Be it trying a free chocolate sample at your local grocery store, collecting free toys out of a cereal box, or standing in line to buy things you don’t need for a rushed “Buy 1, Get 1” offer, sales promotions have always left an imprint in our hearts. 

Sales promotion is defined as a sequence of sales activities that gain the attention of potential customers and give them incentive to buy or stimulate demand for a product.

In this page, we will cover all aspects of sales promotion including:

sales promotion

“Sales Promotion is the diverse collection of incentive tools, mostly short-term, designed to stimulate quicker and/or greater purchase of particular product/services by consumers or the trade.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Philip Kotler 

Importance Of Sales Promotion

Sales promotions provide a breather to salespeople as it removes some weight off their shoulder and induces prospects to purchase the product. In many ways, sales promotions help your salespeople get more leads and ultimately more customers. 

Why is sales promotion important to your business?

Helps grab eyeballs


Be it a shiny point-of-purchase display, or free trial pack of a product, sales promotions help prospects see your product in a new light, at least for a brief period of time. Once they have a (literal!) taste of your product, they are invested in your product, and become familiar. 

Highlights utility of the product


One of the toughest things for a brand is to gain the trust of the end consumer. But sales promotion acts as a bridge between a new blissfully unaware prospect, and a lead who has experienced your product. It even helps them recognize their need for a product, and how your product solves for that need, by giving them a teaser or sample of the product. 

Stimulates demand for new products


It helps businesses cover new geographical areas or industries, by incentivising potential customers to try out your product, rather than just stick to brands they are comfortable with. Sales promotions are the investments made by a business to win new prospects step out of their comfort zone, and familiarise themselves with your product.  It also helps clear surplus inventory for a business. 

Helps differentiate your product

Intense competition and crowded markets have increased the importance of sales promotion efforts as a crucial differentiator. When McDonalds started giving away toy figurines as part of the happy meals, it became a game changer for the food industry. It enticed many young customers to purchase the meal, even if they were not too hungry.

Boosts sales team performance

Sales promotions eases the pressure on your sales team by making the product more enticing with discounts, displays, discounts and exhibitions. It helps salespeople get more leads, and close more sales. 

Increases demand in off-season

If a product has a certain pattern of purchase, and is heavily seasonal in nature, like perishables or hotel occupancy, then sales promotions during the off-season acts as a booster and helps sell more products during that period. It helps stabilize demand and volume of products in the off-season  It also helps sales managers forecast demand, and stock products accordingly. 

Objectives Of Sales Promotion

 

Motivate salespeople to talk to more leads, and explore new territories 

Selling can be a hard task, especially when the demand has to be created by outbound sales reps with the help of sales calls and emails. Helping prospects identify their problems, and solving for it with your products, over a quick phone call, can be a strenuous task. Add sales promotion to the mix and you have a winner! 

By including sales promotion in your marketing mix, you are not only breaking the initial barrier between a prospect and your product, but also rewarding them for making a purchase, which they otherwise might miss out on. 

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Increase sales for your products, and move slow moving products faster

When your product and the promotional offer becomes viral, then this increases the demand for your product and increases sales revenue. It also helps clear out year-end inventory before you introduce new models. 

Sales promotions have the ability to 

  • Spread brand awareness
  • Spark curiosity
  • Generate faster sales
  • Spread social chatter
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4 Sales Promotion Strategies You Can Use

 

1. Deploy push and pull strategies

Push strategy focuses on pushing a product towards your audience. They might not know they need it, but offering a price discount, or setting up an attractive point of purchase display, may make your product seem attractive to them. This works well for low-cost or fast moving products.  

Pull strategy is more focused on building customer loyalty, and drawing them towards your product. It refers to activities that create a demand for your product. It could be either through advertising campaigns, word of mouth or social media.

2. Target the right audience 

Like how not every brand might suit you when you are looking for skincare products, the same applies to customers too. Not every person who can consume your product, would actually do it. Choose your sales promotion plan according to your buyer persona. 

Share information relevant to your audience, like Coursera does for each of its website visitors. 

Track website users using a unified CRM and get metrics like click rate, bounce rate and other email engagement metrics. 

For instance, if you want to launch budget smartphones targeting college-goers, then this research on this persona without your judgment affecting the outcome. 

  • Will they look forward to discounts, cashbacks, or coupon codes?
  • Will they consume content offline or on social media?
  • Will they compare with competition on your website, or YouTube reviews?

