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Marketing Automation VS. Sales Engagement: What’s the Difference? Do I Need Both?

7 min read
March 14, 2022

The age-old struggle between marketing and sales. The sales team wants to know where the leads are, and the marketing team wants to know what was done with the leads generated. How would it feel to finally unite your sales and marketing departments by integrating two of the most critical tools in your tech stack? 

Sales engagement and marketing automation platforms are not the same, but it’s easy to confuse them. Marketing automation creates demand and captures leads through mass messaging. Then, salespeople use their sales engagement platform to interact one-on-one with prospects and customers instantly accelerating pipeline and growing existing accounts.

If you’re confused about how sales engagement can help your team when you already have marketing automation, you’re in the right place! In this post, we’ll explore the differences between these two platforms and, more importantly, show you how integrating them aligns your sales and marketing efforts, resulting in more revenue.

Marketing Automation: What It Does and Where It Excels

Marketing automation sends mass messages across email, social media, and paid ad campaigns. What’s important here is that these messages are one-to-many and only allow for a certain amount of personalization.

Companies use marketing automation to capture and nurture leads by

  • Mass emailing: Sending emails to thousands of leads to generate market awareness
  • Drip or fully automated campaigns and webforms: Sending different messages to prospects depending on their actions, time in the funnel, etc.
  • Web analytics: Gaining visibility into the effectiveness and traction of your website, content, newsletters, blogs, and one-off campaigns.
  • Reporting: Track marketing campaign ROI to provide the C-suite visibility into marketing spend vs. campaign performance.

The Limitations of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a powerful way to communicate with prospects at scale, but it does have some limitations, especially once the sales process begins.

Here are some things you can’t do with marketing automation:

  • Advanced personalization: You cannot quickly edit individual email templates to add deeper levels of personalization.
  • Authentic messaging: Bulk emails require an unsubscribe link, which inherently makes the message less authentic.
  • Foster relationships: You won’t be able to send emails from your own Gmail or Outlook server—actions that make prospects feel that they’re speaking to a human, increasing response rates.
  • Work leads all in one place: If an interested prospect responds to a marketing email, you don’t have an integrated dialer feature that allows you to call them with one click and strike while the iron is hot. 

While “mass messaging” may sound low maintenance, this isn’t always the case. When used as the primary source of communicating with customers and prospects, marketing automation requires manual customization and supervision to remain effective.

By blasting your audience with too many one-size-fits-all messages — or worse, sending the wrong message to the wrong segments — your marketing automation could do more harm than good.

Sales engagement: What It Does and Where It Excels 

A sales engagement platform helps you close more deals by personalizing and tailoring every interaction based on the buyer’s specific needs and actions. We know—giving each prospect or customer the VIP experience at scale sounds like an oxymoron, but not with the right sales engagement platform. 

Since CRM and marketing automation will automatically feed data into your sales engagement platform, AI takes over, detecting patterns to automatically guide reps step by step on which actions they should be taking to move deals forward.

Without Sales Engagement With Sales Engagement
With the sales technology market exploding, disconnected sales tools result in higher management costs. Sellers have a cloud-based, integrated workspace, allowing them to strategize, execute, collaborate, and close deals from anywhere.
Sales teams struggle to commit to realistic pipeline goals and forecasts because multiple disconnected platforms give them incomplete data. Sales leaders forecast more accurately, giving them confidence that they’re on track to hit the numbers they committed to.
Without proper deal visibility, sales reps waste time with admin tasks and chasing down the wrong opportunities. The result? Mounting frustration and missed quotas. With one platform, sellers can prioritize the most important tasks of the day while their platform automatically logs every activity.
Managers lack confidence in effectively leading their teams because they lack the data to identify critical coaching moments. Pipeline data helps managers to focus on the deals that position reps to reach and exceed their quotas.

Are you using the right sales engagement platform? Select a platform that serves as a one-stop-shop so that you can access all of your data and communication features in the same place. 

Sellers shouldn’t have to switch between apps throughout the day. While some brands claim to offer every sales engagement feature, they usually require reps to jump to different login pages to access them, resulting in lost focus and productivity

Reaching Revenue Goals Faster With Sales Engagement 

Sales engagement platforms help close the Revenue Performance Gap™ by personalizing your messages to prospects and customers—at scale. 

Grow deal volume. Message cadence and automation use consistent, personalized communication so you can prospect better and build pipeline faster. Built-in analytics help you understand the cadences and channels that are working best so you can templatize success and grow revenue. 

Consistent, reliable growth. A unified sales engagement platform incorporates deal and buyer engagement data with AI for more accurate forecasting and identification of winnable deals. With this information at your fingertips, you can analyze trends to improve outcomes and meet goals. Forecasting not only allows you to commit to a number confidently, but it gives you all the data you need to create the winning plan to get there.

Win more deals. With better visibility into all parts of the funnel, sales managers can quickly identify coaching opportunities, improve rep onboarding and offer insight into rep and team strategy so you can close more deals.

How Marrying Marketing Automation and Sales Engagement Drives More Revenue 

If you haven’t caught on by now, marketing automation and sales engagement are not an either/or proposition. Instead, think of these platforms as complements to one another. While your marketing automation creates and captures leads, sales engagement lets sellers interact and engage with those leads and convert them into customers—all in one unified workspace. 

By integrating your marketing automation and sales engagement platforms, you’ll finally align your sales and marketing teams because each department will have the tools that help make their jobs easier. Sellers will begin appreciating marketing for the inbound leads they supply, and marketers will be gratified when they see sales converting those leads into more revenue. 

The Bottom Line On How Sales Engagement and Marketing Automation Create Predictable Revenue Growth 

Marketing automation makes it easy to send mass messages across multiple channels, expanding your company’s reach. One-to-many marketing messages will always have their place, but today’s sales environment requires high levels of personalization. That’s where the right sales engagement platform comes in. 

Sales engagement helps you close more deals by making every interaction feel personal. Features like automated cadences, forecasting, and conversation intelligence allow sellers to interact and engage with prospects to convert them into customers—all in one unified workspace. 

When you integrate your marketing automation and sales engagement platforms, sellers will finally have the tools they need to work inbound leads supplied by marketers. By marrying your marketing automation system with an intelligent sales Engagement platform, you can finally end the long-standing battle between sales and marketing. 

For a proven framework that allows you to personalize your messages at scale, download our guide Everything You Need To Know About Sales Email Personalization.