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Are you utilizing marketing automation software alongside customer relationship management technology? Should your business use both software or just one?

Determining whether your business requires marketing automation is essential to boost productivity. But how do you choose the best platform? 

Hi! My name is AJ. I scaled my business quickly using CRM and marketing automation software and sold it for multiple seven figures.

Now I’m here to share this comprehensive guide containing everything small business owners like yourself need to know about marketing automation and CRM.

CRM vs. marketing automation; what’s the difference? Let’s take a look!

Key Takeaways

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What is a CRM?

Customer relationship management software collects and stores information about your customer base.

As a result, you and your sales team can create personalized messages and strategies to build customer relationships. 

But this technology does a lot more than organize customer data. In addition to that, CRM systems can also do the following:

Handle contact management tasksHandle sales management tasksBoost employee productivityCollect and organize sales pipeline information

My favorite thing about customer relationship management software is that it helps your company distinguish itself from its competitors.

Remember, CRM software ensures you optimize customer interactions by providing the most updated, accurate data. Therefore, you and your team understand your customer base much deeper.

Customers value their experience working with and shopping with a company, so offering the best experience is critical!

Pro Tip #1: Consider your marketing team’s needs before investing in automation software. You want to ensure the system has all the features your team needs to offer the best customer experience.
– AJ Silber

How Does a CRM Work?

A CRM system works by tracking, collecting, and organizing customer data.

The system collects this information via the following sources:

Social media accounts and interactionsEmail marketingWebsite analyticsSurveys and other information-collecting forms

CRM tools inform your sales reps when potential customers show interest in your products and services, ensuring they guide the lead through the sales funnel.

CRMs provide the most up-to-date information so your team can act quickly and build customer relationships immediately. 

CRM Benefits

There are numerous benefits to implementing a CRM system. The list of advantages could take an entire day to explain!

However, I’ll condense these benefits into a short list of favorites.

Here are some benefits of a customer relationship management system.

Pipeline Management

A customer relationship management system ensures you and your sales reps understand which leads are worth your effort.

For instance, CRMs help you analyze the following information to show you which leads you need to focus on first:

Lead data and their likelihood to purchase your products or servicesCommunication patternsPipeline status

To put it simply, CRMs help sales teams close relevant deals in the shortest amount of time. 

Employee Task Tracking

CRMs can track what your employees do throughout the work day, ensuring they complete critical tasks and remain productive.

Additionally, the software can automate routine, mundane tasks that are time-consuming for your team. 

Some of the routine tasks CRM technology can automate include the following:

Sending targeted messagingSending remindersLogging employee work hoursSubmitting forms and documents to the correct departments

Task tracking is an efficient way to see everything happening within your business!

Increased Sales Opportunities

Companies implement CRM software to streamline the sales process and boost opportunities.

A CRM solution analyzes your customer base’s purchasing patterns, offering trends and themes from this data.

As a result, you can create marketing campaigns and lead generation strategies that are more likely to attract more leads and convert them to paying customers!

Centralized Progress Tracking

CRM systems provide an in-depth look at sales processes. Additionally, the technology allows you to track each sale’s progress.

All this information ensures you quickly identify weak spots and clogs in your sales funnel. 

Personalized Customer Communication

Most CRM platforms have tools that allow you to personalize customer messages.

For example, you can do the following things to create a more personalized customer journey:

Add customer names to emailsTarget campaigns based on customer behavior and interestsSend target emails based on a customers point in the sales process

Why is personalized customer communication essential? Several studies have proven a tailored selling approach increases lead conversion and builds loyalty. 

Improved Customer Retention

As I previously mentioned, customers value the experience of working with a company. And customer retention is essential for businesses to thrive and grow.

Did you know it’s cheaper to sell products and services to a repeat customer than to find a new lead?

CRM systems make it easier to keep track of customers’ history and behaviors. As a result, you can quickly respond when customers have questions or need help.

