Is Marketing Automation More Important Than Sales CRM?

Matt Heinz President, Heinz Marketing Inc

Posted on October 16th 2012

Is Marketing Automation More Important Than Sales CRM?

It’s not a crazy idea. Here’s why.

In a nutshell, the only thing CRM systems do is organize your information. They don’t actually do anything. They keep track of your sales, but they don’t engage your prospects. That’s still up to you. They capture your sales process, but they don’t execute it.

A good marketing automation system, on the other hand, proactively helps you. If set up and managed well, you can sit back and do nothing and the system will drop interested prospects in your lap.

Even if your sales process was a mess and your sales pipeline didn’t really exist, a good marketing automation strategy and execution can make things happen.

Sales CRM is strategy. Marketing automation embeds strategy but also drives execution. And the only way you’re going to sell something is to execute.

I don’t actually recommend someone choose one or the other. World-class sales & marketing organizations need both to succeed and scale.

If anything, I want companies who have resisted marketing automation as a part of their strategy to make sure their priorities are in the right place.

Sales CRM is table stakes. And eventually, marketing automation will be as well. But for now, and into 2013, companies that treat marketing automation as a core part of their execution have a competitive advantage over others.


Matt Heinz

President, Heinz Marketing Inc

Matt Heinz brings more than 12 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations, vertical industries and company sizes. His career has focused on delivering measurable results for his employers and clients in the way of greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty. Matt has held various positions at companies such as Microsoft, Weber Shandwick, Boeing, The Seattle Mariners, Market Leader and Verdiem. In 2007, Matt began Heinz Marketing to help clients focus their business on market and customer opportunities, then execute a plan to scale revenue and customer growth. He launched Heinz Marketing formally in late 2008.

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Posted on October 17th 2012 at 4:58AM

@Matt Heinz, I was on your webinar with Digital Marketing today which was great, thank you!

With regards to Marketing Automation, I would be hesitant to think about implementing such an infrastructure without the basic blueprint and foundation underneath.

You mention, "even if your sales process was a mess and your sales pipeline didn’t really exist, a good marketing automation strategy and execution can make things happen." While I agree that it can help, I disagree that it will provide positive, productive results without the correct data and sales flow.

I think that's where we can say that marketing automation and sales CRM are equally important and should be used hand-in-hand to leverage a positive sales and marketing process that provides real results.

Even so, I do understand your point that sales CRM is static, while marketing automation is, by nature, automatic and "living". I've been using a CRM called JobNimbus and having a form of marketing automation would help take leads to the next step a lot easier.

Posted on February 14th 2013 at 9:32AM

Indeed, I have used CRM in order to track our current database, and finding the opportunity to increase revenue with our existing customers, and provide sales leads as well. It is easy to say that we need marketing automation into our strategy, but could the author at least provide concrete examples or case studies on which companies that have ‘successfully’ integrated marketing automation strategy with CRM, and which have not. This article does not really say much except that a company needs marketing automation strategy, but there is nothing for the reader to grasp or latch on. It is like waving a series of leaflets in front of me saying that this product is good, but no follow up or tangible example for me to latch on. I would like to see concrete examples or case studies and it would be a great follow up to this article.