What is the difference between a marketing automation and CRM platform?
I started looking into CRM platforms and didn't realize there is a difference between CRM and marketing automation. I am a little confused on which tool is best for me, as I need to improve both my marketing and sales to existing customers. Are there tools that do both? I would think this should be rolled into one since I am sure most businesses like me need both the marketing and management pieces.
I can give you a test account into our platform - unlimited e-mail to 1,000 contacts and professional CRM for 1,000 contacts. Usually the CRM is part of the Mkt Automation.
Marketing Automation platforms won't offer a good CRM, but plenty of good options the other way around. Higher end more customizable CRMs with lots of modules / addons can be many things including marketing automation. The more primary facets of your business that you can operate via one primary system the better.
My thoughts is similar to Nancy Seeger opinion that there is a difference between the to.
The marketing automation is a software that may be helpful to market your business to your targeted audience. This will work according to the set parameters in this software.
However, CRM platform will give lots of more leads to follow up and you may end up in more sales rather than marketing software. As the software will take its own time.
With CRM you will see results sooner than expected.
I would trust a CRM platform than a software to work for my business.
Essentially CRM is a customer database at its simplest. Then depending on which you choose it may have a little or a lot more functionality including tracking the interactions you have with customers and lead scoring. Marketing automation is a process engine that sends different communications to selected customers depending upon a set of rules that you define.
There is not (that I know of a single solution that does both well if you want a sophisticated capability. To advise further I would need to understand what you have and are trying to achieve.
Hi Kate, you have some good points in your comments.
Anything to do with CRM and Automation will always open a can or worms.
A lot of this will depend on what it is you are looking to do, and what type of data you want to store and use. To which end you will be using the information in terms of efficiencies and action / responses.
Most CRM packages will allow you to send out to target markets i.e. by industry, zip code, by product interest, and so on. Some will allow you to send out surveys and capture the responses, most CRM's can be set up for telemarketing. while others will only ack as a diary and a contact registry.
capture, sales and other related activities.
Not all marketing automations will as flexible as some CRM packages.
for instance we at ACE-CRM have just integrated "Skype" contact which will allow and capture contacts via skype.
You can always check us out at : goace.com
The thing is you do need to think about what is best for you, how much automation and data related intelligence you require both now and in say 3-5 years. Depending on your industry, there is a very good chance that there may already be a workable template.
Don't settle for a package that you need to adapt to, look for a package which will make your job easier by allowing you to set it up the way you want it to be and look.
Marketing automation is about automating your touch points (email, text, postcards...) with prospective and current customers and the CRM is about how your company interacts ( sales calls, support tickets, salesperson sent an email...) with prospective and current customers. I am sure that is as clear as mud. LOL Most of the time they work together, but it depends on your company.
The real question is, what is your business model, if you are an online business or a retail store, you may just want marketing automation to sell services, create engagement, segment users, generate foot traffic...
A CRM is really for account based companies and if you have a sales team, you would want a CRM and you may want both. The CRM to track the point to point human contact (calls, emails...) with an account across departments and also track: quotes, pipeline, forecasts, service tickets... And you may want the marketing automation to nurture or develop leads and generate repeated sales opportunities.
Kate I've used several CRMS and marketing automation tools. In my opinion the smartest tactic to help you achieve both your goals is to look into Zoho.
Zoho has come a long way since it's inception and with integrated apps you can utilize the CRM, but set up email and social media campaigns and much more.
It's very affordable and depending on your needs it could even be free. Yes free. In addition compared to it's competition like Salesforce it's easy to set up and customize.
I think if you compare ease of use, cost, functionalities, integrations and single source solution Zoho is definitely worth considering.
However, there are many things to choose from and in the end sometimes it simply comes down to what you feel comfortable with.
Yes, marketing automation and crm systems are and do different things. While there are tools available to do both (Infusionsoft comes to mind) it's not necessary that you find one system to do it all. Here's why.
CRMs are good for client info and activity management. SalesForce and ACT are both examples of CRMs that coral data so you can coordinate relationship building activity.
Automation systems typically handle all of the communication outreach for you. Drip campaigns, newsletters and contact forms on your website are all examples of systems that handle tasks automatically for you. The real goal is the find an automated marketing system that will capture, collect and communicate while interfacing with your CRM to segment prospects and clients for further contact.
Before you invest in either of these systems, think about your overall marketing and sales process. Even with these systems in place, there will need to be a certain level of involvement from you to make them work effectively.
Decide who you are trying to attack as customers or clients and what kind of information they are likely to respond to. Then, setting up a repeatable system to get your information in front of them so they are interested in engaging with you is where these 2 systems play a role.
Finally, when choosing a CRM and automation system to use, go for simple first. Some systems like Infusionsoft are very robust but can be overwhelming to learn and implement. Until you get comfortable using these systems and can keep them running regularly, it make no sense to invest heavily in either.
Kate, I agree this can be a little confusing since most CRM companies can do about 20% of what most marketing automation companies can do, and vice verse. The real question is if your planning on tracking multiple sales opportunities or multiple sales campaigns to attract, convert and retain clients over time. Understanding this upfront can save you $100's of dollars signing those 2 year contracts