Let's talk about something that might’ve been bugging you for a while—your sales gifting strategies. We've all been there, scratching our heads, wondering why those gifts we put so much money and effort into just didn't hit the mark.
Whether it was the wrong timing, the wrong person, the wrong gift, or a combo of all three, it ends in a missed connection or sour experience for your recipients. When done well, gifts, incentives, and rewards tucked into your sales process can book more demos, close more deals, and make more money (ya know, all that good stuff). If you’re not seeing any of those needles move, it’s time to pop the hood and explore what’s misfiring in your current gifting strategy.
Let’s dive into why your sales gifting hasen't worked how you hoped and, more importantly, how to turn things around.
Top Reasons Sales Gifting Strategies Fail
1. Lack of personalization or emotional connection
One of the main reasons your gifting strategies may have failed in the past is the lack of personalization. Sending generic gifts that have no relevance to your prospects or clients shows a lack of effort and consideration — absolute no-nos with today’s consumers.
In this competitive market, personalization is the crux to standing out and making a lasting impression that not only wins new business but keeps those clients around for years. In fact, this study shows that more than 80% of people pay just as much attention to how you treat them as they do to the actual product or service you sell. When your brand experience makes up half of a person’s purchase decision, it’s important not to skimp anywhere along the customer journey.
“The most successful companies right now are those that have figured out how to reimagine every touchpoint a consumer has with their brand, delivering an experience-based, emotional connection. These organizations are looking past traditional ways to attract and retain customers and designing compelling, personalized experiences—via advanced technologies— around products and services to better engage,” says Ross Freedman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rightpoint in this article he penned.
Traditional sales gifting looks a lot like cheap branded knick-knacks or generic gifts, sans personalized note, sent at weird times or only around the holidays. The thing is, prospects and customers know when you’re not paying attention, and impersonal, cold experiences like that send a clear signal that you don’t value them.
Feeling unacknowledged and unappreciated across any touchpoint is enough cause for today’s shoppers to disengage and go looking for greener pastures. Take the time to understand your recipients' preferences, interests, and needs, and tailor your gifts accordingly and make each send as intentional and personal as possible.
Another common mistake is choosing gifts that don't align with your company’s brand or values. Your gifts should reflect your company's image and reinforce the message you want to convey. For instance, if your company offers environmental cleanup services, reaching out to prospective clients with a gift sent in too much plastic packaging and bubble wrap could cause some disconnect and even erode credibility.
Leverage each touchpoint to its fullest and use every email and interaction as a time to emphasize what you’re all about. The more cohesive the experience from first touch onward, the more likely you’ll be able to grow deep roots with your customers and build up increasingly elusive loyalty.
If there's a gap between your brand and the gifts you're sending, it can confuse or even alienate your recipients. Ensure that your gifts align with your brand identity and values to create a consistent and memorable experience that lingers beyond your emails or conversations.
3. Follow-up is nowhere to be found
Sending a gift is just the first step, but following up is equally important. Maybe you sent a gift card for a popular online shop or deployed a batch of soft chocolate chip cookies to get the conversation started with a lead, but all of that would have been for nothing if you don’t keep that momentum chugging along.
After you’ve caught someone’s attention or are nurturing a potential deal, keep the follow-up going. Even if your recipient still seems a bit distant or disinterested after your first contact, your perseverance will pay off. The truth is that 92% of sales pros scrap their follow-up after the fourth touchpoint, but 80% of prospects don’t say yes until the fifth try.
Many businesses make the mistake of neglecting the follow-up process after sending a gift. A well-executed follow-up strategy can help build and strengthen relationships with your prospects or clients. It shows that you genuinely care about their satisfaction and want to continue engaging with them. Don't let your efforts go to waste by failing to follow up effectively and consistently.
4. The timing is off
Timing is crucial when it comes to sales gifting. Sending a gift at the wrong time can diminish its impact or even come across as insincere.
Understand the appropriate occasions or milestones to send gifts, such as showing gratitude for someone’s time, closing successful deals, or welcoming new clients aboard. Additionally, consider the timing of your gifting strategy within the overall sales process. Tailor your gifts to specific stages of the sales cycle to maximize their effectiveness. With a continuous gratification platform like Zest, you can choose from a variety of gifts, gift cards, and swag that harmonize with every gifting moment or occasion.
