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Updated Apr 19, 2024

Switching CRMs? 5 Tips to Make It a Hassle-Free Transition

Looking for a new CRM? Learn how to streamline the process for your business.

Written By: Alex HaimannCommunity Member
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Table of Contents

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Using the right customer relationship management (CRM) system for your business can increase efficiency, communication, customer retention and revenue. However, switching to a new CRM platform can be challenging for businesses. To get maximum benefit from a new system, you must gain your team’s buy-in, transfer customer data and implement new workflows. Here are several ways to approach this process and make it a less daunting transition.

FYIDid you know
The global CRM market is booming. It was valued at $65.59 billion in 2023 and is expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent through 2030.

Tips on how to successfully switch CRM systems

If you decide to upgrade your CRM software, the main costs you’ll face are time and internal effort. You’ll need to research and choose a new CRM, import all your data, add in your customizations and integrations, and train your whole team to use it.

You can simplify the process if you have a clear idea of what you want, your data is easily accessible and you follow these five steps:

1. Analyze your reasons for switching CRMs.

Before making a switch, you need to first determine what about your current solution is problematic. Sometimes, it’s not the software that’s really the problem. Businesses switch CRMs for various reasons, but the decision often comes down to poor user adoption. If it’s unclear to your staff members how – or even why – they should use the CRM, don’t expect them to be eager to do so. When CRM installations take a nosedive, they not only fail to deliver profitable growth, but can also damage long-standing customer relationships.

There are many reasons to switch your CRM, but you need to pick a program that promotes your customer relationships and connections instead of severing them. [Read related article: How to Make Your CRM Your Company’s Most Flexible Tool]

2. Get your team on board from the beginning.

Your goal is to find a CRM system that meets management’s needs and makes your team members’ jobs easier. Ideally, everyone should be enthusiastic about switching, and the best way to drum up excitement is to involve your employees in the process from the beginning. 

Designate a few CRM evangelists to spearhead efforts in each department. Start with higher-ups. The change will feel more official if executives and managers lead the charge. Then, in each department, explain how the switch will benefit your business and each team member.

Consider setting up a practice account first. Let your team members get creative with a demo or free trial before you initiate the switch; this way, they can see how it will impact them directly.

3. Keep the data accurate by transferring it with minimal loss.

Once your new CRM platform is ready to go, it’s time to transfer the data from your old system to the new one. The goal should be to transfer it all efficiently without losing any information, all while training your staff on the new system. The more accurate the data is, the sooner they can get up to speed.

Create a game plan that allows ample data transfer and training time. Have your CRM’s support team take the lead on exporting and importing the data, preferably before training begins. You’ll also need this team’s help setting up customizations and integrations and training your employees to use them.

If the system is ready to go with your data intact, you’ve eliminated many barriers before starting. As a result, you can focus on inputting new contacts, reporting new sales, and following new rules and policies during training.

4. Don’t just encourage the system’s use; ensure it.

Making sure your team uses the new CRM system is crucial to the implementation process. Once everyone is on board, set a changeover date. Make it clear from the beginning how employees will be evaluated on their use of the new system. For example, if leads aren’t entered correctly or follow-ups aren’t recorded, managers won’t recognize the work, and your small business could lose sales.

Schedule regular meetings to review CRM reports, and make sure everyone is developing good data-entry habits. Ask your team members how they feel about the new system now that they’re using it every day, and brainstorm ways to use the CRM to make their lives even easier. Most importantly, make sure users in each department have a designated expert they can go to if they have questions or need help navigating the system.

5. Trade up for a system with features you’ll actually use.

Avoid getting a program with too many tools, as that can make it harder to navigate. When you’re looking at new CRMs, remember quantity is not quality. Extensive options can be overkill. Ensure your CRM has just the right features to fulfill your business needs.

“When choosing a new CRM, you can go into this one knowing what you actually need or don’t need based on your use so far,” Eric Sachs, CEO of Sachs Marketing Group, told us. “Don’t feel pressured to get one that does the absolute most. You just need the one that does everything you currently need. Switching to an overkill tool will just make your transition more difficult.”

If your current CRM system isn’t performing as expected, you must first determine why. If retraining and more customizations don’t help, switching to a better system may be the best solution. This will be challenging, but with a renewed focus and by following these tips for getting everyone on board, it can be a smooth transition that’s well worth the effort.

What to consider when switching CRMs

The main job of a CRM is to organize leads and keep communication flowing. If leads are slipping through the cracks and miscommunication is constant, you’re not getting your money’s worth out of the software.


