Marketing Automation vs. Automated Email Engagement: Which Is Right For You?

Upon first glance, you might be thinking that Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) and Automated Email Engagement solutions are practically identical. After all, they’re both used to send emails, right?


Well, there’s a bit more to it than that – and for a growing business, it’s important to fully understand the differences to know which solution to implement, upgrade or invest it.  While these technologies are both useful in their own respects, what are their specific advantages and disadvantages when compared side by side?


The following post will clarify and explain exactly what role the up-and-coming Automated Email Engagement Solution plays and how it functions in comparison to the MAPs we’ve come to know. We’ll talk strengths, weaknesses, and every facet of functionality so you leave knowing which software is the right choice for you. We’ll start by framing the conversation with MAP and then move on to comparisons with Automated Engagement.


A MAP is a software platform designed for marketing departments to more effectively market on multiple online channels (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.


The marketing departments, consultants, or part-time employees specify criteria and outcomes for tasks that are stored and then executed by the software. Typically used for inbound marketing, MAPs are used to perform tasks such as:


Development and analysis of marketing campaigns and customers

Management of marketing campaigns

Appropriate customer data organization and storage

Moving prospects down the funnel from leads towards a buying decision



MAPs track behavior of those interested in products or services to assess buying intent. This is done through tracking codes in social media, email, and webpages. By following link behavior, it records how users accessed the website via search terms or social media threads. Multiple link analysis is possible.



Prospects are scored given their activities. They may then be presented with drip mail messaging campaigns via email and social channels to nurture the first interest of the sale.



The technology acts as a calendar and content asset manager, circulating materials between staff. When linked to a CRM or COM administrator, the MAP can set up a complex series of rules to trigger actions which tell marketing and internal sales employees to perform necessary tasks (designing files, sending letters, or sending email campaigns). This allows relevant material to go out at relevant times, assuming the human resources capability exists within an organization.

MAPs Require:


1) The understanding that a marketing automation tool does not replace a human workforce! It does not do marketing and lead generation for you, but rather assists with scaling already successful actions.

2) Building marketing messages around the real, live person at the end of the campaigns, i.e. building personalized, relevant content. This means plenty of content marketing staff.


Questions to ask when considering MAP use:

Are you generating a steady flow of new and qualified leads?

Are sales and marketing teams agreed on what conversations should happen during the respective marketing and sales processes?

Do you have an efficient content strategy established for all buyers’ journeys?

Are you tracking leads’ actions and intent across the touch points?

Do you have a working lead nurturing strategy you want to scale?


An Automated Email Engagement Solution is cloud-based software designed for the sales department to effectively engage leads with targeted email scenarios based upon their buyer persona and user history.


Used by sales reps and SDRs to engage leads from any marketing channel, an Automated Email Engagement Solution scores and stores lead information and provides an actionable interface for delivering customizable and automated outreach emails. Each salesperson is independent, writing, modifying, and reviewing scenarios and statistics that are used in the sales department.


Already, we see one big main difference between MAPs and Automated Email Solutions – the former is used by marketing departments to educate, entice and nurture top of funnel leads, while the latter is used by sales team to directly book a meeting.


Automated Email Engagement Solutions are used to:


Engage qualified, scored leads with relevant, sales-driven email scenarios

Establish meetings with MOFU or BOFU leads

Free sales reps from prospecting, giving them time to train and sell more

Save time in both the marketing and sales departments

Optimize late-stage outreach to maximize sales opportunities



Whether a lead is inbound (from your CRM) or outbound (a scored IKO lead; a lead found on the web), the first thing a sales rep does is choose a relevant email scenario, based on the former’s buyer persona, industry or other pertinent criteria. The advantage of automation is that the 5 – 8 email scenario takes all of a few moments to trigger, with no time-consuming manual follow up – and the scenario stops as soon as the prospect responds.  The full outreach scenario triggers a response (and then a sales call) with decision-makers and other leads worth engaging. After that, it’s up to your sales team to qualify and pass the lead.



