So, you’re thinking about moving your sales team from Salesforce to HubSpot.

At HubSpot, we found ourselves in the same situation four years ago. Our entire global sales team had been on Salesforce for over 10 years. Salesforce was our CRM from startup to scale up with an IPO in between. It contained loads of historical data, business and sales processes, and was the brain of our go-to-market machine. We must have had this awesome system with it right? Wrong.

Our instance of Salesforce was incredibly complex, bloated and full of "band aids" from years of short term fixes.

What we wanted was simplicity, reliability and flexibility.

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Now, this was not an easy decision. Switching CRMs is challenging. There is unavoidable change management pain. It was a massive decision for us and one we went back and forth on for a few months. And we’re HubSpot! However, we didn’t let the pain of switching outweigh the benefits of choosing the right CRM for us. And neither should you. Change doesn’t have to be that hard and we want to share all that we learned going through the process. Keep reading to learn how and why we did it and how migrating from Salesforce to HubSpot CRM made all of the "pains" undoubtedly worth it.

Don't believe me? Take it from our VP of Sales Strategy and Ops, Channing Ferrer:

"Our sales team would constantly bring issues to us around SFDC usability, fields, clutter, noise and number of clicks. The HubSpot CRM has given our sales operations team the ability to move faster as well as have better insights into the state of the business. It’s also increased our sales rep productivity and reduced our Sales Ops inquiries significantly."

Here’s a look into some of our productivity metric improvements between 2018 and 2019. Note that these metrics aren’t scientific; for example, they don’t control for other productivity improvement factors during this timeframe. But we think they’re interesting:

Benefits of switching to HubSpot CRM
Image Source: HubSpot

First, let’s review how we got here. Complexity is easy, it’s simplicity that’s hard. We found that some of our decisions from the past were sometimes short-sighted, and complexity started to creep in without us even noticing. Here’s a visual representation of our journey to an overly complex Salesforce instance over the past 13 years.

HubSpot sales team evolution
Image Source: HubSpot
  • In 2008, we implemented a sales solution for a small sales team selling one product in one country. What if we sell two or three products one day? Were we thinking that far in advance at the time? No.
  • In 2011, we developed a Customer Success team and bought and built various tools to help us service our customers. At the time, we weren’t thinking about how our CS team would engage with our Sales team, or how widely valuable this information would be across departments.
  • In 2015, we opened three new global offices in Dublin, Sydney and Portsmouth, NH and launched a new product. We wanted to offer self-purchase for that new product (e-commerce). That didn’t fit in with our existing sales infrastructure, so we built something entirely separate within SFDC without thinking how that would look 2-3 years from now.
  • Finally, in 2018 our customers wanted one unified experience. They wanted to buy our products at the same time, different times, same way or different ways, one bill or multiple bills. Were we thinking about how to solve for that within CRM at the time? No.

Notice a theme here? We kept adding patches and hacks to our CRM and it resulted in time-sucking complexity. Complexity was at the heart of our issues. Our hypothesis was that by simplifying and reducing complexity, we could hit our three year vision much faster. Here’s an example of complexity within our SFDC instance that you may relate to.

Examples of CRM complexity
Image Source: HubSpot

HubSpot Growth Specialist Josh Newall explains how the focus on simplification made his job easier.

"Reaching out to a brand new lead and logging a phone call utilizing our current set-up with SFDC takes approximately 18 clicks. Moving to the HubSpot CRM, this goes down to 8 clicks, which is a 55% reduction. HubSpot's CRM is designed for rep productivity and gives me more time to focus on the 'human' aspect of my job rather than managing my CRM."

So what did we assess when working towards a decision? When in doubt, go back to your guiding principles and core system values. We considered our core system values which included simplicity, reliability, and enabling HubSpotters to do their best work. When we mapped these core system values against our own guiding principles for our products, we realized these were directly aligned. Not too surprising that we wanted the same things that we want for our own customers.

HubSpot core system values
Image Source: HubSpot

Ultimately, we realized we needed scalability, reliability, and improved insights to support rep adoption. With all of this in mind, it came down to a few reasons which ultimately drove our decision to rip the bandaid off and migrate from Salesforce to HubSpot:

  • Disparate systems: Our frontline reps (sales and services) were logging in to three to four systems a day to do their job. Talk about productivity losses. More on that later.
  • Rep/Manager CRM adoption: Our Salesforce instance was so complicated and confusing, it would take reps and managers double digit clicks to log one activity. This led to mental fatigue and lowered overall CRM adoption.
  • Lack of business insights: Due to the lack of adoption, we had limited insights into the business. We couldn’t forecast correctly and had no idea where the gaps or holes were in our process.
  • Legacy tech was slowing us down: We like to move fast. To make one process change would take upwards of a month at times because of how many people would need to be involved, in particular our internal salesforce developers.
  • Customer experience issues: We also realized that this meant we couldn’t provide the customer experience we wanted to. With our customer data living in multiple systems, getting a comprehensive picture of our customers interests, product usage, purchases, support issues, and overall health was extremely difficult. In order to nurture and engage our customers the right way at the right time, we needed this data to be organized effectively, easily consumable by anyone interacting with a customer, and easily accessible for automation. Why is this so important? Because a flywheel approach to managing your relationship with your customer helps you and your customers grow. Gone are the days when we sign the deal and the relationship ends.

