Marketing automation software tools can be very helpful in making lead nurturing and sales acceleration efforts more effective—even if the category is badly misnamed. (Marketing can’t be automated.) But “segmented prospect email followup sequence design and automation,” while a more accurate label for the category, certainly isn’t as catchy.

best marketing automation toolsRecent research shows that 63% of B2B companies that are growing faster than their competitors use marketing automation. These firms are also much more likely to be “best in class,” and most see sales pipeline opportunities increase by 10-15%.

Smaller firms often start off using email service providers, then implement marketing automation platforms as their prospect database grows, their segmentation becomes more complex, and they develop more granular marketing and sales content.

Options range from fairly simple, moderately priced systems targeted at midmarket companies to sophisticated suites for enterprise users. Here are 14 of the best marketing automation tools based on their popularity with reviewers.

1) Marketo
Google Review Count: 93,900

An enterprise-grade marketing automation and analytics platform with solutions for lead management, email marketing, consumer marketing, customer base marketing, and mobile marketing.

Pricing: contact vendor

Showcase reviews: SnapApp

2) HubSpot
Google Review Count: 85,400

HubSpot’s “all in one” marketing software includes a complete content management system (CMS) for building a website and blog, SEO and social tools, analytics, a landing page builder, and email segmentation and sequence automation.

Sample review: “The software, analytics, and support are amazing. HubSpot handles inbound holistically. Which means that it takes inbound from many angles – it’s not just your social that brings in people, there are landing pages with helpful information, blog posts, newsletters, etc. All of these are covered inside of HubSpot and you can create campaigns and CTAs (calls to action) that inside every point and hub that brings people to where you want them to go.” — Hunter & Bard

Pricing: $200 to $2,400 per month, plus option add-ons; the $800 per month “Pro” option is most popular with midmarket companies

Showcase reviews: MarketingLand, SmartBug Media, Comms Axis, SnapApp, Hunter & Bard

3) OpenEMM
Google Review Count: 62,200

OpenEMM is an Open Source web-based enterprise application for e-mail and marketing automation. This tool enables you to create and send e-mail newsletter and service e-mails (such as transaction e-mails and event or date triggered e-mails).

Sample review: “OpenEMM is first and foremost an email marketing package, with contacts database, subscriber list management, email targeting, and event-triggering. There’s a reporting function, and facilities to create email templates.” — 201 Digital

Pricing: free

Showcase reviews: 201 Digital

4) Pardot
Google Review Count: 44,200

Marketing automation tool combining email marketing, lead management, and reporting with sales alignment. Now owned by and tightly integrated with Salesforce.com, Pardot should at least be on the consideration list of marketing automation tools for any SMB already using Salesforce.

Pricing: $1,000 to $3,000 per month

Showcase reviews: SnapApp

5) Act-On
Google Review Count: 42,900

Provides support for inbound (SEO and social media management, forms and landing pages) and outbound (email marketing and webinar management) marketing, plus reporting and features for account-based marketing automation.

Pricing: $600 to $2,000 per month

Showcase reviews: SnapApp

6) InTouch
Google Review Count: 35,800

CRM functionality combined with email marketing, lead nurturing, team collaboration/project management, sales pipeline management, and survey tools, particularly well suited for professional services firms.

Sample review: “InTouch is a sales CRM and automated marketing tool, targeted at smaller businesses. The free version gives an unlimited number of client contacts and organisations, but is limited to two users, and 100 emails per month.” — 201 Digital

Pricing: $89 per month plus $22 per user

Showcase reviews: 201 Digital

7) Oracle Eloqua
Google Review Count: 34,500

Enables marketers to create campaigns across channels including email, display search, video, and mobile, combined with lead management/nurturing and sales acceleration features. Best suited (like Marketo) for large enterprises.

Pricing: $2.000 to $4,000 per month, plus enterprise pricing by quote

Showcase reviews: SnapApp

8) dotmailer
Google Review Count: 31,200

Email marketing, campaign management, landing page design, lead nurturing and reporting. Integrates with popular platforms like Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce.com.

Sample review: “With a simple drag and drop interface and great segmentation and automation features, this tool is another easy one for beginners to pick up but also capable of performing some of the more advanced email marketing techniques.” — Econsultancy

Pricing: $500 to $1,750 per month

Showcase reviews: Econsultancy

9) Drip
Google Review Count: 24,400

In the company’s own words, Drip is “lightweight marketing automation that doesn’t suck.” While it lacks some of the broad functionality of midrange and enterprise systems, it offers SMB companies ease of use and integrates with popular landing page builders like Gravity Forms, LeadPages (which recently acquired Drip) and Unbounce.

Sample review: “These top sales tools will help you grow your startup. Drip (is ideal) for sending trigger-based and educational-based email campaigns.” — Marketing Insider Group

Pricing: $49 to $149 per month

Showcase reviews: Marketing Insider Group

10) SalesAutopilot
Google Review Count: 18,300

Includes modules for email marketing automation, CRM, e-commerce, multichannel communication (direct mail and text messaging), and help desk services.

Sample review: “Automation facilities take in email and sales, with associated modules for event-triggering, CRM, and e-commerce. There’s support for text messaging, telemarketing, and the creation of personalised PDF documents. Troubleshooting is assisted by an onboard Help module.” — 201 Digital

Pricing: free to $259 per month, plus charges for additional users and larger email database levels

Showcase reviews: 201 Digital

11) JumpLead
Google Review Count: 15,600

System includes email marketing (broadcasters and autoresponders), lead scoring, CRM, landing page builder, and analytics with live web chat capabilities.

Pricing: free to $299 per month

Showcase reviews: 201 Digital

12) Customer.io
Google Review Count: 14,400

Contact management, email segmentation/personalization/automation, message scheduling, A/B testing, and activity tracking for SMB companies.

Pricing: free to $1,250 per month

Showcase reviews: 201 Digital

13) Leadsius
Google Review Count: 7,580

SMB marketing automation platform that includes email automation, landing page/forms designer, lead analysis, and website tracking. Also features a marketing dashboard and WordPress plugin.

Pricing: free to $1,195 per month

Showcase reviews: 201 Digital

14) SimplyCast
Google Review Count: 2,930

Simple marketing automation with anonymous web tracking and signup forms, CRM, sales pipeline management, automated email/fax/text messaging, landing page designer, and campaign analytics.

Pricing: $99 to $499 per month for marketing automation, plus per-module fees for functions like email and messaging, landing pages and forms, social media integration, and surveys

Showcase reviews: 201 Digital