SDRs are independent and in control of their workflow. Email scenarios are provided for circumstances and personas but are easily tweaked, stored, tested, and swapped within the engagement cycle thanks to engagement analytics and an easy-to-use dashboard. Selecting leads to target and initiating a scenario takes all of 30 minutes a day, freeing up sales reps to do what they do best – have conversations.


Questions to ask when considering an Automated Email Engagement Solution:

Are you looking to boost your pipeline by adding a complementary channel to  the lengthy lead nurturing process?

Do your SDRs have a firm grasp of your buyer personas so they can customize engagement scenarios as needed?

Are your sales reps too busy prospecting and unable to make enough sales calls or hit their targets?

Do you have enough leads or do you need to complement with another outbound source?

Are qualified leads being wasted with marketing/sales department inefficiencies?

Comparing Automated Email Engagement Solutions and MAPs


The most obvious distinction between a Marketing Automation Platform and an Automated Email Engagement Solution is that one is about lead nurturing and the other is about lead engagement. Both require a steady stream of TOFU leads to score and work with. Even if your database is filled with top-notch leads, it begins decaying at a rate of 23% a year (unsubscribers, job turnover, other factors), so efficiency when addressing leads becomes a real factor.


MAPs are great at inbound nurturing. They use all available information and propel prospects towards the buying decision. By measuring behaviors and interactions, marketers can gain insights into how and why consumers are behaving and structure content and delivery accordingly. But their primary function is not to set sales meetings now – but to ripen up leads so that they’ll be ready for a meeting somewhere down the line.


Who Has Control?

As a MAP is usually in control of the marketing department, it’s hard for the sales department to gain access to this information for their own purposes. It’s an old story: sales always asks for better leads, marketing always asks for more feedback about sales engagement. Given this structure, it’s improbable (nearly impossible) to keep sales up to date with the best data and marketing materials to convert sales, let alone send and optimize sales email scenarios from a tool under the purview of the marketing department.


Automated Email Engagement solutions resolve this issue by keeping sales in its own sustainable, independent loop. When sales reps are able to schedule, organize, prioritize, and directly engage qualified leads to trigger meetings given their own pool of data, there’s no communication breakdown or inefficiency between departments.


Instead, the sales department has its own intuitive and easy-to-use technology that allows it the full suite of buyer insights. With this, sales can engage leads from any source: LinkedIn, your CRM, a website, etc. These emails are sent from a sales rep’s mailbox instead of a marketing automation address, enabling them to bypass filters while appearing more openable and friendly.

Where Do You Allocate Resources?


Automated Email Engagement Solutions excel at bypassing or building on the nurturing steps which costs time, money, and employee efforts. Instead, they aim right for a sales call.

The average sales rep spends 22% of their day actually selling. The rest of that time goes to:


Managing the clunky CRM

Importing long lists of leads

Segmenting lists

Administrative duties


Prospecting low-quality leads


Automated Email Engagement Solutions allow the sales department the independence and time required to focus on its priorities. Sales reps that set the wheels of automated email scenarios in motion operate atop their own sales engine and significantly cut down on busy work that gets in the way of productive conversations.



Marketing Automation Software excels at lead nurturing, or bringing the TOFU leads through the middle and towards the end of the cycle. Automated Email Engagement, on the other hand, is best used to cut to the chase by directly setting sales meetings via targeted, automated email scenarios. By laser-focusing on the best of BOFU leads, an Automated Email Engagement Solution does what a MAP cannot: fill the sales pipeline, now.


MAP is used to scale successful marketing efforts while the Automated Email Engagement Solution is made to capitalize upon the sales potential already in your funnel. If an organization is looking to nurture lots of TOFU leads over the long term, a MAP is a fantastic resource for dripping leads through the funnel. For those looking to find, engage, and achieve sales calls directly, an Automated Email Engagement solution is a better fit. Both can be used to great effect by the marketing and sales teams respectively, as the tools are, in the end, more complimentary than at loggerheads.

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