Do I Need a CRM, or Marketing Automation?

Do you need a CRM for small business, or maybe marketing automation, or maybe neither? In this video we actually breakdown the differences between the two platforms and help you determine what solution is better for your business.

Deciding to use software to help keep your leads, prospects, and customers organized is smart, but you must be sure to understand and align the needs of your business to the core functionality of these platforms.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Automation are not the same. Starting with an understanding of both Marketing and Sales, this video will help you make the right decision about a software solution that works for your business now AND for the scaled-up version in the future!

Pro Tip

Marketing and Sales are not the same thing.  Your leads and prospects start their buyer's journey with you at different points, which means you can't treat everyone the same.  Don't "sell" leads that haven't warmed up to you.  Don't waste your time "warming up" prospects that are ready to pull the trigger with you.  Approach them based on where they are.

(Read the Full Transcript Here)

Before you watch another video explaining why you need a CRM for your business or why you need marketing automation software, stay tuned, because today we're gonna quickly break down the difference between these two platform types and show you how to determine what's right for your business.

Hey, I'm Rodger with RodgerandMelissa.com, where we help coaches and entrepreneurs create the impact and the success you desire.

Because you're watching this, you obviously understand the importance of growing and keeping track of your leads, your prospects, and your customers. We all need them. And this organizational aspect is particularly amplified as you begin to scale up your business.

So, do you need a CRM, or do you need marketing automation,

or maybe neither? 

First, let me say that if your main goal is simple contact management, both types of platforms do a pretty good job. So our goal here is to really look at the specific strengths of each platform and align those to where your business can benefit the most. And be sure to watch all the way to the end, because we'll also give you some specific brand recommendations for both platform types.

First, let's lay a very important foundation to build on. Now, we're not gonna talk about building funnels, but let's use this funnel to represent the buyer's journey. This funnel is actually made up of two funnels put together. First, there's the marketing funnel, followed by the sales funnel. And what we need to point out here, maybe obvious, but it's a very important distinction, although the words are sometimes used interchangeably, marketing and sales are two different parts of the buyer's journey.

And they're two different activities within your business. And oh by the way, if you're treating all of your prospects as if they're starting in the same place on your funnel, you're probably frustrated.

 Here's my million-dollar advice. Don't do that. 

In the simplest terms, marketing turns the unaware into the interested, and sales turns the interested into the sold. This decision you're trying to make on software has to align with the area in your business that can benefit the most. Typically marketing automation platforms address the needs within the marketing funnel, automating the capture of leads and the nurturing of them, from the unaware to the interested. And CRM platforms address the needs within the sales funnel, providing a visual representation and systematic approach to your sales process.

Think of the stages of your sales pipeline that move people from the interested to the sold. So let's start to answer questions about your business that will point you to the right solution.

First, think about your commercial model, and I want you to answer three questions. Number one, is your sales cycle relatively short, weeks or months, or is it longer, six months to a year or more? Number two, are your offers very complex in nature, need lots of explanation, or are they simpler and readily understood by your prospects? And number three, are you business-to-business or business-to-consumer, B2B or B2C?

Now businesses that benefit primarily from a CRM platform have longer sales cycles, their offers are a bit more complex, and they may have multiple people within their company or within their customer's company who need to be involved in the deal. Both B2B and B2C can benefit, but you see it more with B2B businesses.

Now, businesses that benefit primarily from marketing automation have a shorter sales cycle and simpler offerings. Again, both B2B and B2C businesses benefit, but you do see it very often implemented with B2C type businesses like E-commerce, digital content creators, coaches, consultants, and direct sales, and there's many more. Next, let's think about your future needs.

As you scale up, what part of your business could benefit the most from automation? Will automations around lead generation and lead nurturing help you scale much more quickly? Marketing automation. Or, perhaps you'd benefit more from automations around specific tasks and activities needed to move a prospect through your pipeline. That's CRM. Maybe it's neither. Maybe a manual solution like a notebook or Excel or an access database is more suited for you.

Let me say there's absolutely nothing wrong with manual solutions. A manual solution is a system. It does keep you organized. It just lacks a lotta the functionality you'll find in the other options. But if you're a bit scared of technology or you don't really need the additional functionality beyond a digital Rolodex, this option is great for you.

So, based on your previous answers to my questions about your business, you should have a pretty good idea of where your business can benefit the most from the automations and functionality that marketing automation platforms and CRM platforms bring your business.

If you're watching this far, here are some of our top recommendations within each category. And real quick, if you have a favorite CRM or marketing automation platform or manual solution, let us know in the comments below. We'd love to know.

So in the marketing automation space, there are a lot of options. But based on functionality and pricing, here are just a few recommendations. If you're just looking for email marketing software, which falls under the category of marketing automation, AWeber has been a staple for many years. But platforms like ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit have really taken true marketing automation to another level and are very user-friendly.

We actually use ActiveCampaign in our business, and I'll tell you more about that in just a second. On the CRM front, HubSpot offers a very robust free platform. Zoho CRM is good, and we've also used Insightly in the past and had a good experience there as well. Several of these I've mentioned in both categories are also considered what's called an all-in-one. For instance, ActiveCampaign is one of those that we use. It has lots of great marketing automation capabilities, which is where we benefit the most. But it also has a built-in CRM pipeline to help us manage our deals and our sales tasks, and we even use the pipeline functionality to manage where clients fall within our programs as well. We've used it for a couple years now and have been very pleased. And this video was not filmed to promote it, but if you're interested in a free trial of ActiveCampaign, there's an affiliate link in the description below where you can get that. So if you got some benefit out of this, go ahead and subscribe.

And if you've been looking for ways to grow your contacts and connections and thought about using Meetup to do that, check out that video about starting your own Meetup group. Or check out that one that YouTube picked out just for you. Until next time, take care.