An 8-Step Plan for Migrating to a New Marketing Automation Program

by Dan Lyons

Goldfish jumping to larger bowlThis post originally appeared on the Opinion section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Opinion.

Michael Freeman wasn’t psyched about having to migrate from one marketing automation system to another. But it had to be done. Last year Freeman’s employer, a telecom company called ShoreTel, moved from Eloqua to HubSpot, and it fell to Freeman, the head of demand generation at ShoreTel, to oversee the project.

Freeman says he wouldn’t want to go through it again — “I’ve been here for two years, and this was the first time I was ever unhappy,” he says. “Since finishing the migration I’m much, much happier, and if I can help someone else who is in that situation, then I’m happy to help.”

Migrations are becoming more common in the marketing automation space. A few years ago that wasn’t the case. The field was so new that when most companies installed marketing automation programs they were starting with a clean slate.

But as the marketing automation field matures, an increasing number of companies find themselves wanting or needing to migrate. That might be because they’re dissatisfied with a vendor. Or maybe a company is being acquired and must migrate to the marketing automation program that its new owner uses.

Freeman says ShoreTel moved mostly because it wanted greater ease of use, but also wanted to rethink its approach to marketing. He explains his reasons for moving to HubSpot in this video:

How They Did It

One challenge Freeman faced was that the people who had installed and configured the previous marketing automation system at ShoreTel were no longer at the company. And the software had been in place since around 2007. “I had to go in and figure out how the whole thing was set up by someone else, with very little documentation on the current setup,” he says.

In any migration, there will be some translation required. How much depends on which applications are involved. Some have more in common than others.

Freeman offered to walk me through the steps he followed in his migration. The main thing, he says, is to put in the time up front to make a realistic schedule and anticipate the steps that are going to be the most challenging. “Planning is the most important piece,” he says.

Here are eight steps he recommends:

1) Take inventory.

Map out the workflows, lists, contact fields, and content such as landing pages, emails, blog posts and images that you have in your existing marketing automation program. “Just define what you have and what you need to bring over,” he says.

2) Do a clean-up.

As long as you’re in the middle of change, it’s a good opportunity to get rid of old offers and other assets you don’t need anymore. It’s also a good time to comb through your contacts database and get rid of some email addresses, for example ones that have bounced or ones that have not opened one of your emails in a long time. (For advice on how to scrub your list, see this story.) “Bottom line is, this is an opportunity for spring cleaning,” Freeman says.

3) Figure out which assets need to be changed.

Identify any adjustments that you need to make in workflows that are being carried over.

4) Export your data.

“Because it’s a moving target, I set up an auto download or auto data export that ran daily,” Freeman says.

5) Put the pieces back together.

Start with landing pages and emails. “We took landing pages we had from Eloqua and applied styling and template changes,” Freeman says. “We recreated them in HubSpot, but with a new look and feel.”

6) Perform a sync.

Sync your contacts with, and start recreating workflows, lists, and forms.

7) Test.

“We tested a lot before going live, but we also spent three days after going live with HubSpot looking out for problems, and fixing problems and oversights,” Freeman says. “That’s inevitable. There are going to be little hiccups. But we worked them out and everything was golden after that.”

According to folks at HubSpot, you might want to run the old and new systems in tandem for some period of time.

8) Shut off the old system.

Hey, you don’t need it anymore. You’re done. Congratulations.

ShoreTel finished the migration a few months ago, and has had no problems since. “I always find things to tune or improve,” Freeman says, “but things have really gone smoothly.”

The Payoff

The biggest benefit for ShoreTel is the new system is easier to use than the previous system. “I have seven people who are actively using this now,” he says. “Every time I do some training, people go, ‘Wow, that’s so easy!’”

His one biggest piece of advice to others who are planning a migration is to hire a consultant to help guide you through the process. “You shouldn’t try to do this on your own,” he says.

Nobody looks forward to software migration projects. But with the right planning, and realistic expectations, you can get to the promised land without too much damage to your psyche.

If you want some advice on how to evaluate marketing automation software, check out this free Marketing Automation Starter Kit. And once you’ve decided to make a leap, you can use this free guide to help you learn how to create marketing automation RFP.

Tools For Managing Contacts


Oct 31, 2012

Tech Trends: Tools for Managing Contacts

We tried out two basic CRM tools that help organize contacts–and stay in touch with them.

 Within 15 minutes, Contactually had compiled information on some 15,000 contacts in a single online address book. I was amazed.

shutterstock images

Within 15 minutes, Contactually had compiled information on some 15,000 contacts in a single online address book. I was amazed.

I always thought customer relationship management software was strictly for salespeople.

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about basic CRM tools that seem to make sense for people looking for a better way to organize their contacts. I road-tested two of them, Contactually and, to see if they could help me get a handle on the thousands of contacts in my Gmail account and social networks.


