In Marketing and Sales Alignment, Marketing Automation, Marketing Operations, Sales Operations

By Erin Fraboni

Peanut butter and jelly are each okay on their own, but the real magic happens when you put them together. It’s the same idea with customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation solutions. With one or the other, you’ll still reach certain business goals, but integrate the two and you’ll be able to do much, much more.

Marketo lists CRM and marketing automation as the top two components B2B marketers should consider for their core marketing stack. Depending on your organization, your core MarTech stack might only include one of these solutions, or if your organization is still young, you may be asking: CRM or marketing automation? Which one do we need?

Well, why not both?

CRM and marketing automation are complementary. Ultimately, both solutions gather and manage customer data and use that data to initiate certain sales and marketing actions, CRM for sales actions and marketing automation for marketing actions. When integrated, however, you’ll have better sales and marketing alignment, boosting efficiency as well as conversions.

CRM vs. Marketing Automation

What is CRM?

Salesforce defines CRM as “strategy for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. It helps you stay connected to them, streamline processes and improve your profitability.”

CRM software:

  • Collects, houses, and organizes valuable customer information and data
  • Tracks customer interactions and customer lifecycle
  • Manages customer relationships

Overall, CRM software helps sales gain a better understanding of their customers, resulting in improved customer service and customer retention. CRM paints a better picture of each customer, showing you where each customer is in the buying process, both helpful in selecting targeted promotional material to send each client and ultimately, close the deal.

What is marketing automation?

Marketo describes marketing automation as “a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.”

According to Pardot, businesses using marketing automation have seen an average increase of sales revenues by 34%.

Marketing automation software:

  • Provides a centralized communications platform for managing marketing activities
  • Drives more marketing-attributed revenue
  • Measures ROI on marketing activities

Essentially, marketing automation helps nurture leads and get them ready for sales teams. Marketing efforts managed through marketing automation software lead prospects down the sales funnel until they become qualified leads and are handed off to sales.

CRM & Marketing Automation: Meant to Be Together

CRM and marketing automation are the ultimate power couple, accomplishing more together than what each can do on their own. With both solutions in place, you will:

  • Gain a better understanding of your customer. Marketing automation goes beyond demographic information, gathering behavioral data about customers, such as what collateral they download and which emails they open – information that can improve personalized messaging tactics and help sales close deals.
  • Eliminate manual processes. As its name suggests, with marketing automation, you can easily automate certain tasks such as lead scoring and assignment. Once a lead hits a specified scoring threshold, you can have your marketing automation assign leads to users or queues based on their scores.
  • Link revenue to marketing campaigns. With marketing automation, you’re able to see which campaigns led to and resulted in closed deals. Knowing which campaigns are more successful in making sales improves your predictive and other data-driven marketing efforts.

Additionally, having both solutions in place will improve sales and marketing alignment, with sales more aware of what’s going on in marketing, and vice versa.

Going the Extra Mile with Quality Data

Integrating CRM and marketing automation is the first step to marketing and sales success, but what brings your marketing and sales efforts to the next level is quality data.

When you have quality data – meaning complete, verified, enriched data – in your CRM and marketing automation platforms, every part of the process from segmentation to lead scoring to personalization will be more accurate and effective. To put it in perspective, think about what might happen by using dirty data: you have wrong information about a prospect and send him collateral unrelated to his location, position, or business needs, resulting in ineffective nurturing or potentially email unsubscribes.

Quality data captured at a prospect’s first form fill prevents this from happening. ReachForce SmartForms provides real-time data enrichment, so you have accurate customer information in your CRM and marketing automation platforms, helping you target customers and increase conversions.

Request a demo to learn more about adding SmartForms to your MarTech stack and getting even better results from your CRM and marketing automation solutions.