Switching CRMs: Tips to Overcome Change Challenges (2024)

switching CRMs

Almost 50% of customers churn in the United States, with global averages for churn rates climbing over 30%. 

Without a good customer relationship management (CRM) system, your business is already at a disadvantage and more likely to increase churn. If your current CRM isn’t meeting your expectations, you lose out on having visibility of customer interactions and feedback that are imperative to improving your business. 

Not to mention, you’ll need more speed and accuracy to compete in the market and deliver a desirable customer experience.  A good CRM makes that happen. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the warning signs of inadequate CRMs and what you can do to manage the complexities of a system migration to overcome common CRM challenges.  

What are the top CRMs to consider in 2024?

  1. Salesforce
  2. Hubspot
  3. Pipedrive
  4. Zoho
  5. Microsoft Dynamics 365

9 Reasons for Switching CRMs

Although CRMs are typically very customized to fit a specific business need or organizational structure, most companies have very similar reasons for wanting to change or transform their CRM system. Here are a few common causes:

1. Lack of features or functionalities in current CRM

You want to work with a CRM system with the specific capabilities your team needs to complete tasks efficiently. If your CRM doesn’t allow you to extract and analyze business data accurately or seamlessly enough to fuel revenue initiatives, it’s time to look for one that can. 

For example, DoorDash switched to Hubspot because its form-building feature would eliminate time spent managing a manual integration between Salesforce and a custom form. 

2. Poor user experience and outdated interface

CRMs tend to house a lot of information. This data needs to be easily searchable and manageable. Your system should also have a frictionless user experience (UX), allowing you to ramp up and become proficient. A better UX also means moving away from clunky, hard-to-use interfaces with steep learning curves. 

3. Integration issues with other tools and systems

Maintaining an effective data integration can be a tedious task. A 2022 study of enterprise architects found that 98% of respondents had rebuilt integrations in the past 12 months for their most essential business applications. Most companies have one or more systems feeding data into your CRM.

Suppose your team spends too many hours sorting and cleaning the data funneling into your CRM; in that case, you’ll benefit from switching to a system that seamlessly integrates with most of your tech stack.

% of survey respondents that rebuilt integrations in the past 12 months for their most essential business application

4. Inadequate reporting and analytics capabilities

Your customer data empowers you with deep business insight that you can use to encourage action and accelerate growth. Armed with the right reporting tools, you can better understand how customers buy and what makes them stay loyal. CRM systems are advantageous if they can provide your team with powerful reporting features that are scalable, easy to integrate, and simple to use.

5. High costs

The cost of a CRM can vary greatly depending on the complexity of your implementation. Bigger companies spend an average of $174,000 — with those with over 10,000 employees spending up to $450,000 — because of larger volumes of data to migrate and clean. Employee training can also take up a large chunk of CRM costs if they aren’t administered effectively and fail to increase employee proficiency. 

6. Insufficient scalability

As your business grows, you’ll work with more customer records and a bigger need for data-driven tactics. 

For instance, some systems are better suited to support small businesses because they’re straightforward and focus on standard features like contact management, email tracking, and dashboards. But enterprises or firms in the hypergrowth phase may better benefit from CRMs with advanced functionalities like sales forecasting and marketing automation tools.  

To meet and exceed your goals and KPIs, your CRM must be agile enough to let you manage larger deal sizes and sort through more data. Teams may also opt for systems that provide a more frictionless experience when onboarding and training new employees.  

7. Poor customer support

A CRM system is a big data powerhouse. Even the simplest CRMs for small businesses can come with various features to learn, customize, and integrate into day-to-day workflows. A reliable customer support team helps you spend less time waiting for answers to your problems. Companies also prefer switching to CRM systems with effective self-help and on-demand training resources. 

8. Incompatibility with new technologies

A rigid system that doesn’t evolve as technology evolves is a big dealbreaker. As the centralized location for something as dynamic and actionable as customer data, you want to ensure your systems are flexible enough to incorporate emerging technologies that further optimize performance. 

For example, companies use AI and IoT integrations in their CRM to automate customer interactions and analysis at scale, including features like automated data deduplication, predictive lead scoring, and personalized recommendation systems. 

9. Inadequate security and data privacy

Businesses have been trying to be data-driven for a long time — and we now have so many sophisticated data analysis features at our disposal to build better campaigns. But more new technologies mean a more significant responsibility to ensure customer data is in the right hands for the right reasons. 

