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Crucial Tips for Successful Migration to a New CRM System

The process of migrating to a new CRM system can be daunting. There are many factors that go into the decision and you want to make sure it is the best choice for your company. 

Perhaps the most compelling of which is that it’s an easy way to get all your customers and prospects in one place, making it easier for you and your team to keep track of them.

This blog post will cover some tips and advice on a successful migration.

Migrating to a new CRM system is an exciting time. But it can also be stressful and overwhelming. So I want to help you with some of the most important aspects of your migration process to have a seamless transition from one system to another. 

We deal with various clients, from startups to enterprises. While some smaller businesses still use spreadsheets to track contacts and sales tasks, most businesses have a customer relationship management (CRM) system. And eventually, every brand wants, or needs, to move to a new one.

Companies switch CRMs for lots of reasons – they want more functionality, different functionality, different integrations with other tools, or the new VP of Sales just likes one tool in particular. 

While the reason for switching CRMs is unique to every client, if you’re considering making the switch, there are some key considerations and tips you need to keep in mind to ensure the process goes smoothly.  

business crm system

Whatever CRM system you’re considering, keep these notes in mind:

  • What’s wrong with your current CRM? 
  • Your new CRM should solve the problems you’re having with your current CRM
  • Integrations – What software does it need to work with? Email marketing software is the biggest one because contacts will have to sync both directions. Also, consider CPQ software as strong integration with a tool like PandaDoc can reduce the time to create quotes.
  • Data Sync – Once you figure out what your CRM needs to work with, you need to sync data. Many tools rely on third parties like Zapier, and this can be confusing as tools often advertise that they integrate with another platform. Once you get into it, you discover that synchronization is not native and requires the time and expense of spinning up yet another tool for data sync.
  • Budget – How much will the CRM cost? This is the key limiting factor for many small and medium businesses. CRM’s often tie more advanced features to higher pricing tiers. Look at limitations on pricing tiers, such as the number of contacts or number of emails you’re allowed to send per month, which may impact the price or the functionality you need.
  • Growth – Once you get the budget and features figured out, consider growth for the next 24 months (since many tools bill annually). How many contacts will you be adding? How many emails will you be sending? Business success may cause you to jump to a new pricing tier. 
  • Ease of use – Whatever tool you buy should make your team better. Look at free and fee-based on-boarding training options to get your staff ramped up. Have your team members use the tool before you buy to see if it’s easy and intuitive.
  • Training and on-boarding – Your sales team will have to learn new sales software – pick a tool with the training options and tools you need to get your sales team up to speed.

Here are some additional tips to keep your process on track:

  • Look at extras – Tools may offer extras such as enhanced prospecting, access to lists or data, or additional features such as automation. See if any of them add significant value to your team.
  • Use what you pay for – If you pay for a higher pricing tier that includes a new feature that your CRM doesn’t use, make it a priority to implement and start using that feature. Often, companies will pay for a feature but take months to implement it due to the daily workload. That’s just a waste of money.
  • Get on user and support forums – When you’re getting close to selecting a CRM, get on their support forums and user groups. Look for issues integrating with the tools software you intend to use and features you intend to implement. Ask questions about your intended configuration. This will help you figure out if features work well and if the CRM has strong support.

And these are key elements that are often overlooked and can cost you in the long term:

  • Review pricing, limits, and tiers thoroughly – This includes policies for going over limits set at your pricing tier. Sometimes limits can’t be exceeded; sometimes, you have to pay to increase limits. Sometimes exceeding limits will automatically bump you up to a new pricing tier, for which you’re immediately billed. Consider how peaks in feature usage such as email send or prospect research might impact billing and plan for it.
  • Consider the impact on the price of other tools – Integrating and sharing data with other tools, such as email marketing tools or CPQ software, may increase prices for those tools. For example, HubSpot charges based on the number of contacts in your database. So if you’ve only had prospects and leads in your HubSpot marketing suite, then importing 20,000 contacts from your CRM will make your marketing suite price jump.

Use Free Trials to Test, Test, Test

Most CRMs offer a free trial period. Use it. Use it to test features and ease of use and the free trial period to test migrations. This will show you how easy or difficult migration will be and how the data will look once it’s imported. 

I can’t stress this enough – plan how to use the free trial period to evaluate the CRM. You should make a list of things to check, including:

  • Contact import
  • Data appearance in the new CRM
  • Synchronization with other tools you use
  • Integration functionality
  • Daily sales tasks performed by the sales team
  • Oversight tasks performed by sales managers.

Some extra tips

One of the biggest barriers to testing new CRMs is the time required and the compensation impact on sales team members.

A commission structure usually compensates sales team members, so they don’t want to take time away from making sales to test the new software because it costs them money.

Brands need to recognize the value and benefit of this testing before implementation. The equation is simple – if you buy something difficult for your team to use, sales will likely decrease. If you buy something that works well for your team, sales will likely go up. Invest in this testing by incentivizing your sales team to do it.