5. No measurement, no insights, no optimization
Like pretty much everything in business, having no strategy in place or counting on aimless tactics are sure ways to drain your resources and have little to show for it. The same goes for your sales gifting tactics. Without a well-defined gifting strategy, you may just be shooting in the dark and hoping for the best.
It's essential to have clear objectives and a plan in place for your gifting efforts. Define your target audience, set measurable goals, and track the results to assess the effectiveness of your strategy. Keep track of what types of gifts you’re sending, what level of personalization you’re implementing, who you’re gifting, and when you’re sharing these surprises to fine-tune the what, who, and when of sales gifting.
For example, maybe you discover that simple and fast $10 Starbucks gift cards sent in the second email of your outreach sequence boost booked demos by 20%, but more personalized products with thoughtful gift notes sent while building commitment do the trick for pushing deals over the edge.
Without proper measurement, it's challenging to identify what works and what doesn't, making it difficult to improve and optimize your gifting initiatives. But once you understand the ROI of your gifting efforts, you’ll be on your way to President’s Club in no time.
6. Finding a balanced budget
Budget constraints can significantly impact the success of your gifting strategies. If your gifting budget well runs shallow, you may end up with low-quality or unimpressive offerings that you don’t want to gift (and your recipients don’t want to receive).
On the other hand, overspending on gifts can strain your financial resources or even sow distrust. For example, gifting a $200 deluxe coffeemaker to someone you just started chatting with could send up some red flags, regardless of the quality or potential value of winning that customer.
The key is finding a balance that allows you to provide thoughtful and meaningful gifts with the resources at hand. Before launching your gifting initiatives, pore over your budget, especially the amount being spent on low- or under-performing sales tactics. Pause those projects for a month or two and start putting that spend toward gifting in your customer lifecycle. Track your spend and ROI, then build your budget on your new insights.
We also recommend looking at your marketing budgets. Many times, there’s a lot of budget allocated to ad spend with the goal of demand and lead generation. Try peeling some of the budget from that line item and test gifting strategies with the same goals. A $5 gift card can go a long way in collecting valuable consumer contact info and boosting booked demos.
7. Your toolbox didn’t have the right tools
More often than not, the culprit for lackluster gifting strategies is a lack of the tools you need. There are dozens (even hundreds) of tools, apps, and platforms in your tech stack to help you master the rest of your tasks. From sourcing prospects, sending emails, tracking deals, and more, you probably find yourself using each of these tools every day.
But when it comes to stoking gratification for sales prospects or loyal customers, your options narrow significantly and instead of trying to get the wrong tool to fit your needs, you might just abandon the gift ship altogether.
Without the right tool to lend a hand, you might find yourself:
Spending thousands of dollars on platform fees alone, leaving you with a tiny budget for the gifts themselves.
Taking hours upon hours to find the perfect gift for the person and moment, whether that’s a gift card or a more personal, tangible product.
Manually tracking when to send gifts across deal phases or customer lifecycle, which takes hours out of your week (and more as you scale).
Creating an ad hoc system to track gifts and ROI, making it increasingly difficult to see which gifts are resonating at different parts of the customer journey so you can leverage that insight.
Zest is the gratification platform that has all the features you need to start testing a gifting strategy or take over the one you’re already running. It’s a versatile tool that has zero platform fees, so you won’t be busting your budget or your schedule. Instead, you can easily start sending the right gift at the right time to the right person to stand out and make an impact from start to infinity of your customer journey.
Just as you shouldn’t settle for gifts that don’t align with your goals or recipients, you shouldn’t settle for a tool that doesn’t fit your needs like a glove.
Don’t Let Another Sales Gift Fall Flat
To improve your sales gifting strategies, it's crucial to address these common pitfalls. Take the time to personalize your gifts, ensure alignment with your brand and values, follow up effectively, time your gifts appropriately, develop a clear strategy, and allocate an appropriate budget. And do it all with a tool that actually helps, not hinders, your sales gifting goals.
Remember, sales gifting is not just about giving presents—it's about building relationships, creating memorable experiences, and ultimately driving business growth. By avoiding these previous mistakes and implementing a thoughtful and well-executed gifting strategy, you can enhance your chances of success and stand out in a crowded marketplace.
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