Contactually, a Web-based service set to launch an iPhone app this month, is free for a basic account and $19.99 a month for the premium subscription I tested. After registering, I synced the service to my Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. Instantly, it began to analyze my accounts and scrape contact information from e-mail signatures. Within 15 minutes, Contactually had compiled information on some 15,000 contacts in a single online address book. I was amazed. It found 950 duplicate contacts and merged them into single entries. It also noticed when I was not connected to contacts on Facebook or Twitter. I could click a button on my Contactually dashboard to follow them on Twitter or send Facebook friend requests.

Even better, Contactually zeroed in on my top 50 contacts, given thefrequency of our e-mail interactions. I organized them into several “buckets” and set a contact frequency for each one–once a week for editors, once a month for story sources, and so on. When it was time to get in touch, the service reminded me via email and dashboard notifications. As a result, I was doing a better job of following up with important sources and pitching ideas to editors. Another bonus: Contactually lets you share contacts with colleagues and see how many they have followed up with.


Next, I signed up for, a free Web-based task manager that recently added some basic CRM features. I synced the service, which also has an app for iPhones and Android phones, to my Gmail and Facebook accounts. ( plans to introduce Twitter integration shortly.) In about 20 minutes, it imported the names and email addresses of some 13,000 Gmail contacts and 1,200 Facebook contacts and compiled them into one online address book. It doesn’t scrape email signatures or identify top contacts, as Contactually does. But it does have one big advantage for teams: Unlike Contactually, lets you assign tasks to other people. The service alerts them by email and dashboard notifications. Then, you can log on to see which tasks have been completed.

My recommendation? If you’re looking for a more collaborative approach to contact management, is a good bet. Because I do most of my work solo, Contactually made more sense for me. Now, I’m a much better salesperson for my own brand.

Easier Ways To Handle Inventory


Nov 1, 2012

Online Inventory Management Tools

Not interested in spending thousands of dollars on an inventory management system? Here’s a look at two Web-based offerings that make the job easy for a low monthly fee.

Boxes Inventory

Steve Cole/Getty

Desktop inventory-management programs can cost thousands of dollars. New online platforms let you manage orders and inventory from any Web browser for a low monthly fee. Here are two options to suit different needs.

Best for Online and Offline Stores
Stitch Labs

This service lets you manage orders, contacts, inventory, and packing slips on a colorful online dashboard. A good choice for businesses with both online and offline stores, it works with several major e-commerce platforms, including Shopify and PayPal, as well as Sail by VeriFone, a mobile payment system for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. When you make a sale, Stitch automatically updates inventory levels in real time.
Cost: Free for one sales channel (an online store, for instance), then $25 a month for unlimited channels

Best for Streamlined Shipping

Exclusively for online stores, Ordoro works with several e-commerce platforms, including eBay and Shopify. The service lets you manage inventory and orders using an online dashboard. You can sync it with your FedEx, UPS, and USPS accounts and print shipping labels customized with your logo. It also supports drop shipping from a wholesaler or manufacturer. Unlike Stitch, Ordoro can track one item with multiple components.
Cost: Starting at $19 a month for one store with up to 500 products

12 Mobile Apps to Help Boost Productivity



I couldn’t resist sharing these. I’m interested in several to test drive.

PR and communications practitioners are no longer solely trading tips on their favorite computer programs or gadgets. Mobile applications are fast becoming the go-to choice for busy professionals looking to be more effective and efficient at their jobs.

A survey on social CRM and mobile capabilities by Nucleus Research , earlier this month, reveals productivity increases 14.6 percent on average when using mobile apps and 11.8 percent with social CRM. Mobile apps won’t necessarily minimize your workload; however, adding them to your mobile toolbox (beyond supplementing email) can help make integration with existing technology and services a whole lot easier. Thus, helping you stay competitive and relevant.

Applications for Android, Blackberry, and iPhone

  • SpeedTest.Net: Android and iPhone fans (sorry Blackberry) can optimize their smart phone and/or network through real-time download and upload graphs that measure connection speeds.
  • Morning Coffee: Every savvy professional needs to stay in the know. Start your day off right with your alarm, news, RSS feed, and more, all in one app.
  • Dropbox: Maintaining file integrity can be a daunting task. Cloud technology at its finest, Dropbox automatically accesses, saves, syncs, and shares your files on the go via the app installed on all of your native devices.
  • EasySign Mobile: Digitally sign Word docs, PDFs, JPEGS, and more without having to print or scan paper documents.
  • HopStop: Never get lost or stuck while commuting again. Named one of “25 Essential Android Apps for Travelers” and a “Top 10 Mobile App for Travel” by Travel Magazine, HopStop helps you find door-to-door transit, walking, biking, taxi, and hourly car rental directions in over 100 cities.
  • Neat Call: Use this app to streamline meetings from scheduling times to actual communication, including: conference calls, web meetings, video conferences, and chat rooms all in one place.

