Switching from Dynamics to Salesforce: Migration Tips & Tricks

October 31, 2022
16 min

Both Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM are truly great platforms we partner with (and we DID work with over 10 of them for 25 years in the market). But just as with any technology, both of them have their pros, cons, and limitations.

And regardless of the reason why you have to migrate from Dynamics to Salesforce, it is an important milestone in powering up your sales, marketing, and service activities. Not to mention the seriousness of data quality that is going to nourish all your business operations.

Today’s blog post will cover the nuances of switching from MS Dynamics to Salesforce, such as migration challenges and benefits as well as a step-by-step migration plan, and how much the Microsoft Dynamics 365 to Salesforce migration can cost.

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Sometimes you have to change platforms to optimize your business operations. It doesn’t mean that’s a bad platform or it happens because of your shortsightedness. This system simply no longer fits your needs. And it’s not so uncommon.

Based on Masonfrank’s survey, the top 3 CRM vendors that the businesses reverted from to Salesforce were Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle, and SAP.

Platforms From Which Companies Have Migrated to Salesforce

Platforms From Which Companies Have Migrated to Salesforce

 

The most common triggers to change the system were:

  • Scarcer functionality compared to Salesforce
  • Lack of confidence in the platform
  • A limited number of tools can be properly integrated with the CRM solution.
Top Reasons for Switching to Salesforce

Top Reasons for Switching to Salesforce

Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Salesforce Migration Challenges

 

Migration from ERP systems like Microsoft Dynamics always poses a great challenge in its complexity. Let’s take a real-life example of an enterprise-level organization with numerous international divisions across the globe. Dynamics CRM serves there as a single data repository and operation center for several multi-national affiliates of the parent company, and data entry is manual and hardly controlled.

Add to this:

  • Different levels of divisions autonomy,
  • Cross-region operations,
  • Multiple integrated systems that contain some pieces of data,
  • Lack of data management standards,
  • Availability of legacy data or a cascade of static and dynamic data scattered across the systems,
  • Various levels of permissions to access data sets,
  • The difference in fields and objects namings and relationships among them in Salesforce and Dynamics,
  • Multiple attachments like contracts or personal documents attached to records,
  • Countless unmanaged metadata entities like Workflows, Reports, and System Views that Salesforce can’t recognize.

And, also:

  • Recurrent appointments logged in the system,
  • Heavy customization of the system can be far from a uniform,
  • The necessity to comply with different data security regulations in different regions,
  • Enabling effective and complex user training and walkthroughs to ensure the adoption of the new solution,
  • Setting up multi-lingual translation systems for various regions.

Of course, the enlisted challenges are just the tip of the iceberg. There can be other technical challenges such as text characters, HTML tags, the limit of data files, or other complexities pertaining to a particular project.

 

If you are interested in our journey in the CRM space and why, finally, we chose to proceed with Salesforce and Dynamics 365  — read the full story here.

Benefits of Switching Dynamics to Salesforce 

 

As an ERP system, Dynamics 365 is a good start to getting familiar with the basic CRM functionality before investing in a much more robust and expensive solution like Salesforce. However, as your business grows, you may notice the increasing need for a customizable platform. That can integrate with most business apps on the market without spending a fortune on it.

And it is exactly about Salesforce. Here are the overall advantages of the platform and migration process:

  • Saving budget on maintaining unnecessary systems and unifying all the processes internationally,
  • An opportunity to introduce corporate-level policies of the system use applicable to all divisions,
  • Ability to cleanse, dedupe, enrich, and normalize the poor datasets and reinforce data quality standards,
  • Introducing higher security standards and user permissions,
  • Refining the processes with new optimized functionality,
  • Enabling more seamless and simpler customization and configuration of the platform thanks to point-and-click tools,
  • Making the legacy system more agile and scalable to fit business growth potential,
  • Availability of thousands of apps on the AppExchange platform created specifically for Salesforce users and native integration.

Our midsized company migrated over to Salesforce from Microsoft Dynamics CRM last year, and have found it to be much better suited to our needs. SF offers a number of different work environments for each department, while still maintaining visual access to the other departments' activities to ensure we are on the same page. This being the case we can track all clients from prospects and partners, through onboarding, training, marketing and support. Integrations with other software apps, like our marketing tools and LMS keep everything together to eliminate redundancies. Vastly superior to the MS CRM, when it comes to customizations and load time, despite the high volume of records maintained.

