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10 min

The CRM and ESP: two software platforms that help your business communicate more effectively with your customers, prospects, and partners. But, what’s the difference between the CRM and ESP? Which one should be used to send email marketing campaigns? And, if you’re already using a CRM, do you also need to use an ESP?

In this blog post we’ll be answering these questions and provide you some insight into how to leverage the strengths of each platform and how you can use the CRM and ESP together.

esp-vs-crm

Definitions: What’s a CRM and an ESP?

Let’s start with the basics and define what’s a CRM and an ESP:

  • CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. The term broadly includes practices, strategies, and technology/software that a company uses to manage its customer relationships. In this blog post we’ll be referring to the CRM system, i.e. the business software.
  • ESP stands for Email Service Provider. The ESP is the software used by companies to manage their email marketing, such as for sending promotional email campaigns.

Both the CRM system and ESP allow you to communicate with your customers and, hence, you might be asking yourself why should you use two systems for this? …or why pay for an ESP when you already are using a CRM? The answer is tied to the marketing features and deliverability an ESP offers that a CRM system is not designed for. Let’s look at this in more detail.

Marketing features from your ESP that you won’t find in your CRM

A noteworthy difference between an ESP and a CRM system lies in who in your company will use which system. In simple terms, your salespeople will work in the CRM system while your marketing staff will be using an ESP for creating email marketing campaigns. Your marketing staff is going to use an ESP because of the many marketing features available in an ESP that are not found in CRM systems, such as:

  • Email optimization tools, including email A/B testing.
  • Email design tools, such as an email editor to create and build email messages for promotional campaigns. Check out our MailUp BEE email editor!
  • Marketing automation tools, such as subscriber segmentation filters and triggered emails.
  • Detailed email statistics reports, which include open, click, bounces and mobile stats.
  • Unsubscribe management tools.

You can count on the deliverability of your ESP

Across the globe 17% of email marketing campaigns fail to reach consumers, going directly to the SPAM folder, according to a recent ReturnPath report. By using an ESP, the deliverability of your email marketing is kept at a good, optimum state. On the technical side, your ESP can help you:

  • Monitor and prevent any deliverability issues in your email campaigns.
  • Setup email authentication methods, such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
  • Use the optimized sending IP addresses (pooled or dedicated) of your ESP.

Integrate your ESP with your CRM

The combination of marketing features and optimized deliverability of an ESP is what it sets it apart from a CRM system. It’s simply not in the DNA of the CRM system to handle the email marketing component of your business communications. That’s why you should consider using an ESP alongside with your CRM system! A common solution to using both systems is to see if there’s an integration available, that allows both systems to talk to each other. For example,

  • If you’re using the popular Salesforce CRM and MailUp, you can connect both systems with the MailUp for Salesforce integration.
  • If you’re using another CRM system, you can check out how to integrate it with MailUp via Zapier or contact us for any questions!

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