How to Create a Sales Campaign

Salespeople in car dealership reviewing the weekly sales advertisement on a tablet device.

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Sales campaigns are a great way to make a push for more sales in a short time. A sales campaign is a planned sales strategy that uses one or more channels to reach leads and convert them into customers. Most sales campaigns run for a limited time only, which is part of their appeal – by putting a time limit on the campaign, both salespeople and prospects are motivated to move quickly on sales.

Plan Ahead

An effective sales campaign requires some planning and forethought. The first step is to decide on your campaign goals. Then you must set your campaign parameters – how much you'll spend on materials, which sales channels you'll use, the nature of any special offers you'll have during the course of the campaign, how long it will run, and possibly extra goals and bonuses for the sales team.

When you set your goals, be specific. It often helps to set the main goal and a stretch goal – for example, the main goal might be to sell 5,000 units of your new product, and a stretch goal might be to sell 8,000 units.

Your goals will help determine the rest of the campaign's form because once you know your target, you'll roughly know how long it should take to reach those goals (and thus how long the campaign will run) as well as how much money it makes sense to spend on your campaign.

If your goal of 5,000 units sold will net you about $50,000 in profits, it makes sense to spend $2,000 organizing your campaign – but it doesn't make sense to spend $40,000 since that would pretty well wipe out your profits even if you achieve your goal.

Make Educated Offers

Your expected profits will also determine the nature of the special offer if any, that you give to prospective customers. Any campaign will do better if you can offer a deal since any “limited time offer” adds a sense of urgency that motivates prospects to buy quickly. It also appeals to the natural desire to get something for nothing – or at least, something for much less than it's worth.

But you'll need to choose a special offer that won't dig too deeply into your profits. The exception to this rule is the “loss leader” campaign. This type of sales campaign is designed not to make money but to entice prospects into becoming customers, even if the company doesn't profit immediately. A loss leader campaign works well if you have other products you can sell to existing customers that WILL make you a great deal of money.

One classic example is the checking account. Banks will give money or gifts to customers when they open a checking account because they know that customer is likely to also open other accounts, such as savings and investment products, and those accounts are where the banks make their money.

Motivation Is Key

Once you've decided on the terms of the campaign, you'll need to think about how you can motivate your sales team to make the campaign succeed. Without cooperation from the salespeople in the trenches, even the best-planned campaign will fail. So most sales campaigns are best accompanied by some extra compensation for the sales team.

The easiest and possibly most motivating tool is, of course, cash. For example, if your campaign is intended to promote your new product, you might offer the sales team double their normal commission for that product only.

Or you might set up a contest, where the salesperson who sells the most units of the new product gets a big bonus. If funding is running a bit short, you can also try some non-monetary rewards. If you're not sure what to offer the sales team, go to the source – ask your salespeople what kinds of rewards (other than cash) they'd like to get.