Lynnette from IPS, a Review on Softwareadvice.com
  • Access to a more user-friendly system navigation experience,
  • Regular system updates (including security updates) and detailed guides on these updates can be handy both for admins and end-users,
  • Its own educational portal — Trailhead—enables on-demand, independent, unlimited and FREE end-user and admins training to master Salesforce functionality,
  • A supportive community —Trailblazer Community— of fellow users and admins that can answer your questions as soon as they appear.

If you have the resources available, it is certainly worth the investment to have a fully scalable solution for all of your marketing, sales, service, and analytics needs. Despite the existence of Microsoft Dynamics, I would say that in terms of community, education resources, and development potential, Salesforce is the CRM equivalent of the Windows operating systems.

Chance from Paylocity, a Review on Softwareadvice.com

One of the main advantages of Salesforce is that thanks to the worldwide popularity of the platform, there are plenty of freelance specialists and consulting agencies in any region. And it is a good point to consider, because:

We migrated from MS Dynamics to Salesforce 9 months ago and the impact was readily visible. The platform was very flexible and allowed a lot of automation and validation. What stands out is the easy with which one can set up reporting and dashboards. Its really straightforward and make SalesOps a lot easy. You now spend more time analyzing data rather than preparing data.

However, there is a high implementation cycle and need to deal with 3rd party-service providers to get it implemented.

A Review of a Deputy Manager on Garner.com

Salesforce license cost is not the cheapest one. So, it’s better to proceed with the migration under professional guidance to mitigate the risks of ending up with an expensive but “half-baked” solution.

But thanks to the availability of numerous consultancies worldwide, you’ll be able to select an engagement and pricing model that will fit your budget and needs. You can hire a full-time or part-time in-house Salesforce admin and/or developer. Or you can partner with a consulting company, get access to on-demand and dedicated specialists, or work with a freelance professional.

 

You can get more details on the pros and cons of each hiring option, available cost models, and how much you should expect to pay your Salesforce pros in different US states and countries worldwide in our post — What is the REAL cost of implementing Salesforce.

 

If you are rather adamant about the geographical and time zone fitness of your consultants, you can limit your choice to a particular country, state, or even a city. In case the physical location of the agency doesn’t play a significant role, you can set your sights on an offshore consulting agency. Or partner with a versatile consultancy like Ascendix.

We are a top Salesforce consulting firm in the USA and Europe, according to Clutch. co ranking, and have a new-born division in Portugal to cater to all our customers’ needs. As a globally present Salesforce consulting partner, Ascendix offers high-end services like CRM consulting, migration from any software solution to Salesforce, and app development at adjustable pricing.

And if you have considered carefully all the pros and cons of moving to Salesforce and decided to give it a shot, it’s time to draft your “escape plan”.

Want to Start Leveraging Salesforce’s Capabilities to Your Benefit?

 

Dynamics 365 to Salesforce Migration Plan

 

You’re already an experienced user and have undergone the CRM rollout process at least once. So you understand that it’s not a one-day process and not even a one-week one and requires the dedication of resources, time, and money. The CRM migration plan resembles the implementation plan somehow. Still, now there are much more things to consider like the relevance of particular fields and objects to particular User IDs.

Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce Objects Comparison

Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce Objects Comparison

 

Regardless of the CRM, you are switching to and from, project plan peculiarities depend on many factors, such as:

  • The complexity of your existing organization,
  • Number of system users,
  • Amount of customizations done,
  • User permission levels,
  • Industry your business belongs to,
  • Countries and regions your company operates in and others,
  • How many tweaks your target CRM needs to align with your needs.

Any CRM migration path is unique, and to be sure that everything is on the list, it’s better to get professional help. From an expert’s standpoint, consultants can suggest some approaches that will be more optimal both from the business and technical sides. Or add to your plan things that slipped from your sight during discussions or you couldn’t even think about.

Together you’ll be able to craft a working plan that can be executed not only on paper but also in real-life situations.

A typical Dynamics to Salesforce migration plan will look like this:

 

1. Set Migration Goals and What Issues the Platform Change Should Solve

 

To get the maximum from your migration project, you need to identify goals that couldn’t be met with your old CRM but can be achieved with a new one. Outline where the challenge can be overcome with automation and tools and where the problem should be solved by improving the business strategy.

Engage with different teams to generate the list of overall requirements for the CRM system and ensure that you’ve considered all aspects.

