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Setting Up Your CRM and Migrating Your Data

So, you’ve finally chosen a customer relationship management (CRM) tool for your company or are in a free trial and wondering how to make the most of the platform. Now it’s time to start using it to drive results for your business—but first, you have to figure out how to set it up.

Setting up the system and migrating data in CRM software is an important process to perform before you open up the CRM to your whole team and integrate it into your day-to-day processes. Migrating some data is even helpful for seeing how the CRM works before you purchase a plan.

But what goes into CRM setup? How do you get started with a CRM?

That’s just the question we’re here to answer. Keep reading to find out more.

What is CRM data migration?

CRM data migration is the process of importing customer and lead data into a CRM from another source. Migrating data like contact information, customer communications, leads, and past sales into your CRM is crucial for ensuring your CRM functions as it should, helping your team track potential sales and nourish customer relationships.

What’s the importance of planning your CRM data migration?

Whether you’re switching from one CRM to another or all your data is currently stored in spreadsheets, planning your CRM data migration beforehand is critical. Here are a few benefits of performing a CRM data migration:

  • Speeding up onboarding: Simply throwing your data into a new system is bound to result in mixups for your team. Planning the migration and implementing best practices can help ensure your team is ready to start using your CRM right away.
  • Ensuring clean, usable data: When you’ve realized all the reasons why CRMs are better than spreadsheets, migrating your data into a CRM system can make your company’s data cleaner and more accessible.
  • Improving productivity: If your customer data is stored across multiple locations, importing it all into a CRM creates a single source of truth your team can use to work leads toward a sale. CRMs also offer other sales and marketing features to increase efficiency, including email automation and pipeline management. 
  • Generating business growth: CRMs can do a lot, from organizing your company’s data to generating actionable reports and providing an integrated sales and marketing platform. A CRM data migration can give your team the tools you need to sell better, ultimately resulting in higher revenue.

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11 steps to setting up and completing CRM data migration

There are a handful of tasks you can do as part of the CRM setup process. Different businesses might approach it differently, since each company has unique needs, and the process can look a bit different depending on the CRM.

That said, there are a few things every business should do when they get started with a CRM. Here are 11 steps to setting up the system and migrating data in CRM software! 

1. Define some goals for your CRM

Before you get started with a CRM, you should set some goals for its use. To set it up properly, you first need to know how you plan to use it. Ask questions like:

  • What sort of data will you import?
  • How will you use that data?
  • What sales and marketing tasks will the CRM perform for you?
  • Who on your team will use the CRM?

Ensure you have answers to questions like these before continuing with the CRM setup process. These answers will guide the way you configure the CRM in the steps below.

2. Create a data migration plan

Outlining some goals for the migration provides a guideline as you continue the process. Discuss with your team what kinds of data you need to import so your CRM will perform the tasks you need it to. You may need to import: 

  • Customer contact information 
  • Company websites and addresses
  • Sales history
  • Tags for organizing your data
  • Your products and services
  • And more!

You’ll also need to consider which sources you’ll be migrating data from. Potential sources could include spreadsheets and other software in your tech stack.

Finally, create a timeline for your data migration that works with your team’s and company’s needs. Data migration projects typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • Big bang: Migrating all of your company data at once is called the big bang migration strategy. This approach is the fastest, though it could increase pressure on your team because it leaves little time for testing. Big bang data migrations also require system downtime.
  • Trickle: Unlike the big bang strategy, the trickle strategy involves migrating a bit of your data at a time over several phases. Trickle data migrations allow businesses to avoid system downtime but take longer to implement and can become complex.

3. Clean your data

The next step is to clean your data before importing it into your CRM. Cleaning your data of any inaccuracies, redundancies, and other errors is crucial for ensuring data quality before migrating it to a new platform.

You’ll want to perform this step before your CRM data migration because if you put faulty data into your CRM, you’ll get poor results—garbage in, garbage out, as the saying goes. Assign one person or a team to go through all your customer data to update, synchronize, remove, and correct where needed.

Here are some things to remove when cleaning your data:

  • Mistakes
  • Outdated info
  • Formatting errors
  • Duplicate data

By eliminating all of those issues before importing your data, you can ensure that your CRM is actually producing accurate and useful results.

Furthermore, you can use the goals you set in the previous step to eliminate any information you don’t want to use in your CRM. For example, CRMs are for customer data. So, if you have data unrelated to your audience, you probably don’t want to import that into your CRM.

4. Complete a data backup

Once the data in your source system is clean, you’ll want to back it up to a secure location. Data backups ensure that you still have access to your company’s mission-critical customer information if something goes wrong during the migration process. That way, you can avoid losing time and your customers’ trust if you happen to lose some critical records.

An excellent place to back up your customer data is in the cloud. Wherever you choose to back up your data, set up a contingency plan before running the migration.

5. Customize your CRM settings

Most CRMs will allow for some type of customization. The best ones will give you various customization options across the platform. It’s a good idea to take advantage of these options and set up the CRM in a way that works best for your company’s unique needs.

First, seek feedback from your team about what features they need and how they plan to use the tool. This goes back once again to the goals that you set in the first step.

The things you can customize may include:

  • The metrics shown in your CRM dashboard
  • Which fields appear in your customer profiles
  • How you designate and organize companies
  • Which activities you log in your CRM

Setting the CRM’s configuration to fit your exact needs will make it much more effective at doing what you need it to later on.

