How to migrate your data to a new CRM

When implementing a CRM, one of the most vital tasks that your team will face is data migration. By migrating your business’ historical data into your new CRM, you’ll ensure that your teams can report on effective sales strategies, benefit from improved productivity, and improve your overall sales performance.

Shifting to a brand-new system can be a difficult task, especially considering all the risks involved in getting the process right. Data migration specifically carries a ton of risks as the process of moving your critical data and information from one system to another could go drastically wrong. So, here’s the best way to approach the data migration process.

Start with a plan

Migrating your data is one of the most important parts of implementing a new CRM into your business. In order to get this process right, you need to start with a clear plan of what you need to do, and how you need to do it. You will need to thoroughly audit your work, even after the CRM implementation project is finished to ensure success.

  • Auditing will highlight any potential roadblocks to your CRM projects’ success.
  • Building a clear migration plan can save your team members months of effort.

Having a clear data migration plan increases the likelihood of a successful implementation. Your team will run into fewer obstacles, and if you do run into any problems, your entire project won’t be thrown off course. Having a plan in place will help your team to measure your progress and visualise your project, keeping them on course for success.

There are three steps to a CRM data migration plan:

  • Double-check objects (both standard and custom), records, associations, and properties to ensure that no data will be missed in the migration. 
  • Analyse key reports and lists from your previous system to make sure they can be recreated (or improved) in the new CRM.
  • Perform a “delta migration” to transfer any newly modified data that may have been left out of your initial migration.

Determine which data needs to be migrated

Your next step in migrating data to your new CRM is to identify which data you want to migrate. It might sound simple enough, but it’s incredibly easy to miss out on crucial pieces of data if you don’t have clear guidelines established beforehand.

Here are a few examples of identifying migration data:

  • Contact information.
  • Demographic information.
  • Customer interaction logs.
  • Customer preferences
  • Customer purchase history

While these are general guidelines, the specific data that you migrate into your CRM will differ from one business to another.

After identifying the data that needs to be migrated, it’s also important to take care of your data structures. Data structures are the methods used to store, organise, monitor, and change data elements.

Assessment of data quality

Analysing your data is just as important when it comes to the data migration process. Oftentimes the data being migrated is not up to date or needs to be altered in some way to ensure that it remains accurate and relevant.

During the quality assessment, your goal is to ensure that the most important data is transferred over to the CRM. This means deleting outdated or duplicated data as well as any data that is no longer relevant to your business. 

Data mapping

The data mapping process involves drawing up a “map” of where your data will be stored once it’s been implemented into the CRM.

Using data mapping will ensure that your data is migrated to the correct location in the CRM. The success of your CRM implementation project will be determined by how accurately your data is migrated.

There are six main factors to consider when creating a data map:

  1. Identify the data groups that need to be migrated.
  2. Analyse the data entries that fall under respective groups.
  3. Double check the format of the data after migration.
  4. Determine whether the migration process will be manual or automated.
  5. The frequency of data transfers.
  6. Customisations in the CRM tool that may affect the data migration.

Make sure your data is backed up

Losing any of your data during the migration process can be devastating. You need to ensure that your data is backed up securely before starting your migration process.

Backing up your data to secure cloud storage is more reliable than physical media devices. Ideally though, you need to make sure to back up your data on both formats, especially if your data is critically important.

Before migrating, test it out

If you want to ensure that your data migration will be a success, you need to make sure to test it first. Data migration is a dangerous process — data could be lost, transferred to the wrong place, or there might be an error with your entire migration process. Sometimes there are external factors outside of our control (loadshedding) that could derail the entire process.

Ideally, you want to make sure that your process is running smoothly to ensure that everything goes to plan. The best way to test your migration is to first transfer a smaller portion of your data to see if it works as intended. 

Should you run into any problems while migrating the smaller portion of your data, it will be much quicker and easier to fix the issues. You can also ensure that your entire data migration process will run smoothly because you would have learnt from the failed data transfer.

Migrate your CRM data

Once you’ve gone through all of your pre-flight checks, it’s time to start the process of migrating your data into the CRM. If you’ve followed all the proper steps and avoided taking any shortcuts, then your data migration process should be seamless!

You need to make sure to migrate the following:

  • Standard and custom objects, if you’ve determined their need for custom objects in the new CRM
  • Properties (for all standard and custom objects)
  • Parent/child relationships in relevant objects
  • Object and data associations

Analyse the migration of your data

When everything is done, it’s time to take a look at your data migration and determine whether it was successful or not. The evaluation process is just as important, so make sure you don’t skip over this!

You should evaluate the following elements:

  • All objects (as far as possible) have been migrated (or integrated appropriately).
  • All properties/fields/tags related to the objects have been migrated (or integrated appropriately).
  • All associations between objects and properties have been migrated (or integrated).
  • All physical data has been imported, such as data stored in physical files or folders.


Data is one of the most important assets that any business has. When implementing a new CRM into your business, it’s crucial that you pay close attention to the data migration process. It might just be one step in the entire implementation project, but this can be classified as an entire task on its own. Make sure to get in touch with a GoCRM expert for a seamless CRM data migration process.


