We’ve worked with organizations where there is a disconnect between sales efforts, marketing initiatives and media outreach. Companies that make these functions work in concert, however, find great synergies with each area augmenting the others’ results. Here’s how these groups can help each other:
Salespeople: On the Frontline
Salespeople understand what resonates with their audience – prospects. They constantly seek ways to interact with this group, preferably face to face. Sales reps often have a bird’s eye view into the needs, questions and issues their prospects face.
Salespeople, given their focus on these individual needs, are rarely equipped to turn what they hear and experience into compelling marketing materials or great pitches to the media. And they shouldn’t be. They are not marketers or media relations professionals. They help marketing by articulating what messages help them close the deal. And while their “sales-speak” is unlikely to go over well with the media, sales can help media relations people shape stories by sharing the key attributes of the products that resonate with customers. Marketing and public relations also helps sales amplify a cohesive message in the marketplace. I once heard a sales manager describe the messaging around a product and the strong presence of their brand as “the air beneath our wings.”
Marketing: Supporting Those on the Frontline and Feeding Public Relations
Marketers have insights into what prospects want and ideas on how to turn that insight into sales material or a marketing piece. By listening in to their compadres in sales, they gain valuable insight to fine tune the materials or experience that “aha” moment about what will really spark interest or fill a gap in their existing materials. Marketers know how to package and coordinate messaging for sales. With their input, marketing can craft a consistent powerful message so that everyone sings from the same hymnbook and the message resonates—loudly.
While marketers can be a little to self-serving to directly interact with reporters, they can give public relations ideas on topics that are of interest with their prospects in their marketplace or a new feature or service their organization is offering.
Public Relations: On the Frontline with the Media
Public relations professionals know their organization, but more importantly they know and truly understand reporters and media outlets ─ how to reach and interact with them in a manner that gains acceptance and trust. Like good sales people, they need to be proactive and build relationships by doing media outreach, pitches, writing releases, generating story ideas. They also need to be good at defense by being transparent and responding to negative news or a crisis. They provide balance and background.
Public relations can help marketing and sales effort by raising awareness of the company and its products in the media. PR must rely on marketing and sales to bolster releases or story pitches. They also need to echo and amplify the messaging of the marketing and sales efforts in a manner that is palatable for the media.
Sales, marketing and public relations, working in tandem, can create amazing results by harnessing the creativity, ideas, messaging, understanding, and experience each team brings to the table.