Are marketing automation and sales automation the same? Not really. Each one has its own particular utility in the business world, and its own specialized focus. Both marketing automation and sales automation have become part of the evolving standard for good business. As technology advances, it leads to better analytics, more agile hardware platforms and more sophisticated software builds.
Companies are investing in both of these kinds of automation. They’re using marketing automation to improve marketing campaigns and add efficiency, while using sales automation to help sales workers in the field.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is generally considered a software platform that supports a variety of marketing-related activities, including automated email marketing, lead nurturing/scoring, ROI analysis, extended CRM capabilities and more.
Whether sales are being conducted online or offline, marketing automation can eliminate a lot of the labor-intensive processes of digital marketing channel campaigns.
For example, one of the most common and fundamental parts of marketing automation is email marketing automation tools. Email marketing automation can isolate and define sets of customers who may be receptive to a certain message. Companies can use A/B testing or analytics to figure out how to craft marketing emails and make them more effective.
Email marketing is just one part of what marketing automation software programs offer to companies. Other common areas of marketing automation involve:
- Social media marketing tools
- Landing page resources
- Direct mail marketing software
- Lead generation tools
- Postcard marketing tools
- Web analytics programs
- Customer tracking tools
Several of the best marketing automation platforms deliver many of these features and more. Including social media, email and other channels into a single automation platform can decrease labor for a marketing department, and also provide key business intelligence concerning certain marketing campaigns. A guide from Marketo shows more of the details of a marketing automation solution.
A business that is attempting to expand their marketing strategies can use marketing automation to make their internal processes as effective as possible. They can also use marketing automation to scale up quickly and efficiently.
What Is Sales Automation?
Sales automation, often called sales force automation or SFA (described here at TechTarget), focuses on helping human sales agents. The tools and resources of these products are geared towards a complex sales process involving large volumes of sales. For this reason, many of these tools are directly related to sales tasks.
The most common part of SFA is order processing. The ability to process orders automatically brings tangible value to both eCommerce and brick and mortar operations. Some sales automation platforms also have components such as inventory monitoring tools and sales analytics which are equally as valuable.
Sales automation tools and customer relationship management platforms may seem similar at first, but in fact are very different. The main difference is that customer relationship management platforms are created for the sole purpose of enhancing contacts with customers, while sales automation tools are aimed at assisting the sales process. Some of the common elements between the two platforms include customer behavior dashboards or interfaces that salespeople can use to reach customers in a more active way.
Blending Marketing Automation, Sales Automation and CRM into ERP
In many cases, these individual services are a part of a greater umbrella of enterprise software. The entire enterprise software set may be referred to as enterprise resource planning (ERP) infrastructure.
These software programs accomplish their own unique goals. The marketing automation programs steadily work to enhance marketing campaigns. The sales automation programs work to send digital data where it needs to go for order fulfillment, or allow salespeople to communicate better with customers. Customer relationship management data often stays in the background for long-term analysis, illuminating the reality around the ways that individual customers interact with the business.
When the standalone solutions are integrated into a single platform, the result is business intelligence that can be used at more than one point in a system. Sales working with sales automation tools will be able to get important datasets out of the CRM system. Marketing can go back and look at what’s selling within the business to re-draft a marketing campaign. This is an acting definition of the collaborative context of enterprise automation — one individual tool can have a direct impact on other processes indirectly related to it.
These are the highlights of a few key differences between marketing automation and sales automation, and two great ways they can drive better business outcomes. What do you think your business could do with these platforms?