This article exclusively examines these 4 essentials of business success within PR, marketing and sales. Within other articles I will discuss back-end operations, like admin, finance, business development, customer service and other departments, which all play vital roles in a successful company.
This brief overview of business basics will hopefully provide a good foundation for considering how your business is fulfilling all 4 P’s effectively, or not.
Now let’s take a closer look at the 4 P’s of Planning, Process, Pipeline and Profit within PR, marketing and sales.
The 4 P’s in PR
PR for entrepreneurs basically means positioning yourself as an expert or at least an an authority on a give subject. If you do it particularly well you may even someday be considered a thought leader on the subject. If this relates directly to your business’s mission, so much the better.
Planning in PR is about creating a strategy for what PR methods will best promote your expertise. I personally use live streaming as my primary PR mechanism for my work at Awaken. I live stream my own business success strategy series combining business basics, spiritual guidance and psychology of success almost daily on Periscope. I also host the weekly Conscious Business Leaders TV show which gives me a chance to interview current thought leaders in the movement toward a more holistic business climate.
Process in PR is about how you will go about executing the plan. To continue my previous example, for Awaken that would mean the methodology for how I book guests for the show, making sure all shows are staffed, promoted and prepared well in advance, and that guests also feel well prepared for each show. It also involves the follow up to each show. What systems will be used to make sure that everything happens when it needs to happen and that nothing is falling through the cracks?
Pipeline means the flow of prospects that hopefully is always strong. In this example that would mean that there are plenty of people I want to interview who want to be interviewed and are in the process of being scheduled for shows through the current season and into the next. That there will never be a week without a great guest, means there is a healthy pipeline.
Profit in PR mainly means that you are setting yourself up to be able to charge higher prices, because your authority and expertise is well known. It also makes it easier for people to say yes to you, because they feel like they are getting a known property. Good PR basically sets you up to make higher profit in the other departments.
The 4 P’s in Marketing
Marketing is concerned with getting the right message in front of the right people at the right locations in a way that causes them to take a desired action. That action usually involves progressing toward becoming a customer or client of the business. It is the relationship building of the business that includes a call to action that PR generally does not include. Someone joining your email list or a Facebook group you administer would both be responses to an effective marketing call to action.
Planning in marketing is well known. What strategy will you use to get people to see your calls to action and respond favorably to them? Will it involve networking meetings, social media, being interviewed? What’s the plan?
Process is how you track your ROI, the return on your investment, for each marketing effort. You need to know what’s work and what’s not, and also be able to compare how well it is working to other marketing approaches that may also be showing results. Continual optimization is critical in marketing, making each dollar and hour go further toward delivering results.
Pipeline is generally measured in such metrics as number of new leads, number of new sales opportunities, number of eyeballs reached, number of email opens, number of new subscribers, etc. It is the flow of new contacts and opportunities as a direct result of marketing efforts. There must be a way to track and manage this.
Profit is still indirect in this stage. Marketing sets you up for sales to be much easier to achieve in the next stage, because your prospect is already familiar with you before you ask them to give you money. Know, like and trust are the keywords for marketing. Once you’ve established that, the profit will flow more easily in the sales departments.
The 4 P’s in Sales
Sales can be thought of as many things, but in the end it comes down to asking someone to make a decision whether to pay you for a product or service, or not. You need either a yes or a no. That’s sales.
If you never ask the prospect to buy anything from you, all the marketing in the world won’t make your business a success. You simply have to risk hearing no in order to get to yes, and only getting to yes results in any company revenue.
Planning in sales is largely about pricing and delivery mechanisms. You need to know what you’re selling, how you will deliver it and how much you are going to charge for it that will make a yes most likely.
Process is how you will keep track of prospects as they move through the pipeline from marketing to either a yes or a no. You may need only 1 interaction with a prospect to sell a $20 product, but need 3 to sell a $500 service or 5 to sell at $5,000 program. Or maybe not. This varies a lot from one industry to another and one company to another, often based on what has happened in the PR and marketing stages before the prospect reaches sales. Just make sure you have a cohesive system in place for how you manage sales and make sure no one slips through the cracks, effectively leaving money on the table and leaving a potential customer/client with needs you could have fulfilled with those needs remaining unmet.
Pipeline for sales is also about management. There needs to be a constant flow of new potential customers who are converting to yeses, so that revenue is continually flowing into the business. You don’t want a cashflow chart that looks like a ride at an amusement park. You want sound revenue projections that allow you to optimize accounting decisions. You also want to have insight into the sales pipeline so that you can make sure you are doing the things you need to do for each prospect to advance them along through the process, so that they eventually get to either a firm yes or a firm no. You don’t want people stuck in one stage in your pipeline indefinitely.
Profit in sales is the realization of all the other efforts up to this point. It is where the money either flows in or does not. Maximizing profit is the primary goal of all that has come up in the previously considered departments.
PR means nothing without eventually leading to increased revenue. The same goes for marketing. Being able to close a sale is therefore the most indispensable skill in business. If you can do it well and consistently and even enjoy the process, you’re ahead of the game even if you flub up some of the rest of this. But if you can’t close a sale, no matter how well you do in promoting your business, it won’t add up to anything.
How strong are your sales skills? Have you found a way of doing sales that feels good to you, to the point that you actually look forward to having sales conversation the same way you might look forward to any heart-centered interaction?
Putting it All Together in Action
These are all useful ideas, but only application will do you any good. This isn’t about theory, but rather about knowing what you need to be building up within your business, that you may have been neglecting. Often revenue problems (and overwork) result from missing links among the 4 P’s in the various departments that make up a thriving company.
If this is something you’d like help developing, complete one of Awaken’s business assessments and perhaps I can offer you a free consultation to explore just what that help might effectively look like, given what your business most needs right now.
While I can’t offer a free consultation to everyone, I promise to at least send you feedback that I believe will be useful to you.