CRM Vs Marketing Automation: What you Need to Know

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Salesforce, HubSpot and others are blending the definitions between marketing automation tools and CRMs. So, a CRM vs marketing automation tools: what’s the difference? 


The best sales and marketing strategies consist of an effective combination of these two tools. In any successful business, sales and marketing should be working together towards the same goal, and be clearly aligned and this applies to their tools as well.  


CRM and marketing automation are two effective tools for the improvement of sales and marketing processes. They should help both teams manage leads, and pass them through the customer journey. 

For example, HubSpot is one of the most popular CRM platforms used by marketers today. In fact, it is widely considered one of the best CRMs in the world. Chances are, if you understand the marketing industry, you know HubSpot. 


But, if CRM deals with lead data and drives them through an optimized customer journey, then what is marketing automation for? It’s critical to understand the importance of both types of platforms, and how to implement them effectively.

What is CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. These platforms store large amounts of data relating to potential leads, contacts, and customers. They are meant to help companies, or marketing and sales, build effective relationships with their leads, and nurture them into customers. Typically, a CRM works with bottom-of-funnel leads. This is critical to the effective completion of marketing and sales strategies. 


In B2B, the primary aim of marketing, and completing a sale, is to develop trust with leads. Personalize their experience with your company, and use their data to resonate with them personally. 


For example, a CRM might store contact information, such as phone numbers or email addresses. However, it can also be used to track the customer journey. 


You can access data around where a contact first interacted with your company, and what other exchanges you have already had, allowing you to categorize leads by their qualification. This could all form a strong foundation for future marketing efforts


By using data effectively, processes are streamlined, customers have a better experience, and profitability is increased.

CRM vs Marketing Automation: What's Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation refers to software or other technologies that automate repetitive processes for marketers. These services are meant to free up time spent on common tasks, and allow marketers to focus on their strategies, rather than the physical delivery. Marketing automation streamlines marketing teams. 


HubSpot is one of the best well-known marketing automation tools, and is designed to allow marketers to manage multiple channels while improving efficiency. 


One of the most recognizable forms of marketing automation is social media posting platforms. These services allow content to be queued way ahead of time. However, marketing automation should also include lead scoring, email marketing and paid advertising.  


Marketing automation and CRM can work in tandem to provide a personalized experience for leads, while managing time for marketing and sales.

crm vs marketing automation

CRM vs Marketing Automation: Benefits of a CRM


Ultimately, it’s difficult to keep track of every person that has interacted with your company. The more sales, impressions, engagement, or conversions you made, the bigger the database of information becomes. CRM provides a place to store all of that data, and organize it into a useable format. 



CRM facilitates communication between your sales team and your leads. Keeping track of previous interactions means that communication remains relevant for each individual lead, or group of leads. The easier communication is, the better experience each lead has with your business.



CRM platforms can generate follow-up reminders. Depending on the number of leads in your pipeline, it can be challenging for your sales team to keep on top of each interaction. Reminders are useful for keeping your sales conversations on track. 



Each lead is different. They have different requirements for each piece of communication with your business. For instance, a new lead is far less likely to convert using a “contact us” message. If they’ve only just engaged with you’re business, they are not ready to speak with you yet. Whereas a seasoned lead might be more open to direct communication. 


Segmentation allows you to build groups of leads that share a similar quality. One group might all live in a similar location, or have a similar job role. Another group might contain leads that have interacted in the last month. This is all valuable information to create relevant and timely communications with each lead. 



CRM platforms are able to generate sales reports, and use that data to forecast future sales performance. This information is useful to manage business growth, and make smarter decisions.

Benefits of Marketing Automation

Customer Experience

The right automated processes can help to improve the user experience with your website or company. For instance, campaigns that are triggered in response to certain actions on your site or sign-ups for content can be easily automated, yet still feel personal to the receiver. Personalized interactions like this are more likely to engage leads, and improve the relationship with your business. 


Marketing ROI

Marketing automation’s primary purpose is to automate repetitive or time-consuming tasks. Ultimately, the less time a marketer has to spend on basic processes, the more time they can spend optimizing and improving marketing campaigns. Effective campaigns deliver a higher ROI.


Increased Scope

Automation platforms allow you to manage multiple marketing channels at once. As simpler processes are automated, you can focus on spreading your campaigns wider. As an example, writing and sending 100 emails individually would obviously require more time than writing one email and automating the personalization to each of the 100 leads. Marketing automation makes it easier to reach further, regardless of the size of your team. 


Efficiency and Progress

Ultimately, if your team is spending less time on repetitive tasks, they can utilize their time better. Strategy is critical to effective marketing. Automation allows marketers to test campaigns and strategies quickly, and make changes depending on results from analytics. Their time is available to work on the processes that get results, ultimately improving sales performance.


CRM vs marketing automation considers two very different elements of a marketing and sales strategy. Each platform is critical to the generation of sales, and turning visitors into customers. Effective implementation of marketing automation and CRM platforms ensures the smoothest transition through your customer journey.

crm vs marketing automation

At Nituno, our marketers are certified in Hubspot CRM and Inbound Marketing. We understand the importance of a well-integrated CRM, but around 40% of companies don’t use a CRM at all. Get in touch with us for a free audit, and let us help make your CRM work for you.

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