Marketing automation (MA) and customer relationship management (CRM) tools are commonly confused. Clearing up the confusion will really help your company because ideally, your CRM and MA should be harmonizing for sales. So how can you use CRM with MA?
MA and CRM both help you manage communications with your customers and prospects. First, define them and know the differences, then seek combined packages or use integrations, then leverage the benefits of richer data and coordinated nurturing and relationships. This approach will close more deals.
So what are MA and CRM?
Let’s see what the leaders say.
CRM and MA giant HubSpot says: “Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions… marketing automation makes these tasks easier.”
But world-beating CRM Salesforce says: “CRM is a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers.”
As they say in Thailand: “Same same, but different.”
Even their platforms overlap. HubSpot offers a free basic CRM and more-integrated paid version, while Salesforce has its own MA platform, called Pardot.
But seeing MA and CRM clearly will let you get the best of both. Better still, you can integrate them.
The difference between marketing automation and CRM
CRM is a tool that records and manages every time your company interacts with a customer or prospect. This includes sales and customer service.
Anyone with access can see a relationship’s history, and schedule follow-up. That way, when you talk to a customer, you have a detailed framework of who, what, when, and hopefully where and why.
Examples include Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. But a hybrid contact platform like Sansan can also be a CRM. It tracks the relationship between people and companies, based on who met whom, and when.
MA is different because it speeds up marketing jobs. These can include drip-feed email campaigns, managing digital advertising, and automatically personalizing your messages to each reader.
74% of marketers say this saves them time, and 68% say MA increases customer engagement. And it can work at every stage – from initial awareness through to customer acquisition and retention.
Many marketing automation platforms also include analytics software, to show you which parts of your marketing worked best.
For the best results, use them together
CRM and marketing automation are both powerful tools. But when you use them together, they make each other even better. Handing off leads smoothly is a nice benefit, too.
The software companies know this, so the major names work well together. Marketo has native integration with Salesforce and MS Dynamics, while Salesforce and HubSpot offer their own combined solutions.
But you don’t just need the software to integrate. If you want to be successful, sales and marketing need to work together too.
A Sansan marketing manager says: “CRM integration must involve both sales and marketing teams. Everyone needs to use the data in the CRM as a single source of truth, so the customer’s information should be owned by the company, not one team.”
Marketing automation makes CRM smarter
When you integrate marketing automation, it makes your CRM data deeper, clearer, and more useful.
For example, you can analyze how a prospect has interacted with your marketing. You can use that to improve lead defining and scoring, so sales can see which sales opportunities might be most valuable. The better they focus their time, the more they’ll sell.
The same information can tell you what a prospect cares about. When you know what they’ve read, you can direct your sales conversation to match.
The Sansan rep says: “MA is great for acquisition. Paired with CRM, it lets you understand your prospects’ needs, so you get a much hotter lead… and, hopefully, a deal.”
MA can also look after any prospects who need more nurturing. Or those who may be a good fit for a future service.
Drip-feed emails can keep you in touch, without being pushy or wasting sales time. This is especially useful for recycling lost opportunities for the future.
CRM shows marketing automation the whole picture
Plugging in a CRM or a CRM/CMS makes your marketing automation more effective too.
For example, you can use your customers’ history to make better segments for your marketing campaigns. Information about what someone bought can help you send more tailored, relevant messages, with better response rates.
You can export those segments, and use them across all kinds of channels, to improve your targeting for the whole sales and marketing process.
It can also improve your marketing attribution. Instead of counting leads, you can see what customers spent—so you know the real ROI for every part of your marketing.
When we work together, everyone wins
Connecting marketing automation and CRM works well for sales and marketing alike. Sales get more detailed information to help them sell more, and marketing can prove their hard work has real business results.
Service reps also benefit. They can see the whole story from the beginning, helping them to understand what matters to the customer, and why they bought from you.
Finally, you plug the gaps between your teams. Sales, marketing, and service use the same information, so valuable leads are never missed. And the software makes repetitive work faster. That way everyone saves time.
Happier customers, more interesting work, and better sales. Can’t argue with those results.
Feed your CRM good contacts, ramp up the MA
Business cards (both paper and digital) provide accurate, incredibly valuable data. Sansan scans this in with precision and makes it sharable in your company. Your CRM will churn, your MA will produce results. Learn more about using Sansan in your MA+CRM love connection.