While PR isn’t going to be your only — or frankly your most cost-effective — direct lead driver, it can help feed the B2B sales funnel at different points.
PR is a value that shouldn’t be ignored according to Mark Suster, two-time entrepreneur, turned VC. Mark stated, “If I had $1 dollar left to spend on marketing I would put it to PR. If anybody tells you differently, be suspect. Most people don’t understand the silent benefits [of PR].”
While securing media coverage is the most commonly known and understood PR activity, there are other PR efforts that provide more “silent benefits,” including brand credibility and third-party validation. Pairing these kinds of tactics with media relations will help move a prospect through the sales funnel.
Consider the three additional PR activities below to give your B2B sales the push it needs:
Case study creation
Word of mouth is still a strong marketing tool. Just like you might ask a friend about a product or preferred service, prospects want to hear from current customers to help inform their decision. Case studies aren’t just one way to capture those stories, they’re one of the best. According to the B2B marketing blog, “Case studies have continually been considered one of the most effective pieces of content for creating conversions throughout recent years.”
Case studies position your current customers as advocates and demonstrate how your product or solution benefited someone in a similar scenario. Consider sending a case study to prospects who need a nudge further down the funnel. Or, host it on your website with a lead capture form to generate more MQLs. Not only can this tool continue to nurture a prospect, it might even bring in prospects that didn’t realize they had an issue that needed to be resolved.
Analyst relations can provide a number of benefits to organizations, especially during the purchase stage of the customer journey. Industry analyst firms, like Gartner and Forrester, provide consulting services in addition to writing research reports. As known-experts, customers leverage these firms to seek out information and feedback on various providers prior to purchase.
While relationships with analyst firms are sometimes paid, a PR partner can conduct the necessary research and make the introductions required to get in front of relevant analysts for a briefing. This can result in analysts recommending your solution — possibly leading to a direct sale —and will almost always result in inclusion in a research report, which helps provide third-party validation of your solution.
Speaking and award opportunities
Many professionals don’t believe they are subject matter experts in their industry — however, this simply isn’t the case. Securing speaking and award opportunities demonstrate that expertise.
Whether examining an industry trend, sharing challenges or keynoting at an event, speaking can increase overall brand awareness and help solidify your solution as a top contender. Prospects prefer to purchase from someone who is well-educated in their industry, it demonstrates their product is one worth considering.
Commonly used for third party-validation, awards further cement a company’s standing. They also give current customers confidence they’re working with the market leader.
While some PR activities aren’t as “loud” as media coverage, they can still help generate sales. Especially, if your team knows how to leverage them. Securing speaking and award opportunities, developing relationships with analyst and case study publication can pay dividends down the road in terms of those “silent benefits” mentioned. A company needs more than just media mentions to assure customers their loyalty is rightfully placed, or to push prospects to purchase.
Interested in exploring how PR can help your B2B sales efforts? Contact our president, Lindsey Groepper. You may come away surprised at how PR can really augment strategic sales initiatives.