A Not-So-Secret Sales Weapon

Author: 
Rafe Gomez

Along with being a vehicle for announcing important company developments, online news releases can also be a powerful tool to help B2B companies dramatically increase incoming customer inquiries, fresh leads, and new sales opportunities. They can also energize offline sales, activate old or uninterested prospects, and stimulate the beginning stages of buyer’s journeys from new customers.

Here’s how to do it:

Define the “gold nugget needs” of your target customers.
All of your company’s customers have “gold nugget needs.” If your online news releases consistently prove that your products/services can successfully address those needs, the releases could help to close new business with prospective customers. To determine the gold nugget needs of your customers, meet with your sales execs and find out the exact wording that their target customers use to search for, or inquire about, your company’s products/services.

Craft stories that demonstrate your company’s ability to address your customers’ gold nugget needs.
Tales of customer successes using your products/services, details about enticing new upgrades/developments/enhancements to your company’s offerings, and the achievement of industry awards/recognition offer excellent proof points that your company can solve your customers’ urgent gold nugget needs. These stories can be developed as a result of your communications with, and feedback from, your sales team. Be sure that the gold nugget needs of your customers drive the throughline of your stories, and include pertinent videos and images as support.

Optimize your stories by sprinkling in the specific gold nugget needs keywords.
Once a news story is completed, judiciously and tastefully spice it with the exact gold nugget needs keywords that you’ve learned from your sales team. Integrate these keywords, where applicable and relevant, into the body of the story. Don’t force them in: they should flow with the story’s narrative and not seem out of place. This process will help your story to be listed among search results when your company’s prospective customers use those keywords in their searches for the products/services that your company offers.

Launch your news story online.
Following optimization, it’s essential that your story is discoverable in more locations than just your website’s newsroom: the idea of “build it and they will come” simply doesn’t work when it comes to this kind of campaign. To get the word out and cast a wide net among prospective leads/prospects/customers, launch your story using an online PR platform. You’ll not only be able to include multimedia elements with each news release, you’ll also be able to target journalists who cover the exact topics that your news story discusses, which could result in valuable media coverage for your company.

Educate your sales team.
Set up a call or meeting with your SVP of Sales. The topic of the meeting should be appealing, something like “A Powerful New Tool to Close More Sales and Generate New Leads.” In your confab, explain that your online news releases can be used by your sales team to help them validate that their products/services solve their customers’ gold nugget needs, and that these releases should be shared* with prospective customers. They can also be sent to prospects that lost interest, went cold, or stopped responding to your sales team’s communications.

Repeat steps 1 through 4.
It takes a while to populate the Web with enough content that will attract the attention of your company’s target customers. But if you craft the right stories that are enhanced with relevant gold nugget needs keywords, it will be impossible for prospective customers to not discover them and to potentially be influenced by them.

Properly crafted news releases that are optimized to address the “gold nugget needs” of your customers can be strategically leveraged to inspire offline and online sales. For some organizations, it may be an unorthodox approach to their PR efforts, but if properly planned in conjunction with your company’s sales pros, it can yield immediate and long-term measurable results.

*Share news releases online in the newsroom of your company website; via your company’s social media channels, in your sales team’s web meetings/pitches/presentations; via email marketing to your sales team’s customer database; offline in your sales team’s new business meetings/pitches/presentations

Rafe Gomez is a principal at VC Inc. Marketing, a provider of Sales Inquiry Optimized (S.I.O.) multimedia content for companies around the world.