Sales, marketing and public relations—the three faces of business development. And like the old trope about “mother, maiden, crone,” depending on where you stand relative to these business activities, you may be inclined to paint one of them as the old hag and one of them as the lovely charmer worth spending three month’s salary on.
Public relations and sales
Let’s break this down. Making dollars flow into the front door is job one for a successful firm. Depending on your industry, the precise process varies quite a bit.
For example, online software systems like Pardot, ENGAGE.cx or Infotycoon use inside sales teams handling inbound web leads. Growth companies like Tesla and Variable Technologies are reinventing how they handle their pipeline, with media traction as a huge part of creating interest that leads to inquiries that lead to orders. Pharmaceutical and medical equipment sales still rely on consultative, educational relationships—often kick-started by attending educational conferences and physical summit events.
No matter YOUR industry, earned media through publicity boosts your credibility–a lot.
One thing most companies can do better is learn to use their earned media more wisely in their business development efforts.
Here’s a process you can use:
4 Ways Public Relations Pumps Up Prospects
1. Set up a Google alert so when your company publishes news, a case study, a magazine article or a blog post, you see it right away. Have one person on staff SEND THAT to the sales team so they see it too.
2. “Merchandise” your public relations wins with social posts. If you’re a b2b company, make sure your LinkedIn company page is set up and actively reposting the news about you — the “earned media.” More great fodder for your social outreach: customer perspectives and videos, webinar and event announcements, surveys you conduct, your blog posts, and of course, articles about you. (See some public relations case studies that resulted in sales)
3. Share, share, share. Make it a cultural habit in your company to share your earned media, your thought leadership, and your sales announcements such as webinars and thought leadership summits.
Using LinkedIn or your prospect library, research people who would be interested in earned media tidbits or perspective, and have a weekly sales contest where your reps shoot possible clients a note with your insight at the top. Done regularly, this kind of habit can increase your pipeline by dozens of key qualified prospects quickly. Make sure your company is using Twitter as its voice too, using hash tags to reach larger audience. (Find out more about how to ace content marketing)
4. Track. If you’re a mid size b2b firm, you may be reluctant to invest in a high profile social tracking system. No worries–companies that are scaling can still learn a lot from mining tools you already have, like Google Analytics or SEMRUSH. Your web site is the ultimately “early leading indicator” of new customer interest. Your landing pages, your key service or product pages, and your blog traffic are easy to measure–and easy to see when your “company voice” is being heard — and received.
Look for key marketing metrics like new site visits and spending more time on your web site. Then, tell your sales and marketing team just how much their hard work distributing your thought leadership is paying off–make understanding your company’s web traffic as critical as understanding key financials in your business. (Find out more about key marketing metrics you can dashboard easily)