Despite the many differences between business types, two main factors that all business types can relate to are sales and marketing. Each of these business structures serves its purposes that are essential to sustaining a successful business. More importantly, they play off of each other in a way in which one structure can’t work without the other. For example, the beginning stages of a marketing campaign are needed for the final stages of a sales structure. Vice versa, a business can’t profit from a marketing campaign without having the converting stages of a sales funnel. Even better, these two structures can be scaled up according to the size of the business. This means that small businesses don’t have to change their sales and marketing strategies drastically if and when they want to expand. Having said all of that, business growth and sustained success from these two structures can’t be fully achieved without the proper tools. This is where CRM and marketing automation software comes into play.
With a CRM tool, also known as a customer relationship management tool, businesses can manage interactions with potential and current clients in a way that is profitable immediately and in the long run. On the other hand, marketing software is mainly used to organize and market effectively through online channels such as social media and websites. However, there is one major distinction to make that is important for getting the most out of these tools. The distinction stems from the fact that both tools are used to automate the processes of each structure. That said, just because both tools can automate these two structures similarly doesn’t mean that they can be used in different ways. To get a better sense of what this means and how they work within a business, here are eleven differences between a CRM tool and a marketing automation software.
#1: They Are Focused In Different Business Structures
The first difference to make is perhaps the most obvious. As mentioned before, each tool has its uses in different structures. More specifically, their focuses are on different sides. With a CRM tool, the primary focus is on the end of the sales structure of a business. With marketing automation software, this focus is on the processes of online marketing more than anything else. Again, while they need each other to work effectively, it doesn’t mean that one tool can be used to benefit in another area.
#2: They Target Clients In Different Ends Of A Business Funnel
Perhaps the most important factor that relates these two tools is the client. However, there is a huge difference in the way a CRM tool and marketing automation tool target a client. For the most part, a CRM tool targets a client using the specific data that it pulls. On the other hand, marketing automation software mostly uses digital marketing strategies to target clients in an automated process.
#3: They Have Different End Functions
Another important distinction to make between these tools is the end function that they have. This specific distinction is where we start to see how they both play off of one another effectively. That said, the end function of a customer relationship management tool is to nurture leads from the collected database it has. With marketing software, the end function is to generate leads for a specific campaign.
#4: They Have Different Primary Features
We can’t talk about their end functions without talking about the specific features they use to achieve them. Worth noting, this is one difference that would make a world of difference if it was discussed more. Nonetheless, a customer relationship management tool uses primary features such as communication and workflow management settings to achieve its end function. Meanwhile, marketing software uses features such as lead management and market segmentation to reach its end function.
#5: They Have Different Primary Goals
To be clear, primary goals are not the same as end functions. The difference between primary goals and end functions is that goals are seen as more short term accomplishments to reach a specific end function. With that out of the way, the primary goal of a customer relationship management tool is to convert engaged leads to qualified leads. The primary goal of marketing software is to hand over those qualified leads to the sales structure.
#6: They Have Different User Types
Another obvious difference between the two is the type of users they have. As we can imagine, as each structure is used within a specific department, the users of each tool will be from those specific departments. In non-technical jargon, a customer relationship management tool is used by the sales department professionals while marketing software is mostly used by marketers in the marketing department of a business.
#7: Their Position In The Buying Process
With the more obvious distinctions out of the way, we can start to discuss the more specific distinctions that make as much of if not more of a difference between the two tools. That being said, one specific distinction between the two is the position each tool used in regarding the buying process. With a customer relationship management tool, its position lies towards the end of the buying process as a way to convert qualified leads. With marketing software, that position is put ahead of the other tool as a way to bring in those leads.
#8: The Speed Of Their Processes
Because of their positions within the buying process, another difference between the two is the speed in which their processes are delivered. Given that marketing software is used towards the start of the buying process, the length of its process is usually longer as it takes more work to attract a qualified lead. At the end of the buying process, the speed in which a CRM tool can deliver its benefits is faster because all there is left to do is convert a client.
#9: The Amount Of Client Interaction/Communication
Client interaction has proven to be one of the most overlooked differences between these two tools. This is another result of where each tool lies when used within the buying process. That said, the amount of interaction that is needed with a customer relationship management tool is much more than with marketing software. This is because a CRM tool’s main focus is to build a strong relationship with a client as a way to profit from them in the long run. With marketing software, not as much interaction or communication with a client is needed as much as writing a convincing copy is.
#10: The Methods Of Contacting A Potential Client
Speaking of communication with clients, the method in which contact is made with potential clients is another difference that goes a long way in understanding. With a customer relationship management tool, contact is usually made within the platform itself using the specific data acquired. For that reason, contact made within this tool is usually more direct. With marketing software, contact is made with the specifications and knowledge of a potential client through strategies such as email and social media marketing.
#11: The Amount Of Management Needed
Last but not least, the amount of management needed is another major difference that can contribute to benefits such as saving time and money. For the most part, the amount of management needed with a customer relationship management tool is a little more than with marketing software. This is the case because interactive and consistent contact with clients and client data is needed with a customer relationship management tool. Marketing software can work efficiently with pre-determined settings set on the platform.