How to Migrate to a New CRM 

 April 30, 2019

[Video Transcript]

Today, I wanted to come up with a topic to talk about that I’ve been hearing a lot about on the social networks, and that is how to migrate to a new CRM or the different things that you should consider when you are moving to a new CRM. In the case that we’re talking about today is going to be around an email marketing CRM. Examples could be HubSpot … Oh my gosh, I’m having like a brain fart. We’re talking about applications like HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, Drip, Infusionsoft, any of those. What we’re going to talk about is something different things that you should consider when you are migrating to a new system because this is so important.

Getting started, one of the things that I frequently see is that people decide that they no longer like their service, and they sign up for a free trial on another service, they like it, and they just immediately want to migrate everything over, pull the plug on the old service, and get moving on the new service. The problem with this is that it’s a really good way to, basically, get your account shut down, your email marked as spam, and have terrible deliverability. It doesn’t just work that way, especially if you have a really large account, so 50,000, 80,000, over 100,000 contacts. You can’t just like start and stop in a new system. So we’re going to talk about what this process looks like if you are migrating to a new system and my recommendation on the steps that you should take.

Just a disclaimer here, I’m an ActiveCampaign certified consultant. I love using ActiveCampaign, and basically, because I loved it, I became a consultant for it. I have done different ActiveCampaign migrations, anywhere from small accounts of a thousand contacts to upwards 80- or 90,000 contacts.

Regardless of what type of migration you’re doing, the process really stays the same. It’s more dependent on the timeline and how much time you should take with your migration. On these larger accounts, I would expect to spend three months minimum of migrating to the new system. I’m going to kind of explain that as I go through the next few minutes.

Okay. The first thing is when you are even thinking or considering migrating to a new system, the first thing you need to do is get your existing system in order. If you have things that are broken or not working or disengaged contacts, you don’t want to move or spend effort moving any of that stuff over to a new system. Don’t take the perspective that like, “Oh, I’ll move and then I’ll organize,” because if you try to move a mess to a new system, you’re still going to have a mess, and then you’re going to be in a new system that you don’t understand fully how to use. So organize your existing system first.

In regards to your contacts, I want you to clean them up. Don’t be afraid to get rid of contacts that aren’t engaged and aren’t active. Don’t bring them over. It’s going to cost you more time, more money to bring them over anyways, so get rid of your disengaged contacts.

And then organize the contacts that you have. Make sure that you have them segmented out, that you don’t just have this gigantic list because you’re not going to want to move over a full list anyways. But really, just take your contacts, get them into their different groups, their different segments, clean them up, make sure they’re organized.

The next thing that I want you to look at on your account is all of your automations. These are the things that happen automatically, so from a triggered event like someone signs up for an opt-in on your website, and there’s an automation that delivers something back to them. I want to make sure your automations are organized.

Organized means that you have a list of all of your automations, their current status, what their purpose is, and what their trigger is. I can tell you that 90% of the people that I work with, they do not have a list of their automations, and we’ll pull up a random automation in their system, and they have no idea what it does, when it was last updated, and this is just not a good practice. You want to have a list of all your automations, be crystal clear on what they’re doing. Not only for your migration but if there’s ever an issue on your site, how can you troubleshoot if you don’t even know what you’re looking at? Make that list of automations and then also make sure you have a map of what each automation is supposed to do.

Hopefully, the CRM that you’re currently using has a nice visual that you can already pull from, which would be great. I, personally, even though ActiveCampaign does have a visualizer, I still like to make my maps in Lucidchart. It’s just easier for me to view and see what’s happening. I always recommend have that map.

Okay. Finally, in this first section, the next thing that I want you to have organized in your existing account is any type of tags that you have. You should have a list of your tags, and you should know exactly how people get that tag, and how that tag is removed or used or whatever. Because here’s another issue is people tend to just go tag crazy and make tags all over the place, and then when you go to a new system, you have no idea what half your tags use, so you migrate them over because you’re scared to not migrate them over and break something. But again, if you have your list and you know exactly what they’re used for, and then you have your list of automations and you know how those are triggered, all of this is going to be very helpful to you in that migration.

