As technology evolves, companies inevitably upgrade to new CRM systems, often from new vendors, and often moving to completely different platform approaches, such as from enterprise CRM software to software-as-a-service or "Cloud" solutions. Salesforce.com, Netsuite, Microsoft CRM, Oracle CRM On Demand, SugarCRM and the myriad other CRM platforms all provide ways to import legacy data into them, but this should only be one small piece of the actual data migration.
Since any CRM system is only as good as the data within it, a CRM migration represents a unique opportunity to significantly increase the value and usefulness of the internal data assets that can fuel the success of the new system. A well-thought-out, comprehensive data migration plan can be worth its weight in gold.
For example, a CRM migration is a great time to:
- Validate email addresses to ensure that they are current and the particular contact still works at his or her listed organization (if not, this can be an opportunity to re-engage with contact organizations)
- Validate all physical addresses are valid and deliverable for future communication purposes
- Ensure phone numbers are valid and up-to-date
- Eliminate junk contact records
- Eliminate duplicate/redundant contacts (Robert Johnson at IBM and Bob Johnston at International Business Machines)
- Fill in missing data (missing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.)
- Enhance existing data by adding useful demographics such as an organization's number of employees, revenue, SIC code, and more
- Standardize data to ensure non-ambiguous representation in the database for better reporting (Ohio=OH,VP=Vice President), etc.
- Take the time to apply any other organization-specific data requirements that can help increase levels of success
Other things a data-centric organization can do during a CRM system upgrade is to put filters and other real-time data quality and data enhancement mechanisms
in place at new points of data collection such as Web-to-lead forms. This can ensure the data doesn't degrade over time, and that these same sets of issues don't exist a year later.
It's also important to establish an ongoing data management plan
, complete with goals, metrics, and incentives.
Experienced, insightful data professionals will recognize the unique opportunity CRM migration represents. Don't let it slip away.