One of the most frequent questions we get is how to import contacts from Outlook and LinkedIn (and increasingly, Gmail).
I’m going to focus on just LinkedIn, however The Three Steps are pretty much the same for any system that exports to a csv file.
Step ONE: Export Your Contacts to a CSV file
- After you are logged into LinkedIn, click on Contacts at the top menu,
- On that page, towards the bottom, you’ll see a link that says “Export Contacts.” Click that.
- From that page you simply follow the process… I leave it as the default file format (there are three csv options – it really doesn’t matter which one you choose).
That’s it – it is really that easy to export your contacts from LinkedIn! The hardest part of this is knowing where your file was saved to… but you should know how to find it.
Note: here is another resource on exporting your LinkedIn contacts, with pictures
Step TWO: Clean and prepare the file
- Open the csv file in Excel.
- Optional: I delete all of the columns with blank data. I just did checked… right now there are FIFTY FIVE(!) columns that had a header but no data… delete all of these.
- Optional, but easier to do it here than one-by-one in JibberJobber: I go through the first and last names and clean them up. I take out things like middle initial, acronyms, email addresses (from those fields), etc. I simply want a first and last name. This is the most time-consuming part of the process.
- Optional, but HIGHLY recommended: Add a few other fields, including Tags (LinkedIn allows you to tag contacts, but they don’t export them), Notes (they have a Notes column, but no data in it), Source (I always put LI_Import as the source, for every single record, to know where that record came from), Ranking, and anything else you want to import. On the weekly user webinar I show you what fields you might want to put in the spreadsheet before you import (including user defined / custom fields)
Step THREE: Import into JibberJobber
- As a premium user, mouse over Network and click on Import/Export.
- The default option you see on the Import page is to import contacts. Click Choose File and browse to (and select/”save” or “open”)your CSV file.
- The drop down says CSV file – leave that alone. Click on the two checkboxes (Has Header and Advanced Import). The Advanced Import will let you see your data before you import it, and ensure you are mapping the fields correctly.
- Look at the rows and columns. Anything that is WHITE will import. If a row is colored, we think it is a duplicate, and we won’t import it. (you can override this by clicking the checkbox to the left of that record, and we’ll import it) If a column is colored, it is NOT MAPPED. You can click the drop down on that column and choose a field to import it into (aka, map it to the right field).
- Scroll down to the bottom and click the import button.
Note: here is another resource on importing a CSV file into JibberJobber, with at least one outdated picture.
That’s it. You can do this as often as you need to do it.
Right now we are NOT importing duplicates, but in the future we plan on merging duplicate records (in case there are title changes, etc.). In other words, if you do an import monthly, you don’t need to worry about duplicates being imported each time.
Feedback? Questions? If you need technical help, use the Contact form and we’ll get back to your specific needs.
EXPLANATION – WHY IS IT THIS HARD??
I’m regularly asked why there isn’t a one-click button to do this. Let me share what I’ve learned about LinkedIn and their data sharing.
I have had multiple phone calls and emails with LinkedIn people, whether it was their strategic MBAs or their very technical engineers, about easily synchronizing data between from LinkedIn to JibberJobber. They always come back with a few messages:
- Developing a one-click (or no-click) automation / API would be a violation of privacy. LinkedIn says that they do not want to create a JibberJobber + LinkedIn relationship because it would not be right for a LinkedIn member to take their first degree contacts out of LinkedIn and import them to a CRM tool. My reaction: even though the person has agreed to connect, and they have access to their name, email address, etc… this is a ridiculous position.
- Developing this type of relationship is unnecessary because LinkedIn is a CRM, and/or they have made at least one acquisition that takes the place of JibberJobber. From what I’ve seen (in the LinkedIn Contact Page, as well as the acquisition of Connected (see Forbes article here from one year ago), LinkedIn does not offer what JibberJobber users need. They could come up with the technology (of course!), but I’m not convinced that they should do it (or that they would do it well). I think there are too many policy/process issues within LinkedIn (because it is a social tool, not a private CRM tool) that would keep me from using what they would come up with.
- Unfortunately, LinkedIn has declared that JibberJobber is a competitor, and it makes no sense to partner. I can see where they are coming from, kind of, but I think their position is most unfortunate. I know that together we could provide an amazingly useful platform, but their strategists are convinced that we’re competition, so they have stayed away from us for a long time. This is clearly a lose-lose for the users.
Many years ago there were systems that would scrape contact information from LinkedIn. I’m not going to name any of them, but one in particular claimed it had explicit permission to scrape contacts (even though it was against the written policy).
The problem was that people who used the system (that is, pushed the button to scrape contacts and put them in a database) were assured it was okay, but when LinkedIn noticed this activity they disabled the users accounts. I know there are systems today that claim to do this but I am 1,000% leery of using, or recommending, a scraping system that could penalize or jeopardize your LinkedIn account.
Finally, and in response to #1 above, my position is that if LinkedIn provides the tools for you to export your contacts (see Step 1 below), you should be able to do whatever you want with those contacts (within reason).
In other words, can you email them to yourself for a backup? I hope so! Can you put them on an external drive as a backup? Why not?? Can you print the CSV for offline reference, and as a backup? YES. Then you should be able to import them into a PRIVATE CRM system, like JibberJobber. (I really, really hope they do not remove the ability to export (or backup) my own data!!)
That’s it. LinkedIn should acquire JibberJobber (I’ve been told this hundreds of times, and I tend to agree)… but until then we’ll just cross our fingers that they allow users to export their data into a CSV file.