SmartBug Media® Acquires Globalia, Inc., Solidifying Its Position as the World’s Largest, Deepest and Most Decorated HubSpot Partner With Solutions for the Entire Customer Lifecycle. Read the Press Release !

©️️ Globalia, 2024. All rights reserved.  Privacy policy.

Source and Attribute: 9 Practical Tips for Optimizing Your CRM


At Globalia, we work with many clients whose business and operational contexts can vary greatly. A common concern is the ability to understand where contacts are coming from in their CRM. 

If this is also your case, don't lose hope! There are many factors that can complicate the assignment, but some small and simple actions can help make it clearer.

Here, in no particular order, are some improvements you can make to your CRM to make attribution easier to understand. Note that some recommendations apply specifically to HubSpot, while others are more general and should benefit your CRM regardless of what it is.


1. Properly name your files when importing contacts

As with many activities that take place in a CRM, the nomenclature of the import files is of key importance!

If your CRM automatically adds the information about the contact creation, chances are that the file name will be directly inserted as a field value.

In the case of HubSpot, there are three properties to remember:

  1. "Original Source": contains the nature of the source, for example "Direct" or "Offline".
  2. "Original Source Drill-down 1": contains the name or type of the source, e.g. "Facebook", "Integration", "Import", etc.
  3. "Original Source Drill-down 2": identifies the source more precisely, and will contain for example the name of the import file, the name of the SEM campaign, etc.

The above properties are automatically updated and work together to indicate which source created the contact. For an import, "Original Source Drill-down 2" will use the file name directly. 

For example, if I import a list of contacts from another system, and that list is named "contacts102422-forimport.csv", it will be virtually impossible for me to use that information in any understandable way later. But if I name my file "Zoho-Contacts-Canada-EN-2022-10-24.csv", then I start to have better options to see the attribution and understand in the future which sources created the contacts.

It becomes much easier to use this property in a report or list if the file names are consistent and logical!

Also, try to determine some structure in the way you name your import files. For example, by including some of the following information, always in the same order: 

  • Source: the platform, system, event where the imported information comes from.
  • Purpose: the type of information being imported (contacts, companies, transactions, etc.).
  • Industry: If you need to target certain industries, it may be interesting to mention them in the import.
  • Region: for some companies, the region is extremely important. If this is your case, consider adding it to the nomenclature.
  • Language: optional, but can be interesting if the language issue is important for your company.
  • Date: Either the date of the export, the event, or any other moment to remember.


2. If possible, avoid custom fields in your attribution

In many cases, CRMs offer some functionality related to understanding attribution. If this is the case with your current CRM, I highly recommend relying as much as possible on the fields available by default to manage segmentation and attribution reporting. 

In the case of HubSpot, it is the "Original Source", "Original Source Drill-down 1" and "Original Source Drill-down 2" properties that automatically track the source of an object's creation.

It is recommended to maximize the use of these properties as much as possible before creating additional properties, as this will certainly complicate the work in the long run:

  • The report templates, if you have any, will certainly not take into account your additional properties that you have created.
  • Automatic tracking will not add any default values to these properties.

Creating and using additional properties will therefore always require more management time, and will be more likely to create inaccuracies and even errors. 


3. (HubSpot) Start by digging into existing attribution reports

If you're an HubSpot user, perhaps you already know that there is a library of ready-to-use reports? Did you know that among these reports are some that focus on attribution-related data?

In fact, depending on your HubSpot subscription, you will have a number of relevant reports that can simply be saved and used immediately:

  • "Contacts most recently created by source”
  • "Contacts total by source with lifecycle stage breakdown”
  • "Contacts created total by source”
  • "Session totals by day with source breakdown”
  • ...

Go to the "Reports" section, and click on "Create a new report" to access the library.



4. (HubSpot) Use the "Campaign" tool and use tracking links

In HubSpot, the "Campaign" tool allows you to gather the different marketing activities and thus see and better understand the results and performance.

This tool also allows you to see attribution information, while choosing a few variations about the attribution model you want to consider. The available attribution models are as follows:

  • Linear
  • First interaction
  • Last interaction
  • U-shaped model
  • Time decay

Depending on the attribution model you choose, the importance of the different marketing pieces used by the newly created contact will differ.

Note that access to campaign features related to attribution may depend on your subscription.



5. Standardize the nomenclature of your online ads

Do you count online ads among your lead generation sources? Perhaps, you use Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or others?

If so, it's important to understand that your CRM could very well use the name of your Google Ads or Facebook Ads campaigns to indicate the source of a contact that has been created in your CRM.

