The vital role of PR in Sales
Let’s examine the role of PR in Sales
A well-executed PR campaign plays into all stages of your customer’s journey—putting more leads in your pipeline, nurturing your prospects as they move down through the funnel, and building enough trust to seal the deal.
In this way, PR campaigns can help your salespeople to convert more leads into prospects and more prospects into conversions, therefore boosting the bottom line – just like advertising, direct outreach, and other marketing campaigns that are often more directly linked to conversions.
PR broadens your reach
There’s no doubt about it; the brand awareness buzz that good PR creates can help you capture more leads.
Carefully selected placements and media mentions ignite conversations that help boost your presence in the real world. These help create high-value backlinks and referral traffic, to improve your rankings in the search results – putting your brand firmly on the map.
This boosted presence in the marketplace, ultimately translates to more leads entering the top of your sales funnel—and not just any leads, but leads that are well-acquainted with your brand, and already have a level of familiarity with your product or service.
PR helps position your brand
A well-executed PR campaign can attract more ideal prospects by perfectly positioning your brand in the marketplace.
Whatever the qualities that make up your brand identity—from the cool sophistication of Apple, to the visionary courage of Tesla—a good PR campaign can showcase those qualities, demonstrating to your target audience that your product or service has the characteristics needed to solve their specific problem.
PR shapes your brand story
Among other media strategies, placements in carefully selected publications can evoke these qualities by creating a strong narrative. The power of stories was illustrated in an experiment by Stanford professor Chip Heath, who asked students to give one minute speeches containing three statistics and one story. Afterwards, only five percent of listeners recalled the statistics, while more than sixty percent remembered the stories.
Whether your story is one celebrating your achievements—commercial or otherwise—or promoting your culture and purpose, narratives can hit emotions that resonate amidst endless noise. The strength of this emotional association is what helps you remain top of mind, on their consideration list, and build a reputation that keeps your customers coming back to your brand, instead of your competitors.
In this way, exposure in the right places doesn’t just draw more leads into the top of your funnel, but they trickle down through the sales process, ensuring prospects are receptive to your brand, and likely to trust you enough to feel good about working with you, as opposed to your competitor.
PR builds trust
Trust in institutions—including businesses, government, and the media—is at a low ebb, according to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer. This erosion of trust is particularly noticeable in the tech industry, where the pace of change has become so fast that many feel left behind—waiting for their jobs to be replaced by automated bots or AI.
PR can help overcome this lack of trust
by creating a strong relationship with customers through what infamous Psychology and Marketing professor Robert Cialdini calls pre-suasion:
“The process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it. Strategically guiding preliminary attention, to move prospects into an agreement with the marketing message before they ever experience it.”
While B2B PR blogs can help to establish authority, and paid placements in established publications can demonstrate your credibility, appearing in the editorial section of a magazine or newspaper is the gold standard for building trust. Because these articles have been independently endorsed by a trusted third party, their credibility runs deeper than blogs, paid placements or advertisements, helping you to build a great brand reputation and win real lasting trust with your audience.
PR helps overcome customer objections
At the end of a customer’s journey, unforeseen objections can suddenly arise that are guaranteed to make a new salesperson sweat. A robust, strategically planned PR campaign can anticipate and address these customer objections before they are presented—making the life of a salesman a little easier.
According to research from DemandGen, 41 percent of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content before even engaging with a salesperson.
Content published on your owned channels, such as social media and website can help overcome common sales objections, including hesitancy over pricing and misunderstanding of benefits.
More effective however, is third-party content.
A study conducted by Nielsen in 2014 revealed that third-party “expert content ” was even more effective at lifting purchase considerations than user reviews, with PR boosting familiarity significantly more than branded content.
“On average, expert content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content and 50 percent more than user reviews; they lifted affinity 50 percent more than branded content and 20 percent more than user reviews.”
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