One simple way is to pay commission for your salespeople while doing the testing. Free trials are often two weeks long, so allocate half the sale team hours for testing during the trial period. Then, address lost compensation by averaging their weekly commissions for the previous three months and paying them half their weekly commission each week during sales testing.

Data Cleanup

data cleanup

If you’ve been a nonprofit organization for a long time, chances are you have a lot of contact history. This could be spread out over multiple sources: Spreadsheets, phone records, email contacts, you name it. 

Take this opportunity to bring it all under one roof. Consolidate everything into one giant mess of a spreadsheet (don’t worry, we can fix it). 

Not only is it good to have everything in one place, but it also makes cleaning it up a lot easier than jumping in between different formats. Once it’s all together, make a copy. Save it. Store it in the cloud. This is vital, and if anything goes wrong with technology (because that never happens), you will thank yourself later. 

In fact, after every step in this process, it’s a good idea to save a copy of your work.

We consider data cleanup an essential step in the CRM migration process. Save and archive stale contacts from your database.

What’s a stale contact? That’s up to each business — we start the discussion at any contact that has been inactive for over three sales cycles. So if you have a 12-month sales cycle, that’s three years. 

Removing stale contacts will potentially help you cut down on costs by enabling you to select lower pricing tiers. It will also speed up the migration process because you’ll have fewer data to import – and after migration, it will make your contacts and email lists easier to navigate.

stale contacts
  • Archive contact information in a CSV – Delete contacts from your CRM but not from your life. Export and keep a full copy of all your contacts in a CSV file, just in case. 
  • Keep company records – Don’t delete companies from your CRM. 
  • Keep a record in your CRM that you have archived contacts in a CSV – If you remove all contacts for a company, make one contact record or a note in the company record stating that you have archived contacts in the CSV file. That will let the sales team know to look in the CSV if the company becomes active again.
  • Reach out to contacts before archiving – Call contacts and send them an email to see if they want to stay in your mailing and contact lists. This will identify no longer valid contacts, and removing them from mailing lists will also improve your inbox deliverability. This is also a great opportunity to re-engage dormant contacts.
  • Automate identification – If you have automation tools, use them to find contacts that meet the parameters that identify them as stale. 
  • Get jiggy with Excel or Google Sheets – If you’re doing data cleanup, you’ll probably be doing it in Excel or Google Sheets. This part of the process can be very time consuming – or very easy. The more you know about working with data in spreadsheets, the faster this part of the process will go. 
  • Hire an intern – Some data is so poorly entered that it takes a human to clean it up. In this case, hiring an intern may be your best bet. 
  • Check the work – Whether done via automation, add-in, or manually, sales managers and the sales team will need to check the work to make sure all contacts and accounts that should be migrated are still present and valid. So split up the work, and have team members and managers check the accounts they’re responsible for. You don’t want to miss a follow-up once you’ve moved to the new CRM because contact was accidentally removed from the migration file. 

Historical Email Migration

email migration

One of the nicest features of some CRMs is email integration right in the contact records. Many CRMs will bring email messages into the contact record, making it easy to review communication history. If the current CRM or the new CRM supports this, it’s one of the first things your sales team will ask for.

Most CRMs that support this feature have an email connector that brings messages into the CRM for each contact. They can often only move email from the time it establishes the connection. Still, sales team members, rightfully, will want to keep the historical emails from the prior CRM for continuity. 

Many tools specialize in historical email migration for CRMs. For example, threads. The cloud can migrate historical emails into HubSpot CRM. If historical migration is on your list of requirements, add it as a separate research item. It often requires a third-party tool and may cost a fee. Be sure to get an understanding of how the migration tool and pricing work. 

Audit Your Content

This is a great time to review all of your contact information (yay…) and determine what exactly is going to cut your CRM. Call it a spring clean of your database.

Purge Unresponsive Contacts

Before you jump into cross-referencing your contacts’ birthdays and changes to marital status, pause for a moment, do you need this person? 

A golden rule for CRM imports is that less is more. 

For one thing, it’s time-consuming to format every contact – especially if they haven’t been active with your organization for a long time. More importantly, most CRMs have pricing structures that are based on how many contacts you have. The more contacts, the more money you spend. 

While you shouldn’t get rid of donors who may just need a nudge to remind them you exist, the supporters who donated once in 2004 and never spoke to you again can probably stay buried in your Hotmail contact list. 

If you’re unsure, consult your team and develop a framework on when a contact is considered unengaged.

Some criteria to consider:

  • If there’s no email address – delete them
  • If there’s no mailing address or phone number – delete them
  • If they have never contributed to your organization – delete them

Check for Duplicates

check for duplicates

Duplicates are the most common culprit for bad nonprofit data. If there are two contact records for the same person, which one is up to date? Which one is getting your email campaigns

They might not seem like a big deal. Still, duplicate data can spiral out of control quickly if multiple team members use the system – one donation logged here, the other logged there, and your financial data quickly becomes unreliable.

More importantly, you are paying for this person twice. 

