How do you know which small business CRM solution is the best fit for your business? Without the support of a CRM strategy consultant, we see companies experimenting with more than one platform, stopping and starting new processes until data has been spread across multiple software systems. Why is this a problem? As your business grows, complications arise.

The Problem with Separate Systems

We’ll use our client Access Opportunity to describe a common situation. This nonprofit organization supports students from low-income households by guiding them through high school and college education to reach their career goals. Naturally, the communication and activity between the organization’s staff, volunteers, donors, and students is critical for future programs and continued community impact.

When their new Development Director came on board, Tracey Flower, she knew they could do more with a better system to support them. She had experience with Salesforce NPSP, and she knew this would be a great step for Access Opportunity. Tracy also knew that they needed help to set it up. That's when she reached out to Small Business CRM Coach.

Access Opportunity was using multiple systems to track information, including:

  • Insightly for contacts and tracking of fundraising and donor relationships
  • QuickBooks for donation income
  • Grouptrail to track student data and program partnerships
  • A number of spreadsheets to combine the data between systems

Not all team members were using all of those systems, and a lack of transparency between teams created confusion and inefficiency. As the organization has grown, problems managing the data between departments or teams have grown along with it. They weren’t sure how to combine the systems and needed help customizing new processes for a more efficient way to track data and make it accessible to everyone. The ultimate goal of the project was to migrate and track information in a single Salesforce solution.

Developing the solution

We evaluated the data and configuration in the Insightly CRM used to track information for Access Opportunity's fundraising and development activities, and the Grouptrail database used to track information about the students they serve. We know that Insightly is an excellent fit for small Business to Business organizations. However, nonprofits have a combination of Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) models.

Insightly didn't attend to their needs for fundraising because it didn't provide a good way to track information about families, which is typical for nonprofits. The data was in the system, but it was not as easy to understand because the language used in the system was geared towards for-profit businesses. They also had additional data and processes that were not being tracked in Insightly. As a result, spreadsheets were needed to compensate and time was lost entering data multiple times into different repositories. The Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) was created with the flexibility to support fundraising and program data together. All it required was some customization in the right areas by a CRM strategy consultant.

Implementation and Migration of Data into Salesforce

The implementation for the fundraising and development team was very straightforward. We quickly got them up and running in Salesforce. They loved how the NPSP package dashboards displayed and tracked data regarding revenue, events, and communications with donors.

The implementation for the program team took a little longer. Before customizing the system, we evaluated the Salesforce NPSP Programs module, and we concluded that this module wasn't going to work for Access Opportunity. We moved forward by creating custom objects specific to their business model and a custom app for Student Management. This approach allowed us to accurately track the most important information regarding program activities and student progress.

Discussing critical tasks and aspects of the program team's goals gave us a clear understanding of the data model we needed so that we could proceed. Once we set it up, they imported the student data into the new Salesforce system to display and track it effectively on their end. Together, we found the perfect balance to support their vision and ensure that they ended up with a clean, coherent set-up that was sustainable long-term.

The Lasting Result

Access Opportunity is now a small organization with large business capabilities. It is easier for fundraising and development to work together with the program team. All the data feeds into one shared Salesforce solution using two distinct apps that let them accurately track donor information and acknowledgment processes, as well as student information and scholarship spending. They never had a trackable system where they could see all the same information and run reports to understand opportunities for growth and success. Access Opportunity has a competent team that understands the new CRM system, and they are quick to find new ideas for using it. The right business CRM solution was all they needed to eliminate the spreadsheets used to bridge the gaps between the previous systems and fully embrace Salesforce NPSP.

After the initial rollout, we’ve incorporated the NPSP levels feature to streamline the reporting of donors listed on their website and recently created a dashboard to summarize information about their program. Currently, we are integrating their email marketing system to sync their email subscribers with the data in Salesforce. Next, we will be combining their events platform and QuickBooks with Salesforce to gather and organize all data across the entire organization. Along the way, we’ve offered tips, tools, and integrations that improve work on a daily basis. Their team has been open and receptive to our recommendations.

What to Do If You Have a Similar Situation

If you’re moving data between several different systems that aren’t “talking to each other” and are thinking about combining them into one Salesforce solution, we can help. Or, if you already have Salesforce but are not getting the results you expected, you need a CRM strategy consultant to approach your project as a true partner. From data imports to system configurations, we help establish new processes and transform your organization. Salesforce lets us customize your platform to integrate different features that work best for you and make sure information is accurate, updated, and available in a few clicks. That way, everyone is on the same page.

We know change isn't easy, but we take the time to understand your business's unique challenges and needs. Salesforce solutions adapt and evolve with technology to improve processes. Reach out to us if you want greater efficiency that allows you to scale. We work with you and your team to turn daily challenges into smooth operations with a CRM system designed, developed, and delivered exclusively for your business.

Software Updates

  • Check if changes in a new Salesforce release are going to impact production

User Management

  • Monitor logins
  • Communicate with users and training new users
  • Optimize user experience

Data Management

  • Review duplicates
  • Maintain data dictionary
  • Refresh sandboxes
  • Delete data that is not relevant


  • Review roles, profiles, and permissions
  • Run system health checks
  • Align with other technology system updates
  • Review login history


  • Meet with business leaders
  • Evaluate report usage
  • Check custom reporting features
  • Update business performance metrics

If your company can’t find the right resources to fill in-house Salesforce roles, outsourcing the position may be your solution — contracting help can often provide the best value. If your employee has walked out the door with your Salesforce knowledge, you don’t have to train a new employee to implement and use your customized CRM processes. A CRM consultant already has the breadth and depth of experience for successful implementation and saves money on additional salaries and benefits.

Whether you choose to do this temporarily until you find the right talent or make it an ongoing part of your business strategy, outsourcing can immediately take the pressure off your growing list of challenges and responsibilities. If you decide to hire eventually, you may get by with part-time help supported by our outsourced services.

Today’s CRM platforms are much more robust and complex, requiring customization to implement and integrate with sales, marketing, and customer service teams. Contact our CRM Coaching professionals to help you use the host of tools that allow your company to grow and continue to provide exceptional service.

Learn more about combining our services with in-house staff to suit your circumstances. We can discuss some of the trending tools in AI, automation, analytics, and mobile applications which will have the most benefits for your organization.