It might seem odd to compare something as nuts-and-bolts and finite as lead management with something as seemingly intangible as public relations. After all, lead management is all about tracking and proving return on investment. And the running argument for years in regards to PR, often in spite of sound advice from PR measurement professionals like Katie Paine and PRIME Research’s Mark Weiner, centers on “how impossible it is to track and show PR results. PR is, after all, not completely in our control.”
Hogwash. What has attracted me to understanding and supporting these two disciplines since the 1980’s is that, when performed well, both focus on the long-term process of building sound business relationships.
If you’re a great lead manager, you know that an inquiry can be turned into a qualified lead, and a qualified lead into a sale, for you or your competitor. In the process of nurturing that qualified lead, you get to know your prospect and his or her specific needs. The same is true in PR. You must get to know not only your target audiences, but the influencers and conduits (editors, reporters, bloggers) who reach out to those audiences.
Even as social media channels bring us directly in touch with our ‘publics,’ we need to keep their timely product, service, and privacy needs in mind. Building sound, long-term relationships means we must not be caught “NAPping.”
NAPping is an acronym I’ve created to help remind me what NOT to do with prospects, customers and business-friendly partners:
• N – Neglect
• A – Abuse
• P - Procrastinate
Whether you’re handling inquiries from the latest trade show or responding to an editor query, time and respect are of the essence. Don’t let your marketing and sales staff members do the inquiry ‘dance of avoidance.’ Be sure you have a mandatory streamlined process in place to manage those inquiries and turn them into qualified, hot leads right away… as if they had a reporter with a deadline waiting!
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Since 1990, Christel Hall has been helping business-to-business marketers with product and service writing and publicity as owner/operator of PRowrite Public Relations. She is also the public relations advisor on the board of the Sales Lead Management Association.- by Christel K. Hall, APR CBC