While sales enablement is strategic, it is achieved through a well-coordinated series of tactics. PR is one of those tactics often overlooked. There are three distinct tactics that PR uses to enable the sales process.
1. Awareness and credibility. Every communication from the PR team is aimed at building awareness and credibility for the company and/or for the broad products, services and solutions provided by a vendor.
In old school sales terms this is called “softening the beaches” and for today’s sales person, calling someone who already knows about your company and/or your broad solutions is infinitely better than someone who knows nothing at all.
Here is one example for how this equates to sales enablement. Let’s say you are launching a product or service. PR, of course, should play an invaluable role in announcing this to your target audience.
This is accomplished most effectively when your PR team has conversations with key media outlets that may report on your new offering. This third-party credibility around a new product is priceless in educating the market, but, more important, providing the sales person with a third-party endorsement on the virtues of your offering.
In a selling situation, this earned (versus paid) media content, from an outside industry source, is strong sales enablement.
Sales can use this compelling content in conversations and presentations with prospective buyers to help close the deal.
2. Sales intelligence. In today’s digital world an overlooked aspect to sales enablement is providing sales reps with relevant aspects of the digital body language of prospects and customers. It’s simply not enough to provide press releases and various documents when this incredibly rich source of intelligence is also available.
The PR team should proactively plan for how their communications can invite digital body language that will be informative for sales. And then makes sure this data is conveyed to the sales team in real time.
Here is one way this equates to sales enablement. Let’s go back to the prior example of a new product launch. A very simple strategy is for every communication from the PR team—including third party write-ups —to have a unique link for tracking purposes.
What is more, that link should always invite people to learn more and drive them back to the website.
These revealing digital explorations can be tracked and shared with sales to reveal prospective buyer behavior and interests.
Every PR communication should be developed with the idea that if the reader wants to learn more, it is easily available and you can track that behavior, take action on that behavior and share what is relevant with the sales department.
This is significant digital body language that tells you what is of interest to the prospect, which sales uses to map out the next steps.
3. Leads. Finally, one of the best tactics for sales enablement is generating qualified leads. This goes hand in hand with providing digital body language, but is more specific and represents a substantial mind shift for the PR team.
If your PR team would add to its job description—“Provide digital body language and qualified leads to sales”—then PR will truly become a valued partner in sales enablement.
If we take the prior example and add lead scoring to the digital body language, then the PR team can become a lead source for sales, just like an event or a campaign.
The links and the tracking can be coordinated with the demand generation team and the number and quality of leads can be tracked and attributed to PR. This is good business for sales, and is certainly good business for the PR team.
PR pros in this digital economy can and should become part of sales enablement practices for generating revenue.
By adopting a new philosophy to embrace sales intelligence and leads, the PR team can move from being “those people over there” to a valued player in the sales process.
Debbie Qaqish is principal partner and chief strategy officer for The Pedowitz Group, and author of “The Rise of the Revenue Marketer: An Executive Playbook” (BookLogix). She can be reached at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared in the October 20, 2014 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.