What’s the Difference Between CRM vs. Marketing Automation?

CRM vs. marketing automation: What’s the difference? CRMs help with storing and analyzing customer data. Marketing automation tools help perform various day-to-day marketing tasks automatically. It’s a good idea to have both for your business.

One thing every good marketer needs is a toolbox. There are tons of marketing tools out there, and while you don’t necessarily need all of them, you’ll certainly want to have at least a few tools at your side to help you optimize your campaigns and your workflow.

Two of the most common types of marketing tools out there—which you may have heard about before—are CRMs and marketing automation tools. But you might be confused about how those two options are different, as well as which one you need for your business.

So, between CRM vs. marketing automation, which is better? That’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this blog post. Keep reading to find out more!

What is CRM?

CRM stands for customer relationship management. It refers to the process of using customer data to streamline the sales process and push prospects toward conversion. A CRM platform does exactly that—it gathers customer data from various external sources in one place.

It then helps you organize that customer data in meaningful ways and analyze it to learn about your audience. Some of the things CRMs can do include:

  • Generating reports from customer data
  • Allowing you to build and launch email campaigns
  • Automating day-to-day sales tasks

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation refers to any tool that can perform day-to-day marketing tasks for you rather than requiring you to do it manually. Not all tools automate the same tasks, but there are definitely a few tasks that are common among marketing automation tools. Those tasks include:

  • Sending out emails
  • Bidding in paid ad campaigns
  • Generating data reports
  • Posting on social media
  • And more!

All of those tasks are things you’d normally have to spend time and effort doing on your own, but marketing automation tools handle it for you.

Benefits of a CRM

Now that we’ve defined our terms, let’s talk about how they can help you—beginning with CRMs. What benefit do CRMs offer your business?

The main benefit of a CRM is that it helps you learn more about your customers so you can streamline your sales process. With a CRM, it’s much easier to learn about what your audience wants, which demographic and geographic groups they tend to fall into, and more.

With that information, you can more easily optimize your sales and marketing efforts to appeal to that audience. Plus, CRMs help you reach that audience more easily with things like automated email campaigns.

Benefits of marketing automation

The main benefit of marketing automation is fairly straightforward: It knocks out monotonous tasks automatically so you don’t have to do it. By handling day-to-day things like sending out emails, it frees you up to spend your time elsewhere.

Without marketing automation, you might spend hours every week just sending out individual emails to new leads or carving out time to post on social media. But marketing automation tools can send out those emails and launch those social media posts for you.

The result is that you get to spend that time working on more pressing issues, optimizing your company’s overall sales process.

What’s the difference between a CRM and marketing automation?

Having covered the definition and benefits of each type of tool, let’s return to our original question: What’s the difference between CRM and marketing automation platforms?

Basically, the two tools serve totally different functions. CRMs are for helping you learn about your customers, while marketing automation is for freeing you up from time-consuming, day-to-day tasks.

Of course, there’s a bit of overlap between the two, because many CRMs do contain some sales automation features. However, the automation in CRMs doesn’t compare to what a full-fledged marketing automation tool can do.

CRMs can automate some aspects of email campaigns, and sometimes they can also automatically categorize the data you import, but they can’t generally handle things like social media or paid ad campaigns. For that, you’ll need a marketing automation tool.

CRM vs. marketing automation: Which do you need?

So, if you had to pick a CRM or marketing automation tool for your company, which should you pick? Which is the best tool for you to have?

The answer is: Both.

As we just established, the two tools do totally different things. There’s a tiny bit of overlap, but not enough that one tool can replace the other—far from it. Trying to pick one over the other is like trying to decide between a rake and a shovel. They aren’t interchangeable—they do totally different things. Why not just get both?

With the combined power of CRM and automation, you can drive much bigger and better results for your business. You can use your CRM to learn how you can improve your campaigns, and then you can use your marketing automation tool to streamline those improvements.

Nutshell is the ideal CRM for your business

CRM and automation are a killer combo, but you can’t harness their combined power until you’ve gotten both tools. Thankfully, we can help speed up the process a bit for you. If you want a top-tier CRM that pairs fantastically with marketing automation, all you need is Nutshell.

Nutshell is one of the best CRMs on the market. With excellent sales automation, top-of-the-line data analytics, and the best customer service team you’ll find, it’s the perfect CRM choice for your business.

Of course, we know you can’t be expected to believe us purely from what we say about ourselves. That’s why we offer a 14-day free trial of Nutshell. Check it out and see for yourself what Nutshell can achieve for your company!


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