Marketing Automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are two popular tools used by businesses to streamline and optimize their marketing and sales efforts. However, these tools serve different purposes and can be used in different ways, so it is important for businesses to choose the right tool for their needs.
Marketing Automation helps businesses automate repetitive and time-consuming marketing tasks, such as email marketing and social media management, while CRM is a tool used to manage customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. In order to maximize their marketing and sales efforts, it is important for businesses to carefully consider their needs and goals, and choose the tool that will best support them.
Comparison Table Marketing Automation vs CRM
Definition of Marketing Automation
Marketing Automation refers to the process of using an automation service to automate repetitive marketing tasks. This can include email marketing, social media posting, ad campaigns, etc. Marketing Automation is one of the best ways to identify and nurture potential customers and leads. Marketing Automation increases the efficiency of your sales funnel by a huge margin, which in turn helps you turn a big base of leads into a group of happy customers using various tactics.
Why do you need Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation can help you overcome many challenges by streamlining your workflow. One of the biggest issues faced by businesses is to generate and maintain leads and keep potential customers interested and engaged throughout their journey. To help with this, you need to not only collect a lot of data but put it to use. This is where marketing automation can help your business.
Marketing Automation is thought of as a middle-of-the-funnel tool that can nurture your leads with automated email sequences. But in reality, automated marketing strategies work best when they are deployed across the customer lifecycle. When deployed and executed properly, marketing automation can bring a lot of benefits to your business
- Personalized Workflow
Each and every action that a user takes is an added data point for your marketing strategy. It tells you what a potential customer would be looking for. But manually tracking so much data is next to impossible.
Marketing Automation solves this problem, as you can use the inputs across multiple channels to understand the needs of the customer and deliver the right content.
The workflow thus generated helps to deliver the right content to the right prospects, thus generating organic leads which can then be nurtured into customers. Marketing Automation still has a role to play even after this. It can be used to create personalized workflows that lead to loyal, repeat customers.
- Streamlined Processes
Marketing Automation can help bring your whole business together with streamlined processes with your customers at the center of it all. You can build processes that involve various functional teams and this would lead to the reduction of customer effort at every touch-point of their journey, because of the integration of all the aspects of the business. You will be able to provide a unified customer experience to your customers.
You can get rid of complicated off-hand procedures once you can effectively apply marketing automation. Everything automatically gets saved in the central data storage of your business and internal workflow becomes easier.
- Generate Better Leads
One of the biggest factors in any business’ growth is lead generation. Your team can focus on strategy and lead generation more if the repetitive steps between marketing and sales are automated. This means more prospects and more customers.
You can also get a more detailed picture of the behavior of a potential customer through marketing automation, as mentioned before. Automatic scoring, qualifying, and prioritizing of leads can be done if marketing automation helps you bring together information from several touchpoints. This will, in the future, help you strategize wider marketing campaigns, including Trigger-based marketing messages and Personalized emails.
- Nurturing Leads
Generating leads isn’t the end of the story for a business. You need to nurture those leads and guide them through the journey which will eventually end in a sale. However, not every lead is going to provide you with a sale, even if they are qualified. These leads will need to be nurtured. But a small team handling both sales and marketing won’t give you the time to nurture leads. This is where marketing automation can help you by taking up work from your hand.
Definition of CRM
CRM, an abbreviation of Customer Relationship Management, refers to a kind of technology, that helps you manage the relationships and interactions of your company with customers and potential customers.
The goal behind using a CRM is pretty simple: To improve business relationships. A company can stay connected with its customers, streamline all its processes and increase its profits by using CRM.
All the parts of a company, from sales, customer service, business development, and recruiting to marketing, can benefit from a CRM system. You can store customer and prospect contact information, identify sales opportunities, and manage marketing campaigns, with the help of a CRM tool. It is basically a one-stop solution for your marketing needs.
Why do you need CRM?
With the help of a CRM system, you can get a very clear vision of your customers. You might have set targets for sales, profits, etc. But is very difficult to track the progress, due to the huge amount of data and variables that are involved. A CRM system puts all the data in one place and with a simple dashboard, tells you the whole story in a simple way. It can show you a customer’s previous history, the status of their orders, etc.