So as you ready your data for import, make sure de-duplication is part of your process. At Keela, we use contact mergers to do this for you. Otherwise, here’s how to do it manually.

It’s a good idea to check for duplicates regularly, even after you’ve migrated your data. 

Why Salesforce Is A Practical Option?

More and more frequently, businesses find themselves limited by the option sets offered by their legacy systems. Not surprisingly, lots of vendors are starting to consider Salesforce data migration. Thus, the decision of CRM transfer is crucial and fateful for the company’s future.

The top shared reasons are

  • Your system is more than five years old. However, it may still work properly. Thus it takes more time and effort to accomplish even simple tasks.
  • The solution offers minor configurations due to inflexible architecture. So, you have to tailor your business strategy to CRM system capabilities instead of customization to your specific objectives and business processes flow.
  • You have an only on-premise version that requires paid upgrades. This type of hosting requires powerful hardware and a devoted and qualified IT team to run it. Besides, it limits marketing and sales abilities in delivering timely and relevant customer service as long as it excludes round-the-clock access to the company database.
  • Reporting options fail at delivering relevant and accurate data analysis. Data-driven processes are the new trend for a successful business running. So, the transparency of information within the organization and consistent databases play a vital role in analyzing effective and ineffective actions, forecasting and further budget planning and distribution.
  • Your solution lacks a segmentation option. However, personalization is a key to relevant and timely offers, so you need to divide your customers and leads as well.
  • UI is comprehensive at first glance but cumbersome in process management. The more difficult your CRM in usage, the less it is used by your team. Employees give a wide berth to the tools that are complicated and consume their time. So they avoid entering or updating the records with new information that impacts the company’s database and, therefore, overall performance quality.

salesforce crm

Feels like you are acquainted with such a situation? So, you should take this issue seriously to avoid extra expenses and prevent customers from leaking to your competitors.

So why Salesforce? The well-earned reputation goes before the name of this cloud CRM. This SaaS provides different plans with appropriate feature sets for businesses of any size and industry and leaves scope for system scalability for keeping up with the company growing demands.

Salesforce offers marketing and sales automation, lead and contact manager, numerous options for improving sales performance (territory and opportunity management, sales forecasting and collaboration, workflows and multiple report dashboards), and integration abilities.

It all boils down to the conclusion that Salesforce data migration is beneficial for employing a high-edge solution to reveal the business potential on a full scale.

Arrangements for the Effective Switch

Before initiating your CRM migration, you should prepare your database and employees for the upcoming changes and improve your business strategy.

The relevant and quality data is the key to successful performance, activities analysis, and accurate forecasting. So, you need to start with detecting duplicates. Then, it is highly advisable to merge the record copies. There are often missing fields or semantic mistakes in data – review your database for common patterns and compile a set of rules for improving records quality during entry/edition. Finally, don’t neglect the backup data option. It will prevent critical files damage or loss.

Your team should be informed about the CRM switch and keep the pulse on the updates. Besides, the users training is obligatory to run even if your team has already worked with the CRM system. Additional attention should be paid to the system administrator coaching. You can also hire a CRM consultant for teaching your employees and helping in overall system adoption.

Means And Modes of Salesforce Data Migration

Another rising challenge is the way of Salesforce data transfer. The process of records switching may have some obstacles.

The most challenging is the type of data migration. Business owners want to get their data to Salesforce directly and efficiently within a few hours. This demand may be accomplished using automated web-based services on the condition there is open API access. Thus, Salesforce has different editions with different API abilities.

Specifically, Enterprise, Unlimited, and Performance editions of Salesforce have an open API, while in Group or Professional versions, this option is disabled. However, the solution enables a data import option to get your data in Salesforce via CSV file import, but it takes more time. In addition, this migration model requires technical background for mapping out records fields correctly. If you have no IT team, you can hire a freelancer or use the data migration service to get this job done effectively.

As you can see, Salesforce data migration may be performed in two ways. First, everything depends on the edition you have chosen.

Initial Salesforce Setting Up

The transfer begins the next stage of your CRM initiative with the finishing of records – a new system adoption. First of all, you have to check out the correctness of migrated data. Then you should enter the company details, add users and distribute the access permissions. The next step is to integrate mailboxes, add signatures to email templates.

In the process of business processes set up, many companies get obsessed with configurations. Try to avoid heavy system customizations during the first month. Otherwise, the end-user adoption will be complicated and take more time.

Besides, you should monitor the data entry and editing processes at least for 3-4 months to ensure that all employees obtain rules of data quality.

Salesforce data migration is an efficient option for uncovering new areas for your business performance. However, the process requires data preparation, strategy advancement, and extra team coaching. That’s why you should plan your CRM is rolling out and set up a clear, achievable final goal.

About Us

Focus on Force is the ideal preparation for your Salesforce Certification. I’ve spent eight years working with the Salesforce platform in various roles (including business analyst, project manager, consultant, solutions designer, and solutions architect), and worked my way through 10 certifications in order to move up the career ladder. 

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