Skip to content

How to Migrate to a New CRM System: A User Guide

You’re migrating to a new CRM system but you’re worried about losing all the valuable client data you’ve built up over the years.

That’s a valid concern.

Migrating to a new CRM system can be difficult if your current system is at all individual; for instance highly customized, home-grown, outdated, or with inconsistent data.

Sure there are tools that can help with your migration, and experienced consultants who can navigate the challenges, however it’s important to understand the options when evaluating possible solutions. After all, you want to choose the best appraoch for your particular needs.

Whether you’re migrating from a third party system such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, GoldMine, Sage CRM, Infor CRM (formerly SalesLogix), ACT, or an internally developed system, there are common elements to most migrations.

Let’s take a look at some of the areas you need to consider:

(or skip straight to our more detailed CRM Migration Checklist)

Changing the focus: contact-centric or account-centric?

Contact-centric CRM Systems focus on the contact, while account-centric CRM systems more easily tie together contacts with accounts/companies. If you’re moving from one format to the other you need to look at how you deal with the change as it can have tremendous implications for how your existing data is extracted and moved.

Managing lots of customized fields:

If you are hoping to use a migration tool to speed things up but have significant customizations, be aware that manual mapping will be required; you will not get a fully automated migration solution, although the tool should still save time.

Migrating contacts, addresses and companies:

This is normally the most straightforward part of the migration, the bit that tools and consultants are pretty comfortable with – unless your current CRM system didn’t consistently capture client details. If your data is “dirty” you’ll need to clean it up before migrating or you’ll end up with the same data problems in your new system. Consider a migration strategy that includes duplicate screening and data cleaning.

Migrating everything else:

This is where migrations can really get messy. Associated data, such as attachments, emails (including different email types), opportunities and history records, don’t always slot easily into the new system. If you are using a migration tool that says it can move everything, double check what this really means – ask for clarity on exactly what will be transferred and how much it will cost.

Are you duplicating your current problems in the new CRM system?

Sometimes it’s hard to get your mind around how the new CRM system works but this is really worth spending time on if you want to get the most out of your investment. Understand your business processes and how they will be reflected in the new CRM system before you decide on how to transfer client details. If you simply try to duplicate the current setup in the new system you’ll end up wasting you time and your money.

How does the CRM migration fit with Marketing Automation?

If you have a marketing automation system you’ll want the entire marketing-sales/CRM loop to be neatly closed; your migration will need to ensure that all marketing information is correctly represented in the new system, including the history and status of current leads. You might also need to look at ongoing integration to maintain a closed-loop solution.

Have you forgotten anything?

You’d be surprised how often companies forget about data until the last minute. This is the time to look at those niche spreadsheets and databases that are lying around, or consider that back office or web-based information your salespeople have been hoarding. It’s also the time to think about ongoing integration needs – invoice details from ERP and lead information from Marketing, for instance.

What else is there?

Most of the points covered so far relate to the quality and type of data to be moved, but there is much, much more to consider in the migration process. Here, in no particular order, is some additional food for thought:

  • Have all data owners been identified? Are they all on board?
  • Have you thought about security in the new system? Access levels?
  • Is the migration budget approved? Realistic?
  • Is there an owner or project manager for the CRM migration?
  • Have business processes been fully reviewed and agreed?
  • Is your workflow (current or projected) supported by the new system?
  • Do you really need to bring across everything from the legacy system?
  • Do you have a training program on the new system for users?

In addition to these, there are the technical aspects of your CRM migration:

  • Are you evaluating migration tools? If yes, how automated are the options? How well do they handle non-standard migration needs? Can they also help with integration?
  • Will you use internal or external technical services for the migration?
    • If internal, how much experience does your IT team have with CRM migrations?
    • If external, how well does the service provider understand your data? Have you been offered a fixed price quote? If not, why not?
  • Can you easily audit the migration process?
  • Can you easily test and refine your migration criteria?

The end result:

Managing the CRM migration is not simply about retaining data and making full use of the new system, it’s also about saving money.  Mistakes in the migration process, such as incomplete data transfer, wrongly placed client details and dirty data, have high costs: direct costs such as extra services and indirect costs such as reduced effectiveness.Good preparation avoids unnecessary costs and lets you focus on getting the most out of your new CRM system.

For more detail on CRM migrations take a look at our CRM Migration Checklist, or contact us with questions or to book a free webinar. InaPlex is always happy to provide complementary advice by phone, email or webinar, so please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Inaport, from InaPlex, delivers CRM integration and data migration solutions for leading CRM systems including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sage CRM, Infor CRM (previously Saleslogix), GoldMine and ACT. It has a range of connectors and maps for quick results, and its straightforward approach provides a wealth of powerful functions. To learn more please book a free webinar, download a free 30 day evaluation license, or visit the InaPlex website.


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: