The amount of horrible cold outreach on LinkedIn right now correlates with the use of the word “unprecedented” over the last two years: proportionally absurd.
As a Content Marketing Manager, I’m sold to on the daily by freelance writers, guest bloggers, SEO “specialists”, and recruiters trying to poach me from my current role (you’ll never catch me). Once the “can we connect” inquiry comes through, it’s only a matter of time before they try to book time with me. Same playbook. Same messaging. Same results. Every. Time.
“Meaningful” copy with a CTA won’t cut it anymore for cold outbound—whether it’s your job to source talent, book meetings, close deals, or find new opportunities. Here’s why:
The modern consumer is equipped with more information than ever before.
With the power of the internet, social media, and review sites, prospects can self-serve throughout the majority of their evaluation process.
Most sales processes haven’t adjusted to this and reps still reach out to prospects like they need something...rather than offering to understand their actual goals and challenges, which requires a more genuine approach.
The way prospects act in their typical sales experience reflects this. From deleting automated, homogeneous emails, to ignoring spam-like messages on LinkedIn, buyers have become more adverse to sales tactics. There’s a negative generalization of sales teams because of the sheer volume of digital outreach that buyers ignore or have to sort through.
To counter this, corporate gifting and offline experiences is a channel that sales teams can use to create a unique, personalized buying experience that establishes trust and brand loyalty throughout the buyer’s journey.
14 full-funnel gifting use cases for sales teams to elevate the buyer experience
Cold outreach and building pipeline with an account-based approach
1. 3x meetings booked by offering a gift in exchange for the time of a prospect and interrupt normal buying behavior 2. Account-based campaigns that show ROI in 6 months 3. Adding offline touch points to cold outreach that double connect rates 4. Integrate offline touch points within sales sequences or cadences 5. One-off direct mail send to cold prospects that show an ROI of 17.5x
Sales velocity and engagement
6. Send a timely or seasonal offering when prospect has a life update or is facing a challenge 7. Move a stale deal along or re-engage with a prospect who’s gone dark 8. Say ‘thank you’ for taking a meeting 9. Buying committees contain on average almost 7 people: gain their trust by sending a unique sales gift to their office space to be shared amongst colleagues within your target account 10. Gift follow-up when a prospect has to jump from a cold call as opposed to another email or phone call 11. Use gifts within competitive buyout campaigns or when selling against a competitor
Closing deals and building post-sale partnerships
12. Offer luxury corporate gifts or high-end experiences to champions and deal influencers to increase close rate by 30% 13. Say ‘thank you’ right after closing a deal 14. Include a celebratory gift within the email introducing your new clients to customer success
Cold outreach and building pipeline with an account-based approach
1. Offer a gift in exchange for the time of a prospect to interrupt normal buying behavior
Consumers have their own unique buying habits that are difficult to break. Standard cold digital outbound sequences consisting of phone calls, emails, and LinkedIn messages, often deter potential buyers from engaging for a number of reasons. Sales teams must provide something more than a strong value proposition to get in front of champion decision-makers.
Offering an item or experience in exchange for a meeting or introduction call will often capture attention, given the delivery of the item and messaging are on-point. Our SVP of Revenue, Patricia DuChene, goes more in-depth about the science behind pattern interrupt in her Forbes article:
“Pattern interrupt is an extremely effective technique in sales that can change behaviors, assumptions, opinions and decisions in an instant, as it pushes people to not rely on their go-to responses.”
Not to mention, everyone loves personalization. In fact, 80% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences (Epsilon). Incorporating this into the gifts you send within cold outreach leaves a positive impression on the recipient, impacting the rest of the buyer’s journey; 70% of buying experiences are based on how a customer feels they are being treated.
Here are a few easy ways to leverage personalization in your outreach
LinkedIn profiles - Review their last few posts and see if you come across any hobbies or life milestones that can be celebrated.
Mutual connections on LinkedIn - See if you have third party connections with your contact and then select an item based on this relationship such as an alma mater token or a gift that reflects a shared interest.
Twitter bios - Look in the bio for anything that stands out and can serve as grounds for offering a gift.
Instagram bios and profiles - Similarly, check the prospects bio and recent posts if they’re a public account to figure out their interests.
Lastly, if you can’t decide on a single gift offering, try offering a collection of items to enable your recipient to choose from a variety of items that you’ve curated. Postal’s integrations with Calendly and Chili Piper enable for a streamlined flow of offering gifts to book meetings.
2. Account-based campaigns
Adding the offline channel to account-based campaigns will yield tremendous results: Fivetran saw ROI in 6 months after integrating strategic gifts and experiences into their ABM campaigns.
When it comes to getting in front of budget owners and decision makers within large enterprise organizations, using an account-based marketing or selling strategy is what most B2B companies resort to. Leaning on the offline channel to send personalized assets in the sales process gives teams a competitive advantage to create an authentic connection with a champion before their rival.
3. Adding offline touch points to cold outreach that double connect rates
People value something they can see and touch 24% more than something they can only see. Integrating offline touches into cold outreach sequences will naturally enhance the value of your communication to prospects. Sales representatives are grinding, inboxes are overloaded, and you want to see your team succeed. Simply from adding a MagicLink within cold emails (a digital gift redemption hyperlink), Fivetran was able to 2.5x their open rate and 10x their click rate.
For a visual example of the modern buyer’s journey and the tech stack that supports it, check out the graphic below.
Not to mention, surprise is an emotion that gifting is known to induce. Corporate gifting can build anticipation as the prospect waits for their gift to arrive. In the meantime, maybe refer to the delivery of your offering in your next communication with your recipient to keep yourself top of mind. Surprise is the foundation of curiosity and is one of the most personable ways to interact with someone because it reflects the fact you were courteously thinking about them.
4. Integrate offline touch points within sales sequences or cadences
Over 80% of c-suite executives believe that business gifts generate positive measurable ROI (return on investment) in addition to intangible benefits (Forbes). Most leaders won't have time to respond to an email or LinkedIn message, yet are almost always appreciative of genuine offerings.
Automating offline touches within sequences and cadences helps achieve personalization at scale: a concept that many don’t believe is possible. Personalization and automation are like two magnets pushing against each other, yet channels such as offline automation bring them closer together, helping teams save time and make their outreach more effective.
This creates brand parity when used with digital efforts. There's a reason why companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, while companies with weak customer engagement strategies retain on average around 33%. Gifting adds another channel of communication that can be an opportunity to extend the image of your brand.
Postal Pro Tip: When you contact a prospect and leave a voicemail, let them know when you’ll send them a gift to their inbox. This will inherently promote the other channels you are using to communicate with them and build surprise.
5. One-off direct mail send to cold prospects
Sometimes prospects will literally take your money and run—totally normal. Once you build up a list of prospects who’ve accepted a gift and ghosted you, you can re-engage with a simple direct mail send: after all, you already have their address information.
Postal Pro Tip: Include a QR code on your postcard with another digital gift redemption link to create an offline-to-online experience for your recipient.
Sales velocity and engagement
6. Send a timely or seasonal offering when prospect has a life update or is facing a challenge
Consumers with an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% better lifetime value. Tangible items such as gifts are proven to stimulate deeper processing and emotional connections, resulting in impressed prospects and happy customers. The next time your prospect has a major life event such as a job update, promotion, buying a new home, having baby, getting married, etc, try sending a relevant item to congratulate them.
Similarly, if you know your prospect is sick or going through a hard time, try sending them a “Get Well Soon” care package from Spoonful of Comfort or another nice pick-me-up.
Gifts are memorable and an enjoyable experience for recipient but don't always have to be something physical. For instance, send your high-value prospect a gift card to enjoy their favorite cuisine, or provide the option for them to make a donation on your behalf. Charity on Top is an amazing vendor that provides access to over 1.8 MM charities. Choose your denomination and the recipient can allocate the funds to the charity of their choice.
7. Move a stale deal along or re-engage with a prospect who’s gone dark
Only 22% of buyers are satisfied with the level of personalization they receive, yet 90% of consumers indicate they find personalization appealing. Gifting within a sales process to move negotiations along or re-engage with a prospect provides a tremendous opportunity for the seller to impress their contact with personalization that exceeds expectations. The element of surprise is a psychological trigger that sparks buying decisions and creates lasting impressions.
Especially for sales teams working long term deal cycles within enterprise accounts, using offline touches to build relationships within a buying committee and work towards a close date is an effective strategy that will help organizations drive more revenue.
8. Say ‘thank you’ for taking a meeting
We subconsciously expect some form of gratitude when we provide something. When someone takes time out of their day to meet with you, they usually wouldn't expect anything in return. Perhaps a follow-up email, but certainly not a reciprocal act—this is why gifting is a great way to show appreciation for someone's time.
Think back to why your mom made you write handwritten ‘thank you’ notes after a birthday or holiday; showing gratitude is the most authentic way to show someone you care. Saying ‘thank you’ to a prospect for taking a meeting with a thoughtful gift offering not only empowers them but shows a genuine act of reciprocity that builds a strong foundation for future communications.
Postal Pro Tip: Stand out in someone’s inbox by including a MagicLink gift offering in your ‘thank you’ email, referring to your item in the subject line. The average person receives over 100 emails a day and it's estimated that spam makes up nearly half of all emails. Email will forever be an integral part of any sales strategy, yet an offline counterpart can be the differentiator that leads to increased trust between the buyer and seller.
