What’s the Difference Between Marketing Automation and CRM?

Living in a competitive, data-driven world means your business has to do more in order to keep up with ever-changing customer preferences. Fortunately, there are now tools designed to boost your sales and attract more clients to your business. Two of the most popular ones are CRM and marketing automation.

So what is the main difference between CRM and marketing automation? Each system has its own goals. Marketing automation software focuses on lead nurturing, while customer relationship management (CRM) software nudges customers through the sales pipeline. Another difference is the sales pipeline stage they work on: Marketing automation generates the leads, and these leads are converted into buyers using CRM. Together, these two programs perform hand-in-hand to deliver results.

What Is CRM?

CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s a technology that allows you to keep track of interactions with potential customers and handle relationships with existing customers. Generally, CRM solutions help your organization improve by finding new customers, getting in touch with them, and organizing their information so that you can win their business.

CRM is mostly used by sales teams and customer service teams, although marketing, recruitment, business development and even upper management benefit from CRM. This is because CRM gives everyone a clear picture of what is going on with the company’s external relations.

How Does CRM System Work?

Fundamentally, CRM systems serve as a centralized storage space for prospect and customer data. Colleagues in an organization can track how each other are doing, because every interaction with a customer is recorded by the CRM. You will also have access to customer history, which serves as a reference to consult with in case issues arise.

More sophisticated CRM software can even collect data from leads and customers through various touchpoints: social media, websites, email, and so on. Other CRM systems also offer analytic capabilities, synthesizing data into a report ready to be used by an organization. An effective CRM database can also be used for filing important notes, scheduling follow-ups, and organizing sales team processes.

What Are The Benefits of CRM?

For a small business with few customers, CRM may not be a “must-have” yet. But if you want to grow your business and engage with more people, it definitely pays to invest in a CRM system as early as possible. Here are some benefits of getting CRM:

  • Central, organized database: Your sales team can easily share documents with each other, so you won’t spend time looking for files or encounter difficulties in case someone leaves.
  • Fewer administrative tasks: You won’t have to waste valuable time doing manual tasks such as data entry, since those processes are automated under CRM.
  • Smarter decision-making: CRM can assist you in analyzing customer information, forecasting sales, and evaluating sales performances – allowing you to make better decisions for your company.

What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a technological feature that allows businesses to manage marketing campaigns and processes across multiple channels even without hands-on intervention. Using marketing automation software, businesses can send customers targeted, automated messages through text, email, web, and social media.

With automation software, your marketing team can improve how it generates, nurtures and scores leads. Not only that, but they can also measure the overall ROI for campaigns. Marketing automation is a tool that will save you a lot of time and money, because it lets you put a finger on your market’s pulse.

How Does Marketing Automation Software Work?

Marketing automation is effective for streamlining the responsibilities of a marketing team. The process begins as you collect customer data through interactions on various digital platforms. The data you collect create an in-depth view of each customer. From there, you can program the software to respond automatically to leads and customers.

Good automation will identify your audience, design appropriate content, and trigger actions or messages based on a schedule or specific customer behavior. For example, a lead who viewed your website makes an inquiry through email. With email marketing automation, the right series of messages or helpful articles can be sent to that lead – ensuring that they aren’t ignored or receive a late reply.

Aside from this basic function, marketing automation can also automate segmentation and lead qualification based on customer profiles. This helps your team create relevant content and messages for their target audience.

What Are The Benefits of Marketing Automation?

Your marketing efforts don’t have to be a hit-or-miss situation. Marketing automation is the solution for managing a cohesive, streamlined campaign every time. Here are some of the benefits in implementing marketing automation:

  • Efficient lead nurturing: Turning leads into potential buyers is the goal of marketing, which is why marketing automation pays a lot of attention to lead nurturing. From lead scoring to email marketing, marketing automation software ensures that your company consistently reaches out to potential clients – without exhausting your staff.
  • Detailed customer profile creation: Marketing automation captures information about your customers through their web behavior, email open rates, and other responses. This attention to detail creates more specific audience profiles.
  • Personalized messaging: Personalised content lends a human touch to marketing, which is why it’s an effective way of nurturing leads. Email marketing or targeted ad campaigns would translate to better sales if buyers received unique content tailored to them. – Read more

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Zoho CRM vs. Salesforce Sales Cloud

In this video, we’ll compare two popular CRM tools: Zoho CRM and Salesforce Sales Cloud. Researching CRM software?

