I recently heard a client describe Public Relations as “the softening of the beachhead” for his Sales effort. That struck me as an apt analogy.
Public Relations is not Sales. PR can absolutely help guide the prospect toward a purchase decision, in a measurable way. PR can surround the prospect with thoughtful, candid, compelling conversations and content and references until they think, “Wow, okay, I’ve got to check these guys out.”
But when the prospect gets to the website or picks up the phone or shoots over an email: PR’s work is done.
If the website features a glitchy 1990–style template; if the telesales agent is unintelligible; if the sales rep takes too long to respond to the inquiry — if the sale is lost — that’s not a “quantity/quality of leads” problem; that’s not a PR problem — that’s a Sales problem.
Similarly, the PR team is not the official spokesperson. If the PR agency has set up a slate of dreamy editorial meetings, their “pitches” have worked. It’s now up to the official spokesperson to swing for the home-run articles. If the spokesperson doesn’t bring the customer references they promised, or the product demo flatlines; if they turn green from nerves; if they ignore the PR pro’s advice on how-to improve — if the article is lost — that’s not a PR problem — that’s a problem that the client brought to the field.
PR can set you up for success. It cannot make you a success.
Posted on: July 6, 2009 at 7:58 pm By Todd Defren