The following questions may give you a hint on what you need to concentrate on globally:

  • What are your business’s goals over the next year or a couple of years?
  • What are your biggest opportunities?
  • What are your main roadblocks? Why can’t they be removed with the help of your current platform?
  • What processes should be improved? Can they be improved with more advanced technology?
  • What challenges is your organization currently experiencing? How would you like to change them?
  • How does your company currently manage your data? Are there any company-wide data standards or policies?
  • What activities and processes does your  Dynamics CRM support?

Make sure that all the teams and divisions agree on the key requirements and share a common vision of the future CRM. It will ensure that everyone benefits from switching to a new solution and users will actively use it to achieve mutual success.

 

2. Talk to Salesforce Migration Experts

 

Salesforce implementation partners with rich practical experience can better than anyone advise on replicating and boosting your processes with out-of-the-box or custom functionality. Or vice versa, they will identify shortfalls in your processes and optimize your migration process.

A CRM migration consultant like Ascendix will offer a better approach to migration taking into consideration all specifics of your business. We will help you select the best Salesforce products and automation tools.

We will support your existing business processes with optimized functionality or redesign the business processes and map them to Salesforce. Our experts will assess your data, and create a checklist for data cleansing, enrichment, and mapping. Also, we’ll suggest ideas for customization and estimate the budget and time required to complete the project.

 

 

3. Estimate Budget and Time

 

The CRM migration project cost and time scope depend mostly on your needs and expectations. We’ll describe on a high level what makes up Dynamics to Salesforce migration cost further in the article.

But to get the exact estimate, it’s better to contact a few Salesforce consultants directly and outline your challenges and requirements. You can book a free call with our professionals and discuss all peculiarities of your individual project.

 

4. Clean, Deduplicate, and Enrich your Data

 

Based on Gartner’s research, poor data quality causes up to $9.7 million of financial losses and leads to missing opportunities.

So, if you’ve been using your Dynamics solution for quite a long time and have multiple data entry sources, start to assess data consistency and accuracy. Check the health of your org and perform data health checkups and create rules to prevent duplicate data from entering your system. And here are a couple of our guides that may help you with it:

A lack of data standards and policies on a corporate level increases the chances that your current system is infested with duplicated, erroneous, and redundant data.

To get rid of the poor data before it enters your target CRM, perform data profiling and cleansing at the early stage. Data profiling allows you to critically assess the quality of your data and whether you can deal with data anomalies or recurring errors in bulk. Also, it helps to identify how to map your data and transfer it to the new platform.

Here are 6 steps in profiling and cleansing data:

  1. Discover where and how your data is stored,
  2. Define data standards, policies, and quality requirements,
  3. Assess the current data hygiene based on your policies and standards,
  4. Analyze the primary source of your bad data and its hypothetical impact,
  5. Improve the data quality manually and enable systems to prevent bad data from entering your platform,
  6. Monitor the execution of the previous stages and how well they have performed. If it’s necessary, repeat them all over.

It’s also important to check the fields in your target solution and use these to group the data in the source CRM. If you notice that your new system contains fields that your old solution doesn’t have, you need to take data from several fields and populate them.

If Salesforce doesn’t contain data fields you have in Dynamics CRM, you can either create new fields manually or keep your misfit datasets in some other way.

 

 

5. Migrate your Data 

 

Planning and testing of the migration can be more challenging from a technical standpoint. There are two ways you can perform data migration:

  1. Conduct migration on your own manually or with automation tools,
  2. Use personalized data migration services.

If you choose to carry out data migration on your own, you’ll save money but may spend a lot of time watching and reading guides and tutorials. Moreover, without the proper experience, it will turn data transfer into a labor-consuming process.

Personalized data migration services will ensure that your data will be taken care of. They are aimed to prevent any possible problems during the CRM migration and provide support throughout the migration process. You can always ask for all the clarifications of the CRM transfer at any time and receive comprehensive answers.

With data migration services by Ascendix, you’ll get the essential information and professional guidance on the main steps of your data import. We’ll analyze your data migration needs and suggest the best approaches for managing your data, regardless of whether you have to transfer 1,000 or 1,000,000 records.

 

 

If you decide to proceed on your own, clearly outline the deadline of your migration not to disrupt your ongoing business processes. Define the technical architecture of your old and new CRM systems to iterate the process of your migration.

