PR extends its value in many ways across an organization — most so to marketing and sales as a critical building block in establishing awareness, trust and validation with prospects and would-be customers.
In our experience, marketing typically makes good use of PR “wins” in social content, email marketing, digital ads and nurturing leads through the funnel. PR for B2B Sales, however, is where we’ve observed underutilization.
Sales often relies on marketing collateral and aggressive (but often underwhelming) follow-up and whatever else it takes to meet prospecting, call and email quotas. Unfortunately, marketing collateral has a reputation of looking suspiciously like…marketing collateral. Prospects view 1-pagers and sell sheets as self-fulfilling; a form of company propaganda lacking perspective and validation. Even a swath of logos or customer quotes doesn’t necessarily break that feeling.
Enter PR. 92% of consumers trust earned media over promotional content.
PR works on its own, ensuring discoverability as prospects conduct research, but sales teams can ride the wave of PR wins through their own outreach tactics. However, it only works if there’s a strong strategy (and information sharing) between sales and PR.
When PR teams work more closely with sales and sales leadership to ensure they’re 1) supporting sales with targeted efforts and 2) sales knows how to make use of PR wins, good things happen. Below, we flesh out some of the specific scenarios in which PR can enable sales and what assets are most helpful across their efforts:
Adding PR newsbytes into email & LinkedIn prospecting
Sales outreach needs to be inclusive of recent or highly relevant PR results — it can make the difference between being considered or not.
Third party news is a great tool for sales to cite in cold outreach. It avoids the “hard sell” or “check out our product” lit. It lends credibility and grabs attention in a prospect’s inbox (versus being some random company nobody’s ever heard of).
In this “top of funnel” outreach and prospecting, some of the most helpful PR for B2B sales is:
- Thought leadership articles (executive quotes in timely news or trend stories)
- Corporate features (company, news, product stories)
- Executives speaking session at major industry conference
- Award wins
Using PR with an ABM approach & on discovery calls
PR and sales can also partner to strategize and place stories in specific industry or role-specific publications. This provides hyper-relevant assets/coverage for sales outreach, discovery calls and follow-up. Articles prospects can personally relate to in publications they trust helps position your company as a worthwhile consideration and leading force in the market.
The most helpful PR assets for ABM are:
- Customer success stories featuring a similar use case/challenge to the prospect’s
- Product/service-related stories in publications within that prospect’s industry or geo
- Stories featuring wins of similar kinds of customers
Using PR for B2B sales upsells and renewals
PR is also helpful for convincing existing customers. Say you’ve launched a new product and a spokesperson has spoken with a few trade publications on why it’s a significant development for the space. Customers might not have this new product yet, so this is a link you send (we were featured in XYZ magazine) along with a “let me know if you’d like more information on X new product.” It’s a “softer upsell” that augments general product release marketing campaigns.
Helpful assets include:
- Stories on new product launches (bonus if it includes quotes from/a list of early customer adopters)
- Analyst notes/write-ups/validation
- New product award wins
They say persistence wins in sales, but unbiased validation via PR is a highly underrated and effective tool for the sales team to leverage as well.
Your PR efforts can help sales reach prospects and customers to build trust and generate new opportunities. PR for B2B sales can be the fuel that helps create the next big customer win. So, don’t wait to connect with your sales leader and open the line of communication.