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How to Identify a Good Sales Campaign

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 10 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Business Entrepreneurs Sales Advertising

Entrepreneurs who commission sales campaigns need to know they’re not wasting their marketing budgets. “Advertising works” is a slogan many business people put their faith in, but it’s not always easy to tell at first glance if a campaign is going to meet expectations.

The Plan

Before a campaign takes shape, market research will have identified customer needs and the way in which a business must present a proposed product or service. A campaign plan should therefore use this research to answer the following questions.

  • Who are the potential customers, and how will the campaign encourage them to buy a product or service they’ve never tried before?
  • How will the campaign win customers from the competition?
  • What geographical area is the focus for the campaign?
  • What training do employees need?
  • What is the volume of anticipated enquiries and how will the business cope with these?
  • What is the chronological sequence of campaign events?
  • How will an entrepreneur measure progress?
  • Does the campaign have sufficient flexibility to adapt to changes in circumstance?

Sales Targets

The sales targets of a campaign must be clear. Everyone involved in the process should understand what they are working towards.

The presentation of the sales targets will change according to the type of marketing. For a wide ranging advertising campaign, however, an entrepreneur should ensure that the targets divide into three categories: new sales; renewal sales; and lapsed customers.

New sales stem directly from market research. The targets must consider the current and future marketing environment, and the prevailing economic situation.

An established business wants to continue selling to its existing customers. Sales targets should therefore have details of an appropriate renewals rate.

Lapsed customers may not have bought anything from a business for a while, but they’re still an opportunity for further sales. The campaign must aim to bring as many of these lapsed customers as possible back to the business.

Sales Forecasts

Sales forecasts support the targets and help entrepreneurs manage a campaign. Nonetheless, entrepreneurs should consider whether a sales campaign pays sufficient attention to the forecasts, particularly those from previous years.

Does the campaign refer to former sales growth, for instance, and its success against the forecasts? If there has been significant underachievement against forecasts in the past, how does the campaign intend to change this trend?

A new business, of course, will have to take a leap of faith when it comes to forecasts and sales campaigns. Even so, entrepreneurs can draw on market research and their own experience in deciding whether campaigns are going to meet anticipated success.

Sales Advice

There’s a danger that a sales campaign is built around the need for a business to be feasible. In other words, a campaign may predict unrealistically high sales that just happen to make a business profitable.

Entrepreneurs therefore need to question any aspect of a campaign not based on reasonable facts and figures. It’s also necessary for entrepreneurs to put their own sales assumptions to one side and determine if there’s enough evidence to show that a campaign stands a good chance of success.

To help, it can be a good idea to take advice from any experienced sales people on the team. Such advice may not be optimistic, but it may prevent a business squandering time, money, and effort.

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