What Is a Sales Promotion Schedule?

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Sales promotions should only be one part of your marketing mix.
Sales promotions should only be one part of your marketing mix. (Image: promotion image by gallagan from Fotolia.com)

Sales promotions are initiatives an organization decides to implement to promote and increase sales, product usage or to shine a light on a new product or service. Sales promotions can differ greatly by company and industry, so putting together a complete list of common techniques is extremely difficult, at best. Here is an example of a generic approach to creating and executing a sales promotion schedule, which can be used by any company to help increase overall revenue.

Establish Promotional Sales Goals

Write a list of your company's overall sales promotional goals for the current quarter, year or other established time for completing a particular program. Your sales goals should follow basic marketing principles--get your product or service in front of your target market, and strongly encourage the decision-makers or individuals within that market to give your sales offering a "test run."

Establish Promotional Activities

Create promotional programs that include, for instance, vehicles such as discount coupons for customers; a sampling booth, table or other type of display at a local store; networking at trade shows and local after-hours business events with potential vendors, clients and even existing customers; or holding a contest where the winner receives a significant discount--or a free offering--for your product or service.

Review Previous Promotion Successes ad Failures

Review the success of all previous sales promotions. Based on that information and the list of your company's current sales promotional goals, write out a sales promotion schedule for the rest of the fiscal year that incorporates previous successful sales strategies, with the new information gleaned from up-to-date market research and findings.

Create a Detailed Spreadsheet

Build a spreadsheet to track every detail of your sales promotion schedule, which will help you clearly see what approaches work, as well as detailed information about each previous sales program. List the following columns--or use similar wording for each spreadsheet column: the planned promotion; the anticipated beginning and ending dates; items or resources that will be needed to execute the sales promotion schedule; projected costs and actual costs; the ongoing effectiveness of the promotion; and detailed notes about the outcome--what worked and what didn't work. Make sure to keep the spreadsheet updated daily with new and existing information.

Study a 12-month Calendar

Make note of the significant days and seasons, especially celebrations, special events and holidays. These days can be used in concert with your sales promotion schedule and applied to the current plan. You the need to make your sales and marketing team aware of upcoming holidays, and decide how those days can be used to increase your established sales promotion.

Put Your Plan into Action

State your sales objectives, which should include: increasing revenue; retaining and rewarding existing customers or clients; attracting new customers, clients or first-time buyers; depleting inventories of discontinued items; increasing the overall number of customers or clients; create a sense of urgency with prospects. Then, get everyone in your organization on board--from the chief executive officer to the receptionist, everyone should be aware of and possess intimate knowledge of the sales promotion schedule, because promoting your product or service should become embedded in your company's culture.

Review the Results

Look over the tracking spreadsheet of your sales promotion schedule and take note of how effective each approach is to the overall sales goals. Once you've reviewed the results and determined what worked and what did not work with your sales promotion schedule, meet with your sales and marketing teams and develop new strategies and new promotions for increasing sales based on all information gathered from the previous sales promotion. It's important to remember that, more often than not, running the same promotion over a long period of time discourages repeat business. Customers always seek fresh, new and valuable promotions.

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