6 Ways to Increase Sales With CRM Marketing Automation

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What would you say is a marketer’s best friend?

Is it a hoard of quality customer data stored in a single place (your CRM), to be used to inform campaign decisions and improve targeting?

Or is it marketing automation, that ingenious little invention that allows us to put monotonous and manual activities on rinse and repeat?

How about both?


Integrating these two life-saving technologies (or grabbing a platform that does both) is probably the holy grail of marketing success.


Well, that’s what we’re going to discuss right here.

What is CRM Marketing Automation?

Technically speaking, CRM and marketing automation are two different things.

We’re going to get into the details shortly, but in a nutshell:

  • CRM (customer relationship management) platforms store knowledge about your customers (contact details, previous interactions, purchase history) and help reps manage their sales pipeline
  • Marketing automation platforms allow marketers and sales teams to automate (make happen automatically) activities such as email sends, social media posts, push notifications, and SMS

A CRM with marketing automation is a system that offers both features, allowing revenue teams to draw on data within their CRM to either market directly to existing customers and prospects or to build lookalike audiences on social platforms.

Such platforms are becoming increasingly common as the alignment between sales and marketing becomes ever more important.

CRM vs Marketing Automation

CRM vs Marketing Automation

To truly understand how marketing automation and CRM come together to create revenue success, it’s important to get a grasp on what the individual tools have to offer.

What is CRM?

CRM stands for customer relationship management, and technically speaking is actually a process or field of business.

Over time, however, the term CRM has grown to be synonymous with that of the CRM platform or software, a tool designed to manage the CRM process, which has essentially become the centerpiece of the sales and marketing tech stack.

Hence, when most people talk about CRMs, they’re referring to CRM software.

So, what does it do?

CRM’s main objective is to improve customer relationships. This rests on the (well-validated) assumption that focusing on developing customer relationships results in improved sales, customer retention, and revenue growth.

Common CRM features include:

  • The ability to store customer data such as phone numbers, email addresses, and company structure data
  • Communication logs which show when and how your company has engaged with the prospect or customer
  • Sales pipeline management
  • Reporting and analysis tools
  • Integrations for calling, email, and SMS
  • Individual sales rep activity tracking
  • Sales forecasting capabilities
  • Lead scoring functionality

Who uses CRM software?

In many modern organizations, nearly has some form of interaction with the CRM, being the central point of truth for all customer data.

This said, CRM tends to be most regularly used by three teams falling under the revenue umbrella:

  1. Marketing
  2. Sales
  3. Customer success

That is to say, the teams that are most regularly interacting with customers (makes sense, right?)

It’s also not uncommon for business analysts, administrators, and senior managers to use CRMs regularly, though they tend to use them for insights more than for customer engagement.

Why use CRMs?

The CRM (and in particular, the automated CRM) offers a number of benefits to scaling sales and marketing teams:

  • Stronger insights into customer behavior
  • Powerful reporting at a glance
  • Improved, more proactive customer interactions
  • All of your data in a central location
  • Lifts sales by up to 29%
  • Better post-sales service
  • A more productive team
  • Consistent communication with your customers

Examples of popular CRMs

Ringy Dashboard

There is really no shortage of CRM platforms on the market.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re all great choices, and it goes without saying that each has its own pros and cons.

Here are a few CRMs that are popular among growing organizations:

  • Ringy 😉
  • Salesforce
  • HubSpot (we’ll talk about these guys soon)
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Sugar CRM
  • Pipedrive

What is Marketing Automation?

Here’s how marketing automation and CRM platforms differ:

CRM stores customer data and helps sales teams manage pipelines. Marketing automation lets you say, “hey computer, do this thing for me at this time, please and thank you.”

So what can marketing automation do?

  • Send scheduled emails (singular or mass)
  • Send triggered messages (such as abandoned cart reminders)
  • Send SMS updates
  • Send push notifications
  • Automate retargeting messages
  • Schedule and publish social media posts
  • Score leads to determine priority

Notice there’s a common theme here: it’s all about communications.

Who uses marketing automation software?

Well, marketers usually.

But there are also some really powerful uses for sales teams (such as automated email and SMS campaigns).

This is especially true for organizations focusing on an ABM approach.

