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Moving from one SFA/CRM system happens often and happens for a number of different reasons.  Often it is a platform change due to cost or moving away from an unsupported product – sometimes it is to move towards a product that integrates better into other systems in the organization.  Whatever the reason, the move is something that should be planned and handled by someone with experience in tackling the challenge.  Here are some of my top tips to make sure this is a successful project:


1.Determine value of existing system – What I mean by this is taking a good look at your current SFA/CRM system and deciding if there is data worth moving.  We will often come into a project where the current system has been so bastardized that the data is not meaningful in any way shape or form.  This often occurs in contact management systems that give each user in an organization the power to customize the data stored for them.  This can be fine in a 1 or 2 person organization, but take 20 sales reps each collecting different data and it can become expensive quickly to consolidate that data.  If the data is worth moving see next tip.

2.Define the relationships – Take a hard look at the current system and make sure the new system will support the data relationships you need to support your business.  We often see this is why someone is moving because the current system was inadequate in this regard.  In the simplest relationship you have accounts and contact – everyone can support this type.  What if you are a manufacturer that sells direct to consumer, business to business, and via a broker network….what if you are a franchisor that needs to track franchisees with multiple locations?  Bottom line you need to look at your data relationships and think about this during the setup of the new system and the data migration.

3.Importance of participation – Whether a company goes this alone or with a consultant the people with input into the project can make or break its success.  If you use a consultant do not think you can just buy the system, pay them to get it installed, and wham bam you have a new SFA system.  This will take the time of a company insider that has ownership of the project and can be the internal champion.  The consultant should be able to get the right information out of this person to ensure success, but it will take the time so plan on it from the start.

4.Define Processes – One of the benefits of any SFA system is the ability to automate the sales process.  Having your processes defined and being able to see where you will enhance the business with automation is a key almost as important as knowing where not to automate.  This piece of the puzzle is not static and processes change as well as the parts that get automated.  When migrating from one system to another make sure to map out how the current system is used and pick the processes to move that work.  Now take a look at the business as a whole and decide if other processes should be moved into the new system during the migration.

5.Acceptance – One of the risks of migrating from one system to another is not meeting the needs of the end users.  Make whoever is installing the new system spends some time with the most active users of the old system to see how they work with it day to day.  Are there certain views they use constantly…is there a report they could not live without…how do they use it as part of their daily activity…making sure you meet the end users needs will go a long way in making any migration successful.

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Joe CRM is a CRM superhero who runs on pure Microsoft Dynamics CRM adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe CRM’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics CRM and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.