What’s the ROI of PR? It depends on who you ask. If you ask a sales manager or a VP of sales, they’re liable to give you a very different answer than the VP of communications, and the answer may not always be pleasant or positive.
Why is this the case, when there are ways to quantifiably demonstrate the value of public relations?
The answer can be summed up in one word: BANT.
In sales, especially in complex transactions (houses, mortgages, cars, high value B2B and B2C), the acronym BANT has been the gold standard of lead qualification ever since IBM introduced it into its sales processes decades ago. BANT stands for four characteristics that define the quality of a sales lead:
The ideal lead to a salesperson is someone who has plenty of money, solo approval authority, a clear need, and an urgent timeframe.
Now, consider the outcomes of effective public relations. Ultimately, we generate audiences who are aware of what we have to offer and trust in our brands and reputation. Awareness and trust are meta-qualities which influence a sale; no trust means the sale never even gets started. No awareness means the customer never enters the funnel at all.
The outcomes of PR are so much higher in the funnel that the average salesperson doesn’t see them at all. Marketing – the process of converting qualified members of an audience into leads – sits between PR and sales.
If public relations professionals want to demonstrate our worth downfunnel, how would we convert what we do into the language of sales? Using attribution analysis tools, we can help identify the value of the audience we create.
With this information, you can start to identify if you’re reaching the right businesses and places with your PR efforts.
Sales and public relations can speak the same language, the language of business success. We just need to understand key outcomes for each team and how our results lead to others’ results and vice versa for maximum impact.