Why use marketing automation?

Why Use Marketing Automation

I mean, being able to complete tasks automatically and at scale hardly needs any justification, but if you insist, here are just eight things marketing automation does for you:

  1. Generate better quality leads
  2. Nurture your ‘not right now’ prospects
  3. Personalize customer communication at scale
  4. Stronger alignment between sales and marketing teams
  5. Save up to 6 hours a week, per employee, with automation
  6. Reduced cost of operation
  7. Improved revenue
  8. Consistency in communication

A lot of overlaps between marketing automation and CRM benefits, huh? Almost like they’d work really well together…

Examples of popular marketing automation platforms

  • Marketo
  • HubSpot
  • Constant Contact
  • Pardot
  • CoSchedule

What Are the Differences Between CRM and Marketing Automation Software?

As it turns out, CRM and marketing automation software platforms, though quite different in nature, share a lot of similarities.

Let’s quickly summarize the CRM vs marketing automation debate, and then explain in a little more detail just why these two technologies work so well as a team.


Marketing Automation

The main objective is to store customer data

The main objective is to automate repetitive tasks

Tends to be used more regularly toward the bottom of the sales funnel (though there are plenty of exceptions)

Tends to be used more regularly toward the top end of the sales funnel (though there are plenty of exceptions)

Used primarily by sales teams, but also by marketing, customer support, and business analyst teams

Used primarily by marketing teams, but also by sales, especially in ABM plays

The main benefits are having a single point of truth, a nucleus for your sales tech stack, and improved customer relationships

The main benefits are time savings, revenue increase, and consistent communication across channels

Why CRM and Marketing Automation Go Hand in Hand

Why CRM and Marketing Automation Go Hand in Hand

You’re probably already starting to sniff out that these two technologies seem destined to live together in holy matrimony.


And we’re inclined to agree with you, here’s why:

1. Because it’s all about communication

Take another look at the functions and benefits of both CRM and marketing automation software platforms, and you’ll notice a striking similarity:

It’s all about communication with your customers, present, future, and past.

By plugging your CRM and marketing automation tools together, you’re simply helping both systems do what they do, but better.

2. Alignment between sales and marketing

Though there is certainly a lot of overlap between these two technologies, the common understanding around use is that CRM is for sales and marketing automation is for marketing (kind of in the name, no?)

If that’s the case, then bringing the two platforms together is a surefire way to gain alignment between the two teams as well, at least in terms of data (marketers and salespeople don’t always see eye to eye).

Connecting the two by way of integration means both teams are working for the same data set, on the same ground, toward the same goal.

3. Single point of truth

Part of that inter-team alignment comes from eliminating the data mismatch.

Here’s what I mean:

It’s pretty common for marketing teams to take care of lead nurturing at least in the lead’s infancy.

This is happily accepted by sales reps, who want to deal only with highly qualified leads (SQLs or sales qualified leads), and not just with anyone who comes into the system (MQLs or marketing qualified leads).

The problem comes in the handoff.

When your teams and systems aren’t neatly aligned, you get one or all of these three problems:

  1. Leads come into the CRM with incomplete data
  2. Duplicate entries are often created (costing US businesses $3.1 trillion annually)
  3. Multiple reps engaged (one might be working on the account already, while marketing nurtures a lead and then hands it off to another)

Integrating CRM with marketing automation = problems solved.

4. More personalized customer communications

One of the criticisms of organizations that are too reliant on marketing automation is that it’s a spray and pray approach.

That is, you’re sending the same messages out to a bunch of different people, with basically no visibility on who they even are.

When your marketing automation and CRM platforms are working together, marketing has access to all the customer data you have (hopefully it’s nice and complete), which they can then use to create personalized messages.

This can be as simple as using the prospect’s name in an email send (though that’s far from the be-all and end-all of personalization) or segmenting audiences by job title or other firmographic representations.

5. Automation is a huge timesaver

This last point should be enough to convince the most stubborn of anti-adopters:

Marketing automation saves you a tonne of time.

74% of marketers say this is the number one benefit of bringing this tech on board, saving up to 6 hours a week per person.

Integrating these two systems, or simply opting for a CRM with marketing automation built-in in the first place, extends these benefits to your sales team.

