Implement CRM Data Migration in 10 Simple Steps

CRM data migration is often believed to be a risky process as it can lead to business disruptions, which puts away the thought of considering the shift. Taking the amount of data that you have at your end, the task of cut, copy, and paste might seem to be painstaking and an impossible process.

It is similar to shifting your home (which you will consider twice) with all the luggage and the headaches that follow. But, you have to make the shift sometimes, regardless of what it takes. And, when you have a proper plan in place, some extra helping hands, and a change-driven mindset — the shifting process will seem convenient.

The same is the case for CRM data migration! If you have a plan and a CRM migration strategy, the shift will not seem like climbing mountains.

So, the question is — how to shift CRM and migrate data safely? Let’s move ahead with the answers.

What is CRM?

CRM stands for customer relationship management and is a system that places all the customer data in one place (contact information, interests, phone number). The system makes it easy to record and manage customer data, customer interactions, and reach out to old, existing, new, and prospective customers.

With CRM, all the customer-related data is stored in one place, making it easy for marketing and sales to oversee everything when handling multiple customers in real-time.

The added advantage of a CRM is its ability to mine data side by side and present you with meaningful insights to help and improve traction along the sales funnel.

According to research by, 91% of companies with more than 11 employees now use CRM software.

What is CRM Data Migration?

New players are stepping into the market with new products that are cheaper, offer better features, or more often address the issues with the existing products. The value proposition that these products provide makes it irresistible to shift over the new tool.

When a new CRM software is introduced in the market and it suits your business needs, you prefer choosing it. Or, you could also be using an on-premise customer data management system and considering moving over to a cloud-based solution.

For making the shift, you would have to pick all the data from the existing system and place it safely and securely in the new one without losing data integrity in the transit.

This process of shifting data from one CRM system to another or from on-premise to the cloud-based solution is called CRM data migration.

To make this shift safely, securely, effectively, and efficiently, you would have to move ahead strategically. The following section covers the ten data migration steps that can help.

The Ten-Step CRM Data Migration Process

Here is a nice, easy-to-follow CRM data migration checklist to consider:

1. Acceptance to Change

The first and foremost thing is to prepare your organization for the change. It becomes taxing to convince people to shift to a new CRM software when they have been comfortable with an existing data management system for long.

This is where adopting an agile mindset at an organizational level comes into play. Being agile will lead you to accept, implement, and adapt to change quickly.

Workforce training is essential to consider initially to acquaint them with the new CRM system while the migration is being conducted. This will ensure immediate usage efficacy once the migration is complete.

2. Identify the Available Resources

It is essential to consider CRM data migration as an exclusive project. It will help you focus on the migration process without missing a beat of it.

This step will focus on underlining the kind of data you need to move. An example of this could be:

Identify the Available Resources in CRM data migration

Once you are done with defining the data elements, it becomes essential to know that the data structures need to be taken care of as well. In simple terms, a data structure refers to the method you adapt to store, organize, monitor, and alter the data elements.

If your organization manages to migrate data structures to fit in the target CRM system, you can already vouch upon a successful CRM data migration!

Another important aspect is to do a 360-degree assessment where you need to look at all the 3rd party integrations that are the inputs or outputs of a source CRM tool. Next comes adjusting the level of customizations done in the source CRM tool without affecting data integrity.

3. Keep Track of the Attachments

Every business-oriented data is a hub of file attachments that comprise other subsets of data. When planning for CRM data migration, you need to be very clear about effectively migrating the attachments too.

It is an added responsibility of your team to collect all the attachments under one roof and determine the entire file size. Next, you need to analyze:

Keep a Track of the Attachments in CRM data migration

Answering the above questions will help you track the data attachments and help you move a step forward in your end goal of a complete CRM migration.

4. Conducting a Data Quality Assessment

Let’s take an example to illustrate this CRM data migration phase. When you move to a new house, you shift the belongings that matter the most and dispose of anything that is no more needed. On the other hand, you buy new stuff for your new house to beautify it.

That is the same thing you need to do here! Analyze the old data, keep the data that matters the most, and do away with useless/duplicate data entries. This is called conducting a Data Quality Assessment.
Here are some do’s you need to take care of while doing this assessment:

Conducting a Data Quality Assessment

5. Do Not Forget Data Mapping

Data mapping is an essential step when migrating data from one CRM to another. Knowing where your data should reside after implementing the data migration strategy is imperative.

Let’s take a data migration example for a customer, Peter. You discovered Peter through your social media marketing campaign. At first, you put him into the “Potential customers” group.

