Top 3 Risks Companies Run into When Migrating CRM Platforms and How to Avoid Them

Migrating CRM Platforms

Migrating CRM platforms can be a complex process that carries certain risks. But when 76% of surveyed CRM users say their biggest frustration with CRM is it’s either too complex, not intuitive or user friendly, or cannot be customized, the value of switching starts to look like it’s worth the risk in the long run.  

If you’re trying to avoid CRM implementation issues, it’s important to understand the major roadblocks you’ll probably encounter along the way. Some of these factors will be more in your control than others, but being aware of them will help you do your best to smooth out the transition before you start implementing a new CRM.  

Here are the top three risks we’ve noticed customers mention when looking to switch CRM providers: 

Risk #1: Data Migration 

Your CRM system contains critical information about your customers that can help drive positive business outcomes. When you decide to migrate to a new CRM system, you don’t want to lose out on this valuable data from the old system.  

But data migration isn’t just about taking data from one system and plugging it into a new one; it’s about making their existing data cleaner, more accessible, and easier to use. Here are a few risks many companies run into during the migration process: 

  • Siloed data—Data migration from various sources to a CRM is a challenge, so it should be approached with care and strategy. Before data migration takes place, make sure to prep your data to ensure a single view of the data is ready for the transference. 
  • Scattered data—To migrate data, one should map the source and the target. That’s clear. The problem is that, in different sources, data fields possessing equal information may be named differently (for example, Username and Account). Or, vice versa, equally named fields may stand for different values. That’s why it’s very important to map fields in a data source with appropriate fields in a CRM application. 
  • Data quality—it’s highly probable that before data migration is started, data needs to be transformed in order to make it compatible with a new CRM system. It should be cleaned from duplicates, incomplete records, outdated records, etc.

How Can You Avoid This? 

With data migration, the risks can be great, but you can protect yourself during the process by data mapping. The easiest first thing your organization can do is develop a thorough strategy and plan of attack. Careful planning, thorough testing, and involving key stakeholders throughout the process are essential to mitigate risks associated with CRM data migration. 

Only when the data is prepared, clean, and in the appropriate format can it be migrated to a CRM. Look for a vendor who will put together a thorough migration and adoption plan to make sure that not only is all of your data transferred and useful but also that your employees will quickly adopt the new system and begin to enter new information into the platform correctly. 


Risk #2: Process Redesign  

Migrating the data just as is leads to a CRM failure, as you simply take siloed data and move it to another system (the data still remains siloed). So, before data migration takes place, prep work should be done to ensure a single view of the data that is targeted to a CRM.  

Businesses tend to think about this process backward. They change the business process to match the software when in fact, the software should be matching your business process. For example, whenever a customer moves from system X to system Y, there is an element of process redesign. No one ever seems to say, “My process is perfect, and I want to keep it exactly 100% as is in the new system”, because most people have compromised and have changed things about the way their business works in order to suit the way the software works.  

How Can You Avoid This? 

CRM software implementation is a good place to start with reviewing and optimizing your business’s operations. Look for a company with a discovery process that is going to help you find the current cracks in your old system so they can fix them in the new system. Here are a few ways your company can use the discovery process to update current processes: 

  • Automate and integrate— Take advantage of the new CRM system’s capabilities to identify areas where automation can enhance efficiency and reduce manual tasks. Look for opportunities to integrate your CRM system with marketing automation, customer support, or other relevant tools to streamline data flow and improve collaboration. 
  • Simplify and standardize processes: Use the migration as an opportunity to simplify and standardize your business processes: Identify and eliminate redundant or unnecessary steps, establish standardized workflows, and define clear guidelines and best practices for your teams. This will promote consistency, improve efficiency, and enhance the overall user experience. 
  • Conduct gap analysis—Compare the features and capabilities of your existing CRM system with the new CRM system. Identify any gaps between the functionalities provided by the new system and your desired business processes. This analysis will guide you in deciding which processes need modification or customization. 

Other larger CRMs will encourage you to do things in a certain way because their software is too ridged to allow the flexibility you need to customize processes to your specific business needs. But you should start by assessing your existing business processes that are currently supported by the CRM system in order to identify areas of inefficiency, bottlenecks, and pain points that you can bring to your new CRM providers to address. 


Risk #3: Locked into an Existing Contract  

Another issue, which may also prove to be the toughest when switching CRM providers, is figuring out how to get out of an existing contract. In addition to subscription costs, the more complex CRMs can be expensive to set up and maintain. These CRMs also lock users into restrictive contracts, meaning they may be stuck paying for the tool even if they’re not getting value from it.  

Committing to change is probably the hardest part for any organization, especially if you have significant time remaining on your existing contract. There is a tendency to just stick with your current CRM, even if it’s doing more harm than good, rather than facing the perceived risk of a new project. And we get it, although the cloud has facilitated switching CRM systems more easily, it’s still hard for CRMs to prove tangible ROI in order to make breaking a contract worth it. But sometimes, the risk is worth it in the long run. 

How Can You Avoid This? 

Find a company that will fight for you. For example, some companies are willing to put together a promotion for you where if you have less than 12 months or so left on your contract, you don’t have to pay for both licenses. Larger CRM providers are going to tell you that it’s their way or the highway—they are not even willing to meet you halfway when it comes to your business needs. In contrast, a company with your best interest at heart is going to try and find common ground to make it easier for you to make that decision. 

Look for a company that will: 

  • Understand the pain points and limitations that accompany your current CRM system and that will gather specific examples of how these limitations are affecting their business operations. 
  • Clearly communicate the benefits and ROI you can expect from switching to a new CRM system by emphasizing their system can address your pain points, streamline processes, improve data accuracy, enhance customer experience, and drive business growth. 
  • Showcase how their platforms can be tailored to your specific business needs, allowing you to configure workflows, automate tasks, and adapt the system as their business evolves. 
  • Present the long-term benefits of how their CRM can adapt to your changing business needs, accommodate growth, and keep up with industry trends, ensuring that you stay ahead of the competition.

In Conclusion: 

Thankfully, moving to a new CRM, it’s not as frightening or challenging as you might think. Remember, you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to talking with vendors, but it’s essential to do some preparation and have conversations before choosing your new vendor. Do your research, find reviews, and find the CRM that aligns best with your business. 

Want to learn more about how to know when it’s time to switch CRM providers? Check out our infographic, SugarCRM vs. HubSpot vs. Salesforce, or get in touch with us! 

Emily Jahn
Emily Jahn Emily is the Manager of Content Marketing at SugarCRM with years of experience working in the SaaS industry. Her strong suits include long-form and short-form content creation, SEO-optimized writing, and editorial planning and promotion. When she's not reading, writing, or editing, Emily enjoys everything the outside world has to offer—hiking, camping, backpacking, and most importantly, skiing!

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