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Moving data to a new CRM: A system admin’s advice

Jan 19, 2016

I’m the Office Manager and Executive Administrator for 10+ brokers at SVN-RICORE Investment Management, Inc., which recently decided to switch to a new CRM system. I’ve had years of experience as a Salesforce administrator, which was a big help when it came time to get the process started.

Most of you have probably experienced a technology switch in the office at some point; many times it involves a CRM. With that switch often comes a great amount of stress about successfully moving over all your data and the difficulties that arise around contacts and properties.

If I could share some of my top tips to make the process easier, it would be to (1) get as organized as you can from the beginning, and (2) make sure to scrub the data for duplicates.

Read below as I delve into those top tips for moving data to a new CRM. Hopefully it will help as you complete the process.

Use the opportunity to get your data right

When my office started the move to a new CRM, it was my job to oversee the process. I worked closely with both our brokers and our technology provider as I completed the task.

Although it’s tedious, the data import process is important, and a great excuse to clean house on bad or incorrect information. It’s hard to move to the top of your to-do lists, but I strongly recommend it. After all, inaccurate or incomplete data can hurt your business.

When we started the process, I was very surprised to see that pertinent information was missing from many fields in our previous system. A phone number, a first name, an address...sometimes there was nothing there. If every lost contact is a potential lost deal then it’s imperative that I straighten out all of this information BEFORE importing it into the new system. And it should be for you, too.

Can this process be frustrating? At times, yes. Worth it in the long run? Absolutely.

Pull data from other sources, but map them to your workflow first

Many of our brokers pull information from CoStar and Xceligent. Generally, it’s easy enough to put this information in your new CRM, but it’s worth organizing first.

With CoStar in particular, it’s important to configure BEFORE exporting the data. That database has what you need—buildings, tenants, phone numbers—but you need to make sure it matches your workflow and technology setup. Fortunately, CoStar lets you set your criteria before exporting, which made it easier for me to map. Maybe you put first name first or address first—whatever the mapping, do it beforehand. (And make sure each entry, such as suite number, is its own field!)

We also pull information from CCIM, which is a bit different. For example, we can pull all doctors’ and dentists’ office, chop up data however we want, then map accordingly.

What I learned for the next time around

Wherever you pull your information from, it’s helpful to combine it all in one inclusive CSV file and scrub for duplicates in that one file. THEN import into your new system. It can take a lot of processing power, but if you have it, it’s worth it.

A note about contacts and properties

I’ve mentioned the importance of eliminating duplicates in your system, but it’s important for administrators to note that contacts are a very different than properties. Many CRMs allow you to make notes on a contact, which then varies by broker. Properties, however, have one entry in the system.

When we were moving to a new technology, I quickly noticed that one contact could have different notes across brokers. Usually this information is restricted to each broker, but the system administrator can see them all. So properties are public and should have one record, but make sure not to delete duplicate contacts if they have individual broker notes attached.

I hope these tips help you avoid a few headaches the next time you tackle a data move. Just be thoughtful and organized as you complete the process and remember—scrub those duplicates!

Good luck!

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Kandi Jaeger

Written by Kandi Jaeger

Kandi is the Executive Office Administrator for SVN - RICORE Investment Management, Inc. in Cincinnati, OH. She supports office operations as well as strategic marketing and product branding.

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