Okay. So now that you’ve got your existing CRM organized, the next thing that we’re going to do is recreate your opt-ins. In your new CRM, one of the things that we have to be really careful about with email marketing is that with a new email marketing tool or new CRM, you need to warm up the interwebs. If you take a new tool and you just start blasting contacts, like mass blasting things, you are going to be marked as spam. Your account might even get turned off. You’re just going to have a bunch of hurdles. You really want to start with small groups and get high deliverability, high open rates, high click rates within those small groups, and then kind of slowly add in more contacts.

The first step in the migration is to set up your new forms with your new CRM because then you can get new people coming into the new CRM, and that will slowly start to help warm things up. Putting your lead magnets out there, using opt-in forms with the new CRM, with your new CRM automations and having those get going for a couple of weeks, and getting new people rolling in.

The next step is after you have those going, then you’re going to add in your more static products and services. These are things like if you sell, like for me, I have my customer value journey package. It is something like you go to the page, you purchase it, you get an email with how to schedule your appointment and things like that. It’s a static service. Same thing with products. If you have a product that’s an evergreen course, you’re going to set that up again. It’s the same idea with the lead magnets is to start to get an audience that is rolling in, new audience that’s rolling in before you bring in too much of the existing audience.

Now, this can get a little bit hairy. You can have some people from your existing CRM start to sign up for this content on the new CRM, and then they look like a duplicate contact, but when you import your contacts you can address that.

Okay. The next step then is going to be to begin to integrate any of your more complicated products like drip products. So courses that drip one lesson a week, and at this point, you’re also going to have to bring in your existing contacts. This is probably the biggest step, here. You had new people rolling in your CRM for a few weeks now. Now, you’re going to have to make the transition between the old CRM and the new CRM if you have a membership portal or wherever those people are accessing content. This is why I really recommend that you bring in the experts of your new CRM. For example, ActiveCampaign, they have free migration services, and you can have them actually import your entire list, import automation, things like that. They can do it quicker than you can, and they can probably do it with more accuracy as well.

If you try to bring in tens of thousands of people on your own, the import process takes much longer than when ActiveCampaign can do it on their own. By much longer, I’m talking about it could take eight hours to import a huge list, maybe even longer. ActiveCampaign can do it really quickly. So bring them in.

Okay. Now, at this point, you have your new opt-ins setup, you have some of your products set up, you’ve got your drip products set up, your services in there, and your contact list is in there. So you are almost done. You still have things in your existing CRM. That system is still set up, but you also, now, are really ready to be moving forward with the new CRM.

This is when you’re going to start launching your email campaigns. These are your weekly emails. These are your promotions, those types of things. You’re going to start pushing them through the new CRM. I recommend, again, if you’re working with a really large list that you’re going to segment this out. Don’t send mass emails out right away to 50,000 or more contacts. Segment it out. Break it apart, but start to get those campaigns and promotions going from the new system.

And then at that point, you are really ready to now turn off the existing system and turn on the new one. One last thing. Once you do that, and you’ve had all of this stuff running for a little bit, that is when you are then going to turn on the engagement automations in your new system.

A quick note on engagement automations. What those are is they are different automations that track the engagement of your contacts. So if you have somebody who isn’t reading your emails, isn’t opening them. They’re just going to delete or maybe they’re going to a spam box, you want to give it a little bit of time in the new CRM for the engagement things to be turned on and start working. I actually recommend that you have everything going for two or three months before you even turn on the engagement automations, but you do have to make sure you turn them on. Because if you don’t have enough content for people to engage with, if you’re not already doing your campaigns and your promotional strategies, there’s no content for people to engage with, then it’s just going to pull out people because they’re naturally becoming disengaged. You haven’t given them anything to engage with. That is actually what I would say is the very last step, is once things are rolling is to then turn on those engagement campaigns.

I think that really covers at a high level. Sort of my recommended strategy if you are looking to move to a new CRM, I highly recommend ActiveCampaign. I think it’s an amazing product, but I will tell you, if you don’t properly migrate to ActiveCampaign, you’re going to end up getting mad at ActiveCampaign or whatever system you did because you’re going to have bad deliverability, and you’re going to get shut down. So just make sure before you do a migration that you know what you’re doing and you don’t just go and try to do it all on your own. If you do decide to use ActiveCampaign, do a Google search because they have free migration services from almost any of the major player CRMs. They will migrate your campaigns, your automations, your contacts, everything for you. However, you do have to have it nice and organized in order to tell them what to migrate. That’s why we talked about that up at the beginning.

Check it out. I hope this was helpful, and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

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