Imagine what you could achieve if every single sales rep on your team had an extra 6 hours each week to spend actually selling.

How Can CRM Marketing Automation Help to Increase Sales

How Can CRM Marketing Automation Help to Increase Sales

We’ve talked a lot about how CRM and marketing automation are different tools, and how they work really well together.

But what does this mean for the bottom line, and for new sales development?

Let’s take a look.

1. Sales reps aren’t neglecting old leads

Sales managers reading this will know this truth well:

Sales reps don’t love nurturing their old leads.

Despite it being well documented that most leads take an average of 8 or more sales calls to close, most reps would prefer to chase down new opportunities than continue to follow up.

This is especially true when that follow up is an email that looks like this:

Follow up email

Not exactly the most entertaining part of a salesperson’s day, and so, it just doesn’t get done.

By integrating CRM and marketing automation, follow-up messages such as this can be entirely automated.

Sales managers can build out entire email campaigns that run until a prospect responds (for better or worse).

2. More time to spend selling

Here’s something sure to set off you growth-obsessed sales managers:

Your reps are only spending about ⅓ of their time actually selling.

For a rep working an average of 39 hours a week (39 because it’s easier to divide by three than 40), that’s 13 hours of selling.

You’ll recall from our discussion on the benefits of marketing automation platforms that each rep stands to save about 6 hours a week.

If that time goes straight into selling activities, your reps are essentially investing 50% more time each week in selling, and so you stand to gain roughly that in sales volume.

What would it mean to your organization if you could boost sales volume by 50% within a few months?

3. Lead scoring helps you prioritize responses

One feature offered by the more powerful marketing automation systems is lead scoring.

Here’s how it works:

A new lead comes in, and the automation platform ranks it across a number of predetermined (by you) factors, such as:

  • Company size
  • Sentiment
  • Their role
  • Whether there is a match between the lead and an ideal account

By implementing lead scoring systems, you’re able to prioritize leads, so your reps can jump on the most important opportunities first, and then work their way down the list.

This is super helpful for companies struggling with lead response times, ensuring the most important prospects don’t get missed.

4. Easily A/B test different approaches

Remember how in point 1 we discussed how your sales teams could put email or SMS campaigns on repeat and get back to working on those hot leads?

Well, you don’t have to just create one campaign and then hope it does what you expect.

Using a marketing automation CRM, sales leaders can create multiple campaigns or email templates, and then A/B test them against each other.

This not only tells you which messaging of the two performs best (so you can use that one going forward), but can inform future communication (by analyzing what the difference is between the two tested messages and making sure to focus on that difference in the future messaging).

5. Put customer retention on rinse and repeat

Hopefully, this doesn’t come as a surprise to you, but growing revenue doesn’t just mean generating new sales.

In fact, one of the best ways an organization can grow its revenue year on year is by focusing on customer retention.


Because it costs 5-10 times as much to get a new customer than to retain an existing one.

So if you’re letting your churn rate get out of hand, you’re basically burning cash trying to replace those customers, rather than investing a bit in nurturing those relationships, and the rest in growing new sales opportunities.

6. Reduces sales cycle length

This one is super important for B2B sellers, where the sales cycle tends to be excessively long, especially toward the enterprise end of things.

Automated CRM activities such as content distribution and SMS follow-ups can help to reduce the length of your sales cycle, moving customers through the funnel more quickly and accelerating your revenue growth.

Be careful not to take this too far, though. Sending out a new piece of content or follow-up every single day isn’t going to take your sales cycle from 3 months to 3 weeks; it’s just gonna get you a lot of unsubscribes.


Top 5 CRM Marketing Automation Software

Thinking of skipping the whole integration piece and just going straight in on a marketing automation CRM that does both?

Here are 5 solid choices:

1. Ringy


No list of CRM marketing automation tools would be complete without a bit of shameless self-promotion.

But here’s the thing:

Ringy offers a bunch of really powerful automation features, many of which satisfy both marketers and sales reps.

For example:

  • Automated email campaigns
  • SMS sends and automated drip campaigns
  • Powerful reporting and analytics
  • Email open, click, and response rates
  • Integration with Zapier to connect with the rest of your tech stack

Sound like you? Learn more about Ringy here.

2. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is typically seen and used as an email marketing automation CRM, but it offers quite an extensive feature set.

Email marketing is definitely a priority, but ActiveCampaign also allows you to automate:

  1. Full marketing sequences
  2. SMS sends
  3. Social media marketing via integration

It’s a suitable tool for those who aren’t comfortable with super complex interfaces, as it has a nice drag-and-drop automation builder.



3. HubSpot

HubSpot hardly needs any introduction, they’re one of the most widely used CRM marketing automation tools for inbound marketing enthusiasts.

Their service offering can be a little hard to understand, simply because they have so many different packages available, and allow you to customize what you buy by picking out different modules.

What you need to know though is that HubSpot offers email marketing capabilities, a social media management suite, and SMS and text marketing via integration.

In sum, it’s a seriously capable CRM marketing automation software, but it can get quite expensive quite quickly.



4. AgileCRM

AgileCRM is another CRM marketing automation software that offers more or less all of the standard features you’d be looking for in this category.



These are some of the features on offer with AgileCRM:

  • Video emails
  • Email campaigns and tracking
  • Multichannel campaigns, including mobile, social, and email
  • Website engagement such as landing page creation and website pop-ups
  • Free for up to 10 users

5. Zoho

The last of our CRM marketing automation tools is Zoho CRM, one of the myriad tools on offer from software giant Zoho.

Zoho CRM has a giant feature set. It offers standard features like email marketing, as well as impressive segmentation tools and sales intelligence features.



SMS messaging is available by way of integration with ClickSend or Twilio, but social media marketing automation is native.

CRM Marketing Automation Software Comparison






Zoho CRM

Email automation






SMS automation



Via integration


Via integration

Social media automation


Via integration




Primary function


Email marketing

Inbound marketing management




$109 per month, pricing as of November 2023

$7.50-139.50 per month, pricing as of 15 September 2021

$45-$3,200 per month, pricing as of 15 September 2021

Free-$47.99 per month, pricing as of 15 September 2021

$15-55 per month, pricing as of 15 September 2021


Is CRM and marketing automation the same thing?

In short, no.

CRM and marketing automation are two very different platforms, though they are typically integrated.

Some CRMs do offer marketing automation features, however, though they are generally less robust than those offered by a full-blown marketing automation platform.

Read more about the difference between CRM and marketing automation here: Marketing Automation vs CRM.

What is marketing automation integration in CRM?

Marketing automation integration in CRM is when you use either an API or a native integration protocol to connect your CRM systems and your marketing automation platform.

This allows you to market directly to the contacts in your CRM while leveraging the benefits of marketing automation tools.

How is CRM used in marketing?

There are a number of ways that CRM is used in marketing activities:

  • To market directly to active prospects
  • To nurture marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads
  • To assist in account-based marketing plays
  • To nurture closed/lost leads
  • To create lookalike audiences

Is CRM a marketing automation tool?

No, CRM is not a marketing automation tool.

Some CRMs include marketing automation functionality, and very often marketing automation tools are connected to your CRM to make use of extensive data sets.

But they are not the same thing. Learn more about the difference here: Marketing Automation vs CRM.



Let’s quickly summarize what we’ve covered here today:

  1. Marketing automation and CRM are not the same things
  2. The two systems are typically integrated, however, and some CRMs offer marketing automation features
  3. There are a number of benefits to having both tools work together in harmony, all of which contribute to increased sales and revenue
  4. Modern sales teams use both CRM and marketing automation platforms to create holistic sales processes and personalized customer experiences by leveraging their data and the powerful capabilities of marketing automation software

So, now you’ve got a choice to make:

Whether to work with two separate tools and wrangle them together or to simply use a CRM with marketing automation features built right in?

If that latter sounds like a good fit for your company, book a demo with one of the Ringy team, and we’ll show you just how you can accelerate your sales efforts with effective automation.

Skyrocket your sales with the CRM that does it all

Skyrocket your sales with the CRM that does it all.

Calling? Check. SMS? Check. Automation and AI? Check. Effortlessly keep in touch with your customers and boost your revenue without limits.

Try Ringy for Free