crm marketing automation

5 Big Differences Between CRM and Marketing Automation Software

5 Big Differences Between CRM and Marketing Automation Software

In our technology empowered world, it’s important to understand the differences between various types of software to ensure you are not only using them correctly, but getting the most from your investment. However, knowing and understanding the differences between Marketing Automation (MA) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can feel a bit tricky, especially since they share several similarities:

  • Both save time and money by automating manual processes
  • Both record and maintain customer information and preferences
  • Both have a common overarching goal of increasing sales

Leveraging Strengths

CRM and MA platforms are designed to serve different purposes. MA is unparalleled as a lead generating tool and CRM is unsurpassed in managing leads. However, both are critical to your success in achieving sales and marketing goals. More importantly, most systems can be configured to work together, which equips your organization with more in-depth data and greater insights into your people, processes, strengths and weaknesses. Below we’ve summarized their individual strengths:

  • MA software is ideal for generating, nurturing and qualifying leads before handing them off to the sales team to close deals.
  • CRM software is ideal for empowering the sales team to manage their interactions with qualified leads.

Let’s Table This Discussion.

Purpose Facilitate sales Facilitate marketing
Measures Individual customer interactions Effectiveness of marketing campaigns
Note: The usages listed are basic. Both MA and CRM have many more uses which vary based on the developer.

Manage phone/email interactions between sales team and individual customers

Record customer preferences and history of purchases

Record times that customers contact sales or support teams

Alert sales team of contract renewal dates, scheduled calls, birthdays, anniversaries, and more

Schedule the release of each piece in a marketing campaign, from emails and texts, to voicemails, direct mail and more

Track performance of each piece in a campaign

Generate, nurture and qualify leads

Segment customers and prospects into groups

Develop personalized marketing pieces based on customer information


Individual customers

Small groups

Mass communications

Segmented groups

Users Sales team members Marketing team members

Let’s Talk Automation

Now that you are equipped with the 411 on the big differences between MA and CRM, you’ll likely be seeking new subjects to conquer. Good thing we just published a fascinating (and free) eBook, Visions From the Future of Marketing Automation: An Explorer’s Guide to Cross-Channel Marketing. Or, if you’d rather talk to a real person about the ins and outs of MA vs. CRM, contact SureShot anytime. We eat, sleep and breathe all things automation and love showing people all the cool things they never knew their automation system could do.