As I am transitioning to my new role here at Pierpont, one of the most exciting parts is reengaging with people in my network (something I should have continued doing more of, but that’s another post). Last week I was having coffee with a sales leader I have worked with in the past. When I told him about my opportunity at Pierpont and reminded him of our previous work with the firm, he said to me. “I remember them. I loved them.”
The comment caught me off guard, and so I asked about it. His direct interaction with Pierpont was virtually non-existent – in fact, I was surprised he remembered them.
“What do you mean, you loved them?” I asked.
His answer was a great reminder that when a firm is achieving its client’s objectives and is a true partner, the value is significant.
He reminded me: “Remember, we had a fairly long sales cycle and several upsell opportunities. The media coverage and content they delivered gave us reasons to reach out and engage with prospects and customers outside of ‘just’ selling. I missed that in my last couple of roles.”
It was an important reminder to me of one of the core values of the results the Pierpont team delivered—especially in our current economic environment where sales cycles are trending longer—internal budgets are being scrutinized, and buyers and customers are facing uncertainty. The steady cadence of media results and related content can and should give salespeople an opportunity to reach out and connect with the buyer and customer on a regular basis.
With customers, thought leadership or trend pieces reminded them they were already with a leader, a vendor who was looking into the future to help protect their investment—reinforcing the buying decision and helping fortify their position inside the company. Stories or mentions of new products or features served as a reminder that we could do more for them and help them in other ways, often leading to a larger share of wallet. Our products served different buyers in an enterprise, so it also gave the primary contact an opportunity to share insights and ideas across their organization in a collaborative way. It gave the salesperson a way to continuously remind our customers they had made the right choice of products (and, we had hired the right firm).
With the buyer, sharing an article allowed the company and sales rep to stay top of mind and, in some cases give the buyer new ways to help them be better at their job or to make a more informed decision. It was a low-pressure connection that strengthened the relationship between the buyer and our reps and often led to additional questions and sometimes facilitated the next meeting to take the opportunity forward more quickly. Depending on the type of content, it also helped create the competitive environment from the perspective we desired, not our competition.
We also discussed how our top three sales revenue-generating sales reps (President’s Club) were without a doubt the most active in the use and reuse of our media content. He has now moved on to sales consulting and trains salespeople how to leverage great media relations and content.
Over the coming months, we’ll be digging into more measurable ways to ensure you’re getting ROI from media relations, but don’t forget the intangible, long-term benefits. While I don’t expect sales teams to always know the name of the PR firm their company is working with, if the firm is doing things the right way, the salespeople should tell you, “I love our PR firm.”