Marketing automation software is distinct from CRM in that it manages the process of nurturing leads at a far earlier stage in the purchasing process. Marketing automation and CRM can be used together to create more detailed profiles of customers, as well as offer better insight into customer behavior. These two technologies work well together because Marketing automation can handle lead generation and lead nurturing through email campaigns sent across a wide range of online and offline channels, while CRM software tracks sales and sales opportunities for sales teams.
Marketing automation software can help you measure and track the progress of each individual prospect, which means that sales staff time can be prioritized more effectively. This in turn leads to better measurement of campaign effectiveness and overall Return On Investment [ROI].
Business-to-business Marketing automation platforms have traditionally been the domain of B2B firms, due to their small, focused target markets, multi-stage procurement processes and continual relationships with clients. These factors make B2B a relationship-driven environment where product education, awareness building and lead nurturing are vital. Business procurement is not impulsive; rather, it's considered and rational, often involving more than one person. Marketing automation software is well suited for B2B companies because it can generate multiple data points from customer research that can be analyzed over the long marketing-to-sales cycle required by business-to-business transactions.
B2C and B2B Marketing automation both involve tracking potential customer behavior to decide a messaging strategy. However, the big difference is that consumer campaigns need to gain the customer’s interest very rapidly, with the road to checkout kept short and simple. In contrast, B2B campaigns use longer-term strategic approaches to build brand loyalty and trust. Market education is also vital for B2B companies, but this takes a different form than consumer education programs. When a B2C customer is handed over to sales after completing an online purchase, they should ideally have familiarity with the brand and product set; this allows salespeople to focus on closing deals instead of educating customers about products.