The moment Peter made the purchase post an exciting customer experience, his data entry shifted over to the “loyal customers” group. So, now when you migrate to the new CRM platform, you need to map them in a way that Peter enters the new & updated group instead of reflecting on the older data entry group.

Similarly, there could be a scenario where Peter has an active support window running. Make sure your CRM data migration plan includes carrying forward the existing customer thread, i.e., it reflects the active support window group with Peter’s entry in it.

In simple words, you need to migrate data precisely and consistently to the respective related groups. It will further help ensure that data migrates consistently from group A of the old CRM to group A of the target CRM system.

Here’s what to consider while creating a data map:

  • Determining the data groups that need to be moved over
  • Analyzing the respective data entries that fall under the respective groups
  • Cross-checking the format of the data after it has been moved
  • How are you going to process data transfer: Manual or automatic?
  • The frequencies of the data transfer for a successful migration
  • What are the customizations done in the source CRM tool which can affect the data migration?

6. Zeroing On the CRM Migration Tool

Once you are done with all the prerequisites mentioned above, you need to finalize the “anchor” tool to import your data to CRM.

The best part of this CRM data migration tool is that it will help automate the migration process with complete perfection. Additionally, it would be beneficial if you have a CRM data migration service provider on your side. Because even a single loophole can get you back to square one.

Also, CRM data migration designers would have a role in estimating the relocation and helping you draft out a plan for mistake identification and recovery.

All in all, everything would add up to making up for a perfect CRM migration.

Tools specific to Dynamic CRM Data Migration:

  • Import Wizard
  • Scribe
  • SSIS
  • Dynamics to CRM Chapter

7. Create a Backup of Source Data

It is always a good idea to create a backup CRM migration strategy to counteract data loss risks. If you are under a misconception that you have a full-proof CRM migration project plan and can afford to do away with the backup, do not fall into the trap.

Moreover, your CRM data migration services provider would also suggest and follow up on a backup plan way too seriously. And, in case they don’t; it is your responsibility to get an update on their data backup strategy.

Here are the major custom fields and groups that need to be backed up:

  • Customer databases
  • User documents & files
  • Document templates
  • Generated reports
  • Generated exports

Zeroing On the Migration Tool

8. Run Data Migration Testing

Conducting a trial is always a welcome move when verifying the authenticity of the CRM migration tool. In short, it is always a good practice to perform data migration testing.

You may never know how the data will end up in the new system. So, it is recommended not to consider the transfer in one go.

Instead, transfer a portion of data first and see how it turns out. If there are any errors, it is good to fix them early when the migration process is still going on.

Note: You should choose a testing sample that covers almost every group of data along with different locations they will end up in. It will help measure how successful CRM data migration testing has been overall.

When running a migration test, keep the following things in mind:

Run a CRM data Migration Test

9. Migrate the CRM Data

Once everything falls into place, it is time for actual execution. It is undoubtedly the time to reap the fruit of all the efforts you have put into CRM data migration. It is the easiest step, like a “single-click” command, which is all that is needed for executing the migration.

Note: If you have thoroughly implemented the earlier checklist prerequisites, there would be zero to negligible errors.

10. Validate & Clean up the Migrated Data

Now that the data has moved to the new CRM solution, you must validate that the data was moved over correctly and clean things up before you jump into using it full time.

You can manually check some random records, especially the ones that are important for your business. Make sure the right data shows up in those records. Check any associated data like whether attachments are working or not.

Depending on the criticality of the data, you can also opt for a custom script that validates data in the new CRM system with the data in your previous CRM. This can take time and can be costly for large datasets but will ensure peace of mind.

Finally, review data to see if there are any duplicate records, whether anything needs to be merged, and if there is still some data that you can do without.


Data is the biggest asset of any business. Hence, it is your sole responsibility to handle it with the utmost perfection. It is all about how you plan and execute the CRM data migration technique.

With this guide for CRM data migration best practices, you can be assured of moving data safely and securely. With the new CRM software, your business can take advantage of the newer and innovative features while ensuring improved customer relationships & better revenues without losing a step.

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Adam Milne

About the Author

Forte:Managing and Leading projects with multi-cultural teams in competitive environments
Likes: Biking around NYC and enjoys Pineapple on Pizza
Dislikes: Micromanaging
Claim to Fame: As Creed in ‘The Office’ says, I was born in the US of A.
Biggest Tech blunder committed: Early in my career, thinking UX and UI are the same things. *Facepalm*
Wannabe: A professional Basketball Player

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