What is the difference between Marketing and Sales Automation?

by Yusuf Young in November 24th, 2020

Business man at computer
When it comes to choosing a marketing automation or sales automation tool, which one makes sense for your business? While marketing automation is an excellent way to manage, nurture and qualify a lot of leads you have in your database, it is not meant to be used as a tool used by salespeople to drive specific deals to purchase.

This article will dive into the similarities and contrasts between marketing automation and sales automation tools to help you determine when to use which. 

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation executes one-to-many communications in the form of emails, social media, and other marketing campaigns. When used effectively, marketing automation measures and analyzes marketing activities to qualify leads before they are handed off to the sales department. 

Our marketing partner FunnelBud defines marketing automation as “.. tools that help you run your marketing effectively by capturing, segmenting and communicating with all of your contacts.”

What is Sales Automation? 

Building on marketing automation and leads, sales automation streamlines the sales process. It covers all activities within the sales pipeline from bidding to closing deals and nurturing clients. It accelerates the sales process by ensuring that qualified leads and opportunities don’t fall through the cracks.

What’s the Difference? 

Now that you understand the definition of both marketing and sales automation, the big question is, what is the difference between them? Both automation systems have similar features, yet they apply differently. Understanding what sets them apart can be very impactful for your business.


Marketing automation tools use a mix of different channels to execute one-to-many communications. Whether it’s via email, social media, or on a website, you can control the messaging, delivery, and output of that content. The only difference is it doesn’t enable one-to-one communications like a sales automation tool can. 

Sales automation presents an opportunity to nurture conversations with prospects on a one-on-one basis enhancing conversion rates.


While marketing automation is built to manage and automate all marketing touchpoints, sales automation facilitates all internal workflows to streamline your sales pipeline. 

If a prospect enters information on a lead form for a feature, marketing automation will ensure they continue to receive more information on that topic. With sales automation, if a prospect requests to learn more about a feature, it will prompt outreach from the sales team to engage and qualify their needs.


Marketing automation gives you a bird’s eye view of marketing analytics whereas sales automation provides you with a closer look at prospect interactions within the sales funnel. 

Marketing automation will present you with data and performance metrics from marketing campaigns. Sales automation data will generate reports on lead activity notifying you where a prospect is in the pipeline. With more insight into the actions a prospect has or hasn’t taken, sales teams can be more strategic with their approach at converting a lead. 


In conclusion, marketing automation tools work best at streamlining marketing efforts for lead capturing while sales automation tools have more processes set in place to convert leads into clients. Understanding the difference between both tools will help you leverage which one fits your need the most.