Detailed Analytics

CRM platforms offer detailed reports that provide an in-depth look at what’s working and what isn’t within your company.

CRM information allows you to quickly identify marketing trends and target customers most likely to convert. 

On top of that, you can accurately forecast future sales opportunities with the data collected from the CRM system!

Pro Tip #2: Set aside time to review and clean your company’s data every one to two weeks, as this prevents incorrect CRM recommendations and poor customer experiences.
– AJ Silber

CRM Software Examples

Now that you understand the advantages of implementing CRM software, I’ve compiled a few examples of things the technology does.

Sometimes, companies focus on one of the following CRM software examples. Other times, a business requires more functionality.

The software your business needs depends on your needs, products or services, and weak points.

Contact Management

Contact management is a strategy companies use to enter and store customer information.

Further, businesses track this data to learn about customer behavior, shopping patterns, and interests.

As a result, you discover messaging that your customer base is most likely to respond to, leading to more sales. 

Most importantly, contact management technology ensures your contacts are organized and contain the most updated information about each customer.

Outdated data significantly harms marketing and sales efforts and leads to a poor customer experience.

Sales Forecasting

Another type of CRM software is sales forecasting technology.

Sales forecasting CRMs use analytics and data to predict future metrics and business outcomes. 

Because CRMs utilize updated customer information, you and your team can make data-driven decisions rather than guessing the best strategies.

Anticipating future sales trends and making strategic investments ensures your company makes smart financial decisions.

Lead Management

Lead management is securing, managing, and organizing leads until they make a purchase.

Leads are potential customers, and lead management software aims to streamline the sales process.

Put simply, lead management’s mission is to shorten the time it sales for sales teams to find leads and convert them to paying customers.

CRM Software Tools

Finding the right CRM system for your company is time-consuming, especially if you’re unsure where to start.

There are several factors to consider before investing in CRM, including price, ease of use, and features. 

Here are three of my favorite CRM platforms for small business owners new to customer relationship management software!

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot is an affordable CRM for small business owners (there is a free plan available).

Still, as your company grows, HubSpot can scale with you, offering advanced marketing, customer service, and sales tools.

My favorite part of HubSpot is the design; the interface is beginner-friendly, and the dashboard is clean and organized. 

From deal tracking to providing real-time sales pipeline updates, HubSpot has all the CRM features a growing small business requires.

Monday Sales CRM

Monday is a popular CRM choice among growing businesses. Like HubSpot, Monday offers a free plan (up to two users).

The sales CRM technology allows you to streamline your sales process. 

Additionally, Monday’s analytics show you which parts of your sales cycle need to be fixed, ensuring you continuously improve your business.


Freshsales is another cloud-based CRM that’s compatible with companies in various industries.

With Freshsales, you can manage potential and current customer interactions. Additionally, Freshsales contains the following features:

One-click phoneSales lead trackingSales managementEvent tracking

Freshsales is ideal for sales-driven companies because it has all the tools and features a sales team needs to work efficiently!

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a system businesses use to streamline, analyze, and, most importantly, automate critical marketing tasks and workflows.

For example, marketing automation software streamlines the following marketing metrics:

SegmentationLead generationLead capturingLead nurturingRelationship marketingCustomer retentionAccount-based marketing

A marketing automation tool is excellent for speeding up repetitive tasks and eliminating time-consuming assignments.

Additionally, marketing automation software is essential in creating targeted, personalized customer messages.

Essentially, marketing automation allows you and your marketing team to focus more time on creating better customer experiences and less time analyzing data and creating workflows. 

How Does Marketing Automation Work?

Marketing automations works by automatically performing your business’s critical marketing tasks.

As a result, you and your marketing team free up resources and save time and money.

Additionally, marketing automation software allows you to explore more efficient targeting strategies, boosting conversion rates and sales! 

