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Comparing Foundational Features Across Marketing Automation Platforms


There are several marketing automation platforms (MAPs) on the market, and they more or less aim to address the same key business needs. However, the nuances of how the platforms support these functions can vary greatly.

Whether making the leap into marketing automation, considering a platform switch, or onboarding new team members, foundational knowledge on the different MAPs can guide your decisions. Make the right investments in tech stack and get your money’s worth by leveraging available features, such as built-in models.

In this blog we compare and contrast the top three marketing automation platforms: Adobe Marketo Engage, HubSpot Marketing Hub and Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. We’ll focus on three key aspects – SFDC integration, scoring and lifecycle.

Aligning Data Across the Sales Cycle

The most common method of aligning data across marketing and sales is by integrating the MAP to the CRM. All three MAPs readily connect to the most popular CRM – Salesforce, and sync common objects such as leads, contacts, accounts and opportunities, as well as the possibility of custom objects.

Account Engagement uses a managed package in SFDC and some of the setup process is completed in SFDC. Once set up, the details of the integration are managed through the Salesforce connector settings in Account Engagement, such as field mappings and sync behavior – which system serves as the source of truth for the field’s value – AE, SFDC or the most recently updated record.

The majority of the SFDC integration for Marketo Engage takes place in SFDC. The SFDC admin creates a dedicated sync user with appropriate permissions. Any fields that need to be synced between the two systems should be created in SFDC. It’s possible to have a custom sync set up to limit which records sync to Marketo. Object and record syncing is prioritized.

HubSpot initiates and manages the SFDC integration from its user interface, including field mappings . An important decision will be to determine which of three sync methods will be used: 1-to-1, selective sync to limit what data enters HubSpot or inclusion list which limits what data will sync to SFDC.

Elevating Priority Leads

HubSpot offers buckets for positive and negative scoring traits. The scores will automatically adjust when a contact meets or no longer meets those criteria. It isn’t possible to reset the scores otherwise. If the rules are adjusted, all records will be reevaluated.

Scoring Rules for various activities come out of the box in Account Engagement. The values for each – positive, negative or zero for no scoring impact – can be adjusted based on the organization’s needs, or further customized on an individual asset basis through Completion Actions.

Marketo Engage comes with a Person Score field that can be set via smart campaign flow steps. Any number of scoring models, such as ARC, product interest, can be developed using custom fields. For visibility and ease of maintenance, score values can be set in program tokens.

Evaluating the Sales Pipeline

As is true across the board, Marketo Engage’s customization capabilities apply to Lifecycle as well. Smart campaigns can be set up to run based on traits and actions to stamp custom lifecycle and timestamp fields, and take other actions such as sending MQL alerts. Lifecycle reporting options may be limited within the Marketo user interface, but data can be analyzed further in SFDC or in a BI tool. The Revenue Cycle Modeler feature offers a visual representation of the flow of records.

The Lifecycle Stage field in HubSpot tracks a one-way progression of contacts and companies across stages in the buyer’s journey. Stages can be customized, but additional workflows would need to be created. The field would need to be cleared to allow a record to move to an earlier stage.

Account Engagement has a built-in Lifecycle Report that displays volume and velocity across five stages as well as opportunities and revenue. The stages and criteria can’t be modified though. For a customized lifecycle solution, engagement studio may be leveraged to stamp custom fields.

Digging Deeper

Companies should do their own research as well, but here are some quick callouts to consider for each platform regarding SFDC integration, scoring and lifecycle.

Don’t want to miss any of the details? Check out our on-demand session for the full discussion featuring three of our senior consultants.

Want expert guidance on evaluating marketing automation platforms? Let us know how we can help!

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