At some point, most businesses face situations where they outgrow their old software or encounter compatibility issues that force them to reevaluate their needs, and it’s no different for CRM software.
Customer relationship management (CRM) data migration can be a complex process, requiring numerous steps to ensure a successful transition from your old CRM software application to a new platform. In this post, we will address the CRM migration process, best practices, and strategies proven to help companies seamlessly and successfully make it through a complex migration.
What Is CRM Migration?
CRM migration involves transferring your customer data from one software program to another. This can include not just the data itself but also your settings and configuration information.
Since your CRM software is essential for tracking information related to all of your customers, it is vital to properly plan a platform migration well in advance and partner with a professional consultant to ensure the migration’s success.
Data Migration Process
A CRM conversion is a significant undertaking that requires strong technical knowledge and planning. Every migration is unique, but a successful process generally involves the following steps:
- Planning based on knowledge of the current and new platforms
- Determining who is responsible for which aspects of the migration
- Setting goals to accomplish in the migration
- Evaluating the historical/legacy data
- Planning the correct order in which to move data
- Backing up legacy data
- Data mapping to organize the data on the new platform
- Testing the migration to validate if there are errors to fix before finalizing the changeover
- Final migration
- Setting security and administrative privileges for the new platform
- Training your workforce to use the new system
What Are Common Reasons for a CRM Migration?
Most software platforms go through multiple revisions over the years to keep up with changing times. Still, systems will become outdated and no longer meet a company’s needs. When a popular platform reaches the end of its lifecycle, it’s essential for companies to plan for migration to a new platform.
In other cases, a CRM conversion is necessary simply because a company realizes its needs aren’t aligned with the platform originally chosen. There may be new integrations on another platform that serve the team better, or sometimes a company needs a change as it scales since larger operations often have more complex needs.
When Is the Right Time to Stop Upgrading Your Current System and Migrate?
Every situation is unique, but there are scenarios where your best option is more likely to be migrating to a new platform. When weighing your costs and important assets like time and employee resources, if hunting down integrations, making customizations, and upgrades has become a regular occurrence, it is a good time to talk to a consultant about your options.
In some cases, these costs can mount up to the point where it’s just as expensive to try staying with your current platform as it is to migrate. If you’re wondering about the cost of migrating, now is the perfect time to give us a call.
How to Assess Whether to Migrate to a New CRM Platform: 6 Indicators
The following are six key factors that can help you decide if it’s time to migrate to a new CRM system.
1. Current CRM System Evaluation
If your company realizes it’s limited in the metrics it can utilize in its current system or finds the feature set lacking, it may reach out to a consultant to find out what other platforms may serve its needs better. You can look at key performance indicators (KPIs) like close rate, upsells, sales cycle length, and customer lifetime value and see whether the platform’s features limit any of these.
It is likewise vital to evaluate the platform’s compatibility with current technology. For example, an older CRM platform may be incompatible with newer operating systems or browsers.
2. Performance and Efficiency
As technology advances with speedy cloud-based platforms and robust features, companies discover they can become much more efficient using a new platform. CRM migration to the cloud allows for numerous optimizations and improved performance features over the locally installed systems of the past.
3. Customer Satisfaction
Maybe your company’s current system simply isn’t yielding the results you hoped for. Low customer satisfaction, as indicated by reviews, word of mouth, or direct feedback, might indicate that your company can get better results from a more advanced system.
4. Integration Capabilities
Sometimes, a company plans to integrate third-party applications but discovers these features aren’t available or compatible with its current CRM.
5. Pain Points and Challenges
A company may uncover pain points such as disorganized customer records, ineffective communication, insufficient insights, or a lack of personalization features, attributing these issues to limitations in its current platform.
6. Business Goals and Objectives
Often, migrating to a new CRM platform isn’t directly tied to any one specific problem with a legacy CRM. Rather, the company is focusing on new initiatives to improve operational efficiency, optimize processes, and aim for higher goals. A CRM migration may be necessary to ensure the success of these initiatives.