Once we had our why, we determined the solution — a complete overhaul migrating from SFDC to HubSpot. We outgrew our 10 years of patches and small hacks within Salesforce. We needed to make a big change with minimal disruption to the business.

How We Migrated from SFDC to HubSpot CRM

Now that you understand the why, I’d like to get a bit more into the how. How did we move 400+ global sellers from Salesforce to HubSpot CRM without skipping a beat on performance? By using the following steps.

1. Build a project team.

This group was owned by a single project manager to move the project forward. It’s incredibly important that whoever is on this project team always has the end user in mind so that whatever new process you’re building, it improves the CRM adoption and productivity of your sales and service professionals.

2. Run a pilot.

We built a pilot team with members of our sales and services teams. This is a crucial step to gain buy-in, adoption, and validation. We built a timeline and added in pilot teams every two weeks. The timeline looked like this:

HubSpot migration pilot
Image Source: HubSpot

3. Migrate the data.

At a high level, there were a few things we kept in mind when we planned to migrate data from Salesforce to HubSpot. First, we needed to decide on what we wanted to migrate. Next, we needed a plan for how we were going to migrate the data. This initially looked like an insanely large task. However, with HubSpot’s integration with Salesforce, we were able to migrate most of our data (leads, contacts, accounts, opportunities, tasks, campaigns) with a click of a button. Here’s a quick look at how we planned for this stage of the process.

HubSpot Migration Plan
Image Source: HubSpot
HubSpot sales migration phase
Image Source: HubSpot

4. Build a comprehensive training and enablement plan.

We planned for three different training phases for our global sales and service team. Pre-work, in-person training, and on the floor support broken up into three weeks. It looked like this:

HubSpot migration training and enablement plan
Image Source: HubSpot

Looking back, we definitely took a more methodical approach than most, but it was important to us that we didn’t rush into a migration, especially with 10+ years of complexity within SFDC. Check out this resource for how HubSpot can help you migrate off of Salesforce (or any CRM for that matter) and onto HubSpot CRM.

So when all was said and done, how’d we do?

The Benefits of Switching to HubSpot CRM

  1. All-in-one system: Our frontline reps (sales and services) live in the same system on a day-to-day basis which has enabled better collaboration and a better employee experience.
  2. Improved rep/manager CRM adoption Our reps actually enjoy using the HubSpot CRM today because logging data is easy and the system makes them more productive with tools like Sequences and Meetings.
  3. Improved business insights: We now have better insights into the business which enables our senior leadership to make data-driven decisions.
  4. Ability to move fast: We no longer need a highly technical Salesforce developer to make a change within the CRM "backend." A mere mortal at HubSpot with specific permissions can make a quick change when needed in days, not months.
  5. Improved Customer Experience: Our customer data now lives in one system so we have a comprehensive picture of their interests, product usage, purchases, support issues, and overall health.This enables us to better serve our customers and help them grow better.

Here’s what HubSpot Growth Specialist Sarah Mercedes has to say:

"Using HubSpot CRM is the first time I've used a CRM that has actually taken time OUT of my processes for me versus adding time INTO them. It's also the first time I haven't had to manage multiple spreadsheets outside of CRM in order to stay organized and manage my day to day effectively. I've used systems like Salesforce and Netsuite in the past and engaging with those systems was primarily just for manual admin tasks that slowed me down. For the first time, using HubSpot, I can say that leveraging CRM day to day for everything is actually in my best interest. When you can get a sales rep to say they'd rather use CRM than not, I think you're onto something."

Now, if you’re a visual type of person, this was a slide we presented to our board when explaining the path forward and ultimately why we moved forward with the migration:

Choosing the HubSpot growth platform
Image Source: HubSpot

So, if you find yourself thinking that you’ve invested so much time and money in a system that it might be too hard to walk away, just know that’s a totally normal feeling. It’s a feeling we felt for months and something we debated. Ultimately, we ripped the bandaid off, and put our hard hats to do the grunt work — it was one of the best decisions we’ve made.

Were there hardships and are there still things we are healing up from after the move? Absolutely. With that said, the long term looks much brighter now that we can control our own destiny with a CRM built by salespeople, for salespeople. Here's how I'd recommend you get started

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Originally published May 13, 2020 8:30:00 AM, updated April 01 2021