Migrations suck. They suck for everyone.
Here’s how they suck.
If you were in charge of buying the new CRM, the migration will suck because you’ve been leading a big process, and now need to begin leading a new big process.
- During your buying process, you saw the best features of a fully configured CRM without much insight into what it takes to get you to that finished state
- You now need your staff to participate in the migration and need to create conditions for them to participate enthusiastically
- The whole process took a lot of time and you’re tired.
For your staff who weren’t involved in evaluating and buying the new CRM, the migration will suck because of decision fatigue, lack of expertise, and overwork.
- They will need to make decisions about how to configure the new CRM without being experts in it
- They will need to sort through data and decide what to bring, what to leave behind, and how to structure it
- They will need to learn a whole new CRM while doing all of the above and still doing their day jobs
Migrations suck, and anyone who says differently is selling something.
The key is to try to make migrations suck less.
Why Do Migrations Suck?
Migrations suck because people are switching from a system they know well to something they don’t know at all. That feels uncomfortable.
Because your staff need to do their day jobs while also doing the heavy lifting of migrating and learning, there is a drop in productivity. There’s also usually a drop in enthusiasm. Sometimes the project seems like it will never end.
This is normal. Feeling tired in the middle of a slog is normal. Sometimes people get so worn out by the process that they quit their jobs during the middle of the project, or right after go-live. Not only does that suck for your staff, it can make the project drag on even longer.
We don’t want that to happen.
There are ways to make migrations not so life-draining, though.
How Can You Make Migrations Suck Less?
To make migrations suck less, you need help. When you buy a new CRM, software companies may also offer you the opportunity to buy a variety of services. These can include:
- Setup and configuration assistance
- Training and onboarding
- Data migration assistance
- Production assistance
- Project management
In our experience at Raise HECK, these services are essential. You can get them from the CRM company or from a consultant, but don’t go it alone.
We also think a really important service is change management.
What Is Change Management?
Change management is a high-falutin’ name for something that’s actually not that complicated.
Change management is a plan to help your staff through a big change. Then you put that plan into action.
Anything else would be inconceivable.
You’ll plan to:
- Communicate to your staff what’s happening, when, and why
- Illustrate who will benefit from the new CRM, both them individually, their departments, and the entire organization
- Tell them how you’ll get there through a collaborative learning process
- Periodically check in on progress for support and accountability
- Triage and address anything that derails the project
- Celebrate success
Two of the most important skills you need for change management are communication skills and empathy. This can be hard when you’ve been through a time-consuming buying process.
You already know the reasons why your old CRM wasn’t working and why you chose the new one, but your staff doesn’t. You’ll need to explain it to them in a concise way, but with enough detail to show you respect them.
Empathy and patience may be in short supply when all you want to do is get on with it. But both of those are important in order to create conditions where your staff are motivated to do their best work.
Having a really good change management process in place won’t make the migration not suck at all. But it will make it suck less.
Raise HECK’s Change Management Program
We have helped several organizations successfully manage change with their staff as they have migrated to a new CRM.
Some keys to success are:
- Leadership. We empower the organization’s leaders to communicate to the staff what’s happening, when, why, and how they will be supported. It’s important that this message comes directly from leadership, and not from consultants.
- Training. People learn in a variety of ways, so when part of our change management services include training, we make sure to deliver content in a variety of ways to allow people to learn how they learn best.
- Believe. This stuff is hard! Migrations suck, remember? But it will get better. Don’t give up. Persistence is a virtue! Believe that it will get easier. We make sure to encourage staff at every opportunity, while also listening so we can help solve their problems.
It might sound weird to hear from a consulting company that migrations suck. It also might sound weird to hear that we don’t promise to wave a magic wand and make it painless.
But we do believe that with effective change management, it’s possible to make migrations suck less. We’ve lived it! And when migrations suck less, then it’s possible to even have some fun along the way!