Android Only

  • AndroZip File Manager: If you’re an Android user, you probably know how hard it is to receive and organize large files and documents on your phone. With this app, open encrypted and compressed files and archive and modify existing documents.
  • Google Goggles: Text search is so 2010. Currently in beta, this app let’s you search the web using pictures rather than struggle to come up with keywords and phrases.

Blackberry Only

  • Blackberry Messenger: This instant messaging app for Blackberry smart phone users allows you to socialize over other Blackberry applications, connect with your favorite music collection, communicate in real time, and build your network. For those of you who have changed devices, but still have friends on the Blackberry network, a beta version is in the works.
  • Battery Boost Ultimate: Save your battery and optimize its usage on your Blackberry to enhance performance.

iPhone Only

  • Engage121: For Engage121 (BurrellesLuce Social Media Monitoring) subscribers, this app lets you monitor your community’s conversation and respond in real-time without being tied to a desk.
  • Notability: Enhance your note taking experience with handwriting integration, PDF annotation, typing, recording, and organization. Then sync with Dropbox.

BottomLine: No matter your productivity needs, interests, or preferred mobile device, there are hundreds of apps that can help you work more efficiently. BurrellesLuce WorkFlow also helps you work smarter by providing all of your media planning, monitoring, and measurement services in one convenient and easy-to-use tool that you can access online or via the mobile web. So whether your coverage appears in print, online, or broadcast – BurrellesLuce monitors all of the media that matters most to you, including proprietary, copyright-compliant sources no other service provides.

About BurrellesLuce

Taking control of every stage of your media planning, monitoring, and reporting needs is simple and effective with BurrellesLuce. Our comprehensive suite of affordable services is fully integrated in one convenient and easy-to-use portal, BurrellesLuce WorkFlow™. Incorporate and review your traditional print, broadcast, online and social media results in one report. Research and engage journalists and bloggers, and intelligently plan future campaigns. Build and manage social media communities. WorkFlow gives you everything you need to start organizing and managing your media relations and public relations results.

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Tools To Engage Customers Online

From Inc. Magazine

These new tools offer innovative ways to engage people who visit your site, and keep them coming back.

         Illustration by   Iker Ayestaran

Today’s Editor’s Picks

A lot of business owners are focused on interacting with customers on social networks. But how about your plain old company website? These new tools offer innovative ways to engage people who visit your site—and to keep them coming back.


Best For: Building Buzz

Looking to generate some prelaunch excitement? This service helps you create a Coming Soon page for your website. After creating an account on, select a background design or upload your own, then add information about your business. A box will appear on the homepage encouraging people to sign up to receive e-mails with company news and earn incentives for spreading the word via e-mail or on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and other websites. Go to your LaunchRock dashboard to track a variety of information, including daily sign-ups and page views.

Cost: Free


Best For: A personal touch

When people register on your website, Intercom adds their information to an online database, along with information culled from social networks and other websites. You can sign on to your Intercom dashboard to view user profiles and see when they signed up and the last time they visited. Then, you can compose messages for specific people and the notes will pop up automatically the next time they come to the site. On your dashboard, you can see a list of open replies and respond to them. Intercom rates the strength of your relationships based on how often you interact with visitors.

Cost: Free during beta testing


Best For: Rewarding loyalty

PunchTab’s loyalty program lets you reward people for coming to your website every day, making comments, and sharing your content on social networks. After you set up the program using a wizard, visitors can click on a Rewards ribbon on your homepage and log in to earn points, which they can redeem for gift cards in a PunchTab catalog on your site. You can use PunchTab’s standard rewards guidelines—for instance, the service recommends doling out 100 points for each visit—or create your own. Log on to to check out user profiles and leaderboards.

Cost: Free for a standard program with up to 10,000 users


Best For: Chatting

This service makes it easy to add a Web chat function to your site. After pasting in a line of code, go to your Olark account to choose a design and size for the chat box, stipulate where it should appear, and link it to an instant-messaging program. You can also customize a welcome message and offline notification. When customers click on the box, a message opens in your IM program, where the chat takes place. You can view transcripts on and export them to customer relationship management programs, including Salesforce.

Cost: Starting at $17 a month for one user

For Backup, You’ve Got a Friend, Family or Cloud

This review by Katherine Boehret in the Wall Street Journal came at just the right time.  I have my regular backups all over hard drives in the office. Nice except if the office disappears. I think this is worth some peace of mind and it looks like an easy solution.

Nothing elicits such a strong case of technology guilt as asking other people if they back up their computers. Eyes dart toward the ground. Excuses are made. The subject is quickly changed.

