Sales managers know that effective sales campaigns are critical to achieving sales success. Effectively managed ongoing campaigns are key to the success of almost any sales team’s performance. Sales campaigns are also useful at the end of a business cycle to boost revenue for an anemic business quarter or year.
Most campaigns consist of a special offer directed toward a specific audience that presents some incentive for buying a product now as opposed to later. The special offer can effectively accelerate sales and in many cases, swing quarterly or annual performances in a positive direction.
A well-conceived campaign offers a specific product at an attractive price to a qualified buyer under a specific set of conditions.
It sounds so easy, but sales managers know that it’s not. The offer may not be sufficiently enticing to the audience, or Sales may leave money on the table if the offer is extended beyond the intended audience to buyers who would buy without any added incentive.
In addition, sales transactions may be closed with buyers that do not meet the qualification criteria for the proffered deal. All of these misfires are well known to anyone who has managed a sales campaign.
Sales campaigns that fail do so because of poor planning and poor execution. But, even a good plan, unmanaged, may quickly become a disastrous plan. Technology provides a number of tools to make campaign management and control less onerous and more effective.
Technology can boost management’s ability to oversee, control and execute the campaign.
Four Critical Campaign Elements Improved by Technology
There are many elements making up a traditional campaign. We will consider four specific elements that are not only critical to the success of the campaign but are also frequently the source of issues limiting the campaign’s success.
Technology Helps to Define the Target – Who Is the Market and the Audience?
Who does the campaign address? Is it a specific type of company or user? A specific SIC or NAISC vertical? Perhaps the target is a portion of the existing customer base that possesses some common product or trait.
Who will be the actual audience for communications related to the campaign and offer? Will it be end-users of the product? Department heads? Will the campaign engage executives or C-level types?
Managers design campaigns that enable quick transactions. It’s a matter of need, solution and urgency. The campaign seeks to identify specific markets and contacts most likely to have some level of pain that is immediately addressed by the offered solution.
CPQ and CRM are both very useful in determining which companies within the install base meet those criteria indicative of need. CPQ is useful especially in identifying possible add-on sales products or features for customers within the CRM system that fit these descriptive elements.
CPQ can identify fully configured products or add on features that address specific needs. For example, perhaps the customer has supply chain issues or needs multiple-currency capability or additional manufacturing capacity. What products and features are available to help the customer address those needs? CPQ has the answer.
Technology Helps Set the Hook – What Is the Offer?
So, what is the offer? What are you presenting to the audience that compels them to act now rather than later?
Is your campaign designed to boost the rollout phase sales for a new product with a special price? Are you trying to pair up winner products with weak performers in a special promotional bundle?
Special pricing can motivate buyers to act now. This may be called introductory pricing, end-of-year pricing or special promotional pricing. Regardless, a special price is offered to buyers of the promoted product.
CPQ can make that process easier by invoking a special price list for a specific amount of time that covers a specific set of SKUs or model numbers. Additionally, CPQ will limit the pricing to a set of users or prospects that meet certain criteria. This prevents the use of the campaign to masquerade unauthorized discounts.
Technology Assures that Qualifying Conditions Are Met – What Are the Qualifying Limits?
Discounting must be a quid pro quo arrangement. Just offering a lower price to get an order is not really discounting, it’s closer to stealing from yourself.
Sales may offer a lower price, but the offer must include the word “if” in the sentence. The condition may be a time limit, a functional limit or a conditional limit.
- Timed-limited offer: You can have this for 20% off list … if you buy today.
- Functional limit offer: You can buy the Widget 2000 for our low introductory price … if you are currently a user of the Widget 1000 model.
- Conditional limit offer: We will include a special feature for no additional charge … if you sign for a multi-year maintenance agreement.
These conditions place a fence around eligibility for the special pricing. Sales managers know that creative sales reps will sometimes push that fence one way or the other to close a deal that is beyond the scope of the campaign.
CPQ can work these limits into the guided selling interactive interview process that guides the rep and buyer toward a solution that meets the buyer’s needs. Are you a current user? Yes or no. Will you sign a multiyear agreement? Yes or no.
The response triggers the price list selected to drive the quotation and proposal process. If the conditions aren’t met, the special pricing is not available.
Technology and the Sweetener – Closing the Deal
The final element is the sweetener. This is frequently a conditional limit that is put into place to create a sense of urgency on the part of the buyer or to provide the buyer with a sense of successfully holding out for the best deal possible.
When sales reps make the final pitch, they want to have something extra ready to help push a buyer who is teetering on the edge of yes and no but toward the yes side.
The sales manager may authorize a sweetener in the form of an additional discount, the inclusion of a special feature, free training or similar incentive. Again, the “if” word is critical. You get this … if you sign today, if you pay cash, if you are willing to wait one month for delivery.
Sweeteners have the effect of being the cherry on top of the sundae, but they also can take care of other issues such as product availability.
Again, CPQ is the tool that prevents the sweetener from being added to just any order from any customer.
Sales Managers Embrace Technology that Delivers Results
CPQ keeps the campaign limited, focused and effective by aiding in the management of these four elements. The campaign rewards those who deserve to be rewarded. Just as importantly, it prevents the campaign benefits from being offered to customers not eligible for the specific incentive offered.
The answer is CPQ and other technologies that help management to drive effective and successful campaigns.