Marketing automation software contains four parts, which include the following:

Central marketing database (lead, customer interaction, and user behavior data)Engagement marketing engine (create, manage, and automate marketing processes)Analytics engine (test, measure, and optimize marketing ROI)Marketing technology stack (collection of third-party apps that help accomplish marketing goals)

A marketing automation platform is extremely useful in creating a customer journey and targeting potential customers.

What are the Benefits of Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation tools bring several advantages your company can utilize.

Below I’ve listed the top six marketing automation benefits you must consider if you still need to get marketing automation software!

Increased Conversion Rates

Marketing automation software can improve customer conversion rates (the rate your sales team turns potential customers into paying ones).

A marketing automation solution increases conversion rates by ensuring your team only sends targeted messages to interested customers. 

Therefore, businesses can create more engaging (and applicable) content their audience will naturally be attracted to.

Improved Workflow

Marketing automation platforms are perfect if your company must streamline your workflows.

CRM and marketing automation notify you of problems within your workflows and provide solutions to make sales and marketing processes more efficient. 

How does automation make things more efficient? Through the following processes:

Assigning and tracking tasksSending employee alertsAutomating schedulesOffering intuitive team-wide communication

Increased Team Productivity 

The primary reason I implemented marketing automation software was to increase team productivity.

That said, a marketing automation platform aims to perform repetitive tasks for you and allow your employees to focus more on more important tasks. 

As a result of automation features, employee satisfaction and engagement often increase within a company because their jobs are easier!

Personalized Buyer Journey

Marketing automation tools allow you to create personalized, targeted content that your customer base is drawn to.

Remember, personalized marketing campaigns effectively reach new customers and retain your existing base.

The marketing software creates a personalized customer journey by collecting customer data, analyzing behaviors, and capturing marketing campaign data. 

Cross Channel Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is essential in customer buying because it captures leads and turns them into paying customers.

Marketing automation software allows you to nurture leads across all channels (website, social media, emails, etc.).

Therefore, you can create a more personalized buying experience for each channel!

Alignment Between Marketing and Sales

Your sales and marketing teams need to be aligned to ensure your company grows.

Automation software allows you to analyze data and make decisions that are beneficial for both departments. 

For instance, marketing automation helps bridge the gap between sales-influenced campaigns and customer-oriented ones.

And as a result of collaboration, companies can create better customer experiences, resulting in more sales and better customer retention rates!

Marketing Automation Examples

By now, you understand the benefits of implementing a marketing automation system.

But what are some examples of tasks marketing automation assists your team with?

Here are three marketing automation examples to help you better understand the software!

Email Distribution

Marketing automation software is most commonly associated with email marketing and distribution.

A marketing automation tool helps employees design and automate nurturing email campaigns, engaging potential buyers and guiding them through their journey. 

After that, the software’s automated lead capabilities assign the lead to a sales rep at the right time.

As a result, marketing automation completes the segmentation and predictive audience-building tasks for you!

Trigger Messages

Trigger messages are automated, personalized messages you send to your customers based on their segment and position in the sales funnel. 

These messages are usually emails, but they can be SMS texts too.

Marketing automation tools send messages to remind customers about their abandoned carts, current sales, and other critical company information.


Auto-information is another example of marketing automation.

This feature helps your team create automated onboarding emails to new customers, as well as automated follow-up emails and product update notifications.

By utilizing auto-information, your company can foster deeper relationships with its customer base!

Marketing Automation Tools

I’ve compiled some of the best marketing automation providers that I have used frequently.

These three providers are an excellent place to start if you don’t know of any reputable marketing automation software companies!

HubSpot Marketing Hub

HubSpot’s Marketing Hub is an excellent marketing automation solution for small and large businesses.

For instance, the provider offers free tools like email marketing, contact management, and Google ads for growing businesses.

And if your company is ready for more advanced solutions, plans range from $45-$3600 monthly. 

Some features HubSpot’s Marketing Hub provides include the following:

Ad retargetingLanding page reportingCustom reportingOmni-channel marketing automationCustom workflows

Monday Marketer

Monday Marketer is a budget-friendly marketing automation software that streamlines end-to-end campaign processes.