What does this mean? Quite simply, if you don't name your campaigns in an organized fashion, you'll have a hard time using that information to better understand your attribution.

Similar to point number 1 about import files, if your campaign is named "MarchAll-12038-TempV2", or any other unthought out name variation, it will become next to impossible for you or anyone on your team to easily understand and use this information later for your reports and dashboards.

Note that in HubSpot, the network as well as the campaign name will be automatically recorded in "Original Source Drill-down 1" and "Original Source Drill-down 2" when a contact from an online advertising campaign is created.


6. For paper communications, point to a simplified URL and use a "followed" redirect

If you sometimes conduct marketing or sales activities that involve sharing hyperlinks on paper or other physical media, you may have noticed that it can become difficult to associate a website visit with that hyperlink originally printed on your paper promotion.

Here's a little trick to alleviate this inconvenience in HubSpot: use a simple hyperlink, such as "", to send to a page on your website. This page redirects using a tracking URL.

Tracking URLs, in HubSpot, allow you to directly associate a website visit with a source and can be created directly in a HubSpot campaign. 

This technique may not answer all of your attribution questions in this context, but it may give you better visibility into the performance of your marketing or sales activity in the context of your HubSpot campaign.


7. Share tracking URLs with your partners and external collaborators

Related to the previous point, using tracking URLs will allow you to associate visits to your site with a specific source, when that source is external to your main CRM or publishing tool. 

For example, in HubSpot, any visit coming to the site can be automatically associated with a HubSpot campaign in progress, simply by using a tracking URL. This tracking URL contains additional data that HubSpot can see and use.

You may benefit from this trick, especially in projects where you collaborate with external partners who redirect visitors from their site or email to your website. Common cases are when you buy advertising with a magazine, which in return will display your company or product on their site and in their newsletters. 

Or perhaps you would like to collaborate with an influencer to talk about your offer? In that case, you'll probably want to create one or more tracking URLs to share with them and make it easier for you to understand the source of visitors to your site.


8. (HubSpot) For your social media, post from HubSpot's "Social" tool to automatically associate with the right campaign

Did you know that in HubSpot, a post on social media can be associated with a campaign? This way, you can see the numbers and understand which publication(s) made the most reactions and/or brought the most contacts!

So the recommendation here is quite simple: to have a better visibility on the source of visits or contact creation, maximize as much as possible your use of the "Social" tool in HubSpot so that the results of this publication are automatically associated with the HubSpot campaign in question.

For HubSpot users who have already tried the tool, note that new features and an updated publishing interface have been added recently. Go back and take a look, maybe you'll get a pleasant surprise!



9. For direct traffic, name your website pages in a consistent and structured way

In cases where visits to your website pages are tracked and integrated into your CRM for your known contacts, proper naming of pages can give you quite an advantage! 

Indeed, some segmentation or reporting tools can allow you to use visits on specific pages to better segment and understand where your visitors go. Generally, the title of the page will be used as the recorded information. The URL can usually be used as well.

For example, you could create a list of your direct traffic contacts that have visited or converted on a particular page. So, if your pages are named in a standardized and consistent way, it will be much easier to segment and identify certain cohorts via your "source" properties.


Bonus notes in burst!

For all CRMs

1. Conversion or attribution?

a. If a visitor fills out a registration form for one of your webinars, the conversion will be the completed form, but the attribution will indicate the source that brought the visitor to that page.

Especially for HubSpot 

2. "Original Source" and "Latest Source" properties: 

a. The HubSpot "Original Source" and "Latest Source" properties can be used together to better understand the original source as well as the most recent one. 

3. Change (or not) the values assigned to "Original Source"?

a. After the fact, it is possible to change the "Original Source" value that was assigned to a contact. It may be interesting to do so in some cases, but the values of "Drill-down 1" and "Drill-down 2" will be erased.

b. It is therefore important to control this information.

4. Think about integrations with your favorite platforms to possibly improve tracking accuracy.

a. Integrations like Zoom, Salesforce, Eventbrite generally improve the understanding of the source and conversions for contacts.

As you can see, understanding the attribution of your contacts in your CRM is rarely a matter of a click of a button! However, with the right practices, there is a way to paint a picture that becomes clearer and clearer.


  • Have a solid nomenclature across your various marketing sources and activities to facilitate identification and segmentation after the fact.

  • Make sure you have the relevant integrations to facilitate tracking across different platforms.

  • Set up an attribution-centric dashboard to always keep an eye on things.