CRM vs Marketing Automation: Friends or Frenemies?


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, January 23, 2023

Knowing the differences between CRM and marketing automation tools will allow you to unleash the power of using them together for maximum effect.

Article 4 Minutes
CRM vs Marketing Automation: Friends or Frenemies?

When implementing customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation systems, the biggest mistake made is thinking it’s one versus the other. Marketers will find that if they truly understand the differences between the platforms and how they can work together, they’ll get the most out of this technology.

Recent reports have underlined the power of both platforms. A study by Invespcro showed that utilizing a marketing automation tool can help to improve sales productivity by up to 14.5% and reduce marketing overheads by 12.2%. HubSpot discovered that in excess of 60% of overperforming leaders were using CRM software to automate processes, in comparison with 46% of underperforming leaders.

What are the main differences between CRM and marketing automation software?

As you use CRM and marketing automation tools, you’ll find more of the nuanced differences between the two. To begin the process of integrating both into your working practices, however, it’s worth knowing the main features that set them apart. These include the target audience, purpose and goals that each system focuses on.

What is a CRM?

As its name suggests, a CRM is designed to handle customer relationships and all the associated data. This includes managing contacts and sales information in order to facilitate agents in their role of providing the best customer service and boost sales.

The benefits of CRM software

Utilizing CRM software has a number of benefits, including:

  • Prompting sales reps to reach out at the best possible time to customers through internal alerts for events, such as birthdays, anniversaries or account renewals.
  • Employees’ time can be used more productively, with everyday tasks automated into integrated workflows.
  • Syncing up with social media channels makes it easier to see which platforms are driving traffic and what the general perception of your business is.
  • Presenting promotional content that’s specifically targeted to boost conversion rates and improve customer trust.

Examples of CRM systems

The chances are you’ll have heard of some of the most ubiquitous CRMs out there, even if you’ve never used them yourself. They include:

  • Salesforce
  • HubSpot
  • Pipedrive
  • Freshworks

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation software schedules and tracks elements of campaigns without the need for it to be done by an individual. It logs when a prospect visits your website, opens an email, reads a blog post or fills out a form.

The benefits of marketing automation

Among the benefits of using marketing automation software to follow the activities of a prospect are:

  • Segmenting capabilities that create mailing lists based on previous interactions, interests and preferences
  • Lead nurturing through emails that are automatically sent at the optimum time to engage a customer
  • Analytics are automatically generated at the end of each and every campaign to establish its successes and failures
  • Guiding leads through the funnel to become a qualified sales lead and ready them for interaction with the CRM

Examples of marketing automation software

Some examples of marketing automation software you may have come across include:

  • MailChimp
  • SendinBlue
  • GetResponse
  • HubSpot Marketing Automation

How CRM and marketing automation work together

Being able to sync your marketing automation solution with your CRM offers the best of both worlds. Allowing them to work together and perform their individual responsibilities but feed into each other will be useful not just for the marketing team. Sales teams and customer service representatives will get a much better history of each prospect’s interactions.

How to integrate CRM and marketing automation software

When it comes to combining these two tools for maximum effect, there are a number of key considerations to keep in mind. Integrating CRM and marketing automation platforms carefully will ensure it performs well further down the line, so carry out each step in turn.

1. Target your audience and personalize your message

Set up your two systems so the CRM will pass demographic data to your marketing automation tool. This will remove the need for this time-consuming but non-specialist task to be done by your staff, freeing them up for more complex issues. This information can then be used for effective targeting and personalization for better campaign conversion rates.

2. Put lead scoring into place

Don’t lose a lead due to a slow response. Your sales teams can implement a lead scoring process using the two platforms to help prioritize those most important to your company and with the best potential to convert. The marketing automation software can then send out relevant materials to close the deal.

3. Remove overlapping tasks

The fact that many marketers get confused between CRM and marketing automation tools underlines the reality there’s a certain amount of overlap. This must be eliminated early on to prevent duplicate tasks, which can create serious complications. These can range from false reporting to producing irate customers.

4. Make adjustments

Once the initial integration has been put in place, there are likely to be issues that arise over time. Decide in advance the measures you need to put in place to identify any changes that need to be made and a process for fixing them. It’s this fine-tuning stage that’llenable you to harness the power of both platforms as effectively as possible.

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