Additionally, Monday Marketer allows you to launch Google Ad campaigns easily while tracking and optimizing content in real time.

With Monday, companies can optimize content faster and enjoy more organic traffic and higher conversion rates. 


Freshmarketer is a marketing automation software for e-commerce companies.

With Freshmarketer, you can create multi-channel engagement and connect with customers via email, WhatsApp, SMS, social media, etc.

Freshmarketer offers a free trial, so you can ensure the software is a good fit for your company.

How CRM and Marketing Automation Can Work Together

Although marketing automation and CRM software are different technology systems, companies often use them together to reap the benefits each provides.

A CRM platform is primarily used for sales purposes. On the other hand, marketing automation capabilities assist companies with lead generation and nurturing.

As a result, CRM and marketing automation software allows you to do the following when you use them together:

Develop customer relationships before sending the lead to the sales teamRun closed-loop reportingAssign lead scoresOffer a seamless customer journeySend consistent messages to support and nurture leads

CRM and marketing automation provides a complete customer picture, helping your company deliver targeted marketing campaigns and develop a streamlined sales funnel. 

How to Integrate CRM with Marketing Automation

If you’re ready for your company to integrate CRM and marketing automation software, there are four steps you must follow.

It’s critical not to rush into choosing a marketing automation tool, as you must find the one that matches your business’s needs.

Let’s see how your company can integrate CRM and marketing automation software!

Step 1: Choose the Software You’d like to Integrate

The step may seem simple, but in reality, it demands considerable attention and time.

Choosing the software you’d like to integrate is a decision you and your marketing team must make together. 

Think about the marketing automation features your team needs to thrive and work efficiently.

Additional factors you should consider include the following:

PriceEase of useScalabilitySales and marketing alignment features

Lastly, it’s vital your CRM and marketing automation work together and can be integrated. If they’re incompatible, your team cannot run their marketing strategy effectively.

Step 2: Personalize Your Messaging

It’s essential to establish your brand’s messaging throughout your marketing channels and CRM software.

That way, you can target your audience effectively and ensure higher conversion rates.

For instance, your CRM solution can collect customer preference data and transfer the information to your marketing automation software. 

Transferring information saves your employees a lot of time and allows them to spend more time on target campaigns.

Step 3: Establish Lead Scoring

You want your sales team to contact leads sooner rather than later.

Assigning lead scoring throughout your CRM and marketing automation software helps streamline this process.

Therefore, you immediately identify which leads deserve more attention.

Additionally, your team can send targeted marketing materials to these leads.

Step 4: Continue to Clean Your Data

Continually cleaning and revising your CRM data is integral.

If your CRMs data is outdated or incorrect, this can lead to poor business decisions and inaccurate recommendations. 

My company reviewed our data every two weeks to stay on top of new information and ensure everything ran smoothly.

Although it may seem tedious, cleaning your data regularly is integral to the success of your business.

Do You Need Two Software for Your CRM and Marketing Automation?

In short, no! You don’t need two software platforms for your CRM and marketing automation.

The goal is to find a provider that offers both capabilities in one platform.

Nowadays, many providers offer an integrated CRM and marketing automation feature, allowing you to run campaigns more efficiently.

Rather than searching for two separate pieces of software, find the provider that meets your company’s needs and offers both CRM and marketing automation.

That way, you save time and money while improving your team’s productivity!

CRM Vs. Marketing Automation Final Thoughts

Utilizing CRM and marketing automation software is an excellent way to run personalized marketing campaigns and keep your data organized.

While CRMs are thought of as sales tools, marketing automation helps your team streamline routine tasks and work efficiently.

What CRM and marketing automation software does your company use? Let us know in the comments section below!

And good luck finding the right CRM and marketing tools for your company!

The post CRM Vs. Marketing Automation: Small Business Guide appeared first on Small Business Bonfire.

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