Changing CRM platforms can be a daunting process. Luckily, most top-notch providers have a dedicated team of migrations specialists who work with each firm to ensure their information properly transfers to the new platform.

So how best to prepare for a CRM move? Here are a few expert tips to help you overcome your data jitters.

  1. Try before you leap. Does your new CRM offer a free trial? Take advantage of it and ask an account representative to walk you through the system. 
  2. Do you need a data migration? There are often basic tools available to import essential contact information — and for many firms, this should suffice. If you have comprehensive historical data that you need to be able to reference in a new CRM (activities, notes, documents, etc.), then a formal migration is your best bet. 
  3. Garbage in, garbage out. No one knows your data like you do, so before a migration, do a thorough cleanup to remove any outdated, duplicated or incorrect information. Don’t forget to update phone numbers and emails.
  4. Understand households. The number of people allowed per record varies by CRM, so before migrating, designate which contacts you want assigned to a record. 
  5. Complete unfinished business. Each firm marks activities complete in different ways – which could cause issues when moving to a new system. Consider how you want to use your new CRM and how your existing processes will impact your onboarding process before you begin a switch. 
  6. Make your own “top 10.” Pick your top 10 clients and review their records in your current CRM, noting how organized and manageable they are for your team. This makes for a great “spot-check” that can be applied to the rest of your database, constantly keeping records up-to-date and complete for maximum usefulness.
  7. Determine your active users. Some CRMs allow firms to maintain as many active users as they want, while others are limited by subscription level. Be sure to determine which users in your office will actively use the new CRM so their user profiles may be quickly and adequately set up.
  8. Back it up. As you plan to migrate, look into what it takes get a database backup. This will often be the cleanest data set, which means speedier migrations. 
  9. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your migration specialist about important data that may not have an obvious “home.” A specialist can work with you to find the right place for storage and retrieval. 
  10. Take a team approach. Multiple key users should review all data prior to a migration. At any firm, different users will need different information at their fingertips, depending on their roles and responsibilities. The more people who review the data during migration, the smoother the transition will be to a new CRM.

Perhaps most importantly, work with your team before a migration and figure out how you can use a CRM to optimize your operations and enhance internal communications. By having a plan and goals in place for your team, you’ll encourage better adoption and ongoing implementation.