Is it worth using a free CRM?

As essential as CRM systems have become, they can also be pricey. The expense of implementing and running CRMs is what can throw many business executives off using a CRM, which causes them to lose out on the incredible CRM benefits that their business could take advantage of.

CRMs can be used in a variety of different ways, but overall, they bring so much to a business that it’s hard to overlook them. If you find most premium CRMs to be too far out of your budget, you might be looking for a free CRM to use.

The thing is, there’s always a catch when you choose something that’s free. So, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth choosing a free CRM over a premium one. Keep reading to find out. 

What’s the catch with free CRMs?

CRM systems play a vital role in businesses all around the world. From building a vault of contacts to tracking projects and marketing your business, there are tons of invaluable tools and features on a CRM that will help you to streamline and grow your business. There’s no doubt that CRM systems are vital, but they can be expensive when you need to pay for each user on a monthly basis — that’s why many small businesses seek out free CRM systems.

There are a few important limitations that you can expect to run into when looking for a free CRM. It’s important to keep these restrictions in mind when you make your final decision as it will affect your business. But, it’s even more important to consider the premium features of the CRM too. When you inevitably need to upgrade to a premium package, you’ll want to ensure that the CRM you chose is good enough and has all the features that allow your business to thrive.

CRMs will always limit the free version of their system because need businesses to subscribe to the paid version in order to make money. Each CRM will use one or more of the following restrictions for the free version of their CRMs.

Limited users

The idea behind a CRM system is to connect the different teams in your business and streamline work between departments and geographic locations. Most CRM systems will limit the number of users that can use the free version of their system. This tactic to used to encourage businesses to upgrade their plan as their business needs grow.

Limited time

Many “free” CRMs will limit the usage of their systems. The majority of CRMs will use a 14-day trial, but it’s not uncommon to find free trials that could last up to a month. Free trials can be frustrating for many people because it means that the CRM is technically not free. Nevertheless, this a restriction that is still used in some cases.

Limited features

The most obvious restriction that CRM vendors have with their free plans is limited features. Almost every free CRM will limit their features. You can expect limitations on the number of contacts in your database, app integrations, marketing limitations, watermarked emails, and much more. These are just a few ways in which CRM systems can be limited in their free plans.

Most popular free CRMs

There are a couple of different CRMs that offer free plans. Each CRM is unique, and you need to take a few factors into account when choosing the right CRM for your business. Keep in mind that no single CRM will suit every business, so you need to make sure to do thorough research on each free CRM before you make your final decision.

That means you might not even find the perfect CRM for your business on the list below. We’ll try our best to refine your search by describing what each of the CRMs below specialises in. Later on, we’ll also be discussing our top choice for free CRMs.

The CRMs on the list below are some of the most popular choices among small to medium-sized businesses according to Forbes is a great, easy-to-use CRM that will help your business stay organized between tasks. Their platform is highly customisable, so you can tailor it to any business. The free plan offers you a basic pipeline that is incredibly simplistic and straightforward with drag and drop capabilities.

You can organize your team members by assigning them tasks and notifying them of their deadlines. The free version of Monday is great, but when it comes to bigger businesses, it might fall short of your needs and expectations. If you need to have more than two users on Monday, you need to move over to the paid plan, which starts at $8 per user per month.

Who should use Monday: is a great fit for small teams that need some organisation in their business. What’s great about Monday is that you can customise it to your liking, whether you want to track sales, plan your marketing campaign, or just oversee the progress of a project.


EngageBay is one of the smaller and lesser-known CRMs out there. It’s likely that you haven’t heard of them before, but they offer a comprehensive free package that is an all-purpose solution ideal for small businesses.

From email marketing to live chat functions and sales tracking, EngageBay will give you a whole host of features without charging you a cent. It’s rare to find a CRM that allows users to streamline their business with so many essential features on a free plan. There are some limitations to the free plan, and some features are locked behind the paywall. But, EngageBay will allow up to 15 of your team members to use their CRM features for free. EngageBay’s paid packages start at $14.99 per user, per month.

Who should use EngageBay: EngageBay is one of the few comprehensive CRMs on the market, even though it’s not well renowned. This CRM is perfect for teams with 15 members or less who need to use a CRM to stay connected and streamlined.


Insightly offers a free CRM, but it’s difficult to grasp exactly what they offer. In order to get an idea of their free features, you need to sign up and install the CRM first. From there, you will be prompted to unlock additional features in the paid version of the CRM.

Despite the unknown free features on Insightly, it remains one of the most popular CRM options on the free market. One of the highlights of Insightly’s CRM is that it comes with an intuitive mobile app, so you can manage your contacts while you’re on the move. Insightly is only free for up to two users, and if your team is bigger than that, you will need to move onto the paid package. The paid version of Insightly starts at $29 per user per month.