You should also set up automated workflows where it makes sense for your business. If you can automate tasks like moving leads between pipeline stages, sending marketing emails, and generating reports in your CRM, your team can save time and work more efficiently.

To implement specific automated workflows, first determine which tasks you’d like to automate and what types of automation your CRM will allow. You can then design customized automation workflows to streamline your team’s use of the platform.

6. Configure integrations and add-ons

Another critical step in preparing your CRM for data migration is configuring any integrations and add-ons you want to use with the core platform. Integrating your CRM with other essential business tools your team uses provides many benefits. Integrations give you a complete view of your customers and enable you to start optimizing your processes right away.

Every organization has unique integration needs that depend on its industry, size, and company goals. However, there are a few essential CRM integrations every business needs, including: 

You’ll also want to consider other add-ons that your CRM offers that will provide even more value for your team and customers. For example, adding a native email marketing tool add-on that lets you create and automate email campaigns based on audiences created from your CRM data helps your team turn more subscribers into buyers. Setting up these add-ons can enhance your CRM’s functionality and drive more revenue.

7. Run tests on your CRM setup

The last thing to do before you begin large-scale implementation is to test out your CRM to avoid running into problems after you’ve already had your whole team start using it. Testing the CRM system also ensures it meets your established goals and can handle what you need it to accomplish.

Testing your migration with real data ensures that the migration was built effectively and can prevent complications. Testing also allows your team to fix any errors in your data formatting that could delay the process.

Before filling the platform with users, run some tests yourself to make sure everything works well. Some things to test include:

  • Data importing and categorization: You may want to migrate a small amount of data first to test whether the importing process worked before transferring all your customer data into the new system.
  • Sales automation tasks: Testing the automated workflows you set up can help iron out any issues before your team implements them in their daily processes.
  • Analytics report generation: Ensure that report generation works as it should before you begin relying on the reports for decision-making.

If everything is working as you want, you can take the final step of pushing the tool out to your whole team.

8. Data migration

With everything else in working order, you can migrate the rest of your customer data to your new CRM. Most CRMs support data imports from other CRMs, other software tools, and spreadsheets. 

Before migrating your customer and lead data, it’s important to consolidate the data from various sources. Different from data cleaning, data consolidation is putting all of your data in one file, which simplifies the migration process and allows you to add thousands of customers, leads, and companies to your CRM all at once.

If you’re having difficulties with your data migration, your CRM’s support team may provide data import services to help you get up and running quickly.

9. Complete data validation 

After migrating your data, it’s important to validate it to ensure the migration was successful. During data validation, be sure to check for:

  • Data loss
  • Correct formatting
  • Consistency 

Aim to complete validation as soon as possible after migrating your data, and preferably before your team logs into your CRM. Promptly validating your CRM data prevents any delays in your team’s workflows.

10. Onboard new users

Once you migrate the rest of your data, you’ll want to guide your CRM users through the onboarding process before rolling the CRM out for daily use. This step is vital because it helps your team get used to the new platform before they have to use it regularly. 

It’s always helpful to start training and onboarding your CRM users early during the CRM implementation process to make the transition smoother. Schedule hands-on training with your CRM users to help them become familiar with the system and provide training materials like your CRM’s support articles they can refer back to if needed.

A few hiccups may occur as your team becomes more familiar with your new CRM. Using a CRM with free customer support can be a huge help if you run into challenges related to your CRM data migration.

11. Implement data security measures

Remember that after migrating your data into your CRM and validating the information, you’ll need to conduct ongoing monitoring and maintenance to ensure that the new data being added to the system is accurate. 

Following some best practices for data security and implementing user access controls helps your company protect its customer data.  

It’s also a good idea to create a data validation schedule for your team to follow moving forward. That way, you get into the habit of ensuring data is still clean every couple of months or so.

Frequently asked questions about data migration 

Want to know more about the data migration process and how to use it to integrate your CRM with other business tools? These FAQs may provide the answers you need:

What tools can you use for data migration?

Many CRMs provide tools for importing data into the platform. Depending on the CRM your company uses, it could be relatively easy for your team to handle importing data from a spreadsheet on its own. Your CRM’s customer success team may also offer services for assisting in the migration.

Can you automate data migration?

You can use your CRM’s data import automation to help your migration go smoothly. Automation is a great tool for migrating company data, as it simplifies the moving parts of the migration process and can prevent errors.

How much does CRM data migration cost?

CRM data migration can be free or cost a few thousand dollars as part of your CRM implementation. The cost depends on which CRM you’re using, the amount of data you need to migrate, and whether your team can accomplish it on their own or needs help.

Nutshell is the ideal CRM for your company’s needs

Setting up a CRM shouldn’t be difficult. Really, though, it depends on which CRM you have. Some make it way harder than it needs to be, while others just don’t give you much flexibility. If you want a CRM that avoids both of those issues, Nutshell is the right choice.

Data migration becomes much easier when your CRM provides support for your team. At Nutshell, we created our CRM to give you the sales and marketing features you need to close more deals, and its ease of use is the icing on the cake. 

Nutshell also has the support you need to quickly get up and running so you can start realizing value sooner. Our team provides free white glove imports for companies during the onboarding process and makes sure your data is in top shape. And if you’re interested in other implementation services, we work with you to understand exactly how your company uses your data so we can help future-proof your processes.

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