Transitioning between CRM systems is a momentous occasion. There's excitement, since this means that your business is now looking for new, better ways to improve. But, there's anxiety too. Data migration is a delicate and complicated process, and there's always a possibility of something going terribly wrong. Customer relationship management systems are built to support multiple users and hundreds of contact records, all of which need to be transferred without any potential loss.
There are many things to take into account, but it doesn't get simpler than these five steps.
1. Opt for CRM Solutions with Cloud and On premise Options
All savvy entrepreneurs are investing in automation technology, be that CRM software, an email marketing platform or something else. While reliable solutions are now easy to find, there's one purchasing dilemma that can't be avoided: should you opt for cloud-based or on-premise systems?
Each option has its pros and cons, however, there are some legal barriers which might affect your decision. Some countries impose special requirements to personal data security and not all cloud service providers can meet them. What's more, legal systems in some European countries prohibit data export out of the European Union. Therefore, there are situations when on premise solution is the only option.
Migrating from one solution type to another is feasible but risky, so stick to the middle ground. Choose software which provides both cloud-based and self-hosted services. It will give you more flexibility and enable you to move effortlessly between on-premise and cloud CRMs within one solution.
2. Leverage Migration Tools for Automation
One of the frequent questions about CRM migration is: can an entire process be automated? The truth is, it depends. The more data you have, the older and more customized your system is, the slimmer your chances are. Even in those cases, however, every bit of automation is more than helpful.
Not only can CRM migration tools move chunks of your data to another system faster and with ease, but they also cost significantly less than hired consultants. If you're considering to employ one (which we strongly suggest), you'll need to meet certain requirements.
First and foremost, your new CRM solution needs to have a well-documented API. In case this capability isn't available, you won't be able to use a migration tool at all. Furthermore, you should be careful with your choice of a migration tool. The process of switching CRMs demands duplicate checking, data cleansing, audit and testing, so be sure that your migration tool covers it all.
3. Compare Your CRMs
In more ways than one, CRM migration is similar to moving from one house to another. Both are an opportunity to go through your possessions and finally get rid of those that have no purpose or value. There's no point in moving obsolete and inaccurate data to the new system, which is why you should organize a cleaning session before the actual transfer.
That way, you can get a clearer picture of the remaining accounts. Since not all CRM systems support the same data format, you'll need to compare your old version with a new one and reformat your data if necessary.
It's possible that the latter has different categories, labels and fields as well, so make sure that it offers all the essential features, but that the entities in your current and brand new CRMs are similar as well. In case telephony is not included in the new version, for instance, all telephony records will be lost.
4. Include Your Sales Team
In 2017, CRM will mean the difference between keeping and losing your customers. Three years ago, 74% of CRM users said their CRM system offered improved access to customer data. The benefits of the application are certainly familiar to your CEOs as well, given that your company has made an executive decision to switch to an even better customer relationship management solution.
Though this resolution comes straight from the top, it's actually your dedicated staff that should have the deciding vote. Sales reps are the ones who will be using it on an everyday basis, and it's up to you to provide the tools that will make their daily tasks easier, thus optimizing their performance.
That's why audit and testing features of migration tools are of utmost importance. Instead of migrating all the data at once, move only a couple of chunks and give your employees an opportunity to test how they lay within the new software. It will help you make the best decision, while sales reps will gain some experience before the final implementation.
5. Keep Your Old System as a Backup
Even with all the precautionary steps and automation, there's still plenty of things that can go wrong during the migration process. Once again, we remind you that switching CRMs isn't easy, although that doesn't mean that common migration mistakes
will happen every single time, or that they will happen to you.
Just to stay on the safe side, don't put your old CRM out of practice just yet. Keep the license for at least a couple of months in case some sort of problem does occur. That way, you'll be able to backup your valuable data until you're completely sure that your new system is fully functional and reliable.
As long as you don't underestimate the work involved and rush into migration, the entire process will be finished exactly as you've planned. Be sure to carefully compare your current and newly chosen solutions, stay on top of data throughout the transfer and your advanced CRM version will certainly help you improve and grow.
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