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Best Practices for Switching to a New CRM System


Choosing the right CRM software platform for your business can be hard; transitioning to a new CRM solution is harder still. Considering the hefty investment in their CRM tool, many companies shy away from making the leap. However, when the current CRM software fails to accommodate the evolving needs of your business, the switch seems imperative, and even indispensable.

Why Companies Switch to New CRM Solution

There are various reasons why companies consider switching to a new CRM platform.

Lack of Scalability: This is probably the most common and obvious of all reasons. When the legacy contact manager fails to evolve with the rapidly changing needs of your organization, you are left with two options: developing workarounds or forgoing functionality altogether. More often than not, the old database structure fails to support newer technologies, forcing companies to look for more advanced CRM solutions.

Increasing Costs of Applications and Users: The cost of supporting a legacy contact manager or CRM can go up over time. For example, when a long-time CRM administrator leaves the company, a lot of valuable knowledge in user setup, training and reporting can go with them.

Limited Access Methods: If a legacy CRM or contact management software is built only for specific versions of Windows PC or operating systems, the user can face a huge problem while migrating to a different Windows version or another OS.

Lack of Cloud Integrations: A legacy application may not always integrate with contemporary cloud-based sales automation software such as Zendesk, Hubspot or Marketo.

Steps Before Switching to New CRM System

Once you have made up your mind about embracing a new CRM solution, it’s time to plan for a seamless transition. Switching to a new CRM doesn’t have to be hard if you are following the best practices given below.

Get Input From Your Team: Even if you have already purchased a CRM software in the past, and your team is extremely familiar with your current application, you still need to follow the same process you did when purchasing your last CRM solution. Allow everyone to participate in the decision-making process, specifically the marketing and sales department. Ask them about the features they need in the new CRM software. Since they are already familiar with your existing platform, their feedback will guide you in the right direction.

Preparing for the Change: Getting your data ready to import into your CRM system is a crucial step. Even a single mistake could lead to waste of time and resources. To ensure a seamless transition from the old system to the new one, be sure to:

  • Gather all documents and contacts and save them in a separate file.
  • Make a list of all login credentials to pull information from your email marketing software.
  • Standardize and format all data before importing it into your new system.

Import Your Records: Once the data is standardized, you can start importing it into your new CRM. While it’s a fairly straightforward and easy process, you still need to make sure you’re not creating any duplicate records, especially if you’re entering the data manually. To be on the safer side, you could test a small batch of imported files to see if the data is correct and properly standardized.

Pro Tip:  7 Ways to Spring Clean Your CRM Data

Take Your CRM for a Spin: At this point, you have to import all your files into your new CRM system. It’s time to play around with the new software to become comfortable with the workflow and added functionality. Once you have mastered the new features in the CRM system, schedule time to train your sales and marketing teams on how to adopt them. Collecting their feedback and understanding their challenges with working on the new system is extremely important since they are the ones that will be using it for their daily tasks.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right CRM solution based on your requirements and ensuring a smooth and seamless transition to the new system are some of the common challenges businesses face. However, with careful planning, you can make the switch comfortably and reap the benefits in the long run.

Published on April 4, 2017