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Avoiding data disaster

In real estate, data is one of your most valuable assets. Eddie Cetin looks at how to successfully migrate from one CRM to another.

When we have new clients looking at implementing a new CRM, we are often faced with the conversation about migrating data from their existing systems or spreadsheets.

Data is one of the key contributors to success or failure when it comes to changing CRMs. So how do you prevent a data disaster unfolding?

Last month we had a new client come to us in a world of trouble.

They had data from their past CRM, plus another system they had on the side, and the five agents each kept excel spreadsheets.

There was no consistency, no source of truth.

After years of gathering data, losing it isn’t an option and starting from scratch couldn’t happen.

They needed to consolidate, clean, and make sense of all this data.

As CRMs are now more than just a contact list, the migration of notes, tasks, appraisals, listings and past sales are just as important.

Once you take into account the sale, a potential property management, plus being resold in a few years, a single contact record could be worth $30,000 or more to your business, so you can’t afford to lose anything.

In many ways, the value of data is the same as when agents market a property for sale.

The importance can’t be overlooked.

Just like the right marketing of a property will yield the best result, so too will ensuring you get your data right from the beginning.

The migration process can be hugely complex with millions, if not billions, of individual pieces of information that need to be remapped to the right location.

An experienced provider will help you determine how well your data migration is managed.

Remember, you are changing systems for a reason, so it’s a great time to throw out bad data and create new habits for continuous improvement rather than sporadic attempts to focus on this area of your business.

It’s never going to be 100 per cent perfect.

The goal here is to recognise there will always be some manual clean-up to do.

The goal is to find the intersecting points where time spent meets value of data and cost to find the right solution.

So how can you take action and get your data ready to help you win more listings and close more sales in less time?

Assign a project owner – the job won’t be done properly unless someone owns it and is valued for their efforts. Gather your data – this is a great opportunity to combine once fragmented data so it can be reviewed.

Identify value – use your market knowledge and clientele to identify and categorise your data.

Hundreds of categories are not as effective as five to 10 clean ones. Understand incompatibilities – consider what your current system can export, what can be reformatted and what can be imported.

It doesn’t always align.

Discard futile data – you may find there are many contacts without last names, phone numbers or emails.

If you have 500 overdue tasks is it worth bringing them across or is starting fresh a better option?

Nurture quality data – focus on maintaining, cleaning and improving the aspects that define value for your business.

Have a game plan.

Having clean data is one thing, but understanding how you are going to use it in your CRM is just as important.

Preview the end result – reviewing the outcome before going live provides the chance to make last-minute adjustments.

Fill in the gaps – have a plan to fill in those missing gaps, as having 100 per cent of your data from day one is never possible.

But dedicating a little time to do the final touches once you’re live will put you on the road to success.

Implement the game plan – ensure the team is across how they are going to use the data now and into the future.

Put in place training and daily practices.

If the above leaves you a little queasy at the thought of moving, specialists services are there to help.

It is possible to sell a house without a real estate agent, but we all agree that it’s best to get a professional to do it for you.

Data is no different. In a busy agency, the most successful agents are those who are efficient and have the information they need at their fingertips.

Having to work with spreadsheets, or deal with duplicates is neither of these.

Getting your data right puts you back in the driver’s seat.

It allows you to focus on winning listings and closing sales while creating raving fans of your vendors and buyers with your exceptional knowledge, efficiency and service levels.

That is what great data is all about.

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