The route to the sales funnel is convoluted – customers can enter from one or many channels and frequently require numerous ‘touch points’ before the sales team can achieve the final conversion. An integrated communications strategy is a vital component of the overall sales drive – demonstrating the importance of PR and sales teams working together to create maximum results.
The sales team is a great seedbed for creative communications. They are ‘at the coal face’ – you can use this knowledge and expertise to inspire your PR campaign. Case studies and customer endorsements are great PR stories and, once again, the sales team can facilitate opportunities. Market knowledge and feedback also provides a wealth of potential news stories.
Press coverage certainly generates informed enquires but what about the potential customer who read a feature about your product or service and, several months later, requested further information or responded to a subsequent marketing initiative? There will always be people who don’t recall how they heard about you but were influenced by media coverage.
A creative, integrated PR campaign should be designed to support and nurture a company’s reputation and profile; generate awareness for its products and services; identify and investigate new vertical markets – overall act as a major contributor to the sales effort.
Press relations is a fundamental part of PR campaign. That said, generic sales-oriented press releases have limited impact in the highly competitive world of media relations. How will your story appeal to the publication’s audience? What value does it add to the content? Are there alternative opportunities to be offered to the editorial staff?
One size does not fit all. Press releases need to be written specifically for the target market, clearly demonstrating relevance. Don’t sit back and relax after one press release – research new ‘angles’ that might generate greater interest.
Maximise the results of your campaign – keep the sales team informed about positive press coverage so they can talk to their customers about the latest feature in an influential title.
Investment in the creative content can be amortised across hard copy and digital direct mail. If a news story, case study or authoritative comment is interesting to journalists, the content will certainly generate interest when sent directly to your customers.
Press releases are great source material for the web site too. They can be used on news pages, adapted for blog posts and animated content. Activity will be vital to achieve higher ranking in the search engines – another excellent lead generation source.
PR is no longer simply about communicating with ‘traditional’ channels. Social media platforms are key influencers. Short ‘snippets’ can generate numerous posts with links to the full story. Similarly, direct mail should incorporate ‘sharing buttons’ to maximise reach and impact. Your sales team will gladly join in the ‘sharing’ process – enhancing their profile too.
Sales and marketing are separate but very closely related disciplines – working collaboratively will reap rewards.