Now more than ever, consumers want to do business with engaging brands that feel aligned with their values. Marketing, public relations, and sales are the promotional tools used to convey and build that connection, and in many organizations, there is a lot of room for growth in how these efforts work together. These activities are not effective in their individual silos, but instead must operate with a common foundation to foster that brand loyalty. So, how does a company combine the forces of marketing, public relations, and sales to build a powerhouse that works cohesively and synergistically?
First, let’s look at public relations. PR is focused on elevating the company’s image and visibility. PR wants to get the brand in front of as many of the right people as possible through trustworthy outlets, such as radio stations, podcasts, blogs, and more. But how does PR know who the right audience is? How do they know what pillars the brand is trying to connect on and what message they want to share? How do they align their PR efforts in a way that will support the sales goals for the company?
The key is a clear and strategic marketing plan.
Now let’s look at sales. Sales is driven by one thing: money. The more you sell of your product or service, the more revenue you generate for the company. You might come across sales and business development folks who say they want to transform lives with their products and services or that they want to change the world by sharing something they’re passionate about. But in the end, they want to make the sale. That’s at the heart of it, as it should be. But how do you consistently close a sale?
A salesperson must know what problems their target audience is facing as well as understand their needs and desires. They have to be able to efficiently target their ideal customer from the ocean of people out there, and then deliver that initial contact in a way that truly resonates and creates a raving fan.
Again, a clear and strategic marketing plan is the linchpin.
Marketing doesn’t belong on a pedestal. In fact, it can be unglamorous in many ways. Chugging out social media content daily, proof-reading websites for typos, comparing seven different yellows for brand guidelines, browsing stock photos for the one that feels least like a stock photo – these can be painstaking at times, but they are all critical for creating a strong, consistent brand identity that supports sales and PR efforts.
Creating an ideal customer persona, enticing pricing strategies that support a sales cycle, value propositions that make sales go smoothly and press pieces stronger, core messaging that resonates with a podcast or TV segment audience, content calendars that support a PR campaign and a sales strategy at the same time – these make up the secret sauce of marketing, and it can move mountains in businesses when leveraged correctly.
Unfortunately, 90% of sales and marketing professionals report being “misaligned” across strategy, process, content, and culture, and 97% state that this misalignment negatively impacts the business and the consumer, according to a LinkedIn survey. Clearly there is a lot at stake for companies to align their marketing, PR, and sales strategies. An interdisciplinary approach that connects these pillars allows them to flow smoothly in tandem instead of hiccup their way down the road in a disjointed way that wastes time, energy, and money.
Now that you have a firm grasp on how these elements can be more effective when synchronized, here are five tips that marketing teams should consider in their relationships with PR and sales.
Design a logo, write your tagline, define the brand personality, specify brand colors and fonts, and clarify your brand’s differentiators. Defining the overall brand and then creating guidelines for other teams to use is an important first step that marketing must take to ensure every area of the business (even beyond PR and sales) is consistently leveraging the brand’s unique identity and voice.
Educate your sales and PR departments on the target customer profile and keep them updated as the target market shifts. Marketing teams are very dialed into the ideal customer profile because it’s a part of nearly everything they do on a daily basis. However, this isn’t always the case across other departments, though it’s as important for sales and PR teams to understand the ideal customer to do their jobs effectively.
Set a solid foundation before each department rolls up their sleeves and starts chasing their goals. Creating a strategy that draws upon the areas of expertise in other departments can help ensure you avoid mistakes and capitalize on opportunities without wasting time and money on avenues that aren’t the right fit.
Once sales and PR have created their plans, marketing can step in to offer support with branded collateral. This could be capabilities sheets, pitch decks, speaker reels, landing pages, brochures, press releases, and more. It is the marketing team’s responsibility to ensure these pieces are aligned with the brand guidelines and voice so other teams can use them to be the most successful.
When the planning is done and teams are equipped with the marketing tools they need, it’s time to establish regular communication with marketing, PR, and sales to ensure everyone is aligned as updates occur. Schedule weekly check-ins, and even daily, if that’s the cadence needed. As needs shift and plans change, this consistent, open line of communication ensures the organization can remain fluid and strategic.
When marketing, PR, and sales work together cohesively as a well-oiled machine, organizations can achieve impressive results. As leaders seek out new ways to grow, fine-tuning the role these departments play in each other’s success is a great place to start.