Who should use Insightly: With Insightly’s free features (purposefully) hidden away, it’s difficult to determine whether it would be a good fit for you or not. From our testing, we can tell you that the free plan for Insightly is good for a team or two, which is not enough for most businesses. Nevertheless, the CRM has a comprehensive set of features 

Zoho CRM

Zoho is one of the biggest players in the business application market. With several useful tools and apps available from this Indian tech company, it’s no surprise that a CRM is also available from them. Zoho CRM is a great platform that offers a ton of useful features, but it’s especially powerful when you combine it with other Zoho business apps

As for the free version, you can have up to three users using the system at no charge. But, in addition to that restriction, you’ll also be limited when it comes to features. There are no third-party integrations or AI features. The best free features are the best suited to businesses that only need to track leads and contacts. The paid version of Zoho CRM starts at $14 per user per month.

Who should use Zoho CRM: Zoho CRM is best suited for small new businesses that don’t need a comprehensive CRM solution. Zoho is also better suited to businesses that already use other Zoho applications as they are the only applications you can integrate with Zoho.

Why HubSpot is our favourite free CRM

That brings us to our top pick for free CRMs — HubSpot. HubSpot allows you to use their CRM for free with an unlimited number of users. There are limitations on some of the CRM features that you might need, but the features offered on the free version of HubSpot are comprehensive enough to support small and medium sized businesses.

What’s especially great about HubSpot’s CRM is that it is divided into three branches: the Sales Hub, Marketing Hub, and Service Hub. Each of these three branches can be upgraded to a paid version as and when needed. This means you don’t have to pay for features that you’re not going to use by moving up to an entirely new plan.

Who should use HubSpot: HubSpot is suited to any business looking for a free CRM that they can establish a long relationship with a CRM that will grow along with their business. 


Free CRMs can be tricky to choose from because they often have some extreme limitations. Finding the perfect CRM system is not impossible though, and it’s entirely possible to find a great system to integrate into your business. Get in touch with a GoCRM expert if you want more information on the best free CRMs on the market.


How a CRM can power your inbound marketing strategy

Marketing is one of the most important elements that a business needs to get right. But getting marketing right is difficult, especially since people are bombarded with messages all of the time. Studies have shown that people are exposed to between 4000 and 10,000 advertisements in a single day.

So, how do you get your business to stand out from the crowd? The key is not to get your marketing in front of as many people as possible, it’s more about getting it in front of the right people. This is a concept known as inbound marketing, and it’s been gaining more and more traction over the past few years.

How many times have you thought back to the advertisement you saw for a product or service and gone back to that specific business? It’s likely that you completely forgot about which business it was, and did a quick Google search instead. People often go through a couple of the top results on a Google search and choose the one that appeals to them the most — we know you never venture into the second page of a Google search. 

Inbound marketing ensures that you get leads that are looking specifically for your service, rather than showing thousands of people ads that aren’t relevant to them. Keep reading to find out more about inbound marketing, and how a CRM can help you to supercharge your marketing efforts.

What is inbound marketing?

So, what is inbound marketing all about? Inbound marketing focuses on providing value to potential leads before they become your customers. This might sound counterintuitive, but it really works when you’re solving a problem with your product or service.

Your goal should be to solve a problem by providing helpful insight or value to your leads. By doing so, your brand will be more valued, and this is more likely to convert leads into customers rather than putting some marketing material out there and hoping that someone sees it.

Inbound marketing works because you’re positioning your brand as an expert in your field. This allows you to become the point of contact for customers who need advice on solving a problem. At the same time, you can offer your product or service as the solution. In other words, you’re not forcing people to look at your products, but instead gently nudging them towards it.

Why inbound marketing is better than traditional marketing

As we’ve seen, there’s a big difference between inbound marketing and traditional marketing. Traditional marketing is about getting your brand in front of as many eyes as possible — like a billboard on the side of the road. But, the problem with that is that maybe one out of every hundred people who see your ad will take an interest in your brand.

To get started with inbound marketing, you will need to use the following tools to provide value for your leads and convert them into paying customers:

  • Blog articles
  • eBooks
  • Infographics
  • Interviews
  • Social media posting
  • Videos
  • Website copy
  • Email
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars

How inbound marketing can thrive with a CRM

Customer Relationship Management systems are ideal for getting the most out of your inbound marketing strategy. That’s because a CRM will allow your marketing and your sales team to align and get the right content in front of the right people.

CRMs can track which of your leads are interacting best with specific types of content. For example, you might have a CEO in the automotive industry who reads your blog every Monday, or you might have a restaurant owner who interacts with your social media posts on a regular basis. 

You can use these metrics to identify which areas of your business are attracting different types of people. Then you can start to pinpoint the type of content that they are looking for and tailor your inbound marketing strategy to them. Your CRM will help you to present people with content that is relevant to them, making them more likely to convert into paying customers.

You can also use a CRM for marketing automation, which is another important piece of the inbound marketing puzzle. One of example is email marketing, where you can trigger your CRM to send a series of relevant emails to a customer as soon as they register their interest in your business.

Final Thoughts

Inbound marketing could be the key element that your business is missing when it comes to finding leads and converting them. If you want to make the most of your inbound marketing strategy, make sure to invest in a CRM that will help you in getting the best out of it. If you’re unsure of how to get started with an inbound marketing CRM, get in touch with a GoCRM expert for more details.