9. Establish trust with buying committees by sending a unique sales gift to their office space to be shared amongst colleagues within the target account
It's a widely known statistic that the average number of stakeholders in a B2B deal is somewhere around 6.8. As the sales representative, you are the odd man outside their circle of trust. Creating relationships with each individual in a buying committee can be difficult. Rather, it’s a more efficient approach to create a connection among the committee as a whole. Gifting can accomplish this, especially if the item somehow brings the stakeholders together. For instance, in a high-value deal, try sending out a few drink kits asking the key stakeholders to discuss their thoughts over some virtual cocktails.
Don't send the same gift to each key stakeholder. Instead, send personalized gifts to a handful of them or to a shared working space. Be strategic with what you send—for instance, send a bottle of wine with a personalized note asking the recipient to “enjoy a glass of wine while thinking over it”, or an ice cream party to their office. When done correctly, they will tell each other about how thoughtful and kind you've been during negotiations, which will boost your credibility within the target account.
Postal Pro Tip: Invite stakeholders or your buying committee to a virtual cooking or cocktail making class, where they can enjoy fun interactions with each other and associate a delightful experience with your product or brand.
10. Gift follow-up when a prospect has to jump from a cold call as opposed to another email or phone call
Do you still remember the best present, perhaps from a decade ago, you got for your birthday or a holiday as a kid? Some gifts will be cherished forever because they represent a real-world experience. Similarly, on the corporate level, gifts can help you stay top of mind with busy prospects when they have to jump from a phone call or meeting.
A survey of B2B companies in Adobe's 2020 Digital Trends Report disclosed that experience was the most exciting business opportunity of 2020. Adding the offline channel to your follow-up communications elevates the buyer experience and will give your prospect something to look forward to in their next meeting with you.
11. Use gifts within competitive buyout campaigns or when selling against a competitor
According to Business Wire, automation maturity is at it's highest level ever in the US, as 61% of organizations are making extensive use of it. Furthermore, only 38.5% of B2B companies are using direct mail as part of their strategy.
When prospects are evaluating multiple vendors, more often than not the one they choose is able to establish more credibility and trust. To stand out from your competition’s digital clutter, using offline communications within buyout campaigns and when selling against them will add a layer of authenticity to the narrative of your brand, putting the odds in your favor.
Closing deals and building post-sale partnerships
12. Offer luxury corporate gifts or high-end experiences to champions and deal influencers
Introducing yourself to a VP or executive upon the referral from prospect can be a daunting yet necessary step to closing a massive deal. Before hopping on the first introduction call, try offering a high-end gift basket containing items your champion enjoys, based on the recommendations of other prospects you’ve spoken with.
Even if this person seems like they aren’t one to accept the gift, you can always go the charitable donation route or send an item for their family to enjoy. Postal’s Marketplace has thousands of options for you to choose from to build relationships with c-suite titles in target accounts that oftentimes own the budget and ultimately the purchase decision.
13. Say ‘thank you’ right after closing a deal
Showing reciprocity and gratitude always impacts long-term relationships for the better. Share the success of closing a deal with your champion by sending them a celebratory gift such as a bottle of champagne or a care package from Teak & Twine.
Chances are, they won’t forget that gesture and will be readily available if you have to reach out in the future regarding the status of any legal processes that follow the close.
14. Include a celebratory gift within the email introducing your new clients to customer success
Passing the torch of new business to customer success often involves many introduction emails that can be time consuming and technical. Similar to the previous use case, sending a celebratory gift within introduction emails is a fantastic way to integrate trust and credibility within the handoff to the customer team.
A neuroscience study found that physical advertisements stimulate much deeper emotional processing than digital advertisements. This plays into how much people value tangible items over digital content. Our brains naturally interprets gifts and other physical items as more "real", which can lead to better memory and higher brand recall.
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Now is the time to invest in memory capital
It’s no secret that buyers in this era have the upper-hand. Sales and revenue teams alike must be focused on scaling experiences that build trust and loyalty within the buyer’s journey.
Everyone over the last ten years has been competing to be found and heard on digital channels—engaging in the offline contributes to a memorable buying experience, giving your organization a better chance to hit sales targets with less resources.
If you are ready to implement a gifting strategy in your sales organization, request a demo of Postal today so we can help you build a stronger pipeline and drive more revenue.
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Rich is a B2B marketing enthusiast with a passion for storytelling through relatable content and memorable experiences. Rich was one of the first founding team members of Postal when he started as an intern in 2019 and now holds the Content Marketing Manager role.