Many companies often find that several teams and departments have to struggle with isolated solutions. Having a specific tool for each objective with different information not only leads to inefficiencies, but also impairs external communication and, in the worst case, worsens credibility with customers. To avoid problems like these, we took up the challenge last year: We stopped using our usual Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Service (CS) systems and switched to the all-in-one solution HubSpot.
A decisive factor for ensuring the accessibility of information is where contact data of leads and existing customers is stored. Defining who has access to this database is also important. There are helpful software solutions that are tailored to the specific needs of a department. However, synchronizing data between multiple systems can be a major problem.
After evaluating several providers, we ultimately chose the all-in-one HubSpot solution. The software fits our requirements best – and we were already using it as marketing automation. The first balance is very positive. We are pleased to share with you our most significant conclusions on the systems switch.
1. Goals before functions
Meaningful change is only possible if everyone involved knows what is being changed and why. For a successful change, it is important to know the current status and the vision and goals that will be pursued.
When looking at each system, we found that each one was justified and performed important functions. The only problem was the separate databases, so not all departments had the same information. As a result, there were additional processes, delays, and errors. The goal was to improve collaboration between marketing, sales, and customer support. With the HubSpot migration, we solved two problems at once: The exchange between all departments was improved thanks to the unified database and the workload was significantly minimized.
We achieved this by questioning existing processes and eliminating isolated solutions. Many companies hesitate to introduce external software and ultimately opt for their own solutions because specific company processes cannot be implemented. However, it is even more helpful to question the processes and to have the whole goal in mind. An external system may not match all your processes, but it can achieve your goal by taking a different approach. For example, looking at different software solutions is made possible through audits. Furthermore, a requirements list gives a good overview of which functions pursue which goals. Functions without goals are deleted as irrelevant. However, goals without an associated function remain on the list. In summary, ask yourself which system will help you achieve the goal rather than which system best matches your current processes – because that is often the existing system.
2. Involve all stakeholders
It is necessary to involve all stakeholders in the changeover process. It's also important to think about less obvious departments. For example, the finance department or development are also affected when the CRM system is changed.
In our case, the unannounced changeover in the finance department resulted in many ineffective processes. As a result, the team neither understood the implementation nor would they do it again. This discontent could have been avoided if we had defined the processes more carefully and discussed them with all department heads at the beginning of the project.
The development team was also not informed until the day of the changeover. Many of them had access to our CSS and CRM to assist with customer support. Fortunately, the team is well-versed in CRM systems, so there were no further issues after the switch. If that hadn't been the case, we could have run into trouble quickly.
3. Backup and reassess all inventory data
You may be considering not transferring old leads, lost opportunities, or old data to the new CRM system. We do not recommend this! It is very time-consuming to evaluate which data is really necessary. It takes even longer to change them – this would only slow down the change. During this time you could already get to know the new system. No one is familiar with the new software before the changeover, so data cleansing should be done after you get used to it.
Tip: Migrate your old IDs to the new system and create a backup of your old system. This makes it easy to re-enter archived values that prove useful later. This also helps in evaluating the migration, as you can compare the values one-to-one based on the unique IDs.
4. Quick change
It is difficult to find the right time, as there never is one. There are trade shows, potential customers, and important sales opportunities taking place throughout the year, so the changeover at any time is not considered optimal. Since you can't accommodate everyone's needs, simply set a date. Focusing on a smooth CRM conversion is more important than choosing a date.
5. Gather experience
Offer your employees workshops and training sessions on the new software. It is important to keep in mind that the team also has the opportunity to explore the system on their own.
Make the all-in-one solution the only valid system: meetings or closings that weren't recorded there didn't happen. Give your team accountability by allowing them to self-correct and maintain shared reports and dashboards. By taking ownership and being hands-on, users learn the processes very quickly.
In conclusion, the transition from our isolated solutions (CRM and CSS) to the all-in-one HubSpot solution has been a success. It is a challenge to get all users on board and happy with the new system. We switched the CRM within four months and the stakeholders were back to their previous productivity level within one month – according to their personal opinion.
We hope we could give you a helpful insight into our changeover.
Victor Weitzmann works as Sales Operations Manager at snapADDY since April 2021. During his management studies, he already supported the team as a working student. Before that, he gained experience in IT recruitment and business development as an intern and working student.