3. Limit availability/ time period

Fear of missing out or FOMO, is an interesting psychological phenomenon where your customers always want to be in the know. In fact, 64% agree that they are gripped by FOMO and actually make purchases from the fear of being left out of the social order. 

For instance, Dbrand sends out promotional mailers like these promoting the FOMO mindset.

By limiting availability of your products on sale and providing discounts for short time periods stimulates FOMO and speeds up the demand cycle. 

4. Track entire promotion strategy 

The entire purpose of running a discount or sharing coupon codes to launch a product, is to measure the impact that it creates, and how much sales and revenue these sales promotion tacts drive. Using a CRM to track data like:

  • Prospects who registered for your event
  • Prospects who visited your website landing page for promotions
  • Response to promotional mailers
  • Sales volume during the promotion period vs regular sales volume
  • Feedback from prospects when they trial your product
  • Revenue generated during the promotion period

Types of B2C Sales Promotions 

Discounts 

We remember gloating to our friends and family about what a great deal we got at an ecommerce flash sale. Getting a deal or winning a bargain gives a sense of achievement to us. The same applies to prospects. The sense of accomplishment they feel when they get your product at a lower price is a huge motivator to purchase. That is why discounts are a great sales promotion tool. 

 

Coupons 

Coupons are similar to giving discounts. The difference being that coupons are given in a piece of paper or in a virtual form. This gives the prospects a sense of exclusivity and drives them to your store or website.

sales promotions

You could also send coupons to visitors who browsed your website like OnePlus does and dropped off for some reason, or have experienced bad customer service to try and retain them.

Free shipping 

According to a study, 80% of consumers would be more tempted to buy from Amazon if they were offered free shipping. Free shipping as a sales promotional tool gives a sense of security to consumers, and also saves them additional costs to purchase your products.

Free Samples

Providing small amounts of your product for free helps generate prospects’ interest and offer them a peek into its quality as well. Works well for new launches and FMCG products. Brands like Herbal Essence provide a free fragrance sheet with the product purchased to help get a feel of their other varieties.

Cashbacks

Cashback promotions are an easy way to please both the retailers and consumers. While customers feel they are rewarded for each purchase, the retailers are happy that the product is sold at full price. It encourages customers to keep buying from your brand on a regular basis as they receive some value in return.

Exhibitions 

Exhibitions do not provide any reduced prices to consumers, but offer a glimpse of your product and brand experience to the potential customers. Think of it as a huge part of your target market, fit into a huge space, and anyone could become a lead. Participating in exhibitions also encourages healthy competition with other brands, and allows consumers to compare and make a choice.

Competitions 

Holding contests for prospects rakes curiosity and helps generate buzz around your brand. Contests like quizzes, lucky draws, surveys, caption writing, polls, etc can be used to give consumers an opportunity to win something like dinner vouchers, gym membership. 

For instance, Zoom hosted a virtual zoom background contest where participants had to submit their most creative zoom backgrounds. This contest also helps drive usage of the product. 

Types of B2B Promotions

Free trials 

16% of companies get more than half of their new business from free trials. Trials offer a hands-on approach and let customers experience the product in real time, for a short period of time. Once they are onboard, it gets difficult for them to continue without your product, and hence they signup for more. This works especially well for B2B SaaS products.

Buyback allowance 

A buyback allowance is a type of B2B sales promotion where you give an incentive to  channel members to restock your product ahead of a promotional offer. More channel members you are able to convince, more products you can sell through sales promotions

Trade buying allowance 

Trade buying allowance is provided to dealers who purchase from you within a certain period of time. It is used when you have to introduce a new product in the market and motivates retailers to buy in large quantities to get a price discount.

Merchandise allowance 

In this type of sales promotion, you offer an allowance to the retailers if they agree to feature your product through banners or P.O.P displays. This encourages retailers to promote your products in their retail store or website. 

P.O.P Display

Point of purchase display is a silent salesman. It calls the attention of the customer to the product with the hope of initiating buying action. This device is known by several names such as dealer aids, dealer displays, merchandising and point of sale materials.

Free Merchandise 

Providing merchandise like keychains with your company logo or a T-shirt with your product name to retailers reinforces your brand and encourages them to purchase from you further. Moreover, customers also associate with your brand more than before when they see these merchandise in use at a retail store.

Sales promotion ideas and examples to increase sales

Humanize your brand 

Sales promotions are not always about making a quick sale. If sales promotion is aimed at motivating people to buy, then an important motivator is humanizing your brand and making it more relatable.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and everything around us was uncertain, Moz offered free training courses to all visitors for free, with a heartfelt promo code.

