Comparison Outline
17 min read

Drip vs. Salesforce Marketing Cloud


Odds are good you’ve heard of Salesforce somewhere along your online marketing journey. You might even be considering joining them right this moment. But can it do everything you need for your business? To help you decide, we put together this comparison of Drip Ecommerce CRM and Salesforce.

We’re going to cut the fluff, spare you the technical jargon, and simply help you see whether Drip or Salesforce's Marketing Cloud is a better fit for you. Plus, we also won’t let this review sit stagnant when either Salesforce or Drip reveals new features and functionality.

After all, we want the same thing you do; success for your online store so you can live the life you’ve always wanted. This means helping you pick the ecommerce tools that will help you sell more, even if that’s not us.

This comparison features nine ecommerce email marketing software essentials that should be considered when choosing your next platform. See how Drip and Salesforce meet each must-have, then make the best decision for your online shop and its journey ahead.

1. Plays Nice with Facebook

Us: Odds are very good that your customers make up some of the 2 billion people who’ve flocked to Facebook. Drip firmly believes you should be able to reach them where they’re hangin’ out, which is exactly why we integrated with Facebook in a few different ways.

Facebook Lead Ads is a great way to open the gates to a beautiful customer relationship. When you connect Drip to your Lead Ads, any information you collect from prospects will automatically be dropped into your account. Use Lead Ad submission to trigger any number of automations, or just keep that info safe and cozy until you need it for segmentation and personalization in the future.

We also play well with Facebook Custom Audiences. Set up rules and workflows inside Drip that will easily and automatically add or remove customers from different ad audiences based on things they do in Drip or one of your integrated apps. For example, you can make a workflow that will add someone to a Custom Audience for winter scarf ads after they buy a pair of mittens from your store.

This ensures your customers are always seeing relevant and meaningful ads from you automatically instead of you having to manually adjust your audiences.

Drip ECRM is all about helping your ecommerce business engage with all people—even beyond the inbox. Reach customers wherever they’re at through multichannel workflows, SMS, direct mail, social media retargeting, and hyper-personalized transactional emails.

Salesforce: Like Drip, the Marketing Cloud can integrate with Facebook Lead Ads so you can automatically drop customer info into your account for segmentation and personalization throughout your marketing campaigns.

And inside Salesforce’s Advertising Studio, you can build your audiences and launch your Facebook ads without even leaving the platform. Once your ads are ready to go, incorporate them into your full marketing campaign in the Journey Builder where ads can be triggered when you need them.

Winner: When it comes to Facebook, Salesforce’s ability to show you data about your ads is pretty cool. However, Drip has automated the process of adding or removing people from Custom Audiences.

So, if you value some top-level data at a glance, Salesforce is more your style. If you’d rather your marketing automation platform automatically add and remove audience members instead of having to do that manually, then Drip is your jam.

2. Automation Capabilities

Us: Our bread and butter is automation that easy to understand and easy to set up. Automation Rules are simple if-this-then-that rules that are perfect for repeating actions that happen often, like applying the “Customer” tag to a lead who makes a purchase.

Drip’s automated workflows are like customer journeys that guide each person down a unique experience with your brand. Workflows are multi-step automations triggered by actions your customers take. They do everything from applying tags, adding people to Custom Audiences, deploying email campaigns, delivering lead magnets, and more.

Check out this shareable workflow, for example, and see all the different parts and paths it incorporates for truly unique customer experiences.

Setting up automations is a way to ensure that everyone who comes across your online store is getting the VIP treatment, even while you’re sleeping. (Plus, we have a library of pre-built shareable workflows to help you get automating your business even quicker.)

Salesforce: Salesforce’s Journey Builder serves as the builder for both the equivalent of Drip’s workflows and email campaigns. Its purpose in life is to send customers down personalized, timely, and relevant journeys with your brand—just like Drip.

It features a horizontal layout and uses a drag-and-drop interface, so you can easily swap things around as you want.

Setting up simple if-this-then-that rules, though, it trickier. You could make these types of rules in the Journey Builder, but a rule you want to automate might not always translate cleanly to options offered in Journeys. If you wanted clean and clear automated rules, you would have to work in Pardot, which is separate from the Marketing Cloud.

While Salesforce is doing more so that its Pardot and Marketing Cloud products work even closer together, the two are still separate. This could leave you in a bind between choosing one over the other, or sacrificing all the features you want by settling for a few in one of those products. (Alternatively, you could use both, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on your bottom line.)

