Think Like a CEO: Measuring the Link Between PR and Sales

April 16th, 2014
Think Like a CEO: Measuring the Link Between PR and Sales Mark Stouse Crystal DeGoede BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas

Photo by PRNews

How do you measure the link between PR and sales and drive brand revenue and engagement?

Last week I attended the PRNews Measurement Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The annual conference brings together the most spirited group of measurement experts.

The session started off with its first speaker, Mark Stouse (Twitter: @markstouse), VP Global Connect at BMC Software. He stated that there are three big questions that every CEO wants the answer to, not just from the sales leaders or marketers but from everyone within the organization, including PR practitioners:

1. How well are you performing in your area of business?

2. How well are you leveraging the resources you already have?

3. What contributions are you making to the organization?

What the CEO or CFO of your organization cares about the most is revenue, margin and cash-flow. In order to make your way into a position of delivering value to the CEO and answer those three questions, you have to start thinking like a CEO. CEOs don’t care about possibilities, they care about probabilities; nor do CEOs care about how creative something is, they care about if it actually works. So, when CEOs talk about cause and effect, they want to see correlation (at a minimum), and preferably, causality.

Your c-suite expects you to understand what you do so well that you have the necessary data in-hand and are confident enough to present this data at any time. If you cannot predict what the outcome of your PR is going to be, then a CEO may see your success as luck, whereas if you’re able to use your data to predict an outcome, that would show skill. Showing the relationship between  public relations and sales through data-driven correlation and causality is critical to obtaining executive buy-in.

Stouse recommends four key steps to success:

1. Think like a CEO

2. Understand your functional performance
3. Understand what ROI really is
4. Connect the dots with sales productivity

Another way to tie your PR measurements and metrics to sales is to support the three legs of sales productivity (below) and to tie investment to revenue, margin and cash-flow.

1. Demand generation
2. Deal expansion (sale to the same person)
3. Sales velocity (close the deal quickly)

According to Stouse, we are all in sales. We have to sell to people on the outside and on the inside. It redefines the marketing mix model.

If you tie into the numbers and the money you will be credible and get that seat at the table.

Check back tomorrow for mathematical insights from the session’s second presenter, Angela Jeffrey.

3 Responses to “Think Like a CEO: Measuring the Link Between PR and Sales”

  1. Mark Stouse says:

    For more detail on what I shared at the PRNews event, feel free to download a slide presentation at You can also reach me via Twitter @markstouse.

  2. Mark Stouse says:

    Demand generation, deal expansion and sales velocity are directly related to revenue, margin and cash flow impact. These financial metrics — while accurate — are largely synthetic in large companies. You can’t tie your investment directly to them. The 3 legs of Sales Productivity are clean and measurable in any quality CRM tool. You can associate your Marketing and Communications investment with these factors quite easily, ultimately producing a level of correlation (and some causality) that the C-Suite recognizes as credible.

  3. Crystal DeGoede Crystal DeGoede says:

    Thank you Mark for your very informative insights on tying PR to sales, and the educational presentation you and Angie gave during the PRNews Measurement Conference. Lots of great takeaways! It is always a pleasure to hear you speak.

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