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Many people believe that CRM and marketing automation are just two sides of the same coin. They are probably guided by the notion that both these systems utilize the same type of information – Customer details, buying patterns and preferences. However, apart from the overlap in terms of information each system utilizes, everything else is different.
Yes, CRM and marketing automation software are quite different and they serve distinct purposes!
It’s important for marketing and sales professionals to understand the difference between CRM and marketing automation software. The clear distinction between these two solutions will help them select the best system for their organization and improve process efficiency. If you end up investing in a wrong system, it will impact your business’ funnel negatively.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for all your efforts related to customer relationship management. CRM system can be streamlined with the efforts of an organization to manage its relationship with existing and potential customers. The year 2018 saw and increased use of CRM software, especially on mobile devices. One of the key factors behind the increased popularity of best CRM tools is accessibility. With the top CRM system, sales and customer service teams can get access to customer data anytime and from anywhere. Mobile and cloud CRM solutions allow sales professionals to view details such as past purchase records and the current state of prospects in the sales funnel. Further, customer service reps can track dates and details of any past conversation with customers along with the record of inbound email.
With quick access to critical customer data, service agents can optimize interactions with customers and positively impact the bottom line.
What CRM Stands For?
- Customer service reps can have a comprehensive view of customers and their history with the company. Consequently, your reps can have more personalized conversation with customers and serve their needs specifically.
- By syncing CRM software with social media outlets, you can figure out the major sources of traffic. Also, you can track brand conversations across different social media platforms.
- Sales professionals can check the status of every customer in the sales process, so that they can come up with customized solutions to close the deal.
- Based on the pain points of customers, your marketing team can come up with targeted promotional campaigns.
- Sales and customer service reps can foster lasting relationship with customers with automated reminders for their upcoming birthdays, product/ license renew date, etc.
- With CRM, you get alerts before every scheduled call with customers, thus your sales reps will not miss out on any important call.
- It helps with task management, letting sales reps monitor every outstanding and incomplete actions related to sales transactions.
- You can manage your email workflow by creating a list of emails to be shared with specific contacts at specified times.
- Additionally, you can classify your contacts into groups and share customized content based on their needs and wants. You can manage a large number of contacts efficiently with a CRM software.
- Professionals also use CRM in marketing to analyse use cases of failed conversions and successful sales to channelize their efforts in the right direction.
What is Marketing Automation?
The key to successful marketing lies in delivering the right content to the right person exactly when it’s needed. However, you may end up far behind in achieving your desired goals if you try achieving those manually. You need right tools of the trade to reach more targeted prospects and drive your profitability. One such important tool for businesses to ensure successful promotions is marketing automation software.
By using the best automation software, you can ensure better top-of-the funnel marketing. Tracking activities of prospects, such as when they visited your website, opened an email or read a blog can tell a lot about their interest in your deliverables. This software plays an important role at the ‘Awareness’ stage of marketing when organizations are trying to connect with a larger number of prospects.
Marketers can typically benefit from this software by using its modules for scheduling and tracking marketing campaigns. All types of Business to Business and Business to Customer communications can be scheduled and monitored with marketing automation software. It’s especially useful in getting desired results from email campaigns.
Benefits of marketing automation software include:
- B2B marketing automation software gives you the ability to segment your prospects on the basis of their interaction with your company, interests and preferences.
- Using this solution, you can automatically send triggered emails to prospects to boost your top-of-funnel marketing initiatives. You can share the right content with your prospects just at the time they are moving up the marketing funnel.
- Marketers benefit majorly from the lead-nurturing functionality of the best automation software.
- You can easily schedule your emails for a “drip” campaign, so you can stay on the top of the game always.
- The solution generates analytic reports to show the performance of every marketing campaign.
- From automating marketing programs to measuring ROI, marketing automation software is here to stay.
Now that you have a thorough understanding of how CRM and marketing automation software works, it will be easy to comprehend the difference between these two.
- User Type
While marketing professionals use marketing automation software, CRM software is popularly used by sales professionals and service reps. Both solutions streamline daily tasks across different processes with important insights, analytics and automation. Users of CRM and marketing automation solutions can measure the progress, efficiency and effectiveness of their sales and marketing efforts, and improve accordingly.
- Key Functionalities
Marketing automation software primarily helps at the stage of lead generation. Using this software, you can track any individual or business which is interested in your product. Also, you can track the source of leads, whether they have come as a result of referral or as a direct response to promotional campaigns. In other words, the best automation software helps generate more, qualified leads along with complete details related to their email address, buying preferences, etc.
On the other hand, CRM systems are used for nurturing those leads by analysing the information, categorizing contacts on the basis of demographics and psychographics and converting qualified leads into customers.
Furthermore, CRM software also assists in retaining existing customers by collecting feedback from different customer channels. The better your sales team understands customers’ behaviour, the smarter they can run programs and schemes to ensure higher customer retention.
- The Ultimate Goal
Marketing automation software helps in generating marketing qualified leads (MQLs). Later, CRM comes with the ultimate goal of converting MQLs into sales qualified leads (SQLs) and promoting conversions. Both these solutions differ in terms of their respective goals and distinct roles across the sales funnel. However, their roles are complementary with both solutions being quite effective together in making the journey from attracting prospects to converting them into sales smoother.
While marketing automation is used to create awareness of your products and services, CRM assists is setting up for the purchase. Using these wo solutions, you can unify your sales and marketing funnels to ensure smooth buyer’s journey. Willing to explore the best CRM and marketing software for your business? Get in touch with our experts!