B2B Marketing Blog

Written by Lisa Shepherd
on November 06, 2017


In our blogs, we’ve been talking about marketing automation (MA) as an invaluable tool to generate qualified leads and drive revenue growth. But people often get marketing automation confused with customer relationship management (CRM). Here’s an easy way to differentiate them: CRM is primarily a sales tool and MA is a marketing tool. When working together, they help deepen your engagement with customers and prospects, help you tailor your marketing efforts to improve the quality of your leads, and ultimately help you convert more. 


While CRM and MA may seem the same on the surface, they provide role-specific data and analytics to different teams in your organization, and ultimately make the customer experience better.


Effective sales organizations are 81% more likely to be using a CRM.1

CRM covers all aspects of customer, vendor and partner interactions, whether sales or service related. It helps you track, manage and analyze interactions throughout the customer lifecycle, from maintaining contact lists to tracking contract wins, generating sales leads and more.


77% of top-performing companies are using MA to grow revenue.2

MA helps you automate, streamline and optimize your marketing across multiple channels, including email, social media and websites, so you can spend more time on analyzing and personalizing messages to better connect with your audience.

Sales and customer service use CRM data to personalize their interactions with customers, and sales can also see where a prospect resides in the funnel and take action to secure the sale. MA software stores similar information as a CRM solution, such as contact details for leads, but MA takes on the job of following a prospect through their interactions with you, such as when they visit your website, read your blog, open your email or complete a form fill. MA helps marketers easily segment prospects based on the content areas they’ve engaged with, in order to create more personalized conversations. Once a campaign has ended, MA delivers analytics to measure campaign success.


CRM and MA are complementary. In fact, marketing automation integrates with your CRM to create a bi-directional syncing of data that helps you:

  • Generate new lead opportunities
  • Engage and upsell existing customers
  • Score leads and nurture them throughout the sales funnel
  • Alert sales when prospects are ready to buy
  • Make data-driven decisions
  • Optimize sales and marketing efficiency
  • Grow revenue faster

CRM and MA work together to deliver actionable data throughout the sales funnel and customer lifecycle, helping sales sell better and helping marketers quantify and deliver ROI.


Implementation of new systems can yield amazing results, but they also take time for organizations to adopt and own. The good news is that once you’re up and running, and have designed the processes that work best for sales and marketing, the changes you’ve made will be invaluable to driving business growth.

To set your company up for success, avoid the following common errors.


  • Neglect to do a needs assessment
  • Fail to consider integration into existing systems
  • Buy too large
  • Forget to put a plan in place to keep the data clean
  • Fail to consider the amount of customization that’s required
  • Expect everything to be perfect on day one

Bill Gates once said, “How you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose.” A CRM can help you increase sales by up to 29% and sales productivity by up to 34%.3 On top of that, 91% of the most successful MA users agree that marketing automation is ‘very important’ to their effectiveness across channels.4 The world’s most successful companies have embraced the integration of CRM and MA systems to manage and maintain customers; develop, nurture and score leads; optimize sales and marketing campaigns; and drive revenue.

Watch our webinar to learn more about how you can benefit from CRM and MA. You’ll also get expert tips for purchasing and implementation, learn what not to do, and find out how to get started!

Contact us today to discuss a marketing automation solution that could work for your business!




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