You’ve probably heard the argument for aligning your sales and marketing teams any number of times, but have you ever been told about the importance of aligning your sales and PR teams? I’d guess not. It’s not that most businesses are missing something glaringly obvious either; PR and sales just seem like two parts of the same puzzle that make sense as part of the bigger picture but don’t exactly make sense sitting next to each other.
However, believe it or not, PR can do a lot to help sales – and vice versa. Here are a few of the key ways:
PR can give your sales team the backing they need to sell.
It’s been widely said that PR wins (commonly called “earned media”) carry a lot more weight in the eyes of buyers than advertising does. And it’s not hard to see why. Most savvy consumers can spot an ad a mile away (and therefore know it was purchased, not earned), while a contributed article or a piece of news shared in a well-respected publication demonstrates clout. PR wins aren’t easy to come by, and so they matter to your buyers.
Also, think about this… Not only does it look good and feel good to get award wins, speaking gigs, contributed articles and featured news, but it also solidifies your brand as a credible one. When you attract the attention and interest (and sometimes implied endorsement) of journalists, you immediately appear trustworthy and proven to your next prospect. And what could be more worthwhile than this type of image when your sales team starts engaging with them?
Sales can give PR an insider look at your buyers.
Buyers today are complex, and we’ve all had to learn the hard way that the sales cycle for most B2B companies is often long and arduous, involving multiple decision-makers along the way. But this process can be expedited, or at least made more smooth, if everyone on your team is using the right messaging and speaking to your target personas. This is where sales can really be an asset to PR.
Salespeople speak with customers and prospects day in and day out. They know their most common objections, motivations and even what makes them tick. By regularly speaking with the PR team, and sharing these deeper insights about your ideal customers, your PR team can tighten up your messaging and ensure all public-facing materials are in alignment.
PR can work wonders by providing the content sales needs at each stage of the buyer journey.
So, your star salesperson just lost a big sale. What happens next? If you want to improve your buyer journey, that salesperson should consider the following: 1) At what point did the sale go south? And 2) Was there some sort of content or piece of education they could have provided the prospect that would have helped prevent this outcome? Once they’ve figured out those answers, they should go talk with PR. Your PR folks are there to help you create the content you need to move your buyers through your funnel. So if there’s a piece of content you don’t have that you need, by all means let them know.
Also, if your sales team has found that some marketing collateral performs well in the sales process, like an ebook, PR can use that for further impact. They can help break that ebook into smaller, more consumable pieces of content and/or even place it in third-party publications as thought leadership. Your PR team can have a lot of influence throughout the buyer’s journey, so make sure they’re given what they need to be able to perform at their best – and then hold them accountable to do so.
Sales can inspire the right content topics for PR to run with.
It can be challenging to come up with creating, compelling content topics for a company’s blog, contributed articles, social media posts and beyond. But this is what PR people do, and your sales team can support them in this. After all, they have loads of on-point ideas in their heads just waiting to be unearthed.
Set up a conversation between your sales and PR teams, and ask the sales folks to chime in on what they hear at each stage of the buyer journey. Is pricing the one thing that your prospects seem to be concerned about across the board? Are you finding that you’re losing out to the same competitor time and time again, right before a deal closes? Do you hear from customers that your product is hard to use, and they would benefit from some more training?
Whatever conversations sales is having are important for PR to know about. They could very easily inspire some stellar content topics that can be used to proactively answer prospect’s questions, connect with current customers and let your audience know you understand what they’re going through.
Whether your sales and PR teams have been collaborating since day one, or you’re not even sure they know each other’s names, now is a great time to initiate – or strengthen – their bond. PR can – and should – be used throughout the sales process, and both departments have a lot to offer one another along the way. When all is said and done, PR and sales both have their eyes on the revenue prize, and will get there a whole lot faster together.