In order to raise the efficiency of your business operations, you may have considered automating certain processes. Two very popular systems that are used by businesses are customer relationship management (CRM) software and marketing automation. The two have certain similarities but if you aren’t sure which one is right for you, they can be confused.
Both marketing automation and CRM handle customer information, help users streamline daily tasks and provide important metrics and insights on the progress, efficiency and effectiveness of a company’s operations. But the two play very different functions.
Marketing automation platforms are used by marketers to generate, on-board and nurture leads. They get your content in front of the right audiences, in other words, they open deals. These leads are passed on to sales people who close the deals with the help of CRM programs.
The role of marketing automation software is to help marketers get the right message out to the right prospects, fast. Marketing automation systems are usually highly integrated with a company’s website. They monitor activities such as website visits and email opens, and analyze data from forms on your website. They use this data to automatically filter and sort your leads so you can optimize your targeted emails and campaign strategy. This helps marketers find out which leads are likely to be converted into customers and design campaigns around them. People who respond with the right level of interest are handed off to sales for qualification, while people that don’t, are kept in the system where a different strategy can be used to nurture and re-market to them.
E-mail blasting is what marketing automation is most usually associated with. Once the software has compiled and segmented leads, it automates your e-mail communications with them. E-mail marketing allows you to share informative as well as promotional content and automatically personalizes messages. It lets you automatically send triggered emails at the time that a person is most interested in your product or service. It helps keep your prospects informed about your business by letting you schedule a series of emails in a drip campaign.
Marketing automation goes beyond e-mail and allows you to keep track of your various social network accounts. Rather than making posts manually on each platform, it automates your posts across social media and optimizes them for each different platform.
When your prospects engage with your media or click on ads, they have to be redirected towards a landing page. Market automation software lets you create aesthetically pleasing landing pages that help convert prospects into customers.
Once a campaign has ended, the system generates a series of analytical metrics that lets you determine how successful the campaign was. This feature enables you to use advanced email segmentation to test the effectiveness of different campaigns, compare results and determine the best marketing strategy.
Marketing automation also aids in keeping in touch with existing customers in order to cultivate loyalty and repeat business. It is also able to forecast lead generation and measure ROI of your marketing strategies.
CRM software takes over once the lead has moved through the marketing funnel. The data collected on the prospect is sent to the CRM database, where the sales team can take over.
CRM integrate various features that a sales team needs in order to create a smooth and comfortable experience for customers. It enables you to connect with customers and prospects across various channels including email, phone, live chat or social media. Unlike marketing automation software that provides for one way communication – from the company to the prospect – CRM allows for sales people to respond to specific queries and interact with customers one-to-one. CRM software keeps track of past purchases of a customer, details about previous conversations you’ve had with a contact, a record of emails between the customer, your sales and customer service team.
CRM also integrates various departments, such as accounting or shipping and distribution to provide the sales team with greater insights and power to make offers while negotiating a deal with a customer. This reduces selling time and the customer gets a single point of contact, rather than being transferred around on a call. In the end it all depends on what your business needs. If you need to expand your customer base, you need marketing automation. If, on the other hand, you find that your customer list is getting too big to manage manually, CRM will help you keep track and organize it