CRM also helps you understand the pipeline of sales. Therefore you get a very clear view of how your leads are taking the journey from inquiries to sales.
Another huge benefit of CRM is that you use it beyond sales and marketing. CRM can also help your customer service teams. For example, I a customer raises an issue on Twitter, and then takes to the telephone to solve it in private, a CRM system can help track the issue across all channels without losing track. It can help sales, service, and marketing to a single and unified view of the customer.
Key differences between Marketing Automation vs CRM
The major differences between Marketing Automation vs CRM are here, so, you’ll get a better understanding.
Marketing automation is mainly responsible for managing landing sites, email marketing, digital campaigns, lead tracking, and scoring.
CRM, on the other side, is in charge of the sales funnel process, including specific emails, lead tracking, project tracking, opportunity monitoring, and funnel reporting.
In general, CRM helps generate and foster leads, whereas marketing automation assists create and nurturing leads.
Goal: You may manage client relationships, boost sales rep effectiveness, and increase efficiency with a CRM solution. A marketing automation platform can help you track marketing’s contribution to overall ROI, produce qualified leads, and optimize sales and marketing operations.
Target Audience: A CRM platform primarily serves salespeople, but a marketing automation system assists members of the team in focusing on marketing.
Purpose: Using established parameters and triggers, a Marketing automation tool can assist you to execute campaigns. It’s typically utilized for short-term purchases. A CRM, on the other hand, assists you in managing sales processes, assigning responsibilities to sales representatives, and maintaining a well-organized database.
Best Marketing Automation Software in 2023
One of the most important factors determining the success of your marketing strategy is the software that you choose for Marketing Automation.
There are multiple options for you to choose from, given below are some of the best among them:
Marketo is one of the most well-known Marketing Automation tools that exist. It comes with a plethora of features that not only help you manage email campaigns but also provide a lot of help to the sales team too
Marketo is perfect for a business that is ready to expand beyond the basics and will take advantage of the various advanced tools offered by Marketo to take its marketing strategy to the next level. If you are only looking for basic functionalities, then there are cheaper options in the market. But if you want the whole package, then Marketo is the one for you.
Eloqua is like a luxury sportscar of marketing automation. Fully loaded with tons of features, it provides an exceptional level of service but will put an equally big dent in your pocket.
The high price tag of Eloqua is due to the amount of time that they spend teaching and helping their clients get the most out of their software. Eloqua also offers tight CRM integration and has a great marketplace.
If you’re looking for the absolute top-of-the-line service, then Eloqua is one for you.
Customer.io is a highly flexible marketing automation tool, that will let you get exactly what you want out of it. It is a very highly customizable tool, but you need to put some time into learning it. It also features a very intuitive and easy-to-use UI. Another added benefit is that it offers very fast, personal customer support.
One of the differentiating factors of Customer.io is that can trigger emails based on events, rather than just pageviews.
If you are looking to get lightweight, customizable marketing automation software. Then Customer.io is the one for you
If you are a small business looking for Marketing Automation software, then you should go with Constant Contact. It provides the basic functionalities in a very user-friendly way that even complete beginners can use. On top of that, it is also very affordable
It is perfect for a small business owner who wants to quickly get started with email marketing.
HubSpot does a lot of things for you, but it can’t do any one thing at a deeper level. Described as “inbound marketing software”, HubSpot offers a variety of tools, one of which is a marketing automation
Not being a dedicated Marketing Automation software doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. For example, if you are a small business owner, having software that can cover the basics of almost every other marketing system, might be a good prospect for you
Best CRM Software in 2023
CRM software must have a few key elements that decide how good it is. It should be easy to use and at the same time should be efficient enough so that it doesn’t miss any touchpoints – call, email, chat, web visit, social connection, etc.
