CRM Software Tips: Get Your Data Ready for Migration onto a CRM

Date: Feb 24, 2015 8:26:00 AM

If your small business is moving to new CRM software or your company is trying out a CRM for the very first time, one of the most important tasks you need to think about is getting your data ready for migration.

Now, we know the words "data migration" can make people sweat and shake in their shoes. After all, your company data is an important asset, so messing around with it isn't for the faint of heart. Not to mention that sometimes the data is spread out among many people and in many different formats.

But here's the thing: your shiny new CRM software is only as good as the data you put into it, so it's imperative that you start with squeaky-clean info. Taking the time to organize all data and scrubbing it clean now will save everyone many headaches later—and it will make for a smoother transition to CRM nirvana.

Need some guidance? We thought so, which is why we're outlining some important points below.

Consistency is critical.

Make sure everyone records data using consistent fields. For example, if one sales rep uses "Company" for the businesses he calls on, but another rep uses the label "Organization," this will prove confusing and clunky during migration (and after). 

Establish standards for all basic fields and ask everyone to go through his or her data and make the corrections before adding the data to the new CRM. People should follow these standards even after the migration is complete.

When establishing these standards, pay attention to things like spelling and even capitalization (e.g. "Company" vs. "company"). This will make for cleaner data overall, which will be especially helpful when trying to perform certain functions, such as generating reports.

Don't ignore custom fields.

No doubt, your sales people have been using the most common fields, such as first name, last name, address, phone, and so forth. But what if your sales reps also have custom fields in their data? Should you upload those to the new CRM?

YES! At Fanhub, we think it's important to import as much data as you have for each contact. You'll still want to go through the cleanup process beforehand and follow the established standards discussed above. But you'll also want to review information that goes beyond the "basics" and start thinking how you—and your cohorts—might create and use custom fields for this information moving forward. 

Remember, a CRM is all about creating relationships with customers. So, sure—you need the basic 411 on each person like name, company, and so forth. But think about the other valuable information you and your team learn about clients and prospects during sales calls. Maybe you connect each contact record to a certain buyer persona. Or maybe you always capture two to three "pain points" for each contact record. Everyone could start using custom fields called "Buyer Persona" and "Pain Points" in the new CRM. This sort of information is a goldmine not only for sales, but also for marketing, customer service, and upper management.

For first-time CRM users, keep it simple.

If your organization is trying a CRM for the first time, you might be wondering how to organize your existing data for uploading. Excel is a great starting point, because it's a familiar program (especially in the sales world!) and most CRMs can handle Excel imports. 

Stay calm on the big day.

So when should you migrate data to the new CRM? During off hours? Overnight? On a weekend? The answer can vary from business to business, but as soon as your data is clean and your new CRM is ready to receive your spiffed up data, you're ready to rock and roll.

Because every company is different, however, data cleanup could take hours, days, even weeks. Remember, taking the time to scrub your data will make the actual migration/import go much more smoothly.

As for who should be in charge of the actual migration, it will depend on your CRM software. Some are complicated enough that you'll need IT's involvement, while others will guide you through the process or give you a way to upload your contacts yourself.

Data migration isn’t the end; it's just the beginning.

Once you've migrated all of your squeaky-clean data, you're going to want to continue adding to it, modifying it, learning from it, and so forth. In other words, you and your team should continue to follow the protocols established during the data cleanup as you move forward with new data that you input into the software.

Take advantage of the customizations available to you, make the system your own, nurture it, and use it every day. The more you use your CRM, the more valuable the data will be.

Wondering how data migration works in Fanhub?

Once you have your custom fields set up in Fanhub and mapped to your current data, we will do an import of your data at no cost to you and with no IT involvement on your side unless you need to move data directly from your current system.

The best way to get a feel for Fanhub is to set up a FREE trial right now. So, c'mon! Take Fanhub for a test drive today!

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