It’s common for people to think of marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) as the same thing. At face value, they seem to be pretty similar, but in reality these two types of software accomplish different things for your business. In general, here’s how you can define these two processes:
- Marketing automation is the process of automating marketing tasks, such as sending emails, tracking website visitors, building and updating landing pages.
- CRM describes the approach a company wants to take in selling to and managing current and potential customers. This can include ways to retain customers, drives sales growth, and more.
Oftentimes, businesses combine marketing automation with a CRM strategy in order to maximize business growth and customer retention. Depending on your current processes, growth projections, and business goals, you may want to invest in a marketing automation platform, CRM strategy and software–or both.
Do You Need CRM or Marketing Automation?
If you’re trying to decide whether to invest in a CRM or marketing automation platform, start by figuring out how you want a platform to work for your business. Investing in marketing automation or CRM software may depend on which department will be using the software, how you plan to implement it into your marketing and sales strategies, and what types of features will best help your workflow. Here’s some more information about the major differences between these two types of software:
This software is great for managing sales leads and current customers, and it is predominately used by sales teams. CRM software can help improve your organization’s sales process:
- Provide details about where each customer is in the sales process
- Manage tasks and assign tasks to other sales team members as necessary
- Automate sales process tasks and set up reminders for important actions
- Provide analytics and reporting on the sales cycle and forecasting
- Email integration to track communications and send messages from within the CRM software
While CRM focuses on sales revenue and communications coming into the company, marketing automation software tracks the marketing budget your team is spending. Here are some common features of marketing automation software:
- Track the success of marketing campaigns
- Conduct email campaigns, including newsletters, promotions, and more.
- Segment and target customers based on past actions and demographic data
- Send out tailored marketing campaigns through various channels, including social media, email, mobile, and more.
As you can see, CRM and marketing automation don’t really overlap–and many businesses benefit from CRM and marketing automation software that can integrate and work together to align your marketing and sales strategies.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking to keep a closer eye on your marketing budget, marketing automation software is a must for your business. The good news is, you can invest in marketing automation that integrates with popular CRM platforms, allowing your marketing and sales strategies to work together for optimal success. Here are a few tips to help you align your marketing automation and CRM strategies:
- Use your marketing automation software to generate, score, and rate leads to help your sales team move more prospects through the sales funnel efficiently.
- Set up alerts to remind sales staff when they need to interact with a prospect or follow up with a new customer.
- Spend time reviewing analytics and data reports to find out which marketing campaigns are working to create the most ROI for your marketing budget.
Megan Pacella is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com. She is a Nashville-based freelance writer specializing in healthcare, wellness, and lifestyle content. In addition to writing for national outlets such as USA Today, she works with a variety of healthcare companies to create patient engagement and education programs.