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  • Amy Sufak

Sales and PR - there's a difference

Unless you're in public relations or have worked closely with a public relations (PR) agency before, it can certainly be difficult to fully understand what PR actually is and what it is not.

So often, we will have prospective clients reach out looking for support with their sales. This may first sound like, PR would be a good fit. But upon deeper discussion (our discovery calls) we find out they want more subscriptions, need to sell more tickets, or need more customers - while we can help get eyes on their brand - we do not convert those leads into sales.

That is not what PR is. While PR can certainly help acquire leads and brand awareness, it's up to the client and their internal sales team to deliver and convert those leads into sales.

PR is the act of building relationships with a client's target audience (a.k.a. public). We are the experts at helping position clients as thought leaders, creating successful campaigns and strategies that will leverage their work or expertise and put them in front of the right groups/outlets and audiences to give them a platform to now do their part - SELL their service or product. We are the catalyst to help close the deal, but we're not the ones to execute that part of the relationship with their target audience.

Think about it. If we're the agency of record for a physician that does heart surgeries. We can get them all the media interviews in the world, manage a stellar social media campaign, help them build a solid community relations strategy and get their name or practice well known - but it's not our team taking the appointments and ensuring these leads convert to patients. We are not heart surgeons or scheduling assistants who can answer medical questions on the physician's behalf - it's up to the physician and their team to do that part.

Sadly, this separation between sales and PR is so often confused. Ultimately, we help push leads to our clients and it's up to them to convert those into sales. If they're not answering the phone, not responding to emails, and not converting these prospects - it doesn't mean we've failed in our role it means there is a breakdown in their sales strategies.

What we can do is help clients evaluate their sales strategies by conducting market research, secret shopping, customer service and executive media training so that they can improve sales tactics to be better able to convert the leads or awareness we're generating. Checking in on things like response times, experiences, tech problem, site functionality, product effectiveness, and hosting focus groups to help give them the answers to the sales test are things we can do to support clients with improving their sales strategies.


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