Silverpop - Guest Q&A: CleverTouch on Sales and Marketing Alignment, Data Collection and the Law of Reciprocity
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Guest Q&A: CleverTouch on Sales and Marketing Alignment, Data Collection and the Law of Reciprocity

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by: Will Schnabel (@wschnabel)
23 February 2012

Sales and marketing alignment and how to effectively and efficiently achieve it is something top of mind for many marketing departments these days.  For our partner blog this month, we’re pleased to have CleverTouch, a U.K. marketing automation specialist and key Silverpop partner, providing useful tips and ideas about how to get started. Adam Sharp, CleverTouch managing director, weighs in with his thoughts and insights:

1) Why is sales and marketing alignment so important, and what are some tactics companies can implement to improve their alignment?

[caption id="attachment_3386" align="alignright" width="125" caption="Adam Sharp, Managing Director, CleverTouch"][/caption]

Alignment is much more than just integrating your CRM and marketing systems, although this does need to be done. One of the key challenges is getting sales and marketing to agree on common language and definitions. What is a lead? What criteria make a qualified lead? What happens to leads that don’t close? At what point does sales take over communication with the prospect from marketing?

Alignment varies from organisation to organisation, so it needs to be agreed on before embarking on larger-scale automated programs and lead scoring. The pioneers in this area have been Sirius Decisions, who have built a business around this, and Hugh Macfarlane with his The Leaky Funnel book and Math Marketing concept. If I was to be critical I’d say that too many consultants over-engineer the stages and build in complexity where it’s not needed, whereas not enough emphasis is placed on the lead management workflow and lead scoring models. In an ideal world, each sales and marketing model would be configurable to the organisation.

2) Why is data collection so important?

Marketing strategy is all about positioning, segmentation and targeting. Two out of these three strategic elements involve data, so it really is the bedrock of your marketing strategy—having the correct data is the single most important element which drives the success of your customer acquisition campaigns. Increasingly with new data privacy laws and more communication channels, it’s the responsibility of the CMO to not just manage the pipeline and the brand but to manage the reputation and corporate data governance strategy. This means building a data governance model and customer and prospect preference centres and policing them in the same way the corporate communications people once policed the brand. Data governance and data management is the mechanism for reputation management.

3) What is the law of reciprocity, and why does it matter?

Simply put, the law of reciprocity says that you give to receive. So, in a marketing context, that means that when you ask prospects to give up some information, e.g. contact details, you should offer them useful material in return, such as marketing research results. The amount of information you ask for should be equivalent to the quality of the information you offer. For example, don’t give out a sales brochure that’s freely available on your website in return for completing a long form.

The law of reciprocity is the basis from which Seth Godin built his permission-based marketing concept, and years earlier Don Peppers and Martha Rogers built their 1:1 marketing approach—the essence of which was that it’s much easier to educate than to sell, you should only provide information in a frequency and format that’s requested by prospects and customers, and make that content relevant. So, if you are going to ask for info, only ask for bits at a time and never ask for the same info twice (this is why the preference centre is so key). Above all, ask with a buyer’s head on and not a sales head on and earn the right to engage.

4) You talk a lot about integrating the four disciplines of inbound, outbound, online and offline. What does this mean and why is it important?

Like so much in life, marketing is about balance. Specifically, we’re talking about developing a single view of the prospect by combining email responses with website activity and offline campaigns such as direct mail, Webinars or events. The more different formats of communication, the richer the experience; it’s the Gestalt rule of marketing where 2+2 = 5.

By understanding the frequency and responsiveness of individual communications, one can better target and tailor messaging to match the stage or behaviour of your customers or your prospects, and with marketing automation so much of the subsequent communication can be automated based on buyer behaviour for a more immediate, richer response and more intelligent and scalable marketing. We have one client where the same campaign has been running continuously for two years and has just been extended for another two years; this campaign has several thousand prospects joining each week and the personalisation and relevancy has resulted in four to five times the expected outcomes.

5) On your website you offer your Top 100 marketing tips. What are a few of your favorites?

  1. Social media is not a strategy in itself but is both a communication channel and a philosophy. (Read more.)
  2. No business can accurately predict or forecast future revenues without visibility of the funnel as well as the pipeline.
  3. Any marketing platform without an Application Programming Interface (API) is just another silo; adopt at your peril. (Read more.)

CleverTouch helps organisations accelerate their business growth by focusing on sales and marketing alignment, prospect and customer understanding, and the intelligent use of marketing technologies. For more information about CleverTouch, visit


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