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.

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