Marketing Automation Features (That You Won’t Find in a CRM)
“I use a CRM already, do I really need a marketing automation system?” Which marketing automation feature does my CRM lack?” I come across this type of questions everyday, so I thought of writing this article for the benefit of all.
Marketers are often heard saying that there is no need for Marketing Automation because they already have a CRM system in place.
But that is not necessarily good for your marketing strategy.
Many CRM systems do have a separate module for marketing. You can use their marketing modules to run your campaigns. Very often, I see ads of CRM companies claiming to have excellent marketing support and that they integrate marketing and sales functions.
This is why many believe that they do not need anything else apart from a CRM system to run the marketing department.
Marketing Automation vs. CRM
To understand more about how CRM systems are different from Marketing Automation and why they alone cannot handle both sales and marketing functions altogether, we need to compare both to get a better understanding. The basic purpose of a CRM system is very different and that is why CRMs have created a void for marketing automation software to fill.
The striking difference is the business goals of these systems. While marketing automation helps marketers manage and nurture leads and conduct automated marketing campaigns, CRM tracks leads and customers in the pipeline and manages customer information. The basic fact that stands out while comparing these two systems is the fact that CRM focuses more on sales and sales management while marketing automation focuses mostly on marketing and marketing management. If we take a deeper look at the individual features of the respective systems, we will find that even though CRM and marketing automation have a few common features, their functions are different.
Now let’s discuss the mega-list of features in Marketing Automation systems you cannot find in any CRM.
The big list of Marketing Automation Features
#1 Email & Online Marketing
One of the most trusted techniques of digital marketing is email marketing. CRM systems do provide basic email marketing but as a digital marketer you know that it is not quite enough. Only marketing automation systems can provide the depth of email marketing functionality that you will need as a marketer.
- High Volume Emails: When it comes to sending high volume emails and newsletters, marketing automation systems can easily handle large volumes of email as well as provide detailed analytics like delivery, open and clicks rates. On the other hand CRMs have volume limits even if they do allow you to conduct email marketing campaigns.
- Email Deliverability: You cannot improve your email marketing campaigns unless and until the emails that you send end up in your recipient’s inbox. When you are using a marketing automation tool, you will be provided with different functions and services to ensure that that your emails are delivered. From opt-in management, bounce handling, unsubscribing processing, to dedicated IP addresses, spam check, link validation and delivery monitoring, you get it all on marketing automation depending on your marketing automation vendor.
- Triggered Email: When your prospects click on a CTA or their lead score crosses a certain limit, you can use marketing automation system’s email marketing to send triggered emails at the right time. Not only that, you can personalize those mails and send them based on real-time behavior.
- Landing Pages: Landing pages are an essential component of any marketing campaign. Most marketing automation tools allow you to create beautiful landing pages in a matter of minutes. CRMs obviously lack this critical functionality.
- Forms: While CRMs do allow basic form creation, marketing automation tools beat CRMs big time in this aspect. With marketing automation tools ,you can even use forms with progressive profiling that asks prospects different questions to build their complete profile.
- Testing: Most marketing automation tools will allow you to carry out A/B or split testing to maximize your response rates. You can test anything from emails to landing pages.
- Dynamic Content: Customized emails, landing pages, texts and images based on demographics and user behaviour help marketers to improve conversion and engagement. Obviously, marketing automations tools help you do it.
#2 Lead Management
Marketing automation systems provide advanced lead management and segmentation functions so that you can attract and nurture leads.
- Lead Database: A database dedicated to storing a rich view of marketing interactions between each prospect and your company that includes, clicks, email openings, lead score changes, history. This goes way beyond the data that CRM systems have.
- Lead Segmentation: Lead segmentation allows you to micro-segment your database and target the right leads for your success. The segmentation involves demographic and other firmographic attributes to ascertain patterns.
- Lead Nurturing: You can set automated drip messages, also known as a drip marketing mailers which allows you to send out pre-defined mailers at regular intervals to nurture leads. This helps you to maintain lead nurturing workflows to deepen customer-marketer relationships.
- Online Tracking: With marketing automation, you can easily track emails which are being opened and what webpages your prospects are visiting along with their complete online behaviour. You can also track down where each prospect is in the buy cycle.
- Lead Scoring and Grading: Lead scoring is a way of assigning scores to your leads based on real time actions and demographics. Depending on your vendor you can also have access to advanced lead scoring capabilities which include reducing scores based on periods of inactivity.