 

6. Test the Success of the Mission

 

To test your data migration, you need to take one data subset and test one group at a time. Start with a small data set and transfer it to a larger one to see if the routing works right.

Evaluate your CRM migration details. Once you are satisfied with how the process goes, start mixing data blocks at the same time. If you don’t see there any errors, then you can go ahead with migrating any number of records to complete it by the defined deadline.

Execution of the data migration can take place at any suitable time that will help to prevent business operations from disruption. If, for example, your employees work regular hours, then it’s better to set it up in the evenings or at the weekends. If they operate round the clock, then define the timeslot when they are less dependent on the database. Also, you need to ensure that you have a person who’ll manage and monitor the data transfer. It helps to resolve issues as soon as they appear.

Also, a good practice is to back up your data before you move it to a new source in case something unexpected happens. It will be another security measurement in addition to the Dynamics’ 90-day grace period of data storage after the cancellation.

After your migration is finished, check if there are no missing data sets and that everyone has access to the new data center. Then you need to perform a thorough audit of your whole system and its further modification.

 

7. Tailor Salesforce to Your Individual Needs

 

After all the data manipulations are done, start modification of the solution’s standard functionality. You can configure Salesforce by creating new:

  • Objects,
  • Fields,
  • Reports,
  • Validation rules.

You can also enable default email templates, install basic AppExchange apps, adjust your UI (user interface), etc.

In case you need functionality that is not readily available in Salesforce and can’t be adjusted with basic configuration, you can opt for customization. Usually, it is required for larger and more complex projects involving multiple external systems and significant functionality enhancements.

By tailoring a Salesforce solution to your business needs, you can increase revenue and productivity due to the integrity of key business processes. Holistic insights into your sales & marketing data enable you to forecast the success of performing certain business activities and their impact on your performance in the long run.

 

 

8. Review the Org’s Security

 

Since your company is constantly evolving and has more and more complex data flows across your departments and integrated third-party systems, the size of the data leakage catastrophe seems to be more than impressive. Salesforce, as one of the leading and versatile CRM solutions providers, offers the ability to audit your platform to detect any security issues that might have gone unnoticed. These issues are put together in the form of a report that can be used to identify possible risks that can be further addressed case-by-case.

The first and foremost step toward making your Salesforce org healthier is to critically assess all the existing and hypothetical system vulnerabilities. You can do it with the help of specialized tools or manually. Together with Salesforce, Ascendix puts organization health and security as one of our top priorities during the full cycle of development and support.

So, if you need a 360-degree health check of your Salesforce org or security reinforcement, you can reach out to our team.

 

9. Test All the Deployments and Complete the Migration

 

Prior to rolling out a ready CRM solution to the production environment, you need to test the core components of your Salesforce deployment. Check if :

  • All the data migrated correctly,
  • All assigned data fields are recognized and fillable,
  • Email addresses are associated with the correct contacts,
  • Two-way email sync works as expected, etc.

It will guarantee that you, your team, and your partners gain a complete alignment with your CRM.

 

10. Provide Training to End-users and Admins

 

Training is an essential part of the Salesforce migration and implementation strategy. Training and support ensure that your users understand the platform’s features and feel comfortable using it. Also, user training guarantees that the adoption rate of the new CRM will be much higher across your company. It also helps to ensure that your team will continue to use Salesforce properly.

You can organize group training, team sessions, and ongoing training to ensure that all people within your organization know how to use the tool. Provide your employees with the sandbox version of the new platform, and provide online tools or videos with walkthroughs to use in the future after the training is completed.

After that, you can collect valuable feedback and make necessary changes in time to ensure faster Salesforce adoption.

Re-inforced Salesforce training for admins on the front line of your CRM deployment and adoption is essential. They have to possess a deeper knowledge of your CRM to maintain it after migration. Also, it should be an in-house problem solver for your employees in case any issues with your CRM arise. It is imperative to invest either in your Salesforce admin education within the organization or hire outside experts who will do it instead.

 

 

11. Ensure Complete Adoption of a New Solution by Platform Users

 

A successful CRM adoption is a key indicator of a successful migration. It means that employees use the CRM system confidently, log in regularly, and feel that their operations have become much easier, faster, and more satisfying.

But Salesforce adoption doesn’t end when everybody is comfortable with the software. Your company is constantly evolving, and your CRM must scale as well. So, later you might want to extend the system or alter your customizations. To maximize efficiency, you need to take regular feedback from users, assess your CRM system, and modify it as needed.

