Migrating CRMs? Don’t Forget to Clean Your Data

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There’s a lot of information out there that discusses why you should migrate from one CRM system to another one. Anywhere from outgrowing your current system, new requirements, needing  more system flexibility, or maybe the cost of maintaining the current CRM has become prohibitive.

Whatever your reasons, there is also a ton of information on the things your organization needs to do when migrating over to a new CRM, including; understanding what data needs to be prepared, what backups need to be made, what data needs to be moved, what tools to use to move the data and creating data maps and much more.

One of the major focal points in the CRM migration process is figuring out what data needs to be moved, mapping this data to the new platform and, finally, transferring your data to the new CRM. This is also a prime opportunity to clean up, validate and enhance your data, ensuring that you are starting your new CRM with clean and accurate data. This can be done with simple-to-integrate validation APIs that are built for contact record verification, correction, and enhancement.

Why data cleansing and validation matter

CRMs are going to be packed full of data; just looking at user, client, and lead data is a good place to start. This data, when not accurate (i.e. bad), wastes company resources.

Bad data can be a huge burden on an organization by reducing the visibility in what you have and how it can best be monetized. We’ve written extensively about this, including How Much Is Bad Contact Data Costing Your Organization?, What is Scarier than Halloween? Bad Data! and, The Unmeasured Costs of Bad Customer and Prospect Data to mention a few.

Your contact data does not age well, people move, phone numbers change, staff gets promoted and turns over. Additionally, data is typically added to systems by human beings, where human error can easily introduce bad data, from typos and to misunderstandings on a call. Bad data can even be propagated from other systems, whether different departments are using different platforms for the contact records they work with to a poorly executed migration from one platform to another.

Having accurate, clean and reliable data can help your organization reduce the costs of deliveries, improve your reputation and customer experiences, reduce customer service issues and litigation, while improving employee morale. Having genuine, accurate and reliable data will reflect in your bottom line.

There are wide ranging reasons that organizations don’t already have a data validation implemented in their systems. Some organizations underestimate the impacts of good data and the costs of bad data. Other organizations started small, as they grew the need presented itself, but they never found the right opportunity to add validation to their system. Still others never implemented organizational “ownership” for data quality and hygiene.

Whatever the reasons, if you are switching to a new CRM system, now is the best time to implement data cleansing and validation. It’s kind of like a do-over: you can do all those things that you wished you had done from the start. My list would have validation as one of the most important things to consider when migrating. Garbage in is garbage out, and you do not want to populate a new system with bad or inaccurate data.

How to implement data cleansing and validation

Users, leads and current clients will have various amount of data points such as a name, email address, billing address, mailing address, multiple business phones and so on. My recommendation is two-fold: make sure that these data points are clean, accurate and up to date as possible as they migrate into your new CRM system, and validate new records getting added going forward.

First, during your export and import processes, get your current data set cleaned up. With us, you can write a script that will run through your records and validate them against our data validation API’s. Or you can send us a file with your records, and we’ll process them and then return the validated results.

Second, make sure new records added to your new system do not come into the system without validation after the migration is completed. In many systems, like Salesforce or Marketo, they have modules or connectors available to allow you to extend the platform and call APIs in response to a button click, periodically, or even automatically when data is changed or added. We have materials that organizations can use to help, and integration is simple with us.

Adding validation to your new system will help your organization move to the next level and will reduce difficulties of trying to add a validation implementation down the line as your organization grows even larger.

Check out the various data points we can help you with here, or contact us for personalized assistance.

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