- Data Quality: CRMs are often filled with duplicate data which may not to be a problem for sales always. However for marketing, having duplicate and dirty data is an issue. Deduplication is a process of appending leads that are duplicated due to some reason and you can clean your system from such data errors using features from marketing automation software.
- CRM Integration: Marketing automation systems can integrate smoothly with CRMs. Some require manual mapping while other automatically integrate and maintain the connection. Sync information are almost real-time in some systems and depending on your vendor, the systems might provide access to lead contact information and other demographics. There is a high level of variance in marketing automation systems regarding this feature.
- Lead Management Workflows: Lead workflows helps assign a new dimension in marketing automation as it helps you automate list management, lead routing and territory assignment rules. Along with that you can also ensure that Sales department can follow up by integrating tasks directly into the CRM. Some vendors also provide lead recycling processes where sales pass back some leads for further nurturing.
- Sales Intelligence: Marketing can provide Sales with interesting marketing intelligence data so that Sales can concentrate more on the hotter leads and convert them.
- Revenue Cycle Modeling: This is a model that defines the stages through which leads flow through the revenue cycle of a firm. You can automate the rules of how leads should flow and construct an easy framework for marketing and sales. This helps easier lead transition from one stage to the next.
#3 Social Media Marketing
Marketing automation vendors have been adding social functionality to their systems. However features vary from one system to the other and even now most CRM systems lack any such functionality.
- Monitoring: With social listening and tracking features, you can now monitor what visitors, prospects and customers have to say about your organization and your product on social media websites. You can use these social insights to improve your services and segment customers as well.
- Social Sharing: Add share buttons in social media marketing campaigns so you can track your reach in social media. You can track who is sharing the content and which content is driving more leads.
- Social Profiles: Involve social media profiles to enhance lead information and segmentation. It will also help you in assigning lead scores and develop a total history of social media activity.
- Promotions: With social media add-ons you can conduct promotion campaigns and engage more people in your campaign by making them interact on social media.
- Analytics: You can also add tracking codes to the content that you share on social media so that you can get insight to who is sharing your content and what your social conversion rates are. You will also be able to measure how much your social media campaigns are impacting your marketing bottom line.
Analytics is that part of marketing where the artistic side meets the scientific side. Analytics helps you understand how well your marketing efforts are going. Depending on the depth of analytics, you will be able to measure everything from revenue to ROI.
- Web Analytics: A very common marketing automation capability, this helps you develop a deeper understanding of customer behavior. With these analytics you can get to know why prospects visit your site and which pages do they visit. When a prospect registers, you can also include their previous history and assign the lead score correctly.
- SEO Analytics: You can monitor as well as track your rank by using relevant keywords on search engines to compare your performance with competitors.
- Reporting: With analytics, you can get customized reports at the end of a regular time period so that you can analyze your performance from landing pages to web activity. You can also send updates directly to your team so that they get to know the metrics involved.
- Multi-Touch Revenue: This is the ability to allocate credit among different marketing activities that touch an opportunity moving through the pipeline. Depending on your vendor you can actually see it moving through the pipeline and how it touches the leads in the funnel.
- ROI: You can measure as well as compare revenue performance by channel or program depending on revenue, pipeline, ROI etc. You can basically see which marketing investments are generating the most revenue for you and how you can allocate your marketing budget.
#5 Resource Management & Other Infrastructural Features
- Calendar & Budgeting: Depending on your marketing automation vendor, you can get to maintain a marketing activities/content calendar along with a budget. You can manage as well as cover all aspects of marketing investments, from assigning the budget to different groups, planning how to spend, coordinating workflows and reconciling plans. Similarly the calendar will help you to stay organized and connect everyone in the team.
- API/Integration: APIs tell other systems how to call in and perform an action in the marketing automation platform. Other integrations allow the marketing automation system to trigger actions in other systems.
Marketing automation systems focus on the marketing department while the CRM systems focuses more on the Sales department. But to enjoy the best, you have to have both systems working together, side by side so that their advanced integration capabilities can be utilized both by the marketing and the sales team.
Modern Sales and Marketing professional use integrated systems wherein data flows freely between the marketing automation tool and the CRM. Get in touch with us today to integrate your existing CRM and marketing automation software.