Migration from one CRM system to another or even switching from managing customer data in spreadsheets to Salesforce.com or some other CRM can be tedious. Once you have your new CRM configured and ready to use, although adding new records that were not previously there is quite simple, shifting previous data into your new CRM often needs a good amount of effort and a few things you need to pay close attention to.
The data in your existing format may need some amount of formatting, enrichment, and cleansing before it's ready to upload into the new system and instead of considering it an evil that comes with the migration process, you could also look at it as an opportunity to get your data cleaned up and in shape to reuse within your new system. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while migrating your CRM data:
- Remember "Murphy's Law" and make sure you have an exact backup of your previous data and your new CRM as it stands before the migration process so that if anything goes wrong you can roll back to where you were before it all went wrong.
- Check a data upload format or some reference which tells you which additional data fields are compulsory in the new CRM and identify how it's different from the fields you currently have or your existing structure for records.
- Carry out a data append effort to add any additional data items that are missing, remove those that are not required and make sure you have complete records which are ready to be migrated to the new CRM. If you don't have the bandwidth to do this internally, make use of a data cleansing service like on ReadyContacts.com
- Use the opportunity of having to go through all the data to update it, normalize what is there and ensure it's ready to reuse.
- Categorize and label your data very systematically as soon as it moved to the new system, It makes retrieval much easier and the more data you have which has not been put into the right sets, campaigns or is not labeled, the messier the database will be at a later stage.
- Put into practice any policies on entering data as soon as users switch to it so they are familiar with the new requirements and are particular about data that goes into the system from day one.