Best Practices for Data Migration During Integration

Migrating data into your CRM is an important step in setting up your CRM platform. To get the most out of your CRM, you’ll also want to integrate your CRM with other software in your company’s tech stack. With all your data safely migrated into your new system and your tools integrated, you’ll be ready to start improving decision-making, realizing value from your CRM, and closing more deals.

If your business is looking for how to migrate data into a CRM before integrating other tools like email marketing platforms, web analytics software, and others, you’ve come to the right place. Discover the six best practices you should follow when migrating data during your CRM integration. 

What’s the difference between data migration and data integration?

While you may have heard the terms interchangeably, data migration and data integration are separate processes with different implications for your company’s data management. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Data integration is when you merge data from several sources or systems into a single database, like a CRM. Data integration typically involves standardizing the data into one format within the target system. There are several benefits of integrating a CRM with other systems, including generating a more comprehensive view of your customers and increasing efficiency.  
  • Data migration refers to the process of moving data from one system to another. Data migration ensures the data is accessible and accurate after it moves locations, usually so the business can take advantage of a newer or better-suited system. 

Data integration is typically completed on an ongoing basis when a business wants to centralize and organize its data while continuing to collect data and support its daily operations using multiple tools. On the other hand, data migration is usually a one-time occurrence when upgrading to a new system or consolidating data from multiple sources into a single environment. 

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Understanding the relationship between data migration and data integration

Although data integration and data migration serve different purposes and concentrate your company’s data in different places, the two processes can work together in many ways. 

The CRM integration process is one of the biggest uses for combining data migration and integration. Migrating the data collected from various systems into a CRM is a crucial first step when integrating those systems with your CRM platform.

Data migration ensures the data from email marketing tools, collaboration software, and other systems is accurate, clean, and standardized when consolidating it in a single source of truth. From there, businesses can integrate those tools with the CRM and begin working from the central platform to make data easily accessible. 

6 best practices for data migration 

Migrating customer, lead, and sale data into your CRM during integration can pose some challenges. Following these six best practices for data migration will help ensure a smooth process:

1. Create a data migration plan

The first step in migrating your data into your CRM is creating a data migration plan. Outlining some goals for the migration provides a guideline as you continue the process.

Consider what you want the data migration to accomplish. Discuss with your team what kinds of data you need to import so your CRM will perform the tasks you need it to. You’ll also need to consider which sources you’ll be migrating data from.

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.

2. Clean your data

Migrating low-quality data into your CRM can leave your team with unusable information that complicates their workflow and may lead to mistakes. Cleaning your data of any inaccuracies, redundancies, and other errors is crucial for ensuring data quality before migrating it to a new platform. 

Clean data while it’s in the source system to ensure that you’re only migrating accurate, usable data. Assign one person or a team to go through all your customer data to update, synchronize, remove, and correct where needed. 

Now is also a good time to create a data cleaning schedule to encourage regular maintenance going forward. 

3. 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.

4. Conduct a test

Before migrating your data, it’s important to test the migration in a test environment. It might be easier to test your migration if you’re using the trickle data migration method, but even if your business is going all-in on its migration, it’s still a good idea to run through the process beforehand. 

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. 

5. Migrate your data

Once you’ve double-checked that everything works as it should, you can move to the actual migration. Sticking to your data migration plan as closely as possible is important to keep the project on track and avoid scope creep.  

After migration, you’ll be ready to implement a CRM integration strategy to connect your CRM with your other business tools. 

6. 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 

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. Create a data validation schedule for your team to follow moving forward.

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?

Your business can find a range of efficient data migration tools to move its data from one system to another. 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.

Can you automate data migration?

Automation is a great tool for migrating company data, as it simplifies the moving parts of the migration process and can prevent errors. Using automation wherever possible while migrating data and integrating your CRM with other systems is a good idea.

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.

Choose a CRM that makes data migration easy 

Following the best practices outlined above when migrating company data into your CRM will help you ensure a smooth transition, maintain clean and usable data, and ensure your data is secure throughout the process. 

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. If questions arise, we work with you to understand exactly how your company uses your data so we can import it accurately and future-proof your processes.

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