In this day and age, when every company realizes the importance of business processes optimization, CRM data migration often turns up at the top of businesses’ agendas. Firms migrate from one CRM system to another looking for integration of several tools into one. They might also seek ways to automate specific processes or deploy a more flexible CRM.

Regardless of the reasons, CRM data migration is a tough question that businesses need to tackle with caution. It’s best when management and tech specialists draft the CRM data migration checklist together.

Here’s our ultimate checklist for data migration from your legacy solutions to a new shiny CRM that looks so promising.

CRM Data Migration

Data Migration Approaches

Before moving to our step-by-step migration guide, let us dwell on the main approaches to CRM migration.

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  1. The most popular approach is to deploy a migration tool that will handle CRM data migration automatically. There are several solutions of this sort on the market. Unfortunately, they work only for moving data between very similar CRMs, which is a rare case.

  2. Another way to migrate data into a new CRM is to upload a previously exported data file through the user interface. The success will depend on whether the new CRM can parse the data exported from the legacy CRM platform.

  3. Finally, the most efficient way to move data between two CRMs is by developing a custom script or software migration tool. All data gets transferred via API calls. This variant works exceptionally well when the source CRM includes integration with third-party solutions that need to become a part of a new CRM.

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Being the most effective, CRM migration via API, is also the most hardcore method for CRM data migration. Click To Tweet

It often implies the development of custom elements in the target CRM. In short, this approach calls for a team of qualified specialists.

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10-Step CRM Data Migration Guide

We will be mostly looking at the third method, when CRM migration is carried out via API. It requires considerably more efforts and has some pitfalls that we will help you to avoid.

1. Get the Team Ready for the Change

Getting all decision makers on-board with the move to a new CRM is vital for two reasons. First of all, they will be providing a business perspective, e.g., what fields can go away, or what new fields should appear in the target CRM.

Secondly, they will be the most evident users of the system and may become the most rigorous testers spotting some missed data or other glitches after the CRM migration has been finished.

CRM Data Migration - Planning

2. Review the Source and Target CRM

While reviewing the source CRM or other legacy solutions you need to identify the exact use cases of how you and your employees use the platform. The use cases will often dictate what data, fields, etc. will move to a new CRM.

Undoubtedly, there will be some outdated parameters of CRM entities that do not need to go into the new CRM.

Clearly, after reviewing the source CRM, you need to find all the necessary fields and entities in the target CRM. It will need to provide the “place” for the data

3. Spend More Time on Data Mapping

Mapping data is the most intricate process in CRM data migration projects. Keep in mind that you should transfer all entities into the new CRM in their entirety.

It means that if you acquired a customer Ben Hopkins during an email marketing campaign, he has gone through the sales pipe in two weeks, and now resides in the “Loyal Customers” group, etc. – all of this data should be available in the new CRM for the migrated Ben Hopkins.

The task of putting the data map together becomes even more complicated when you deal with several solutions that need to integrate into a single CRM. Click To Tweet

The same Ben Hopkins might have open tickets in your support system, which is also a subject for data migration.

Make sure that after transferring a single record into the target CRM you still have all its surrounding data from all your integrated legacy solutions.

4. Compare CRM Structures

The structure of a CRM should conform to the data that you will be migrating into it. Spend some time to examine all custom fields in your current CRM. Will you need all of them in the target CRM?

It may be the case that these custom fields will be offered in the new CRM out-of-the-box, or replaced by other means.

Some data from your legacy solution will take a different form in the new CRM platform. It’s a great chance to take a closer look at some of your “flat” data and add to it a dimension by attributing tags for example.

CRM Data Migration - Scripting

5. Create Migration Tool

The most technically challenging task, of course, is to develop the migration tool or a script that will automatically migrate all data into the new CRM platform. CRM migration service providers should be able to assist you with this.

A professional team of CRM developers will carefully think through the migration algorithms and an elaborate error detection mechanism, as well as many other components that make up a practical migration tool.

6. Secure a Data Backup

There’s no such thing as too much caution when it comes to data. You should create a backup of all data from your legacy solutions before you proceed to CRM data migration. Click To Tweet

Our word of advice is to shy away from a development partner who doesn’t mention data backup in their CRM migration plan. Many things can go astray during CRM migration, and losing your data is the last thing you want to happen.

7. Run a Couple of Tests

CRM data migration projects may turn into a real havoc if you decide to transfer all data in one take. It’s better to run a couple of trial migrations with several different samples of data. Do not be afraid of any errors, as it will help your tech team to improve their migration tool before they move all data into the new CRM.

This approach is excellent for integrating several complex solutions into a single CRM when the data for migration has a multilevel hierarchy and links to many objects.

CRM Data Migration - Execution

8. Migrate the CRM Data

After iterating on several test data migration rounds, it is finally time to migrate the whole data from the legacy CRM, or a range of solutions, into a new CRM. You are sure to find this step the most pleasing as it involves pressing a button “Migrate” and waiting for a “Successfully Migrated!” dialog to appear.

Of course, there might be some issues during the final migration; mainly when you work with many disparate systems that might not function well at the time of import. Therefore, a team of CRM developers will be essential during the entire process.

9. Clean up Migrated Data

Look for any inconsistencies in the migrated data during the first couple of days of using the new CRM. You may find some duplicates, missing pieces, or other overlooked details.

10. Train Your Employees

As with all new tools, getting used to their way of functioning is the most time-consuming process. Shorten this period by providing your personnel with adequate training. As soon as all your employees understand how to use the new CRM platform, you are well-positioned for increasing the productivity of your business processes.

Pitfalls to Avoid

Custom Fields in the Source CRM

Pay particular attention to all custom fields in the source CRM and see if you can find appropriate substitutes for them in the new CRM. Click To Tweet

There is a high chance the new platform will have additional fields for integrating the custom data elements.

Alternatively, ask the company that provides you with data migration services to add custom elements into the new CRM.

Missed Data

When combing through your current solutions, always check if they have some archived data that is not visible in the UI. It may be useful later on for building reports, etc.

Your CRM development team should spot such archived data during the test data migrations. It will pop up as a series of “random” errors. However, drawing CRM developers’ attention to this from the start will save time and efforts for optimization of the migration tool.

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Our Experience

Velvetech’s team has completed multiple CRM data migration projects for various CRMs: from Salesforce and SugarCRM to our favorite – bpm’online. Our CRM migration services include data migration from a single legacy CRM, or from an array of third-party solutions.

Velvetech’s team will be happy to assist you. Get in touch to discuss the specifics of your CRM migration project.

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