Every business is unique in that they have different requirements when it comes to what they expect CRM software to do. Listed below are 5 of the best CRM software that can take care of all of the needs a business might have
Sendinblue is a very good CRM software to invest in. It is the ultimate solution for any business having problems with CRM setups. This All-in-one Marketing platform has everything integrated into one solution, thus making marketing integration very quick
You can centralize all of your customer contact information with the help of Sendinblue. These are then further directly linked to the CRM contact profile. This makes sure that all the contact information stays updated all the time, and they can be organized and segmented very effectively
Sendinblue also allows the creation and allotment of tasks to different team members. This can be used as a way to always stay on track.
Zoho is one of the best CRM software currently available. Mainly used for sales purposes, Zoho helps capture leads to grow your network.
The software provides you with a 360 view of your customer’s information, including the various channels of communication. It has the power to update you with real-time notifications when the customer takes an action.
Zoho also provides you with analytics so that you can analyze your progress. It can also be used as a help desk software apart from sales.
Pricing: Standard option starts at $12/month per user.
Hubspot is a very intuitive CRM software that has made its name in inbound marketing. Their CRM tools are one of the best overall in the market.
Hubspot provides four different kinds of service – Sales, Marketing, Service, and CMS. The marketing part of this helps you with generating leads. Hubspot features Marketing Automation and marketing analytics.
The sales part of Hubspot offers you advanced CRM features and other stuff like scheduling meetings. Service is for help desks, tickets, and knowledge bases and CMS is for managing the content.
Pricing: Starter CRM and sales package starts at $40/month per user
Salesforce is one of the most famous and oldest names in the CRM market. Salesforce provides various services, including a CRM software for Marketing, Sales, and Customer support.
Even though there is some learning curve with Salesforce, it brings with it a myriad of marketing solutions. For example, you get the software to build email marketing campaigns. You also get marketing automation and social media listening and posting features.
Salesforce also makes customer service easy, as it provides various CRM tools for creating a self-service resource. Salesforce is a very good option for both lead generation and retention.
Pricing: Starting at $25/month, the professional CRM plan priced at $75/month
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft is obviously a very well-established name, and as expected they create some stellar CRM software.
Microsoft Dynamics takes the help of AI and helps you find the right customers and demographic for your product. You can also automate the sales process, there are software for that purpose too. There are features that help train your sales reps and improve their efficiency.
Dynamics 365 also comes with a customer service suite as well as an API which helps in customization. Some added features are project management and accounting
Pricing: Basic sales CRM plans start at $20/month
Is it Necessary to have Separate CRM and Marketing Automation Software?
So Marketing Automation vs CRM, which one should you use? Marketing Automation and CRM are very similar terms, but the two things have some key differences between them. The most basic difference is that CRM software deals with the sales part of things and Marketing Automation, as the name suggests, takes care of the marketing part of a company.
However, even though they are two separate entities, CRM and Marketing Automation, if integrated can give you amazing results. It is not necessary to have separate CRM and Marketing Automation software, because they are often used in tandem to maximize their benefits.
Since CRM deals with sales and Marketing Automation deals with Marketing, if you combine the two, you can:
- Build relationships and then send the lead to sales
- Run closed-loop reporting to see a total overview of what’s functioning properly and what is not
- Assign lead scores
- Make sure that the journey taken by the leads from being a visitor to a customer is completely hassle-free and seamless
It is pretty evident that CRM and Marketing Automation are two elements of your business that can take your business to the next level. It is not a case of Marketing Automation vs CRM, it is more like Marketing Automation & CRM. Especially if implemented together, you can unleash the complete ability of the two systems. If used together, you can personalize your sales and marketing, use lead scoring, eliminate duplicates and adjust your goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between Marketing Automation vs CRM?
Marketing Automation vs CRM is two services that look similar on the surface but have some key differences. Marketing Automation generates leads by simplifying the marketing part of your business. On the other hand, CRM helps the sales part of the business by using the information that is obtained from the leads. Simply put, Marketing Automation creates leads, and CRM retains and transforms them into customers
How is Marketing Automation related to CRM?
Even though Marketing Automation and CRM are two different systems, they can be thought of as two sides of the same coin. They should be used together for maximum benefits and efficiency.