To ensure a smooth CRM transition, you need to be strategic. From data management to implementation and onboarding, there are many moving parts to consider.

Whether you’re just thinking about making a move or you’ve already made up your mind, now is the time to start developing your CRM transition plan.

This guide will walk you through the multi-faceted drive of switching CRMs and how you can increase your chances of success with your new system.

Create a transition plan

Start by identifying a realistic cutover or go-live date

If your legacy system has been around for years and your data needs significant cleaning, your conversion date may be months away. However, if your company’s CRM has data that doesn’t require much cleaning and has a simple data structure, a 30-day go-live plan might be possible.

Remember to ask key stakeholders about their availability. Your timeline will surely be delayed if your IT manager goes on a three-week hike in the Rocky Mountains. Setting aggressive goals is important, but some variables are beyond your control.

Select a project leader

Who in your company has the right leadership skills and technical know-how to ensure the success of the project? For many companies, that responsibility lies with someone in sales or in IT. Look for someone who has the right mix of authority, communication skills, and empathy. After all, your CRM is used by many people in many departments. Hence, it is important to consider the needs of all key users and stakeholders.

Identify important dates and unanswered questions

Work backwards from your deadline. Make a list of all the key milestones that must be met in order to achieve your goal. Flag any unanswered questions that could delay your timeline.

If your new CRM has built-in project management capabilities, you can use the system to manage the cutover process. When you switch to Insightly, you can break the project down into smaller projects that are tracked on a Kanban board.

Create an internal communication plan

One of the main reasons companies switch CRMs is to increase user adoption. Let your users know of your plan to switch CRMs and involve them throughout the process. A weekly email newsletter can be an inexpensive and effortless way to motivate and inform users. Let users know about upcoming milestones and when they will need to participate or enter. Regularly invite users to respond with questions or suggestions.

Take a strategic look at your CRM data

Bad data plagues most organizations to one degree or another. Switching CRMs is your opportunity to reduce the impact of bad data and put a process in place to prevent it from happening in the future.

First, ask yourself the following questions when evaluating your existing data:

  • What data do we actually need in order to be successful?
  • What data challenges are we currently facing and hoping to avoid?
  • Shouldn’t some of our custom objects or fields be migrated to our new CRM?
  • Do users rely on workarounds because they are missing the correct data objects or fields?
  • Do we have duplicate records that need to be merged or consolidated?
  • Which records (i.e. old leads) should be disposed of?
  • Does our current provider make it easier to export our data?

Understanding your current data challenges and deciding what to import (or remove) is just the beginning. You will also need to work closely with your new CRM provider to understand the migration specifications, data import templates, and any limitations.

Planning for variances in supplier terminology is also important. For example, a vendor might refer to opportunities as “Deals” and the opportunity value as “Deal Size”. Create a data dictionary (use a table as a starting point) to ensure that each object and field is mapped correctly.

Insightful tip: Here is a list of Insightly’s standard fields.

Migrate data to your CRM and test it

Many CRM providers offer CSV import templates that you can use to format your data for their systems. For example, if you switch to Insightly, you will want to access these sample files. When you move from Salesforce to Insightly, all you have to do is export your Salesforce CRM data and Insightly will migrate it with just one click.

If you need to format your data in the correct templates, double-check your work before you start importing data into your new CRM. Take a measured approach and apply adequate quality control at every step of the process. Here’s how:

Import a limited amount of data

Importing tens of thousands of records incorrectly creates confusion and wastes valuable time. First, try importing a dozen or two records to make sure everything works as planned. You can delete or merge these records at any time later. Just start, confirm your assumptions, and expand from there.

Understand your provider’s built-in deduplication capabilities

Many CRMs automatically look for duplicates when importing your records. Before uploading large data files, find out how your provider handles duplicates. This step can save you hours of unnecessary spreadsheets.

Compare your record numbers

After completing each data import, be sure to compare the number of records in your CSV and your CRM. Are there any differences? If yes why? Don’t assume everything was imported correctly. Implement checks and balances to avoid oversights.

Check the data reports for data link problems

Use the data reports built into your CRM to proactively identify problems related to linking records. Suppose you discover that your contacts and organizations are not properly linked. You may have forgotten to include the organization of the contact when you imported your contact database. Or you imported something in the wrong order. In any case, check your provider’s support documentation and continue working on your data.

Use your company’s collective genius to identify data problems

One person can only do so much. Two or more people can do great things when working closely – and CRM testing is no exception. Gather feedback from a few users across different departments, teams, and skill levels.

Train your teams to use the new CRM

Users need to know how to take full advantage of your new CRM. They need to know how to enter, view and manage their data – from anywhere and on any device. You also need a reliable process for asking questions, making recommendations, hiring new employees, and keeping up to date with feature releases.

Because of this, proper training and support is an important component of any CRM transition.

Most CRM companies like Insightly offer success plans that provide onboarding and implementation support. Take a close look at any of these packages and decide if it is right for your needs. If you don’t have the in-house expertise (or capacity) to properly train and integrate users, a CRM success plan can pay for itself.

Smooth sailing with your new CRM

Implementing a new CRM can be a challenge. It’s also a great opportunity to transform your business data into something more meaningful and valuable.

Take the time to plan your transition, strategize your data, migrate with caution, and train your users well. This way, your CRM becomes what you always wanted: the source of truth to help you grow your business faster.

Ready to switch? Request a demo and free needs assessment from Insightly to determine if this is the right choice for your business.

Request a demo