Winner: Drip won’t make you choose between automated workflows and campaigns or automated rules. All of those marketing automation must-haves count on each other to make the best ecommerce marketing campaigns possible, so we think they shouldn’t be split apart across two hefty and expensive platforms. To get all your automation must-haves in one space, go with Drip.

3. Visual Builder

Us: We don’t want your customers to have all the fun around here. While you’re putting together your ecommerce marketing campaigns, you should have a good time, too. With fully visual email and workflow builders inside the app, you’ll be feasting your eyes and putting your campaigns together will be a breeze. The point-and-click visual email builder makes it easy to set your brand’s exact colors, place images and GIFs, add logos, edit text, add personalized content, and more. Even use dynamic liquid code in any copy block to speak to each individual customer about what's most relevant to them. (If point-and-click isn’t your thing, you can still create highly engaging plain text or HTML emails with your own templates or code.)

The workflow builder follows suit when it comes to eye appeal and ease of use. With a clean vertical layout and digestible color-coded actions and goals, you’ll never second guess where your customers are headed in each of your workflows.  

Salesforce: Whether you’re creating automated Journeys or emails, Marketing Cloud has some nice visual builders to help you create whatever you’re envisioning. Both the Journey Builder and Email Studio are some of the easiest to use features within the Marketing Cloud, and that’s thanks to a relatively clutter-free design and the drag-and-drop functionality.

If using a visual drag-and-drop builder isn’t for you and your emails, you can still create what you need using code in an HTML builder. One standout feature inside the Email Studio is the ability to drag and drop entire dynamic content blocks. While dynamic content is very possible in Drip, adding them to your emails in Salesforce is a bit easier.

Winner: When it comes to building all your marketing bits, the whole thing has to feel “right” to you—like trying on a bunch of shoes to find that perfect pair. Try both platforms (or watch a demo or two) to see whether you prefer building workflows vertically or horizontally, or if you’d rather make your emails using point-and-click or drag-and-drop interfaces.

After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in there, and you should feel comfortable using whichever platform you choose.

4. Individual Customer Journeys

Us: Drip works hard to help you understand your customers as much as possible. The more you understand, the better you can customize each experience. This makes for happy customers and a happy bottom line.

Visual customer timelines, segmenting by “# of clicks over X amount of time,” and more are all features you can use to identify your most engaged customers (and your least engaged customers) so you can reach them with more meaningful messaging.

Drip's customer journey shows in-depth purchase history.

See comprehensive customer timelines that outline what each person is up to from the first time they encounter your store to the first email they open to the time of purchase. See how customers engage with you and what campaigns and workflows are pushing them from prospect to loyal customer, then repeat again and again.

And to ensure your best startegy is always in play for each unique customer, take advantage of Drip ECRM's Split Testing test entire ecommerce experiences with Workflow Split Testing to see which experiences drive the most revenue, most conversions, highest average order value, or total site visits.

Salesforce: Einstein, a facet of Marketing Cloud, is the brains behind understanding your customers. It helps you predict what’s going to work with your customers, so you can keep doing those things that make you money.

Unlike Drip’s Lead Scoring, the score assigned to contacts inside of Salesforce is determined by each person’s likelihood to open, click, and unsubscribe from an email, and make a purchase. You can also view a recap of all the actions that person has taken to influence the score they have.

From these scores, you can do things like build a segment comprised of your most engaged audience, make lookalike audiences of people you should target, and more.

Einstein Engagement Frequency, one of the platform’s latest upgrades, will even help your ecommerce business figure out the exact number of emails to send to help maximize engagement and suppress email fatigue.

Winner: While both Drip and Salesforce can help you create highly engaged segments for you to market to, the depth of insight that Einstein digs into is pretty intriguing. Even though you might have to take Einstein’s customer number with a grain of salt since it’s predictive, Salesforce squeaks out a win here.

5. Segmentation Capabilities

Us: Drip segmentation is based around unique people, not generic lists that group lots of people together. Deep segmentation is made possible by using tags and events (plus a whipsmart JavaScript snippet) to identify what your customers are doing and how many times they’ve done something, then applying a label for easy identification.

We’re able to see how many times someone has looked at a specific product, what time of day they visit your online store, what product they bought last month, and more. And with Drip’s new Shopper Activity API, you’ll even have the opportunity to segment people based on the product they purchased and the brand they purchased. Take all of this info and segment your entire list of people to make meaningful and relevant marketing messages.

