CRM Migration: 14 Best Practices for Customizing Your System 

We have intimate knowledge of the work it takes to select and implement a new CRM system, especially when migrating from a legacy system. Achieving the ultimate goal of building a system that best supports your wealth management firm's business goals can be easier when you invest the planning time upfront and commit to a structured process.

To give you an idea of how to work through an efficient process, we're publishing a series of Insight articles that cover all of the essential points you need to know about implementing CRMs from start to finish. This article, the second in the series, outlines 14 best practices firms should adhere to when working through this complex process to deliver a product that meets your firm's specific needs.   

  1. Define Clear Objectives. Clearly outline your goals and objectives. Having a crystal-clear vision of what you want to achieve with your CRM will guide your customization efforts (when integrating two CRMs into one, define the essential functionality in prior systems and if/how to translate to the new system).
  2. Conduct an Out-of-the-Box Assessment. Before diving into customization, explore the out-of-the-box features. CRMs provide a robust set of functionalities without much additional work. Leverage them to their fullest before considering custom development.
  3. Establish a Modular Approach. Break down your customization into manageable modules. Prioritize the modules based on their business impact and urgency. This ensures that each phase adds value without unnecessary complexity.
  4. Involve End-Users. Regularly involve end-users in the customization process. Everyone has an opinion and their feedback is invaluable in refining the system to meet actual business needs. Only add those features that users find helpful.
  5. Automate Wisely. Automation is powerful, but only some things need to be automated. Be selective about what processes you automate to enhance efficiency without complicating the system.
  6. Follow Your CRM’s Specific Best Practices. Each product has its own best practices and design principles. Adhering to them ensures your customization aligns with the platform's capabilities and evolves smoothly with future updates.
  7. Plan with Scalability in Mind. Think about the future. Will your customization scale as your business grows? Ensure your design is scalable and that new features can be seamlessly integrated.
  8. Commit to Documentation. Document every customization thoroughly. This includes the purpose, functionality and any potential future considerations. This documentation is crucial for ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting.
  9. Establish a Governance Model. A governance model will help you manage changes. Include version control, testing procedures, and a well-defined change management process. This prevents haphazard changes that could lead to over-engineering.
  10. Review Regularly. Periodically review your CRM instance and user feedback. As your business and CRM functionality evolve and new apps/integrations become available, certain customizations may become obsolete or need adjustment. Regularly assess and refine them to maintain an optimal system.
  11. Invest in User Training and Support Mechanisms. Over-engineering happens when users don't fully understand the existing functionalities, leading to unnecessary customizations.
  12. Third-Party Applications. Explore third-party marketplaces for existing applications that meet your requirements. Sometimes, leveraging a well-vetted app can save you from custom development and its associated complexities. 

We also have two additional tips related to project management that we want to offer to keep the migration process running smoothly.  

  1. Use a project planning tool, conduct daily stand-up meetings, hold periodic sponsor/advisor team meetings, and escalate issues when necessary to keep steady progress toward key milestones.
  2. If you are working with a lean team, consider outsourcing specialty skilled talents for short periods of time. For example, hire a team to build out initial journeys and train your internal team on future changes or build-outs. Taking the pressure off the internal team to be experts in everything will allow them to operate at the highest level of their skills. 

 Adhering to these best practices will streamline your efforts to make your CRM a valuable tool throughout the organization. Our next article will discuss contract negotiation. We will describe proven methods for getting everything you need, planning for future growth, and avoiding paying for features that don’t support your business goals.

Articles in CRM Series 
  1. Transitioning Your Legacy System to a New Solution
  2. Best Practices for Customization
  3. Contract Negotiation
  4. Communications 
 Use expert support for your CRM implementation to ensure you get it right the first time. Get in touch to learn more.

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