How to grow Marketing & Sales Yin and Yang

I have recently returned from a business trip to our office in Asia where I had the opportunity to meet with many existing and prospective new clients. During the varied conversations I had with FMCG and Pharmaceutical clients, there was a consistent theme that regularly cropped up about how best to serve the customer. It was the need to get Marketing and Sales working more effectively together to develop, activate and amplify plans locally. There was a strong sense that in today’s dynamic and digitally enabled market the traditional cross-functional, often siloed, ways of working are significant barriers to growth. Of course this goes beyond joining up just Marketing and Sales, but these two functions, so close to the end-users and their influencers, are critical.

In previous blogs we have talked about the need to get Marketing and Sales working in a more joined-up way to design and activate the customer experience. In our infographic we highlighted some of the challenges that still exist to this and our wonky ladder depicted the different perspectives Marketing and Sales teams have of the same thing.

Reflecting further on this challenge during my Asia visit it occurred to me that Yin and Yang is a perfect illustration of what needs to be achieved. Yin and Yang can be thought of as complementary forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is great than the sum of the parts. For the forces of Marketing and Sales to be complementary requires many things but at its heart is having a shared perspective on what each other does, what each other needs and a commitment to a common customer-centred purpose.

This shared perspective is an area where we are increasingly working with our clients. There is a growing recognition of the need to help each function to better understand the other and importantly the points of interdependence.


“In terms of doing work and in terms of learning and evolving as a person, you just grow more when you get more people's perspectives..."
Mark Zuckerberg


The work we are doing on shared perspectives with clients typically falls into three categories:

  1. Sales for Marketing: helping Marketing departments better to understand what is involved in selling and negotiating with customers and what they can do to support this effort. A good example of this is some work we did with a Pharmaceutical client where we helped to create a comprehensive Sales for Marketing program, aimed at creating a better understanding of the 2-3 minute Sales Rep interaction with Health Care Practitioners and how to create the best support for this. Marketing teams joined sales colleagues in ‘ride-a-longs’, completed eLearning modules, and then worked collaboratively with the Sales Reps on communication materials.

  2. Marketing for Sales: provide Sales with a better understanding of Marketing and how to support their customers or their own team in achieving their goals. For example we are working with a media client where we are helping their Sales team to better understand how brands are built and the role communication plays within this. This knowledge will enable the sales team to find better media solutions for their clients and help them drive stronger growth.

  3. Sales for Marketing, Marketing for Sales: putting the two together. We create cross-functional learning experiences where the Marketing and Sales teams work together on real issues which require integrated solutions along the path to purchase. It is fascinating to see the light bulbs go on for people as they suddenly realise why their colleagues have been taking that “different perspective” on things. In fact, with one client we designed a program that encompasses all of the above three elements in an intensive 3-day learning experience for Marketing and Sales.

We have talked before about the importance of excellence in joined-up strategy and planning, and joined-up activation but the glue that holds it all together is the shared perspective - that is what creates the yin and yang - the greater whole that’s required for growth in today’s market.


Brand Learning: Inspiring people. Lifting capabilities. Growing organisations. 

For more information about how Brand Learning can help you lift your organisation’s capabilities, please get in touch. You may also be interested in our report on joining up the organisation to win at customer experience. 

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