The right CRM (customer relationship management) system can make your sales team’s lives infinitely easier. And, because modern IT marketing strategies promote close alignment between your sales and marketing functions, a CRM system can make your marketing team’s lives easier, too. And when marketing and sales are able to do their jobs easily and efficiently? The deals come pouring in.

Not all CRM systems are created equal, however. When choosing the best CRM system for your IT marketing strategy, ensure that your system has the following four essentials covered:

1. Marketing automation integration
The best digital marketing strategies could be better described as ‘smarketing’ strategies. This is because integrating your marketing and sales functions makes for a turbocharged customer experience, from the point of first contact all the way through to the point of purchase, and even beyond. When marketing and sales teams work together – and your marketing automation and CRM systems are seamlessly integrated – your team is armed with all the information they need to nurture leads and close deals.

When a salesperson picks up the phone to call a ready-to-buy prospect, an integrated CRM system gives them access to a wealth of marketing data, like which blogs the prospect has read, which web pages they’ve been looking at, and which products they’ve shown interest in. The result? A highly personalised and extremely effective sales call.

2. Automated data capture
One of the most useful aspects of both marketing automation and CRM systems is the ability to maintain a log of all client interactions. With a complete record of every action taken by marketing and sales at their fingertips, your team doesn’t risk annoying prospects by sending them redundant or irrelevant information. Even better, your team will know when a prospect is ready to make a purchase, and how big that purchase is likely to be.

But, if your sales team is expected to manually upload every action to the system – bearing in mind that they could be making up to 100 calls a day – valuable information is bound to slip through the cracks. And that means missed sales opportunities. To streamline your IT marketing and sales functions, it’s important to invest in a CRM system that offers automated data capture. For instance, HubSpot’s CRM automatically captures all client communications and depicts them in an easy-to-view timeline.

3. Content repository
Salespeople spend almost a third of their time either creating or looking for content and sales collateral. Investing in a CRM system with an embedded content repository gives your IT marketing and sales teams quick and easy access to the content they need, from customisable email templates, to product brochures, to case studies and more. Less time wasted writing sales emails from scratch means more time spent closing deals.

4. Visual dashboard
Digital marketing and sales data is invaluable, but only if it’s clearly presented and easy to interpret. That’s why the best CRM systems have visual dashboards that display key metrics at a glance, including deals in the pipeline, progress against quota and outstanding tasks. In addition, these dashboards can filter deals by stages and be customised to only display the metrics you deem most important.