Gartner defines B2B marketing automation platforms as software that supports lead generation, lead management, lead scoring and lead nurturing activities across multiple marketing channels. The main goal of these systems is to capture, qualify and nurture leads to the point that they are sales-ready, then align them to the appropriate sales team member(s) to drive toward a closed deal. B2B marketing automation platforms assist with data cleansing (by eliminating incomplete or redundant lead information) and lead augmentation (by providing additional data about prospects). B2B marketing automation platforms are designed to primarily support B2B use cases, but they may also be applicable to B2C organizations selling high-consideration products and/or B2B2C models with more complex, indirect sales processes.
Email marketing is the use of the email channel to deliver and optimize marketing messages — such as brand newsletters or contextually relevant, real-time and personalized communications — in support of multichannel engagement across the customer life cycle. Transactional email messages can also cross over into email marketing programs to the extent that, for example, account statements include promotions or offers based on customer insights.
Gartner defines sales force automation (SFA) as systems that support the automation of sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for organizations' sales professionals. Gartner considers SFA to be foundational technology, implemented to automate an organization's core sales processes. The core functionalities of the SFA market include: • Account, contact and opportunity management • Sales activity management • Sales forecasting • Mobile applications • Reporting • Partner relationship management (PRM) • Platform capabilities