That doesn’t sound much like a CRM system, does it? If the core of marketing automation is email blasting, the foundation of CRM is sales force automation (SFA). While both systems operate on leads, contacts and companies, they work in very different contexts. The marketing automation user is almost entirely focused on leads. In contrast, the SFA user sees leads as important only in the short term, as the successful sales rep will be working on deals (opportunities) and talking with contacts (leads that have been fully qualified and promoted or converted). The SFA user is a very different animal than the typical marketing person, and too often there is actual animosity between the two teams.
Marketing automation platforms are used by marketers while CRM programs are utilized by sales people. Both offer automation, analytics and reporting features to streamline daily tasks and provide users with important metrics and insights on the progress, efficiency and effectiveness of marketing campaigns as well as sales activities and efforts. As said earlier, they may handle the same customer information but employ it for different activities and operations.
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The consequence is that marketers begin buying lists of email addresses to nurture instead of generating inbound leads. While it seems like a quick fix, it's not a long-term solution, nor does it create the fertile ground for a healthier, longer relationship with your future customers. In our plant analogy, it's sort of like using artificial chemicals or enhancers to make your plant grow faster. Sure, it seems like a good, quick fix--but it doesn't set you up for future, long-term success.