will you be attending Inbound/What sessions are you most excited about?

“I’ll definitely be at INBOUND! For sessions, I always go by the speakers that I’ve seen in the past and know that they’ll be delivering an awesome session. This year, that’s Nancy Harhut, Jay Schedeleson, and Marcus Sheridan.

Nancy is always excellent when it comes to psychology. Whenever I’m in one of her sessions, I can’t stop taking notes.

Jay Schwedelson is not only a dynamic presenter, but he runs test, after test, after test, and I just love the data that he puts out. His email sessions are always great. 

And then this is slightly biased, but I gotta go with my man, Marcus Sheridan. Every year, he has something new, different, and better. His takeaways are amazing and I’m lucky enough to work with him.”

  • Nancy Harhut
    • 9 Ways To Generate More Response Using Behavioral Science
    • Debate: Email — Get the Open! vs. Get the Response!
  • Jay Schedeleson (Founder of
    • Build Connected Communities
    • Debate: Email — Get the Open! vs. Get the Response!
    • New Email Marketing Test Ideas and Pitfalls To Avoid
    • Online and In-Person Event Marketing: What’s Working Now!
  • Marcus Sheridan 
    • Keys to World Class Content and Winning Trust in the AI Era


More information about these speakers and sessions is available on the INBOUND website.

INBOUND23 Conference with HubSpot

5. What’s the biggest marketing trend you’re watching?

“I think the obvious answer is Artificial Intelligence. But, I’m going to take it a step further and say that it’s personal connection and trust in a world of AI and automation. 

These days, it’s harder to gain trust. With AI, our BS meters have gone up and we constantly question if something was created by a person or AI. 

The question is – how do we leverage AI and automation, as best as possible, but still have that personal element to it? If it’s personal, that’s where you can best establish and maintain trust.”

Sean McGauley

About the Author

Marketing is more challenging than it’s ever been - but, I’m committed to finding new and creative ways to succeed. By day, I’m a digital marketing enthusiast with a passion for connecting brands with their target audience. I have over a decade of experience in creating and executing successful campaigns with a proven track record. I specialize in Strategy, Copywriting, SEO, and social media marketing - always staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies. By night, you'll likely find me adventuring with family and friends. I enjoy nature, photography, mountain biking, fly fishing, and trying new foods. I want to connect with other like-minded professionals to learn from and work with.