A 2022 survey found that 76% of respondents wouldn’t want to buy from a company they don’t trust with their data. As a result, companies are heavily scrutinizing their tech stacks and CRM to ensure that systems have the correct security compliance and data privacy controls.

Related Resources

5 Steps for Switching CRMs

Now that you’ve explored the causes of a CRM migration, what do you do when you’ve decided to choose a new system?

1. Assess your current CRM

Take note of everything about your current CRM that you and your team like and dislike about your existing CRM. Your assessment should consider system features, task efficiency, collaboration, employee onboarding, and more. From there, you can map a clearer picture of how your current CRM acts as a bottleneck and if any internal processes contribute to that friction. 

For instance, if a CRM assessment points out that your team only utilizes two out of five core features, it could indicate skill gaps or a low need for advanced personalization. Once you know that, you can select a CRM that prioritizes those two features and has sufficient user training.

2. Research and compare different CRM options

58% of sales and marketing leaders say they waste money on their CRMs. With so many tools to choose from, you want to avoid rash decisions based on industry norms instead of your organization’s unique needs. 

Here are a few questions to consider with your stakeholders when researching options and engaging vendors:

  • What user experience will my CRM need to be the most productive for my team? 
  • How much can I invest in a CRM now and in the future as data needs scale? 
  • How will the platform support a seamless team onboarding and adoption strategy
  • What KPIs will define the success and ROI of investing in this platform? 
  • How do you expect your CRM needs to evolve as your company grows?

3. Plan your data migration

More than half of teams believe they’re missing important CRM data to boost campaign quality.

“The biggest challenge we experienced when migrating to a new CRM was data stability. We had to ensure that all our customer data was transferred safely and securely, which took some time,” said Ryan McKenzie, founder at Tru Earth

If McKenzie had to navigate this transition again, he would break the migration into phases to better manage the accuracy and hygiene of data flowing into the new system. “I would also create a task force dedicated to overseeing the migration process and providing updates throughout the process,” he adds. 

When you’re thinking about the logistics of your data migration, make sure your plan accounts for the following: 

  • A timeline to work with
  • The types of new and historical data you want to prioritize
  • Data migration tools you can use to automate the process 
  • Dedicated team members you can rely on to lead the migration 

4. Migrate and integrate data

Migrating large volumes of data from one system to another will always be scary. First, you have to be detail-oriented about the quality of data you’re bringing into your system, like accurately matching fields, syncing valuable historical data, and deduplication. Next, you need to keep your migration from impacting existing business activities. 

Here are a few tips from our CRM data migration checklist:

  • Prep and clean your data pre-migration 
  • Assess your data mapping needs
  • Test your migration on a sample size of data
  • Backup your data
  • Double-check all your migrated data

5. Prepare and train your internal teams

CRM migrations are messy and hectic. You’re throwing out processes your team is already familiar with and introducing new ones in a rapidly changing environment. One mistake is enough to turn your CRM into an inconsistent and inaccurate heap of data. 

Equip your team with easy-to-use resources informing them about the migration’s benefits and execution. You’ll also want to reassure them that new systems and processes won’t interfere with their day-to-day workflows. 

One way you can do this is by using digital adoption platforms (DAP) to embed product support content and guided workflows within the CRM platform. In-app content gives your team members easy access to CRM usage tips and data hygiene best practices as they navigate the new system. 

Ryan McKenzie Tru Earth
"The biggest challenge we experienced when migrating to a new CRM was data stability. We had to ensure that all our customer data was transferred safely and securely, which took some time."



8 Key Features to Look For in a New CRM

There are many contributing features to a successful CRM experience. Still, you can optimize your migration by prioritizing these eight key elements:

1. Customization and scalability

As you evaluate new CRM options, stay aligned with your key stakeholders so you have visibility into forward-looking growth targets. Then, work those goals into your selection process so you can consider systems that can support you now and in the future, saving you the hassle of conducting another CRM migration in the near term.

2. User-friendliness and ease of use

It doesn’t matter how many features your new CRM has; if your team can’t seamlessly adopt it into their daily responsibilities, you won’t see any ROI. 

Select a CRM with a user experience that makes navigating, managing, and analyzing customer data easy. If you have a feature-rich system, interactive elements like beacons and smart tips are one way you can highlight important actions and locations within the system. 

3. Integration with other tools

When evaluating your options, assess how each platform would talk to your most important relationship-building software, like your email provider, calendars, prospecting tools, and lead generation forms. 