How We Helped Commercial Real Estate Companies With Migration to Salesforce

We have solid experience in helping our clients to migrate from Dynamics 365 to Salesforce and customize it to their needs. Here is one of our featured projects:

 

1. Migration from MS Dynamics CRM to AscendixRE on Top of Salesforce

 

Project Challenge

 

Highwoods Properties, a REIT company headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, referred to Ascendix to get help with migration from Microsoft Dynamics CRM to AscendixRE on top of Salesforce.

The company wanted to have a system architecture with the ability to set up security roles hierarchy, sharing rules, and custom permission set.

They needed a CRM platform that would allow custom integration with third-party systems, customization of fields, objects, and activities as well as building custom reports with certain parameters.

 

Solution

 

We helped Highwoods Properties with:

  1. Data, activities, and flow mapping, loading, and programming within AscendixRE,
  2. Requirements refinement, mock-ups, and design of additional custom objects & fields,
  3. Creation of custom dashboards, reports, and data filtration logic,
  4. Setting up of security and sharing rules for Salesforce,
  5. Configuration of various types of permission sets, and custom user roles,
  6. Design of custom UI, forms, and triggers,
  7. Creation of data validation, deduplication, and cleanup rules,
  8. Custom integration with email services, marketing platforms, and data analytics tools,
  9. Design of combination of template-based emails, and emails on the fly, and enhanced email feature,
  10. Building of custom Salesforce Lightning Components on the Salesforce mobile application,
  11. Implementation of ad-hoc lists.

 

The Payoff

 

Together with Ascendix, Highwoods Properties managed to migrate over 100,000 fields and records with 95% accuracy into AscendixRE. Now they can leverage accurate reporting and data analysis, and speed up marketing processes and overall brokers’ productivity.

 

The Key Takeaway

 

MS Dynamics to Salesforce migration is tricky and has many pitfalls that can’t be solved by standard means. But it doesn’t mean that such challenges should overshadow the advantages of Salesforce that can bring you to a new level of efficiency.

You can always seek the expert help of consultants like Ascendix that know the ins and outs of both CRM systems and can map your way to technology success. As your migration guides, we will ensure that your data is error and duplicate-free and is migrated in a consistent way to make this process less of a headache for you. Contact us and we’ll uncover how we do digital miracles for our clients!

Dynamics to Salesforce Migration FAQ

How Much Does Migration from Dynamics to Salesforce Cost?

The CRM migration cost involves the license cost of Salesforce editions (depending on the Cloud the pricing ranges from $25 user/ month to $ 40,000 month per org), recruitment, training, and hiring cost for in-house specialists who will oversee and perform the migration, integration projects, and maintenance of the solution (or the cost of on-demand/dedicated outsourcing implementation partners/ freelancers), cost of automation solutions for the system audit, data migration, and apps to integrate.

Depending on the complexity of the project, the number of users, selected subscription, and the employment model you prefer (in-house/onshore/offshore/outsourced/freelance), the price may vary from $10,000 to $100,000 per organization. Just data migration can cost from $10,000 to $35,000 on average if it involves designing custom solutions to automate data transfer.

 

If you need to get the custom quote for your migration project cost, reach out to us! We’ll help you select the most budget-friendly, time-efficient, and well-considered road in your migration journey.

 

How Long Does Dynamics CRM to Salesforce Migration Project Last?

It heavily depends on the scope of the project. For smaller migration projects with normalized data, little customizations and integrations required, and a straightforward data import, Dynamics to Salesforce migration may take 3-4 weeks.

For the larger projects, it can take from several months to a year to get only through the first data migration and implementation phase.

Why Should I Switch from Dynamics 365 to Salesforce?

Salesforce is a robust multi-faceted solution that can power up your business and unlock its hidden potential. Here are some of the benefits salesforce migration can bring you:

  • Unlimited integration capabilities with thousands of AppExchange apps
  • Optimized corporate processes and workflows
  • Secure access and storage of the corporate data
  • Comprehensive overview of your customer journey
  • Synchronized and accurate data across the systems
  • Better document exchange and storage due to enhanced collaboration
  • Infinite customization and custom development potential of Salesforce ecosystem
  • Endless scalability of your CRM to align with growing business needs
  • User-friendly navigational and operational experience
  • Centralized processes of various teams and different locations in one

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