As many people know or quickly find out, backing up a computer can be a painfully slow process. This week, I tested a computer-backup system that requires minimal effort and works in the background to automatically back up files: CrashPlan. This appropriately named program is made by Code 42 Software, a Minneapolis-based company.

CrashPlan is a new software program that takes the hassle out of backing up your computer’s precious hard drive. WSJ’s Katherine Boehret says there’s a range of ways – and a range of prices – to make it happen.

CrashPlan works with all types of operating systems and lets users back up to remote servers in the cloud and/or other computers or hard drives, like another PC they own or one belonging to a good friend or family member (as long as they give permission). The system also sets no restrictions on file size.

On a typical home Internet connection, the backup process to a CrashPlan remote server could take several days or even weeks for a first-time backup. (After that, backups are much faster and happen unnoticed.) The first-time backup for one of my laptops with about 46 gigabytes of data had been running almost continuously for three days when I filed this column on Tuesday. After the initial backup, regular backups won’t take nearly as long. CrashPlan has a mobile app that works on Apple‘s AAPL +5.10% iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, Android and Windows Phone 7, allowing remote access to backed-up files.

The free version of CrashPlan enables a daily backup to other computers and hard drives but not to Code 42’s remote servers. The subscription-based CrashPlan+ will back up to the remote servers as well as other computers or hard drives. It can back up as often as once a minute and lets users choose what data to back up where.

Code 42 SoftwareCrashPlan’s straightforward user interface clearly shows what your data are doing and where they are being stored.

CrashPlan+ comes in three payment plans, each with its own tiered rates—from a month-to-month option to a four-year subscription. For each of the three plans, the four-year subscription is the least expensive at $70, or about $1.50 a month per computer for up to 10 gigabytes of data; $140 or $3 monthly per computer for unlimited storage; and $288 or $6 monthly for up to 10 computers and unlimited storage. The company offers a free 30-day trial.

I got started by downloading the software to my MacBook, creating an account and starting the initial backup. A scan of my data took a few minutes before the actual backup began. Using my Verizon DSL connection over Wi-Fi, the estimates of how long it would take changed dramatically by the second. I saw estimates of as much as 17.5 days and as little as 6.6 hours.

Katherine Boehret tests CrashPlan, a computer-backup system that requires minimal effort and works in the background to automatically back up files.

I also downloaded CrashPlan onto my office Windows PC, which has a fast, hard-wired Ethernet connection. I logged into my account and opted to back up a folder of photos that was roughly 16 gigabytes. The estimate for this backup was a little over one day, though I didn’t adjust CrashPlan settings to get the fastest transfer on this PC. In a simple menu, I could opt to back up the Windows PC to my MacBook as well as to remote servers—or just to the MacBook alone. On my MacBook, I made sure to adjust the settings to get the fastest speed possible for my giant backup.

Code 42 CEO Matthew Dornquast said the worst-case scenario speeds are initially displayed, but that these adjust down as time goes on. In my experience, the initial estimates didn’t change much.

CrashPlan backs up your newest files first on the assumption those mean the most to you, and it encrypts all files, so file names can’t be read on remote servers or backup computers. I liked CrashPlan’s straightforward user interface because it clearly showed me what my data were doing and where it was being stored. A section labeled “Destinations” let me choose where data was backed up and options included “CrashPlan Central” (remote servers), “Friend,” “Another Computer” or “Folder.” A section labeled “Files” showed exactly what was being stored; in my case, this meant 285,930 files. An “Inbound” section showed any computers that were using my computer for backup.

Code 42 SoftwareA CrashPlan mobile app is available on a Windows Phone 7, iPhone and Android phone.

In settings, users can opt to be emailed or even sent direct messages via Twitter that tell them the latest backup status. This is helpful if you’re only backing up to, say, one other PC in your house and that PC fails to back up.

In addition to over-the-air backups, CrashPlan users with a lot of data, very little patience or both may want to try an alternate option. For $125 (including shipping both ways) and a monthly fee for remote storage, the company will send a one-terabyte hard drive that can be loaded with data and mailed back. Once that huge block of data is initially stored on remote servers, regular backups won’t take nearly as long.

To get data back, a “Restore to Your Door” feature will send you a hard drive filled with your data so you can load it onto a new computer. This also costs $125 (with shipping both ways) and the monthly cost of remote storage.

Compared with competitors, CrashPlan fares well. For example, CrashPlan doesn’t limit upload or download speeds, while Carbonite limits upload speeds for large amounts of data after a certain amount has been backed up, further slowing the process. Mozy supports external drives, but this backup is deleted if the drive is disconnected or turned off for more than 30 days. CrashPlan keeps the backup indefinitely, waiting for the drive to be reconnected.

—See a video with Katherine Boehret on CrashPlan at Email