Hot Topic: What’s the Business Case for Comms?

From IABC’s The Hub online community: IABC members weigh on a question about demonstrating the value of communication.

What’s the business case for comms?

I’ve been given the opportunity to present to my company’s sales team on the importance of the communication department. Any tips and tricks on how to do this would be appreciated. Where to begin? What to definitely touch on? What to stay away from? I don’t want it to turn into a lecture.

Tracy Bucholtz
Communication Specialist

McFarlan Rowlands
Insurance Brokers,
London, Ontario

I would focus on “How communications can help you” and highlight examples.

Are there tools that you’ve created to make things easy for them that they may not be aware of? Also focusing on how they can leverage tools to connect to their customers (social media for example—ask them if they are active on LinkedIn and discuss how they can easily share content on their timelines and their customers would see it). Discuss joint comm opportunities with your business and the customers—is this something they’ve even thought of asking their customers about before?  If not, show them the benefits and how easy it could be.

And then ask them: What is missing? What would make their jobs easier from a comm standpoint?

Susan Jackson
Head of Communications, Performance Materials North America
BASF Corp.
Wyandotte, Michigan


As far as an approach, salespeople are under pressure to deliver increasingly profitable sales.

Not just sales. But profitable sales. So, it’s critical that they know you understand that and are able to identify where communication breakdowns are impeding their ability to deliver increasingly more profitable sales.

The second part is to use examples that are hard and measurable. What they don’t like is for communication people to talk in soft and fluffy “what ifs.” They want to know: Did the communication people help us to sell more (fill in the blank)?

Jim Shaffer, IABC Fellow
, Jim Shaffer Group
Annapolis, Maryland


Always start with understanding your audience, what their interests are and the language they use.

What they care about is how comms can make them better able to achieve their objectives. Look at general concepts such as what impact reputation has on trust and sales, and you can then drill down into areas such as lead generation through content generation and amplification. Be patient, and make the session more of a Q&A than a presentation.

Alex Malouf, SCMP
Corporate Communications Manager, India, Middle East and Africa

Procter & Gamble


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Jessica Burnette-Lemon

Jessica Burnette-Lemon is the senior content manager for IABC.

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