Salesforce: Inside the Marketing Cloud, you’ll find an Audience Builder. This is a drag-and-drop segment builder that folds in first-party, third-party, and predictive data from Einstein to help you piece together niche or broad audiences for whatever your next marketing campaign might be.

Winner: Both Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Drip let you build segments to match whatever criteria you want, then use those segments in the rest of your campaign or workflow. Salesforce’s drag-and-drop interface for building segments is a unique take on audience building, but Drip’s usability is a bit more intuitive, which gives it a leg up in this category.

6. Fit Your Stack

Us: Drip wraps its loving arms around roughly 100 other online marketing tools (and counting) with even more possibilities through middleware apps like Zapier. With deeper integrations across your entire marketing stack, you’re able to automate practically every part of your marketing.

You can trigger big-impact workflows and campaigns by the actions customers take in any of your integrated tools. The more you connect, the greater the possibilities.

Salesforce: Since Salesforce has been around so long, it’s more than likely that every app to come since 1999 has worked hard to integrate with Salesforce directly. This fact coupled with its integration with Zapier means Salesforce integrates with pretty much any other app you can think of.

Winner: With hundreds of direct integrations plus its connection to Zapier, Salesforce wins here.

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7. Ease of Implementation

Us:The time from the moment you sign up to the moment you start sending with Drip won't be long at all, and anyone should be able to easily implement Drip on day one.

However, we also realize some of our customers might be coming with a ton of existing data, automations, and more from their past platforms. If that's the case and you'd like a hand in making the move over to Drip, we're more than happy to help.

Our ECRM customer success team is at the helm to help you find out what additional service you might need to get you set up and sending quickly and smoothly. Your solutions discovery and one-on-one consultation time with Drip is always flexible, so we can work together on whatever you need at the time. Whether you need help with training, reviewing and optimizing your automations, recreating workflows, and beyond, we have a success plan for you.

You can do all of this on your own if you’d like, and if at any time you hit a snag or have a question, feel free to chat with our support team (live chat available 7 am – 7 pm CT, Mon. - Fri.). 

Salesforce: When moving to Salesforce, you’re going to want to make sure it’s done right. It’s recommended you go with a data migration company like Data2CRM. There are several videos that can walk you through importing data in the Trailblazer Community, but if you want a hands-free solution that saves you time, outsourcing might be the best way to go.

Winner: Both platforms are capable of importing data like your email list in a relatively pain-free way, but if you want to also have an easy time importing things like templates or workflows you want to hang onto from a previous platform, Drip is the way to go. The variety of consultation and implementation solutions is tough to beat, which puts it on top here.

8. Is It Built for Humans?

Us: Any software that’s too tough to use is a useless software. After all, apps are here to help us, the humans, and it only makes sense that they should be as intuitive as possible.

Drip is entirely built with the busy ecommerce marketer in mind, which is why our platform makes it possible to do things like build emails, create automations, segment people, or craft campaigns in as few clicks as possible.

The color-coded visual workflow builder is the easiest way to see where you’re guiding your customers, and the point-and-click email builder makes creating bold and image-driven emails simple. The website and app are easy-to-navigate and clutter-free.

And when it comes to creating and sending personalized content, it only takes a few seconds to make every email personal for each customer. Email content can be automatically updated to show dynamic discounts, display the top-selling products in your store, send price-drop notifications, and dynamically insertproduct recommendations. It’s smart marketing made easy.

See how Drip feels for yourself.  Plus, if you ever have any questions, Drip's learning hub MyDrip, learning resources, and world-class support team are around to help you out with chat and ticket support.

Salesforce: While Salesforce covers the gamut of needs for pretty much every department of your business, the learning curve to unleash this potential is steep. With a cluttered interface, its own separate vernacular, and tricky navigation across the site and all the clouds, setting this whole thing up is going to be a doozy.

Salesforce has been around since 1999, which is pretty much prehistoric times for the internet. Since then, they’ve grown to a behemoth size to try and be a one-stop comprehensive solution for everything your marketing, sales, service, and every other department could ever need. But in that growth, the platform has become a bit of a maze.

It does offer separate phone lines for customer and tech support when you want to talk to someone about the problems you’re running into, though, as well as a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Facebook community and a help forum full of “Trailblazers” (aka, helpful users).

