Your marketing team is developing strong content to drive awareness and, in some cases, to generate leads. Compelling case studies. Endorsements from credible trade publications. Educational webinars. The list goes on. All too often, sales reps don’t understand how marketing assets can help them in the selling process or, worse yet, they don’t even know the materials exist. It’s frustrating, no doubt. Follow these tested tips to get your sales reps to turn it up a notch and maximize your PR and marketing efforts.
Provide PR 101
Let’s face it: PR is a bit of a mystery to some people. Offer a basic “crash course” for your sales team to help them better understand what PR is and how it supports business goals. It’s pretty easy to do and has proven successful for many Inprela clients. Show them how PR elevates your visibility, fosters brand engagement and loyalty, attracts leads and motivates action. Give them specific ideas for how to leverage content you’re producing. Customer testimonials can be used to freshen up their sales presentations. Contacts gathered from a recent webinar are potential leads. Media interviews or article opportunities can be offered to your best customers to show them some love and strengthen your relationship – after all, what company doesn’t enjoy seeing its name in lights, being held up as a leader in the industry?
Most sales teams aren’t interested in giving time to anything besides selling. Their dedication to customers is fantastic, but getting them involved in PR doesn’t have to be a huge time suck or distraction. To overcome the “ain’t nobody got time for that” mentality, spend a couple of hours with a handful of sales reps to learn more about their needs. Discuss their biggest challenges and ask what tools they could use to overcome them. Brainstorm new content ideas or provide advice on how your existing content can be applied to those challenges. They may be surprised to know you already have tools that can make the selling process easier.
Make content digestible and accessible
For sales, time is money. Make your communication with them short and sweet. When new press coverage publishes, send the highlights via email in three bullets or less and provide two specific ideas for how they can leverage it. Don’t assume they’ll take the time to read the article. In fact, assume they won’t.
Not every piece of content has an immediate purpose for every rep, so designate a place on your intranet for archives of your best content. File materials by easily recognizable topics and ensure documents are print-ready with appropriate reprint permissions in place.
Be visible and integrate into their process
Make PR updates a permanent agenda item on sales calls and arm your marketers with a short list of questions to get reps thinking about potential story angles and to keep the process top of mind. Your reps need to be reminded that they’re one of the best sources for generating new story ideas and customer testimonials, which can sometimes be essential to keeping new content flowing.
Work with sales leadership to develop new incentives to motivate and hold reps accountable to marketing collaboration. Ideas include bonuses for: the first rep who provides a qualified customer story or the rep who has the most customers participate in marketing content annually. Take advantage of your reps’ competitive nature and have some fun with it. Not every reward has to be big. A simple thank you email can go a long way in building trust and interest in PR.
Finally, keep your expectations in check. Not every rep will become a strong advocate for PR. Even if you can acquire two strong champions each year, it can make a huge difference. Make sure you and your team celebrate the small successes along the way!
What's your take? Do you find this to be true in your work, as well? Share your comments on LinkedIn, tagging @Inprela.