What Is the Difference between Marketing Automation, CRM, and ERP?

December 18, 2018 / By Bruce McDuffee

There are plenty of similarities with marketing automation, customer relationship management (CRM), and enterprise relationship management (ERP).

All are software tools that help you increase the overall profitability and revenues of your business. However, they also have many differences that point out the need for using all of them eventually.

We will talk about each separately, but we’ll make sure to emphasize the features that make them diverge from one another.

Marketing Automation
Marketing automation software allows businesses to modernize and automate their marketing tasks and workflow.

  • Marketing Automation focuses on marketing.
  • Marketers typically use this software to schedule and track their marketing campaigns, especially email marketing and mass communications, which is precisely where the software proves most useful.
  • Separates leads according to specific criteria and lets you stay on top of all of them.
  • The leader in the area of marketing automation software is Marketo.

Marketing automation software processes the leads and gets them ready for the sales team to deal with them. Once a lead is ready to become a customer, that’s when CRM software steps in as it’s at its best when you use it for paying clients.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A CRM system allows businesses to manage their interactions with customers properly.

  • CRM focuses on sales and the customer.
  • Sale and customer service teams typically use the software to optimize and improve their interaction with clients and increase their satisfaction with the company’s service or product.
  • Especially useful in the entire sales process and helps close deals.
  • Gives you a full picture of every client your business has as it keeps records of all relevant data and will alert you whenever your response is required.
  • The leader in the market of CRM software is Salesforce.

The usefulness of the software is evident in the fact that more than 70% of smaller businesses use it, and the percentage is only set to increase in the following years.

Enterprise Relationship Management (ERP)
ERP allows companies to improve themselves and their processes.

  • ERP is focused on your business and improving the processes in it.
  • Managers, executives, and other employees typically use the software to input various information and create real-time overviews of the business. That, in turn, allows for better fluidity and efficiency within the company, higher revenues, and reduced costs.
  • Like marketing automation and CRM, ERP gives you the ability to improve the speed of sharing information through many departments in the company.
  • The leader in the market of ERP software is Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Essentially, ERP can help you in many areas of your business, and it can even enable you to see the complete picture, which allows for dealing with problems before they occur.

The Bottom Line
The picture is clear. Every software tool has its usefulness in all businesses. The key with all is that they automate many processes in your company, which can improve your business in general and allow your employees and you, to deal with other, more pressing matters.

The differences are evident in the fact that each software excels in different areas, which is why you need to carefully consider the benefits of all and see which one you need if not all of them. In the end, the fact remains that each software increases profits, which is what matters the most.


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