Everything You Need To Know About Changing CRM’s

Implementing a CRM for your business can be a daunting task, especially if you have an existing CRM containing years worth of customer data. It’s certainly not easy to consider all your options, especially if you haven’t taken the time out to consider all your organisation’s requirements (or if you’ve never undertaken a task like this before).

In this blog, we’ll go through the top 5 considerations in changing CRM’s, why and when you should think about making the change, and provide you with a step-by-step downloadable guide to help you scope out your CRM project.

What you’ll find in this blog:

  • The top 5 considerations in changing CRM’s
  • Why change CRM’s
  • When to make the change
  • A step-by-step guide to changing CRM’s
  • Where you can go to get more information/help

The top 5 considerations in changing CRM’s (and why you should take time to consider these carefully)

Is your organisation begging you for a better system in managing client relationship information? Or simply asking for data you aren’t able to collect? We go through the top 5 considerations in changing CRM’s, and take you through why it’s important to consider carefully your requirements before committing to a new program.


What do we mean by this? Well here at 4DP we have pretty sophisticated clients who like to track every single piece of information they can about client interaction with their business, and we know you want to do this too.

Does your CRM allow you to track pages visited on your website? Does it give notifications, allow you to assign your sales team tasks, and give you the ability to build simple sales pipelines for your sales teams to track their client progress? Are you able to email from your CRM and send text messages, to view conversations and to connect and integrate your current systems?

These are just some of the things your teams might be crying out for. Listen to prompts such as ‘I wish we could see where XYZ client is in our sales process’, or, ‘It would be nice to know how many people are visiting this particular website page and to send them more information’.

As marketers we are often challenged by our sales teams to come up with solutions that suit their requirements, and to provide them with data that drives their sales activities. Oftentimes we want to be able to track sales progress too, so that we can deliver relevant and timely messages to clients and speed up the sales cycle.

Use of ease

There is nothing worse than introducing a new system that nobody can use. Conversely, it’s also frustrating having a you-beaut system that has been in place for years that only your marketers know how to use!

If it’s not an access problem (that is, locked down to just your marketing team), and it’s not a training issue (you haven’t actually shown people how to use it) – then it could be that your current CRM is just downright clunky.

Yes, we’ll be the first to admit that there are some CRM’s on the market that were made for more technically minded people. There are also some truly sexy CRM’s that have been built with the user experience in mind. In our experience – there are also two vastly different price points, which is also a consideration to deeply explore (see #3 – pricing considerations).

We recommend always trialing the ‘free demo’ versions of any CRM you are considering, and having a user group within your organisation that can give you real-time feedback on what they are having trouble with. It may just save you the hassle of changing CRM’s down the track, in the long run!

Pricing considerations

CRM pricing can be so incredibly vast that it can be difficult to navigate the world of pricing considerations when choosing a CRM. This is why we have built a spreadsheet that helps you step out the different pricing structures, in a tool that is easy and simple to show the powers at be who will sign the final bottom line.

We have seen everything when it comes to pricing CRM’s, because we embark on this exercise for our clients – and it is a timely exercise, but an important one. Recently we had a client who required a CRM change because they were priced out of the platform! That’s right, they grew so much that the CRM they were using would have cost tens of thousands more by the end of the financial year.

Pricing for CRM’s is usually banded in a ‘price per ‘000’s of contacts’ manner, and some even limit the amount of features based on your usage level. There are some CRM’s like HubSpot that expect you to pay extra for additional features, and then others like Active Campaign that include many of the bells and whistles and only ask you to add on things like ‘conversations’, a listening and engagement tool for social media platforms.

You’ll also need to consider these features in conjunction with the number of contacts, which can be a tricky task if you don’t already have a tool to help you along your way.

Users, teams and permissions

Yes, you could probably argue that this is a function of a CRM. For us, this is a separate consideration because it is so incredibly important that the right people have access to the right data, when they need to make decisions and throughout the sales lifecycle.

You might want to add your sales, admin, and marketing users. Then group those users into separate teams, because oftentimes they need to see similar data. But you may also want to selectively choose which permissions they have – for example, some users should not be able to pen bulk emails and sent them; but you may want to give them permissions to send one-on-one emails to your clients.
These are all important considerations, and changing CRM’s without exploring these options can have devastating consequences (such as switching and then finding out it’s of no use to you at all!).

Data flow, integrations, and automations

Us marketers don’t work in silos. It’s well-known in the marketing world that there is no one tool that does it all. Surveys, CRM, SMS – the list goes on, and on, and on (a bit like Celine Dion). So how do you consider all these needs and decide how it will work with your new CRM?