// Timestamps //

0:21 Pricing

0:57 Contact Management

1:36 Reporting

2:18 Apps and Integrations

Zoho CRM and Salesforce Sales Cloud are both CRM tools, but neither of them is a one-size-fits-all. Depending on your budget, company size, required features, or other factors, your company will want to thoroughly research both tools before making a decision. The business technology marketplace is diverse, and most buyers struggle to determine which options are best for them. At TechnologyAdvice, we don’t think this should be such a challenge. That’s why our team is dedicated to creating quality connections between buyers and sellers of business technology. We help buyers make well-informed purchase decisions through comprehensive product listings, industry analysis and user-generated reviews. In addition to serving buyers, we work with vendors to grow their customer base through our unique demand generation programs. These programs improve product awareness by placing matched solutions in front of their ideal customers.

Learn More About Zoho and Salesforce

Integrate CRM with Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Office 365 became no. 1 software for many companies. People use Outlook, Word, and Excel, communicate through Teams, and share documents on OneDrive. But when it comes to customer management software, Microsoft has not yet developed anything that would rule its category, just like Word or Excel.

OCM replacement

When Microsoft discontinued support for Business Contact Manager in 2016, many Office users turned their attention to its successor – Microsoft OCM. But this year Microsoft stopped supporting OCM too! Now, we have dozens of thousands of disappointed customers who lost their Outlook integrated CRM twice in a short time.

Well, there are a lot of CRMs on the market, but to find something that sits right inside Microsoft Outlook can be a challenge. However, if you give it a try, you might be surprised how closely integrated some of the tools are.

Every extra click counts

For obvious reasons most companies don’t care if the software maker is Microsoft or somebody else. It is really important how efficiently you can work with the app. The decisive factor is whether the CRM is integrated with Outlook and other tools, such as Word or Excel. 

Then, you can quickly access your clients, projects, business opportunities, and customer communications right in Outlook. With a perfect Outlook CRM software, your business data is always automatically synchronized and up to date. That means you don’t have to constantly switch between Outlook and CRM software and copy-paste everything. You just use one single database instead of two. Imagine how much time you can save. How much simpler and clearer the work can be. And how many unnecessary mistakes you can avoid.

No need to learn anything new

Are you one of the companies that use Office 365 daily? Have you ever measured how much time you spend working in Outlook? The average employee spends up to a quarter of their working time reading or writing emails. When you add the time spent working with the calendar etc., you will probably find that Outlook is the software you use most of the time. And as such, it really makes sense to choose Outlook as a basis for your CRM system.

However, discomfort and time spent switching between Outlook and CRM is not the only reason to pick CRM embedded in Outlook. Whether the company is looking for an OCM replacement or looking for a suitable CRM, one of the employees’ nightmares is the idea of having to ​​learn to work with new software. 

With CRM software embedded right into Microsoft Outlook’s well-known environment, the learning curve of every team member is significantly reduced. That’s what real Outlook CRM software should look like. No matter if it was developed by Microsoft or not. Another super benefit of a CRM properly embedded in Outlook is if it’s intuitive and user friendly. Simply it should look like Outlook and the user should have the impression they work with it. That’s two in one solution.  

Just start using it

As already mentioned, there are plenty of CRMs on the market. But if you are looking for an Outlook CRM software, the selection will be pretty limited. The best way to make an informed decision is to try the software before purchasing it. Of course, most software developers offer a trial version.

Trial versions are usually time-limited or feature-limited. Or there is another option to use free CRM as an individual. Sure, that is an option for very small businesses. But no matter if you are an individual entrepreneur or run an e.g. very small family business, free CRM can be a very comfortable and natural tool for the beginning.

Think ahead of time

Make sure the Outlook CRM software you have chosen is ready to switch smoothly to a premium version for multiple users and that it supports integrations with 3rd party tools etc. Simply it has all features that you will need when your business grows. CRM should be a guarantee of longevity for the company. Or at least that’s what lot companies expect from Outlook CRM when looking for OCM replacement.

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