A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a crucial tool that helps businesses streamline their sales, marketing, and customer service functions. It serves as the hub for customer data, fostering improved communication, enhancing customer engagement, and driving sales growth.
However, there comes a time when your CRM no longer meets your evolving operational needs or fails to keep up with the rapid pace of technological advancements. That's where CRM migration comes in.
What is CRM Migration?
CRM migration refers to the process of transferring your customer data from your existing CRM system to a new one. It's about enhancing your capabilities, improving functionality, and boosting productivity, all with the aim of better serving your customers.
Migrating to a new CRM isn't a decision to be made lightly. Some people believe that they need to change their tech stack once they reach a certain growth stage. While this might be a good reason if your software can't support your scaling, a migration is a resource-intensive technical process that can create problems for your business. It's crucial to know why you're making the change before embarking on the migration process.
For instance, if you need a platform that can better support a larger team of users, your current system is antiquated and can't accomplish everything your business needs, or you want specialized advanced functionality, those are all valid reasons to migrate to a new software.
Knowing these reasons in advance can help you ensure the migration process sets you up for success.
Benefits of Migrating CRMs
Migrating to a new CRM system can offer a range of benefits that help your business operate more efficiently and effectively.
Enhanced Data Cleanliness
Migrating your CRM is an excellent opportunity to clean your data. As you move your vital data from one platform to another, you can leave behind outdated, irrelevant, or erroneous data, which can enhance the accuracy and usability of your customer information.
A new CRM can bring better or more specialized functionalities that your old CRM lacked. This could include better integration with other systems, more sophisticated analytics, enhanced automation features, or improved user interfaces. The new CRM can better support your 'need-to-have' capabilities, adding significant value to your operations.
A new CRM may offer better value for money, either through lower licensing costs, reduced need for custom development, or less resource-intensive maintenance. It's also worth noting that by only migrating essential assets, you could save significant time and resources, translating into further cost savings.
With better functionalities and cleaner data, your new CRM system can boost your return on investment. It can enhance customer engagement, optimize your marketing efforts, streamline your sales process, and ultimately increase your revenue.
A well-chosen CRM system can greatly enhance your team's productivity. By offering user-friendly interfaces, automating routine tasks, and providing real-time insights, the new CRM can enable your team to work more efficiently and focus on what really matters: building strong customer relationships.
CRM Migration Challenges
While CRM migration can offer numerous benefits, it's not without its challenges.
Ensuring all stakeholders are on the same page regarding the need for migration, the choice of the new CRM, and the migration plan can be a major challenge. This includes not only top management but also the end-users who will be using the CRM daily.
Data gaps or loss during the migration process is a significant concern. Ensure all essential data is correctly mapped and transferred to the new system without any loss or corruption.
Lack of Collaboration
Migration is a cross-functional process that requires close collaboration between various teams - sales, marketing, IT, customer service, and more. The lack of collaboration can lead to missed details, inconsistent data, and delays in the migration process.
Migrating Everything at Once
Moving all data and functionalities at once can be overwhelming and risky. A phased approach, where data and functions are moved in manageable chunks, can be more effective and allow for issues to be detected and resolved early.
Lack of Experience
If your team has never undertaken a CRM migration before, they may be unfamiliar with the process, potential pitfalls, and best practices. This is where choosing the right CRM migration partner can make all the difference, providing the technical expertise and experience necessary for a smooth transition.
How to Plan for a Migration
Successful CRM migration is a result of meticulous planning. Let's dive into some crucial steps of this planning process.
Understanding the 'Why' of Migration
Before you initiate any migration project, understanding the reasons behind the need for change is crucial. For instance:
- Are you aiming for a platform that can better support a larger team?
- Is your current system antiquated, unable to fulfill your business needs?
- Or are you seeking advanced, specialized functionality?
Having clarity on these reasons can guide the migration process and set you up for success.
Identifying Core Business Processes
What core processes of your business are vital to your migration? Is it contact management, lead tracking, marketing automation, customer service, or analytics? Remember, your CRM isn't just about customer data; it's also about the business processes that data facilitates.
Distinguishing 'Nice-to-have' from 'Need-to-have'
When planning your migration, differentiate between the "nice to have" and "need to have" capabilities. Asking these questions can help you prioritize your migration needs:
- What aspects of your CRM are part of live campaigns?
