As a marketing leader, you’re likely having multiple conversations with your executive team on an ongoing basis to better align your PR strategy with business objectives, industry trends, customers and long term success. But, your executive team isn’t the only resource that can provide insight into industry trends and customer buying habits. Your sales team can be an added resource to support your PR efforts, too. After all, your sales team is the one talking to customers and prospects day in and day out.
So, how can you leverage sales’ expertise to support your PR thought leadership strategy?
To start, we encourage a practice called story mining. Essentially, story-mining sessions are open, candid conversations with sales or other leaders in your organization, to pick their brains on various questions — such as what current trends and buying habits they’re seeing in the industry. These conversations can provide expert guidance for your thought leadership campaigns.
While you’ll likely be asking a slew of in-depth questions to support your efforts, one important question to ask is: “What’s an interesting trend or shift in buyer habits you’ve observed in the industry in the past year?” This question can uncover trends that subject matter experts are seeing as a result of their daily conversations and industry research that you may not have been exposed to as a marketer. Let’s dig into the ‘why’ behind this question a little further.
The importance of understanding buyer habits
Reason #1: Identify industry trends and customer pain points
Ideally, your sales team already has a pulse on your industry and can share insights around what trends they see having a lasting impact, what’s driving the new trend, what benefit it’s bringing to the market and why they see the industry shifting based off this trend.
Reason #2: Uncover opportunities to address disconnects
The answers you get during story mining can uncover disconnects you want to address with either PR or other marketing activities. For example, maybe customers are experiencing specific pain points that your product can address, but they aren’t aware of the feature that would allow them to do so.
Reason #3: Develop unique PR angles
Not only will asking questions give you a better understanding of what your sales team is hearing, but it helps your PR team brainstorm unique angles for thought leadership placement in target outlets. Story mining sessions with your sales team provides clarity on the stories your business and experts can tell to position themselves as leaders in the space. Without knowing what these angles are, you risk falling behind among your competitors.
Client story: Reconnecting the buyer journey
To put this into perspective, our team had a story mining call with our client 6sense, an account based orchestration platform, powered by AI. We asked what industry trends and current buyer habits were coming up in sales conversations. They shared that modern B2B revenue teams are disconnected and their goals often aren’t aligned with the overall company. 6sense, knowing that their product could help with these pain points, wanted to address this disconnect in target outlets that their prospects were reading.
We took this feedback and went to work, landing a piece of contributed content in MarTech Series from 6sense’s CMO titled, “Surefire Signs Your Revenue Team Is Disconnected from the Buyer Journey.” Now, when sales team hears about this trend from prospects, the sales team can share this piece of coverage as a proof point that yes, they are aware of the trend and 6sense can be the answer to reconnect the revenue team in the B2B buying journey.
When you can align sales with PR efforts, your team is able to leverage the right coverage with the right prospects at the right time, making this a win-win for all parties involved.
If you’re looking for more questions to ask your sales team to connect the dots between sales and PR, we have you covered! Check out our workbook, Sales and Marketing: Better Together, for more tips and tricks to better align SaaS sales and marketing efforts through PR.