They’ve also made a site called Trailhead where users can learn how to navigate and use Salesforce through a series of 100+ modules lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 14 hours each. Woof.

Winner: Do you have an entire team dedicated to learning and configuring a winding Salesforce web? No? Most people don’t. Which is why Drip wins here. Drip is easy enough to navigate and use that you can join, jump in, and have your first campaign running in an hour or two. Drip also uses terms that are recognizable across the industry, not just within the app, which makes seeking out info and help easier.

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9. Workflows You Can Set Goals In

Us: A goal inside Drip is exactly what it should be—the specific milestone you want your customer to hit when they’re in a workflow.

If they enter a lead nurturing workflow, your goal might be a conversion. Or if they enter a cart abandonment workflow, you might have a goal of “Made a purchase.” Or maybe your workflow has multiple goals, like clicking a trigger link and downloading an ebook. Whatever they are, when a customer hits these goals, they’re automatically moved forward in your workflow.

Think of it like a trip to the grocery store. Your goal is to buy a carton of eggs. You walk in and grab a dozen eggs that are conveniently located right by the entrance. It makes sense to head right for the register after you’ve found the eggs you need instead of wandering through the rest of the grocery store before going to check out, right?

This is just like goals in a workflow. If someone in a workflow is being shown ads and an email campaign to buy a pair of shoes from you, it only makes sense to stop telling them to buy the shoes the very moment they make that purchase.

Once a person hits a goal, you can choose to have them exit that workflow completely, send them to a different workflow, or have them continue with the next step of your workflow. The versatility is wild, and you’ll be able to build workflows with goals to fit every ecommerce marketing need you have.

Salesforce: Salesforce is one of the few apps in this space that also offers goals in its Journey Builder. When you build a journey, you’ll be prompted to set a goal first. This way, you’ll always be able to measure whether that journey is working toward your business goal or not.

Goals in the Journey Builder are slightly different than goals in Drip, though. Instead of using goals as one or multiple milestones in a single workflow, goals in Salesforce sit outside of the Journey and measure one metric (like emails opened, for example) for the whole thing. You can choose to have people exit the Journey completely if they meet your goal, but there’s no option to send them automatically onto a different portion of the Journey like you can in Drip.

Winner: With the ability to continually move customers to the most relevant parts of your workflows, Drip wins this one. It’s nice to see if an overall goal is being met for a Journey in Salesforce, but that doesn’t always exactly mean your customer is being given the most meaningful experience possible.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud vs. Drip: The Verdict

Both Drip and Salesforce Marketing Cloud have a lot to offer the ecommerce marketer today. But which one meets more of your business needs right now?

Salesforce offers a Cloud for everything—your sales team, your service team, your marketing team, and more. If you’re looking for a true one-stop shop for everything your business could need as it grows to join the ranks of Fortune 100, you should look into this platform.

However, keep in mind that every Cloud is an added cost. If you stick with just the Marketing Cloud, you’ll be getting some great ecommerce marketing features, such as the Journey Builder for your automated workflows and email campaigns, and a sleek Email Studio for making your emails look and feel how you want. But if you want to build out perpetually running automations like rules, you’ll have to add on another Salesforce product called Pardot. Pardot has some features you might want in order to do all of the marketing automation you want, so be aware of which platform you need more when checking out Salesforce.

While Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, there’s no doubt that you’re getting a lot in that package. But it could be tricky navigating all of the different “studios” and builders inside the app. It’s definitely a platform that offers a lot, but that also means there is a lot to learn and adapt to. Consider the bandwidth of your team before embarking on this journey.

Drip, in contrast, is not a one-stop solution. We focus on marketing automation across all your tools, like your website, payment processor, Facebook page, paid ads, and more. We want to help all of those work together without a hitch so you don’t have to keep track of so many moving parts manually.

It’s the ideal setup for any ecommerce user looking to automatically hook, nurture, and convert customers in a scalable way. We’ve intentionally left the interface clutter-free and easy to navigate. After all, we use Drip ourselves every single day, and we hate headaches, so we made it so Drip is the last thing that would ever give us one.

Plus, our pricing is simple—you get the same features and integrations across every tier, but your costs will change as the number of people you engage with changes.

If you’re looking for the unicorn all-in-one solution, check out Salesforce. If you want really good marketing automation without the hefty learning curve, join Drip. If you still aren’t sure, hop into some demos and trials of each and kick the tires yourself. After all, you want something that works for you, it never hurts to take things for a test run first.

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