Key Considerations for CRM Migration
If you’ve decided that a CRM migration is the right move to make, there are several essential things you need to consider:
- Avoid custom coding unless it’s unavoidable. In most cases, the added time, expense, and hassle aren’t worth it.
- Interview and communicate with users and stakeholders involved in the migration to clarify shared goals for the migration and make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Keep in mind the impact of the migration on your workforce. People will need to be prepared for the change and receive training on your new platform.
- CRM platforms come with different price structures, which must be considered if it means a significant change to budgeting. You also need to factor in the cost of the support you’ll need if you don’t have in-house expertise on the new platform.
The Importance of a Platform-Agnostic Approach
WayPath provides our clients with a platform-agnostic approach to system migrations. This means we aren’t trying to sell you a product to earn a commission. We’re here to provide the expertise you need to make an informed decision about the right software for your specific needs. We can help you weigh the features of multiple top platforms and determine which choice is right for your organization.
Deciding Between Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365
Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 are two of the most popular CRM platforms. Because both offer a wide range of features, the vast majority of companies at least consider choosing between a Salesforce and Dynamics CRM data migration. Most companies will face one of three CRM migration scenarios:
- Migrating from a legacy platform to either Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Migrating from Salesforce to Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Migrating from Microsoft Dynamics 365 to Salesforce
What Are Some Benefits of Migrating Data from Salesforce to Dynamics CRM?
Migrating from Salesforce to Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers the following benefits:
- Seamless integration of Microsoft products like Word, Office 365, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and more
- Cost-effective without compromising performance
- Enhanced scalability, accommodating your company’s growth with ease
- Access to Power Apps (which allows you to build custom apps connected to the data in the platform) and Power BI (a data visualization tool for powerful CRM data insights)
What Are Some of the Benefits of Migrating from Dynamics 365 to Salesforce?
Migrating from Dynamics 365 to Salesforce can provide these benefits:
- Powerful marketing automation
- Excellent lead management, contact management, and reporting features
- Strong security and compliance features
- Wide range of integrations with third parties
Both Dynamics 365 and Salesforce are robust CRM platforms with ample features and customization options. Deciding if one of these platforms is right for you will require carefully assessing your organization’s needs and budget.
Migrating to a Cloud-Based CRM
Cloud-based CRM platforms offer several significant advantages compared to on-premises platforms:
- Lower upfront costs and easier setup
- Easy access from any location and any device
- World-class platform security
- Numerous integrations
Whether you’re migrating to a cloud-based CRM from a legacy system or another cloud-based system, the process will require careful planning, including a thorough review of your existing infrastructure and comparison of the old and new CRM structures. A trusted partner like WayPath can help you every step of the way.
Data Security and Privacy
Cloud systems provide multiple ways to remain in control of your security. Prevent cyberattacks and mitigate threats with powerful encryption and varying levels of two-factor authentication. Plus, cloud-based platforms offer data logging, powerful auditing features, and redundant backups of all your valuable customer data.
Cloud CRMs adhere strictly to data security and privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
CRM Data Migration Strategies
The ideal CRM migration is a smooth process that protects your data at each critical step and results in superior metrics, security, and integrated features that serve your company well. The following are important strategies your team should consider as part of a successful migration.
Manual Data Entry
Although it is important to utilize automation for as much of the migration process as possible, manual data entry may be necessary when dealing with sensitive data or intricate customized solutions if problems arise. While there are safe automated processes known to work with a high level of accuracy, your team should know when it’s the right time to apply manual entry for verification and scrutiny of information.
Automated Data Migration
For data that doesn’t require an added level of scrutiny or have issues that require manual entry, automation provides a streamlined process for transferring data from one CRM platform to another. Automated tools radically reduce the time it takes to migrate data, but using them requires professional knowledge about what tools are compatible with different CRM platforms and which parts of the process they’re suitable for.
