Marketing Automation vs. CRM

marketing automation vs. CRMMarketing Automation. CRM. What’s the difference? Do they overlap? Do I need both for my business?

Marketing Automation vs. CRM. Distinguishing between the two can be challenging. On the surface, they appear to have very similar purposes. In actual fact, Marketing Automation and CRM focus on very different parts of a customer’s journey. The reason the lines have become more blurred is because many platforms offer a combination of both Marketing Automation and CRM within one system. In order to find out what you are really getting from a platform, you need to understand the differences between Marketing Automation and CRM.

What is the difference?

Put simply, Marketing Automation focuses on the marketing side of your business (as the name suggests), whereas CRM focuses more on the sales side.

Marketing Automation

A good piece of Marketing Automation software will allow you to produce marketing campaigns and to track leads’ interactions with your business. This can include monitoring website visitors, email opens or form fills. It will help you monitor your leads and use analytics to make the best decisions for lead nurturing. Marketing Automation can be thought of as an extensive ‘prepping’ process before passing leads to the sales team.


Standing for Customer Relationship Management, a CRM system stores all the key information you might need to know about your customers. This includes basic contact details such as names, phone numbers and email addresses, along with more detailed information on customers’ interactions with your business. For example, a CRM system may record information on a customer’s purchase history and contact they’ve had with your business in terms of phone calls and emails.

Do they overlap?

Marketing Automation and CRM focus on different things. But you may have noticed one common feature: customers. Some of them are prospective, some of them are closed deals, but they are all customers. Surely it makes sense to keep all customer records in one place, regardless of whether they are related to marketing or sales? This is not a new idea. Many companies and many platforms incorporate features of both Marketing Automation and CRM into their systems. So the answer to the question is yes, they do overlap.

Do I need both?

This depends on the needs of your business, but in most cases the answer would be yes. As discussed above, Marketing Automation and CRM focus on different aspects of a customer’s journey. It is always important to remember that customers are the key to your business. Customers are your business. Igniting customers’ interest in your products and services is equally as important as closing sales. The weighting of resources between the two can vary depending on the needs of your business. But put simply, most successful businesses will utilise both Marketing Automation and CRM.


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