When a company runs like clockwork, marketing and sales tasks can appear as if they are blended. However, only the companies that can distinctly identify the purposes and roles of these departments and their tools are able to function successfully and efficiently. Marketing automation and CRM systems are both tools used by companies to handle and organize leads and interactions. While they may appear to take on similar tasks, it is important to understand the goals of each software in order to effectively integrate them with business processes.
While both systems have their share of collecting data, storing information, and providing insights, the differences really come down to who the software is targeting. Marketing automation software is marketing focused and CRM software is sales focused. Both tools play specific roles in the buyer journey and allow each team to work to their full potential.
Marketing automation is focused on the communication and nurturing aspect of lead generation. It leverages features to automate emails and social media, allowing marketers to focus on strategies and campaigns rather than getting bogged down with repetitive, manual tasks. Every marketing system has functions for designing workflows and content that can be scheduled to go out according to specific triggers.
At the same time, it also gives marketers a clear picture of potential customers' journeys from the first interaction to the point where they convert. They are usually highly integrated to a company’s website so that they can track every action that is taken and assign lead scores. These become important metrics that can qualify a lead to be passed on to the sales team. The marketing automation system is meant to take marketing qualified leads and turn them into sales qualified leads.
Email campaigns are strategic ways to invite engagement, share information, and showcase products or services. With the help of marketing automation tools, campaigns can be executed without any action from the marketing team as long as workflows have been created. This saves teams the trouble of sending out an individual email each time someone subscribes to a newsletter or signs up for rewards.
Workflows can be designed in a creative way and touch on various points in the lead nurturing process. They can remind someone of an active coupon or present the latest deals and offers, enticing them back to the website.
It also gives marketers the ability to segment their email recipients based on data. This means a variety of marketing emails can automatically go out at any given time to specific leads based on rules that the marketing team sets. This is a great way to convert prospects into customers.
Social media management helps marketing teams optimize social interactions and grow accounts by reducing the need for independent posting. They are able to plan out social content months in advance and have them all lined up to be posted automatically at their scheduled times. Social media automation allows for bulk uploading which gives marketers a comprehensive look at a company’s social strategy before anything is even published. It gives teams time to focus more on content that needs real-time attention.
Analytics is another aspect of marketing automation that is extremely useful to marketing teams. This allows them to measure the success of their campaigns and pivot future strategies as needed. This feature usually supports various types of analytics from website traffic to email clicks to social content. It gives teams insight on how they’ve done and how they can proceed to do better.
CRM or customer relationship management was created for sales teams. This software organizes the sales process by storing contact information, tracking tasks and progress, and manages the sales process. It helps aid the timeline from turning marketing qualified leads into a completed sale.
A major aspect of CRM software is organization and record keeping. Rather than long spreadsheets that save customer information like name, email, website, and other details, the CRM stores it for the company and creates customer profiles based on it. This then becomes a central storage place to manage prospects and clients.
Many CRM systems give you the ability to record exchanges with contacts and organizes them on an activity timeline within the contact profile that gives you a chronological view of the interactions and exchanges. This makes it easy for anyone on the sales team to pull up and reference to prepare for a sales call.
CRM systems keep sales teams on track with their customer accounts. Task management is a vital component of the sales process because it allows team members to optimize opportunities. Examples of tasks that can be set up include courtesy calls, contract renewals, follow-ups, and reminders.
Analytics and Forecasting
Utilizing the information that is stored in CRM systems is one of the major benefits of CRM. The information is already collected and organized which then allows the system to capture trends and create forecasting reports. This allows sales teams to have better visibility over the sales process and fine tune their strategies.
Marketing Automation or CRM?
Because each of these software serves different roles, one isn’t always recommended over the other. These tools are meant to complement each other and using them to support your team as they move leads through the marketing and sales funnel. For most businesses, finding a way to integrate marketing automation and CRM works best.