The main differences are on type of users, core function, goal and role in the buyer’s journey. CRM and marketing automation are different processes with different purposes and utilize distinct tools. The confusion usually arises because both CRM and marketing automation typically deal with the same information (contacts, lists, profiles, etc.) and similarly work with leads. How each of the system manage and utilize those leads and information are entirely separate matters. To get a clearer picture, let’s go over what CRM and marketing automation do.
Even the simplest CRM system will use a dozen database tables to manage these processes, and some of the tables are quite wide (it’s not at all unusual to have 200 columns for the Account table) and tables may have several children. The tables, however, hold standard data types (almost never a BLOb), and documents that might be attached (pointed to from tables) are static files and not part of a document management system. However, CRM systems typically have several integration points with other parts of the corporate infrastructure (such as contract management, electronic signature, shipping/distribution and accounting systems).
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