  • Before trashing your existing CRM, investigate the source of the issue. Audit the CRM software and setup. Then, before you switch, take the time to understand your current system’s problems and what it lacks so you can find one that helps your business’s customer relationships. Sometimes, there is room to make changes to your old CRM before switching to a new one, but if you can’t, it may be time to find something more user-friendly and affordable.
  • Is the issue user adoption or lack of standards for data entry? Perhaps the system is missing key features your company needs, which is a common reason companies switch CRMs.
  • After identifying the problem, you can decide whether you need to retrain your team, tweak the system’s setup or look for a new platform. For example, if you’ve already tried every onboarding technique you can think of and your staff members are still struggling to use the CRM, it’s probably time to start over.
  • Involve your end users in the CRM selection and implementation process to help you find something user-friendly. Salesforce found that 72 percent of CRM users say they would trade complex functionality for usability.
  • If you can’t afford your current system or are paying for features that you don’t need, it might be a good idea to cut your losses and find a system more suitable for your team and budget. Leaving your current CRM provider can be expensive, but the switch is worth it if you’re paying more for a system you don’t use.


Andrei Vasilescu, digital marketing expert and co-founder of coupon website DontPayFull, suggests finding out these things from your potential CRM provider to ensure you’re getting the program you need for your business:

  • Can the new CRM fulfill all your needs for this type of program?
  • Is the new CRM efficient and easy to customize according to your requirements?
  • Will the new CRM be easy for your team to use?
  • Can the new CRM be updated?
  • Does your budget allow the investment for this new CRM?
TipBottom line
A recent study found that 75 percent of X users, 59 percent of Facebook users and 34 percent of Instagram users have interacted with brands on social media. As these numbers continue to increase, choosing a CRM with top features and various social integrations is crucial to building a personalized customer experience.

Costs of switching CRMs

The costs associated with switching CRMs can depend on various factors, such as your company’s size, the pricing structure of your new CRM versus your current one and the length of time it will take to complete the onboarding process.

Although there are free CRM options, growing businesses should think twice about using them. A little money saved today can cost a lot down the road when you need to switch to a paid CRM with advanced features and adequate data storage.

Small businesses can expect to pay an average of $35 per user per month for a starter CRM system. Midrange systems average nearly $100 per user per month, and advanced enterprise packages average $145 or more per user per month.
















Zoho CRM




Freshworks CRM




* Pricing is based on a per-person-per-month pricing structure. Additional charges may apply for various contract lengths, add-ons, integrations, etc.

Best CRM systems

To find the right CRM system for your business, you should know some of the key players in the market. These are some of the best CRM systems out there:

  • Keap CRM is an all-in-one solution that provides sales and marketing automations. It keeps your business organized while minimizing everyday, repetitive tasks. You can also take advantage of complex sales pipelines and contact your leads and customers by email or text message through Keap. Learn more in our review of Keap.
  • Salesforce is a strong choice for growing businesses, offering features to help you process customer information no matter what stage your business is in. Its third-party integrations and add-on options help you expand the software’s capabilities as your business grows. Salesforce is highly customizable, with tools you can adjust to your business’s needs. Learn more in our review of Salesforce.
Did You Know?Did you know
Salesforce is one of the best-known names in the CRM industry and currently owns roughly 20 percent of the overall CRM market.
  • provides an aesthetically pleasing view of project management tasks. The software is easy to use for multiple departments. It includes a large variety of apps and integrations, allowing you to customize the software fully for your business needs. Boards are visible to members and guests, with personalized permissions for each individual. Learn more in our review.
  • Zoho CRM offers customizable tools that allow you and your team members to craft an operations system you’re comfortable with, which minimizes the learning curve. Its real-time reports give you an accurate read on your customer data, so you’ll know when to adjust practices before issues worsen. Learn more in our Zoho CRM review.
  • Freshworks CRM is cloud-based, customer-centric software designed to engage through excellent customer support. The streamlined experience is perfect for consistently onboarding employees and minimizing customer issues. You can scale the CRM when you’re ready with its over 1,100 custom apps. Learn more in our review of Freshworks CRM

Julie Thompson and Simone Johnson contributed to this article. Some source interviews were conducted for previous versions of this article.

Written By: Alex HaimannCommunity Member
Alex Haimann is partner and head of business development at Less Annoying CRM, a simple CRM built from the ground up for small businesses. Thousands of small businesses use LACRM to manage contacts, track leads, and stay on top of follow-ups. Alex ensures LACRM continues to grow by engaging customers and finding new opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships.
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