Integrating your PR agency within the sales team is vital to success – Smoking Gun PR
This won’t be the first time we’ve waxed literary on the importance of integrating the various arms of your company’s marketing, public relations and advertising output. Including any contracted PR agency. And it probably won’t be the last, either.
While it’s important to read our last post, which explored how the integrated marketing model can actually have a negative impact on brand creativity while coming up with robust suggestions on avoiding that trap, on the whole having the various specialists responsible for promoting a business working together is clearly a good idea. Not only can this easily reduce wasted expenditure and time, it will in turn increase ROI as a result.
But what about sales?
Traditionally company’s have always considered their closers to be autonomous to marketers. They will, of course, use the compelling and persuasive arguments developed by public relations and marketing to help secure new clients and business, but rarely are the latter directly involved in getting contracts signed and new orders placed. This is missing a huge trick, though.
PR can be beneficial in accelerating conversion times
A key reason for this is just how persistent and dogged a PR agency is. Within sales there’s an understanding that it’s easy to overkill direct approaches, particularly cold calls. Public relations experts also appreciate this.
The worst case scenario would be irritating a powerful editor by consistently making contact, which could effectively leave any current and future campaigns dead in the water as media contacts grow weary and begin to ignore approaches.
However, refusing to give up after the inevitable initial lack of responses is a necessity, you just need excellent judgement to decide how much is too much. Due to the nature of the how the media works, it’s this attitude sales teams would do well to learn from.
Analysis of contacts could mean more accurate planning
Tracking the number of media contacts a service or product needs to be presented to in order to start securing sales might seem a little unorthodox. Yet this is one of the best ways to accurately predict the kind of investment required in manpower to start seeing a significant payoff. It can also prove invaluable in terms of discovering the most influential media faces and outlets for a specific sector. These can then be prioritised for future efforts.
Public relations knows your market (perhaps better than you do)
Let’s face it, a PR agency has a comprehensive understanding of demographics, and how to sell those demographics an idea.
Each and every day these firms are tasked with conceiving and spreading stories that have been specifically targeted and tailored to different audiences. In order to succeed at this they must know those audiences well, their likes and dislikes, inside and out. You may think you understand your customers well, but in reality PRs will have similar insight. More importantly, though, a PR agency has fundamental knowledge of consumers who are yet to become your customers.
A PR agency is the ultimate content expert
Your business won the award, innovated the product and conceived the USP. But is your business adept at letting people know about those achievements?
In many cases the answer is no, and this is ignoring some of the most powerful weapons in your brand arsenal. A public relations agency will know exactly how to leverage these attributes and accolades to cement your position at the front of the pack, and utilise your knowledge to produce the type of content that establishes— or confirms— your brand as a trusted source of information.
From blogs to B2B news stories, reputation management experts are always best-positioned to help you share important brand news, and shout “best in the business??? from the rooftop.
In each of these instances, the overall goal is sales, but the approach is directly influenced by best PR agency practice. If nothing else, it stands as evidence that selling is integral to the public relations skillset, a point we have been arguing since the inception of our agency.