Revenue Operations

4 Lessons Sales and Marketing Teams Can Learn from Romeo and Juliet

Michael Lowe headshot

Michael Lowe
Director, Content Marketing, Clari



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Photograph of a golden statue of Juliet from William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet
Photograph of a golden statue of Juliet from William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet

But soft, what light from yonder window breaks? It is the east and ... marketing is the sun?

When Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, he probably wasn't thinking about sales and marketing teams, but in honor of Valentine's Day, it's only fitting to ask: Are your sales and marketing teams destined for blissful alignment or doomed to be star cross'd lovers?

For better or worse, Romeo and Juliet are often seen as the paragon of romance, but we're not saying your sales and marketing teams should follow their lead—in fact, just the opposite. We all remember how Romeo and Juliet ends, right?

Many of the reasons that the tale ends in tragedy are the same reasons that sales and marketing alignment often fail. Thankfully, there are some learnings we can take away from the Bard's most memorable romance:

Take a measured approach to sales and marketing alignment

Pop quiz: How long does it take Romeo and Juliet to meet, get married, cause a citywide scandal, have several sword fights, devise a plan to run away together, and then ultimately take their own lives? Most readers don't realize that the entire action of the play takes place in less than four days.

Romeo and Juliet's overeagerness is, in many ways, their downfall. Acting without thinking can lead to devastating outcomes. As the good-natured Friar Lawrence tells Romeo, "Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall." Unfortunately, the lovestruck Romeo doesn't heed his advice.

The benefits of sales and marketing aligning as a single revenue operations organization are clear, so it's understandable that teams and leaders would be eager to seek alignment. According to a study of over 3,500 sales professionals and 3,500 marketers by LinkedIn:

  • 70% of those surveyed believe alignment delivers a better customer buying experience
  • 58% agree that working together improves customer retention
  • 54% say that collaboration boosts financial performance

However, taking a measured approach to better understand the intricacies of the organizations will put you and your teams on better footing for the long haul. Get leaders from both marketing and sales into a room to hash out these details before pushing forward.

Photograph of a revenue leader reviewing a report on a clipboard and typing on a laptop

Align sales and marketing data

Quick recap: Juliet, fearing she'll be forced to marry someone other than Romeo, drinks a potion to pretend that she's dead but is really just asleep. Romeo, hearing that Juliet is dead, buys poison and kills himself. Juliet then wakes up to find Romeo's body and kills herself as well.

Here's what was supposed to happen according to Friar Lawrence's master plan: Juliet was supposed to drink the potion which would make her appear dead. The family would place Juliet's body in the crypt and, after she woke up, the Friar would sneak her and Romeo out of the city. Friar Lawrence had sent a note to Romeo—who had been banished—explaining all of this. Unfortunately, the Friar's note never reached Romeo.

This is a data problem.

Had Romeo, Juliet, and the Friar all been on the same page and all understood the same plan, the tragic ending could have been avoided. With no easily accessible single source of truth to refer to, each character is forced to operate independently, make assumptions, and take actions based on the information that they have on hand.

This is often the case for sales and marketing teams. Sales has one set of data and marketing has another coming from siloed tech stacks. The chances of those data points matching up are very slim. How can two teams with two sets of mismatched data and disparate views about the business ever agree on how to move the business forward efficiently and effectively? This leads to unproductive, frustrating conversations.

Clari provides a single source of truth for both sales and marketing teams, integrating sales activity data from CRM, emails, meetings, attachments sent, and phone calls with marketing engagement data in campaigns, webinars, direct mail, and ads, so anyone on either team can see how every deal is being worked.

In addition, when data is aligned, it's easier to create common goals and see how the quarter is progressing based on universal metrics, like pipeline generated. No more finger-pointing over hitting top-of-funnel or pipeline conversion targets. There's just one joint goal, backed by shared data, allowing you to operate in lockstep with your counterparts to achieve full funnel accountability.

Photograph of a person presenting to a group of sales and marketing leaders about alignment strategies

Create an environment of healthy candor

All of the drama from the play stems from the fact that Romeo and Juliet's families, the Montagues and the Capulets, are feuding. There's just one thing: No one seems to know why or how it started—it's just the way things are.

It's not until Romeo and Juliet are both dead that the two families agree to settle their differences, raise statues of their children in their honor, and bring peace to the city.

Rallying around a common goal, setting aside previously held preconceptions, and opening communication channels is key to successful sales and marketing alignment. Identify key moments on a quarterly, monthly, and weekly basis for sales and marketing teams and leaders to get into the same room and have recurring conversations about common targets and priorities. Share short- and long-term goals, how you're tracking against them, and what the collective teams should be doing to meet and exceed them.

Create a safe space that allows teams to challenge the status quo and build trust to share all of the failures, successes, grievances, and kudos. That level of transparency and trust will make your entire go-to-market team connected, efficient, and more predictable.

Invest in sales and marketing tools that work together

Throughout the play, the tools that the characters depend on continually fail them. Here are just a few: Friar Lawrence sends a note to Romeo explaining Juliet's plan to take a sleeping potion but it never gets delivered, leaving Romeo without a critical piece of information; Juliet's sleeping potion works just a little too well and Romeo thinks she's actually dead instead of just asleep, breaking his heart; and if only Romeo's poison came with a convenient "oops-I-thought-my-lover-was-dead-but-now-she's-not" antidote, perhaps Juliet could have revived him and things would have ended differently.

The tools you use can make or break an organization, but if your sales tools don't talk to your marketing tools, you'll end up with blind spots throughout the funnel. Siloed technology makes it impossible for sales to know how marketing is influencing deals and for marketing to know how and when they can help accelerate deals.

Clari integrates both sales and marketing signals to paint a full picture for your entire revenue operations team, including sales, marketing, and customer success.