Consider the following: 

  • Are there native integrations with your existing tech stack that you can use to save time? 
  • Can you use connector integrations like Zapier to bridge the remaining gaps? 
  • Is there a dedicated person or team you can rely on to implement and maintain these integrations?

4. Reporting and analytics capabilities

With so much valuable data at your fingertips, it’s a no-brainer to have a system that gives you the path of least resistance to turn that data into actionable tactics. 

List out your most important KPIs and identify how you would use your CRM to keep track of those metrics. Think about the dashboards you’d want to build reports, the reports you would need to measure success and identify risks, and any emerging technologies you want to incorporate for more automation and personalization. 

5. Mobile accessibility

For companies with employees who work remotely or travel for business frequently, prioritize digital experiences that are compatible with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Pulling up a CRM system through an incompatible mobile web browser can incur long load times, unresponsive buttons, small text, or incompatible screen resolutions.

6. Lead and opportunity management

Over a quarter of leads are not followed up on because teams are unsure of their quality or unaware of who has ownership. With a good CRM, you’ll have a centralized location to track and view interactions from when a lead contacts you to a won opportunity. Some popular examples of lead management features are lead scoring, funnel stages, and automated follow-up workflows. 

7. Customer support and communication

In addition to a responsive and reliable customer service team, you should have 24/7 access to resources on your CRM’s basic features and advanced capabilities, data best practices, and how to troubleshoot errors. Integrating your CRM to a DAP like Whatfix allows you to embed pop-ups and an in-app help center to deliver this support content at specific points in the onboarding or adoption journey. 

8. Data security

Reuters reports that data privacy laws are entering a new era in 2023. Four new states in the US will be enforcing laws that mirror the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), giving consumers the legal right to control their personal information. With CRMs housing large volumes of sensitive customer data, companies must invest in systems that meet industry-standard security compliance. Other critical security features include data encryption and two-factor authentication. 

Support your organizational change with Whatfix's digital adoption platform

7 Common Challenges When Switching CRMs

With CRMs being such an integral part of business functions, teams will undoubtedly deal with bottlenecks along the way. Equip your migration strategy with a high-level awareness of these possibilities:

1. Data loss and corruption

This can be caused by many factors, from broken integrations to poor data hygiene before the migration and outdated data maintenance SOPs after the migration.

2. Resistance to changes

If you’ve built your workflows around a specific software system, it’s only natural to be frustrated when that system is disrupted or replaced. When not managed properly, CRM migrations can lengthen the learning curve for employees and distract them from completing tasks that contribute to their KPIs. 

3. Integration with other tools

Setting up a perfect integration can take a lot of time and effort depending on the size of your tech stack and team. Broken integrations can cause your team to lose track of leads and opportunities, delay campaigns, and run into inaccuracies when calculating ROI and revenue. 

4. Cost and budget constraints

Michael McCarty, CEO of Edge Fall Protection, says that CRM implementation became too complex and challenging as his team requested new features and added more processes. 

Michael McCarty Fall Edge Protection
“As a result of the scope creep, the project eventually failed. We were unable to deliver the new system on time or within budget, and the result was not what we had hoped for."



This is a common occurrence in companies of all sizes.

5. Training and support

A lack of training can cause you and your team to waste hours figuring out how to complete a task without making real progress. You need to lean on reliable technology partners to overcome this challenge — whether through a consultative partnership or a self-serve digital experience.

6. Customization capabilities

Even the best systems won’t give you everything you need immediately. It’s up to you to personalize your CRM experience and integrations to reflect the data you need and the goals you have to achieve. The more rigid your system is, the harder it will be for you to improve processes as your company scales.

7. User adoption

Whatfix’s 2023 digital adoption trends report discovered that 84% of employees don’t know how to use core features in the tools they use every day. When product adoption levels are low, you don’t reap the benefits of a unified data system — data is logged and tracked inaccurately, reporting becomes inconsistent, and tasks aren’t automated as they should be.

switching crms

6 Best Practices for Switching CRMs

Now that you’re aware of the challenges of switching CRMs, it’s time to assess a few best practices to overcome them.