It starts with using our tool to list all the kinds of integrations you might need to connect the CRM with. We’ve listed many of the popular ones for you to consider, and using the tool you’ll be able to identify the ones we haven’t listed to add them too.

On top of this, if you’re anything like our clients, you might have more than one website/brand/entity under your organisation. You will need to consider – how will data flow from your website, to your CRM, and show the correct data for certain users and teams?

A simple one that is often forgotten amongst the mix is that of forms! Unbelievable right? Because we marketers love a good form. Because it’s such a vital tool, considering how the data will flow from your forms on your website will integrate with your CRM, and then the automations that are triggered upon submission.

Automations are often a beast in itself, but we’ve lumped them in here because it’s all about data flow. If you’ve never worked with an automation, it will save your time (read: life), and most certainly your sanity. Working off basic ‘if this’, ‘then’, ‘do that’ logic, you are able to perform the simplest of marketing tasks, for example: sending bulk emails, one-on-one emails, setting reminders and tasks, moving prospects through your sales pipelines… the list goes on.

Why change CRM’s?

If you’ve been reading this article, and you’re not yet convinced you need to change CRM’s, then there is a good chance that you won’t need to. If you can hand over heart say you’re happy with the features, ease of use, price point, permissions, and data flow; we recommend reviewing annually and to instead focus on regularly cleaning your database and putting in place an automated data clean.

However, if you have been reading this article shouting out “YES!! I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!!!”, then it’s time to start doing the hard work.

In our experience, changing CRM’s is not for the faint hearted. You’ll need to put aside time to compare the tools, to gather information, to get team buy-in, and to pitch your proposal to the big boss.
We can say though, once you make the decision and put together a project plan of how it will roll-out – the decision will be a refreshing one.

When to make the change

This is a question that only you will be able to answer. A good project plan will take between 1 – 3 months to implement, and we’re not including training the team in this time. In this time you will be rebuilding lists, cleaning contacts, tagging them appropriately, rebuilding/building automations, adding users, sorting permissions and teams, and maybe even transferring over forms.

Then comes the actual exporting and importing of client information, backing it up to a secure server, archiving records in the old system. Connecting integrations and testing, testing, and more testing.

So what is the key here to assessing your organisations readiness to change? First consider: nobody likes change. Even though we’re being slightly negative here – you’ll encounter many an excuse not to take on the work. Things like ‘but our team already know how to use xyz’, or ‘do you really think it’s the right time? We’ve just taken on this big client and they’re our focus right now’.

These things may be true, so we suggest coming back to a simple pros and cons list. Pro: we can save money – usually persuades the big bosses to make it a top priority, and if you can use sales forecasts and projections to show how your database will grow over time and cost you more, this is usually a big driving factor in making the decision.

A step-by-step guide to changing CRM’s

Because we’ve learned the hard way – we’ve put the basics here in a step-by-step guide to give you the knowledge of how to actually do the thing.

  1. Assessment.
  2. Use the tool we’ve provided to consider all the factors around the CRM changeover.
  3. Make a pros and cons list and consider whether the pros outweigh the cons.
  4. If the cons outweigh the pros – change tact and implement a data clean methodology instead.
  5. If pros outweigh the cons – the next piece of the puzzle is to list all the important stakeholders in the key decision making process. Who ultimately has the final say on changing the CRM in your organisation?
  6. After listing the stakeholders, the next step is to put together a business case. We recommend a quick one pager which outlines the current state of play, budget, your recommendations from step 1, cost-savings projections, analysis of impact on the teams in your organisation, and a project plan.
  7. How to keep to one page will be the hardest part of the pitch so make sure you reference in-depth documents where possible so those who are data driven can access and consider for themselves.
  8. Pitch the damn thing.
  9. Once you’ve gotten approval (and you will, because you’ve had our help with all these handy templates!), it’s time to put in place the project plan. We recommend a tool like Asana to keep you and your marketing team on track.

Where can you go to get more information/help to change your CRM

This one is easy. We are available! We can help talk you through the basic steps of changing your CRM. We have done many, many changes throughout our time.

Basic questions are easily answered by one of our team members, and we also offer our paid services to help you move the project forward.

Don’t have the time, but know it’s super important? You can trust the parrots. Using the tools we provide in this very blog, we’ll work with you to help you change your CRM. We’ll start with a discovery session, step out our proposal, and go from there.

So what to do now? Download our template to assess what you need from a CRM, what you already got in place and what you need to migrate.