Moving data from one CRM system to another is more complex than copying a file to a new folder. It involves migrating information from one complex system to another, sometimes completely unrelated complex system.
The task can be daunting, which is why firms like mine, Super Easy CRM, can keep the lights on. If you'd rather go it alone, here are some simple, effective tips to successfully move your data to your new CRM platform.
Start the process of CRM data cleansing
Prepare your new system by adding the required fields and logic
Export the data from your source system
Clean your data, pay attention to date formats, character limits, and picklist values
Use the new CRM's import tool to bring in a small subset of data
QA the resulting records
If all fields match 1:1, let your users QA
If your users give you the green light, import the remaining records
QA a larger sample size, ensure larger fields were not truncated during import
Cleansing the data in your CRM involves removing all the noise, inconsistencies, and formatting issues from the records in your CRM database. Here is how I've done this for years
Establish a baseline for acceptable data: This is the holy grail for how the data should look in a perfect world for the organization.
Export database one table at a time: Break up your exports into modules (Contacts, Leads, Projects, etc). This will allow you to segment your process and focus on the minute details of each interconnected part of your overall database.
Analyze the data to identify anomalies: With your benchmarks ready, begin to parse the data to identify inconsistencies. I create custom Python scripts for this but Excel and other data analysis tools work fine as well. Just use whatever you're comfortable with, they all essentially do the same thing.
Once you're satisfied with your dataset, it's time to prep your new system for import. This is the step that will consume the majority of your time.
Its generally a good idea to engage either the CRM vendor or rigorously consult system documentation when customizing fields and logic in a new CRM system. Each platform is different and may handle fields in a completely different way than you anticipated.
I once migrating an open source instance of vTiger to SuiteCRM and discovered shortly after testing that integers were rounded to the nearest whole number regardless of what you specify in the system. In most cases this wouldn't be a big deal but in this case every cent mattered to my client, so I had to make adjustments.
This may not be the case with your migration but be prepared for some unexpected twists and turns, especially if you're moving a poorly documented CRM system.
With the new system prepared and properly provisioned, it's time to export your data and start the import process. Nearly every CRM application I've worked with has some form of import tool that will eliminate the need for manual data entry.
CRM data entry s a vital part of daily operations, but it should be kept to a minimum when migrating data. The practice in and of itself is error-prone, especially when entering massive amounts of data. Keep this to a minimum to reduce the amount of junk in your new CRM.
Once your data is cleansed, checked, and ready to go, hit the import button. In a matter of minutes, you'll see data start to fall in place. When the import is complete, be sure to check as many records as humanly possible to ensure the data imported properly.
Check for truncated fields, improperly rounded numbers, malformed data, odd date formats, and anything else that looks weird or out of place.
A CRM is a tool you'll use every single day so do your best to make it an enjoyable experience. Adjust the UI components so things are easy to navigate and eliminate any unused modules that add clutter to the screen.
And, if you ever get stuck on your migration, feel free to shoot me a DM on Twitter! I'm always eager to dive into a CRM migration or customization whether it's halfway done or just getting started.
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