Even when companies have a steady stream of new customers, sales promotion is a powerful way to generate new revenue. Marketers can use sales promotions, or promos, to stimulate demand and bring in a whole load of new customers.
In this article, we look at how consumer and business brands (B2C and B2B) use sales promotion to generate new leads, win customers, and accelerate growth.
What is sales promotion?
Sales promotion is when a marketing team implements a short-term campaign to generate new interest in products or services. These could be new products or services, or when a company launches in a new market and needs a fresh burst of marketing activity focusing on a particular country or region.
Or a sales promotion campaign could simply be a way of generating interest in a company’s current product/service ranges, to secure more sales leads in the pipeline.
Generally speaking, sales promotion is a short-term strategy. Often designed to hit a specific target, or focused on a specific date, such as Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Although that’s more common for B2C brands, a growing number of B2B companies are also starting sales promotional activity around that week too.
Objectives of sales promotion
Sales promotion, whether B2B or consumer sales promotion (B2C) is primarily designed to generate new sales leads, win customers, and increase sales and revenue. It’s often used as a short-term tactic to hit targets, whether that’s for a new service/product launch, entering a new market, or reducing prices (discount offerings).
When used strategically, sales promotion is a powerful way for marketing to generate a new pipeline of sales leads for the sales team. Once these leads are in the pipeline, sales needs to act quickly to convert them into customers.
For B2B sales teams, this usually means having the resources in place before sales promotion starts to take calls/demos quickly. The lead should be coming in warm, qualified, and ready to see and engage with the product or service. So make sure you are ready, with software such as CrankWheel to provide Instant Demos.
Whereas, B2C brands usually have online (eCommerce) and in-store offers to quickly convert new customers. Landing pages, complete with quick-buy options are the best ways to win new customers.
Advantages and disadvantages of sales promotion
Sales promotion activity often has numerous upsides. It’s a great way of testing customer/market responsiveness to product and service offerings, and assessing price sensitivity, and customer behaviors. However, there are a few downsides too, which we mention below.
Pros of sales promotion
- Create loyalty and enthusiasm for your brand
- (Hopefully) secure a new sales pipeline of potential customers
- Win new customers, increase sales and revenue
Cons of sales promotion
- (Usually) short-term in nature, and may require offering a discount (reducing margins)
- Preparation is required, and it needs to fit within annual sales and marketing activities
- Doesn’t always work, you could pull in lots of new potential customers that aren’t suitable
Importance of sales promotion
Sales promotion plays an important role in the sales and marketing mix. Although companies shouldn’t do this too often, it’s a useful way to generate new interest in your products and services. Especially if it looks like revenue is dropping, or there are ambitious growth-based targets to hit.
One thing to watch out for is becoming overly reliant on sales promotion. If this works and keeps working, then it could put a company into a short-term mindset, preventing you from focusing on long-term growth campaigns.
At the same time, watch out for your competitors. Are they offering one promotion after another? If that is the case, then this could negatively affect the market.
Customers might simply expect discounts and promotional offers, which could devalue the brand and product/service offerings. It’s known as the “sales promotion trap”, and it’s something marketing and sales teams need to watch out for. Grow, but not at any cost, and not through running too many promotions.
Consumer promotion (B2C) vs. Trade promotion (B2B)
Consumer promotion is often discount-orientated, with eCommerce landing pages at the end of the funnel. Consumer promotion uses marketing, email, social media and advertising to pull in a flood of new potential customers. With the aim of converting as many as possible. Discounts are almost always offered.
Whereas, trade promotion (B2B) isn’t always about discounts. It’s about generating new sales leads. Winning new customers and converting as many as possible. Especially if you are launching new products or services.
Roles of sales promotion in the marketing communication mix
Sales promotion plays a useful role in the marketing communication mix. Often, when sales promotions are run, new landing pages, email campaigns, and other elements of the marketing mix are created especially for a sales promotion. Everything is trackable so that a company can see how many leads and new customers have been secured this way, even if they are returning customers.
Types of sales promotions
- Sales and special offers
- Launching new products and services
- Entering a new market
- Selling an inventory of stock (B2B or B2C) before launching new products
- A special offer around a specific date, e.g. Black Friday or Cyber Monday
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