Data Transformation and Mapping
Data mapping involves establishing the connection between data fields in your old CRM platform and the corresponding fields you’re migrating the data to in your new system. The data may also need to be adapted or transformed to be compatible with the new CRM.
Like every stage in migration, this requires careful planning and expert knowledge, including understanding complex data structures and formats.
Testing and Validation
No matter how careful you’ve been throughout the data migration process, you can’t simply assume your new system is set up and ready to go. You’ll need to run a series of tests and validations to ensure the data is accurate and the system is functioning correctly.
CRM Migration Best Practices
The following best practices apply to any CRM migration regardless of the platforms involved and the scale of operations.
Planning and Migration Roadmap
A successful CRM migration begins with a strategy that considers all the changes required to make the most of the new platform. It’s vital for everyone involved in the migration to understand the goals, potential challenges, and necessary steps for success.
Prepare your organization for the coming changes, ensuring key team players understand the scope of the project and what roles each person will play.
The planning process includes creating a migration roadmap. You should have a clear vision of what success looks like, establish clear KPIs you expect from your new platform, and identify and plan for known difficulties and risks.
Carefully study the schemas and interfaces and prepare all elements that will be involved in the migration before beginning implementation.
Data Quality Assessment and Cleansing
Make sure you’re working with accurate information before moving it to a new system. You’ll need to perform a quality assessment to uncover any data issues. Cleanse the data and fix any errors before beginning the migration to avoid bringing old problems into a new environment.
Often, incremental data migration makes for the smoothest transition. Prioritize migrating the most current and relevant data to your operations first. Then migrate historical data in planned stages.
An incremental approach can help a team pace the migration. This helps manage the complexity of the migration and reduce the risks associated with a larger project, checking to see that each batch is migrated successfully before progressing to the next step.
Post-Migration Testing and Validation
This stage involves ensuring the new application’s architecture is functioning optimally. Experts in data migration will run tests to evaluate the end-to-end flow of data, checking all functions for discrepancies or missing data.
CRM Migration Project Management
A successful migration requires organized and comprehensive project management, ideally by experts who understand every step of the process and know how to handle any challenges that may arise.
Project Planning and Timeline
Planning your migration should include a comprehensive list of expectations that define the system changes, mapping of resources, and collaboration with stakeholders and specialists to ensure a successful result. You’ll also need to create a migration timeline and plan for any potential downtime, as well as any training necessary for the team.
Resource Allocation and Team Collaboration
You’ll need to determine and allocate the necessary resources for a successful migration, including both financial resources and the time and effort required from team members. Assign collaborators clear roles in the migration process. Ensure the team knows what level of communication is expected of them, and make sure to document each step of the process.
Risk Assessment and Mitigation
Identify any known risks and develop a strategy for managing them, including:
- Preventing data loss
- Handling the schema
- Working with data dependencies
- Integrating features
- Resolving corrupt data
- Preventing duplicate data
- Managing governance and compliance
Platform-Agnostic CRM Experts
At WayPath, we’re dedicated to getting to the root of our clients’ needs. Our loyalty lies with your company—not a specific software brand. Depending on the scale, integration, cost, features, and several other specific variables, we’ll uncover the right CRM for your team and make sure you’re armed to get the most from the platform you choose.
And, since no two businesses are exactly alike, WayPath knows that the right solution may not necessarily be perfect out of the box. If you need customizations, we’re ready to help with that, too.
Don’t Go IT Alone
A CRM migration can get complicated very quickly. With our IT expertise, you can rest assured your customer data will be protected through every stage of the process—and you’ll enjoy a seamless transition to a new platform that scales, improves efficiency, and offers more meaningful insights.
Maximize your CRM software investment with WayPath, leveraging our platform-agnostic expertise strategic consulting and seamless implementation.
Ultimately, you’re not the only one who wins. With better connections to your customers, they stand to benefit from your new CRM platform as well.
Ready to make the move? Get in touch with WayPath today!