- Which segments contain valuable historical data?
- What features do you need from day one in your new system?
- What can be built later? What integrations need to be accounted for?
Evaluating and Transferring Essential Assets
The principle "time is money" holds true in CRM migration. Focus on transferring essential assets that have important data attached or are used regularly. This could include historical data, live campaigns, essential customer records, and more. Old, inactive assets may not warrant a move.
The migration process can be a great opportunity for data cleanup, enabling you to leave behind non-essential assets that have amassed in your old platform. You may want to use a spreadsheet to confirm what items will be moved over and how.
Understanding and Translating Automation and Systems
Your current CRM system may have unique functionality or automation that might not have a direct equivalent in the new system. For example, Pardot has two systems for lead qualification, one for grading and one for scoring, while HubSpot only has one default lead score property.
Understanding how these systems translate to the new platform is essential to ensure you continue to benefit from similar functionality. It's possible to replicate some functionality, but it might require extra work and won't be exactly the same.
Deciding What to Migrate
You should carefully identify what you want to specifically pass over to the new system. The specific assets and data that need to transfer will vary depending on your system and usage. For a CRM, it can include contacts, companies, and deals. For a marketing automation platform, it might be automated workflows, email templates, advertising campaigns, etc.
Within those broader categories, consider the active usage and value of the assets. For instance, if you have 100 thousand contacts but have only engaged with 30 thousand in the past year, you might choose to import only the engaged contacts.
Setting a Timeline
When planning your migration, understand the end date of your current software contract and aim for some overlap with your new platform. This will give you time to transfer data, run quality assurance checks, and troubleshoot any issues.
We recommend a one-month buffer period between the estimated completion date for your migration and when your old contract actually ends. The migration process itself usually takes one to two months, but it can vary depending on the specifics of the platforms and the scope of what's being transferred.
How to Choose the Right CRM Migration Partner
Selecting the right migration partner can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and successful transition. Let's consider some key factors that can help you make the right decision.
First and foremost, ensure that the migration partner has the required technical expertise. They should be well-versed in both your current and future systems, and have a deep understanding of data mapping, data migration, data cleaning, and integrations. A partner with robust technical know-how can easily identify potential issues and provide effective solutions to ensure a smooth migration.
Experience and Proven Track Record
A partner with a proven track record in CRM migration projects is more likely to handle your migration successfully. Look at their portfolio to get a sense of the size and complexity of migrations they've handled in the past. Additionally, check client testimonials and case studies to understand their work style and level of customer satisfaction.
Understanding of Your Business Needs
The right partner should be able to understand and cater to your specific business needs. They should be capable of helping you identify the 'need-to-have' features and 'nice-to-have' features, as well as understanding your customer relationships and how they should be reflected in the new system. They should be able to translate your unique business processes into the new system, ensuring that it supports your sales, marketing, and service operations effectively.
Project Management Skills
Your migration team should possess strong project management skills, being able to define the project scope, establish timelines, and manage resources effectively. They should be able to provide you with regular updates, identify potential risks early, and keep the project on track.
Training and Support
Your new system may be unfamiliar territory for your team. The right partner should provide adequate training to your team to help them get accustomed to the new system. They should also offer post-migration support to handle any issues that might crop up after the migration process.
Finally, it's important that your migration partner aligns with your company's values and culture. They should be communicative, transparent, and collaborative, treating your project with the same level of care and respect as you would. After all, they're not just a service provider - they're a partner in your growth.
By considering these factors, you can ensure that you choose a CRM migration partner who will help you navigate the transition effectively and set you up for success in your new environment.
In order to make your migration process as seamless as possible, you need to understand why you’re migrating, understand what the most essential automations are and how they’re capable in other systems and identify what specifically needs to be moved into your new platform.
It’s also important to make sure you have a clear understanding of what can’t be moved. For example, if you’re migrating between HubSpot and Salesforce, contact attachments (like tracked emails) might not always be able to be transferred over. So that’s something you’d need to be aware of at the start of the project.
Finally, keep in mind that your new system will not be identical to your old one. So, make sure you’re able to speak to what the differences are, so you can enable your team to get everything they need from your new platform.
Wyatt is a Revenue Operation Specialist at New Breed. He works to implement Marketing and Sales automation to align both departments with a strategy for combined success.