Why Sales and PR Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly
By Colleen Martin, Principal
If, like me, you have been working in Public Relations (or, more specifically, media relations) for more than a decade, chances are at some point in your career, you have either lost a client or failed to gain a client because you haven’t been able to prove the value and ROI of an ongoing public relations program.
When times are tough and belts have to tighten, PR is often seen as a luxury to cut back on, an unnecessary line-item on a company’s list of monthly expenses.
Unlike email marketing that leaves behind a trail of clicks, PR is a lot more fuzzy, but no less impactful for an organization of any size. When sales and PR work together strategically, and there is communication about industry trends and customer needs and pain points, the result can be a powerful combination that drives greater revenues, thought leadership, and delivers that key “IT” factor that is so hard to measure, but is invaluable to any organization – credibility.
At Zer0 to 5ive, we work with tech and biotech companies that span numerous industries and stages of development, from pre-product seed-funded companies, to large, publicly traded Fortune 500 enterprises. We have seen firsthand how PR can put a product or company on the map that previously didn’t exist or that had little name recognition within the industry, or how a PR program can be part of driving next-level prospect interest and thought leadership for a growth-stage company.
PR is so much more than writing and pitching press releases. When coordinated with, and leveraged by, sales, PR can work to drive powerful results all around.
Below are some of the things we do with our clients sales teams:
Hold weekly calls between PR and sales teams
With one of our clients, once a week, we have what we call a “Voice of the Customer” call, where a few members of the sales team share the conversations they have been having in the field, talk about what’s resonating, and where our message may be falling flat. For the PR team, we share any interesting conversations we have been having with the media, any hot trends we think we should be commenting on, and positive or negative feedback from reporters.
Share articles with customers and prospects
Did you just score an awesome article in Forbes or one of the top trade publications for your client’s key audience? Don’t assume their customers and prospects have seen it! Take advantage of the positive ink by encouraging them to email it to prospects and customers with an “in case you missed it, thought I would send this article along” note, include it in their company newsletter, post on their website, mention it in a blog and promote it on social media.
Leverage events to build media buzz and attract attention from prospects
If your client is speaking at an upcoming event or exhibiting at an important industry conference, you have potential gold. Work with the sales team to secure a list of registered attendees for the event and identify media and analysts attending. Draft a press release and reach out to reporters and analysts to set up in-person interviews with leadership at the booth. Both sales and PR teams can work together to build buzz at the event on social media channels and engage with attendees and prospects. Make sure marketing posts about it on the website and company blog. PR teams can capture key takeaways from the conference and invite conversations with the CEO after the event to discuss key trends and thoughts on industry news.
Promote happy customers and success stories
Does your client have customers that are seeing reduced costs, higher ROI, or improved performance based on their product or service? Don’t keep it a secret. Sales and PR should work together to spread the word. Ask sales if you can develop a case study that identifies the problem, solution and benefit seen with hard, quantifiable metrics that can be used as a PR asset for pitching the media. Once the case study is written, use it to attain a feature story or a byline that can further promoted (see #2!).
Ensure the right message is reaching the right audience
There is a famous philosophical saying that ‘if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” – the same could be said about a PR message coming from your company. Sales, marketing and PR teams should work together to make sure that they are putting out consistent messages and that they are reaching the right audiences. At Zer0 to 5ive, we regularly hold Chalk Talks that provide a positioning and messaging foundation for all communications. When this is coordinated, we have seen many clients received inbound leads from articles and news, putting a premium on the value of PR for their organization.
Do you have go-to tips or strategies to keep your PR and sales teams working well together? Share them with us on Twitter @Zer0to5ive!