For the bewildered who have ventured into the area of process automation, there might be some confusion when marketing automation and CRM are pitted against each other. Most people confuse one for the other or consider them the same technology.
This confusion is granted because both marketing automation and CRM systems seem to overlap in various functional areas. Both systems are designed to handle prospective and current leads and customers.
Both systems are also meant to improve the overall effectiveness related to sales and marketing efforts and increase revenue. Additionally, both technologies are used together to aid the sales and marketing funnel.
However, the similarities are vague as there are inherent differences between marketing automation and CRM. Even though they both are now taking a holistic approach, they serve two distinct purposes.
Before we dive into a discussion detailing the differences between the two tools, let’s take a look at what marketing automation and CRM are.
Marketing automation is a software tool that helps marketing teams, in particular, improve their funnel marketing activities and pipeline development. The name of the tool is a clear indication that marketing automation is primarily designed for automating actions and tasks related to marketing.
Various companies, that haven’t made the switch to technology for marketing tasks, have to execute several tasks manually. Website actions, social media campaigns, and email marketing are a few examples.
Marketing automation boasts technology that allows users to manage and execute marketing tasks easily.
CRM or Customer Relationship Management
CRM, on the other hand, is a software platform that allows businesses to automate their sales and services teams. While CRM also manages leads and contacts, the context of its functionality is completely different.
Even though CRM has advanced in the last decade, its primary goal is to help agents cultivate and manage relationships with prospective client and customers. CRM software like the Solastis CRM+BPM software platform houses customer information that can be leveraged to make better offerings and meet customer expectations.
The Difference between CRM and Marketing Automation
The differences between the two tools will give you a more detailed look into what they are.
While marketing automation systems are widely used by a marketer, CRM software is meant to assist sales reps to manage leads. Both CRM and marketing automation offer automation of processes along with analytics and reporting features. They respectively help marketers and sales reps streamline daily tasks and track progress on associated marketing campaigns and sales activities. Even though they handle the same customer information, it is employed by different departments.
The primary function of marketing automation is to assist marketers to broadcast and market the company’s core selling point. The marketing campaigns they run through can be automated with marketing automation to generate leads.
A lead is defined differently for every business based on what they sell. But generally, a lead can be an individual or business customer interested in purchasing your products or services. Marketing automation helps marketers carry out marketing activities like email marketing, advertisement, launching landing pages, etc. to drive responses from potential customers.
CRM, on the other hand, assists the sales team to foster the leads generated by the marketing team and close them successfully. They use CRM systems to understand and analyze the customer, categorize them, and then approach with offers.
The information collected through marketing automation helps sales reps make offers to transform the leads into revenue-generating prospects.
CRM software platforms like the Solastis CRM+BPM platform allows organizations to retain existing customers. The CRM platform gathers and stores customer information, feedback, and previous business history in one place.
Sales teams can use said information to create targeted deals for existing customers to make them stay and cultivate loyalty.
The Goal of the Tool
Marketing automation’s core goal is to nurture raw leads and then feed them in the pipeline for the sales teams to close. They not only garner customer attention but also go further to ensure those leads are active and engage with the brand.
Most companies utilize the BANT criterion in which they judge whether a prospect has the forecasted budget, they are in connection with the one authorized to spend the budget, does the prospect actually need their product/service, and if their timeframe is convenient for the business.
Marketing automation uses customers’ demographic information, buying behavior, website visits, conversion rate, visitor traffic, and other information. In a few words, the goal of marketing automation is to generate Marketing Qualified Leads (MLQs) for the sales department.
CRM takes on these MQLs or Marketing Qualified Leads and convert them into Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) and then sales. CRM gauges the new opportunity, engages buyers, and confirms their value to contract negotiations. Once they reach a mutually-beneficial agreement, sales reps use CRM to obtain the final signature and take the lead to closure.
Just the sales and marketing functions share features and qualities, marketing automation and CRM also overlap. Both at their core are meant to house customer information and using it to earn more revenue.
Companies that put too much value on their similarities and don’t understand the downstream impacts of marketing automation and CRM, falter in their efforts. While they serve different business processes, they facilitate the alignment of marketing and sales functions when used in tandem.
The closer sales and marketing teams work together, the better chances a business has of capitalizing potential leads. In the end, their alignment helps increase lead velocity.
Signs you need marketing automation
There are three distinct signs that indicate you need a marketing automation system.
- You are managing customer information and running campaigns manually. When your customer list becomes too big to handle manually, it can be chaotic when you try to nurture them into leads for the sales team.
- Your business doesn’t have a sustainable customer list. Marketing automation helps homogenize your marketing efforts and generate more leads to feed into the pipeline.
- You are struggling with content distribution. Whether it’s content for social media or a great blog, marketing automation can help to get the content to reach relevant audiences.
Signs you need CRM
Similar to marketing automation, there are three distinct signs that a CRM system has become a necessity for your organization.
- Data loss. Manual multiple-point data entry is not only prone to human error but also overlap and data loss. If you are repeatedly asking the same customer information, a CRM system can help centralize all information.
- You’ve outgrown the spreadsheet system. CRM can be handy in automating task tracking, making it easy to keep tabs on case progress and customer information.
- Bad customer service. The core purpose of CRM is to maintain profitable long-term relationships with customers. Integrating one in your business can help make improvements.
Solastis is one of the few developers that condense a number of features of traditional CRM and give them an advance makeover. The CRM+BPM software platform offered by Solastis provides businesses the opportunity to make lead tracking much easier and more efficient.
With Solastis, you will be able to optimize the marketing and sales funnel to its fullest and close more deals. As your efforts to close leads improve, your revenues will start showing the positive impact of CRM implementation.