1. Set clear goals and objectives

Align your team members and stakeholders on the purpose of this CRM migration. To avoid sudden, costly changes, ensure you’ve gathered feedback from everyone using the new system. From there, define a plan that outlines the following:

  • Why you’re switching to a new CRM
  • The expected ROI of this new system
  • A timeline of the entire migration duration
  • Roles and responsibilities throughout the process
  • The KPIs needed to measure CRM implementation success
  • Risk mitigation strategies

2. Prioritize user adoption and training

Identify the strengths and weaknesses you’ve seen up until now with your current CRM. Use these results to prioritize training modules and support content that can reduce friction and accelerate the proficiency of CRM capabilities. 

With a digital adoption platform, you can strategically place in-app content and interactive guidance at specific points in the user journey to highlight next steps and reminders.

3. Work with a reliable CRM provider

Besides evaluating the features and technical capabilities of your new CRM, spend time assessing how each CRM provider could become a reliable partner to your team. You’ll ultimately trust them to house your data in a secure environment and work closely with you to ensure you’re getting the most out of the experience you’ve purchased. 

Clear expectations about their responsiveness to customer support questions and shared feedback. You also want to be confident in their ability to maintain a stable data infrastructure and bug-free user experience.

4. Communicate with stakeholders

Involve important stakeholders throughout the process, not just at the beginning or end. Suppose they have valuable insight they can share from past migrations. In that case, you’ll benefit from considering their perspective before making technical and process-related decisions that are hard to reverse.

5. Establish a clear migration plan

Decide how you’re going to execute your migration from a logistical standpoint. Unlike the goal-setting you did at the start of your CRM project, a migration plan narrows down the technical details of moving data from one system to the other,  what tools to use, and the people who will own and execute each step of the plan. 

6. Monitor CRM performance and make improvements over time

With customer data flowing in and out of your system constantly, you can expect to see inconsistencies creep up as the volume of data grows. Consistently monitoring the performance of your CRM helps you avoid more significant data disruptions caused by unaddressed system errors and poor data management at scale. In addition, you can assign ownership of CRM monitoring activities to a person to team to ensure that every issue and solution is recorded and implemented.

Top 5 CRMs to Consider in 2024

Here are five popular CRMs you can explore today: 


1. Salesforce

Enterprise-level businesses enjoy using Salesforce because of the platform’s expansive suite of features and functionalities. It gives teams advanced reporting and analytics tools with highly customizable reports, dashboards, interfaces, and integrations with a wide range of business applications. The platform can be complex, but Salesforce has no shortage of training resources and customer support representatives that work with companies to set up their integration.


2. Hubspot CRM

Hubspot can be easily adopted by companies of all sizes and is recognized for its modern and user-friendly software experience. On top of having a wide range of third-party integrations, Hubspot combines marketing, sales, operations, and customer service tools within a centralized platform — which means more built-in capabilities and fewer complications integrating with other Hubspot products. 

Hubspot dashboard

3. Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a suitable platform for companies that want their CRM geared toward sales pipeline management. If you’re a sales-heavy or sales-assisted business, you’ll enjoy using Pipedrive’s features and visually-driven user interface to track the progress of deals at different stages. The platform also has easy-to-use sales automation workflows to help your team move deals along the pipeline faster. 

Pipedrive dashboard

4. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is an affordable and highly customizable system that companies can use to connect easily to communication channels and set up new users. Users enjoy the platform’s straightforward features and functionalities, especially regarding email templates, managing invoices, setting daily email quotas, and managing contacts. With Zoho Marketplace, you can personalize your CRM with extensions for business productivity, sales, and finances.

Microsoft Dynamics 365​

5. Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an excellent option for companies who use other Microsoft products like the Microsoft Power Platform, which includes analytics tools, workflow creation, and app builders. The Microsoft solution ecosystem powers this CRM’s customization capabilities, which support extensive languages and localization options and seamlessly extend capabilities. The platform also offers AI-powered predictive analytics. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365​
Streamline your CRM transition with Whatfix

Whatfix is a digital adoption platform that lets teams deploy personalized guidance for users so they can adapt to new systems quickly and boost their software proficiency. By providing in-app interactive walkthroughs, task lists, tooltips, and more, Whatfix empowers your users with the information they need to increase productivity and reduce errors. 

Learn more about how Whatfix helps businesses maximize their CRM investment by streamlining transition support content and minimizing disruptions with on-demand self-service help today. 

What Is Whatfix?
Whatfix is a digital adoption platform that provides organizations with a no-code editor to create in-app guidance on any application that looks 100% native. With Whatfix, create interactive walkthroughs, product tours, task lists, smart tips, field validation, self-help wikis, hotspots, and more. Understand how users are engaging with your applications with advanced product analytics.
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