 

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Industry conferences

Holding an industry conference positively impacts your brand presence and establishes you as an industry thought leader. This improves brand awareness and helps build your supplier network. Before hosting an industry conference, consider these factors:

  • What is the purpose of your conference?
  • What would make it a success?
  • What do your target audience look for?

For instance, SaasBOOMi is a community of SaaS Founders and product builders shaping India’s SaaS industry, where even the Founder and CEO of Freshworks, Girish Mathrubootham is in the core team. SaasBOOMi holds an industry conference every year where the best minds in business come together to ideate and discuss industry trends.

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Campaigns highlighting buyer pain points 

You do your research, you are aware of your customer’s pain points, but somehow it does not come out in your conversations or pitches. Campaigns that talk about what customers are experiencing in real time can help them identify with your brand. 

For instance, Freshworks rebranded Freshsales CRM into Freshworks CRM recently and we expanded our target audience to include marketing leaders and teams in addition to sales teams. So we designed a campaign around the pain points that marketing and sales experience every single day in their lives, including a broken customer experience, juggling records, revenue attribution and more. Below is the campaign page that targets both the diaspora. 

 

sales promotion


Free goodies

Anything for free works. It also gives a sneak peak to customers. Samples are not limited to just FMCG products. For instance, Netflix India  struck a chord with its potential customers by offering free access to its product for two days. Yes, for free! 

 

sales promotion

Social media giveaway

Sales and marketing work on the same goal - to attract good quality prospects. So it doesn’t hurt to hold sales promotions over social media and embrace the new followers. 

Dunkin’ donuts designed an exclusive RV filled with Dunkin goodies, and asked its followers on Instagram to share photos with who they want to take a roadtrip with, and the lucky winner would get to drive away in the RV. 

 

sales promotion

     

Coors is another brand that struck a chord with its social media followers. It gave away free beers to its Twitter followers based on a competition where followers had to tag someone who they felt deserved a beer during the pandemic. 

 

sales promotion

Loyalty programs

Rewarding customers if they stay loyal to you is a great way to encourage repeat purchases Popular retailer Macy’s introduced a Star Loyalty program where every purchase provides shoppers with new benefits. 

 

sales promotion

 

Reward programs are popular among retailers, but now even ride sharing companies like Uber are exploring this promotional method. Travelers can earn discounts by opting into the ride sharer app’s Blue, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond levels; get priority pick-up at airports; and even lock in certain prices to avoid surges.


sales promotion

Referral programs 

Referral programs can help you get leads and revenue like no other type of sales promotion. This is because:

  • Prospects are already qualified and trust your brand and product
  • They are willing to negotiate with you
  • This method costs almost nothing for your business

Reach out to existing customers who love your products, request for a referral, commit to not pressurising who they recommend, pitch the value of your product, close the process and appreciate your customer. 

If you include referrals as an important part of your sales promotion strategy, you can leverage the relationship you share with your clients and also win best customers with the help of your best customers. For instance, money app Google Pay rewards existing users for onboarding their friends and family onto the platform too.

Get started with Sales Promotions 

Sales promotions help boost sales volume and also speed up the sales cycle. But having too many simultaneous promotional activities can be hard to track for your teams. Using a unified CRM for your sales and marketing teams can help streamline sales promotions and scale it to increase revenue. 

So how exactly does a CRM help you with sales promotions?

With a unified CRM, you can:

Track sales promotion campaigns

With a unified CRM that pulls together your sales and marketing data, you can track metrics like sales targets versus achieved, promotional campaign performance, individual sales and marketing performance.

Send emails from the CRM

Sales promotional offers often require your sales reps to send out bulk emails to a specific set of prospects. If they can time their email with automation, schedule a series of emails, set reminders to do follow up activities and more from a powerful CRM with email automation, your sales promotion activities will be more comprehensive and easy to manage from one tool.

Engage with leads from the CRM

Use one tool to pull out prospect data, track prospect interest, engage within the CRM, and measure performance. Make the best use of 2 way email sync, built-in phone, sales sequences, SMS and chat.

Use AI to reach out to the right leads

With an AI-powered CRM, you can get actionable insights across the customer journey and deliver highly personalized engagement. Identify priority contacts you can promote products to and get suggestions on the next best actions to drive conversations further.

Stay on top of every sales activity

A sales CRM helps your sales teams do away with the mundane task of data entry and can automatically capture lead details from a sales promotion and directly into the CRM and assign leads to salespeople and reduce lead response time. Send promotional emails to new leads or renewal reminder emails to existing customers.