Any modern sales strategy must include offline engagement with sales gifts. In the COVID era, prospects, customers and even employees are craving something that will break the pattern of their daily activities — and nothing beats a physical gift delivered to their home to do just that.
This is the topic of this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast with my guest Erik Kostelnik, the co-founder and CEO of Postal.io, a sales and marketing engagement platform that generates leads, increases sales, and improves customer retention.
Prior to Postal.io, Erik founded TextRecruit, one of the fastest-growing HR technology companies in the world, leading it to acquisition in 2018 by iCIMS, Inc. He also served as the Head of Sales at Wrike from 2014 to 2016 helping it reach #116 in 2015 Deloitte Fastest 500. Erik was named an Upstart 50 Top Inventor by the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2017.
Listen to this episode to learn more about using sales gifts in your account-based marketing strategy.
The Ever-Evolving Selling Environment
In this new virtual world, sellers need to think differently about how they approach their business and, more importantly, sales leaders who grew up selling in a very different way in a completely different environment.
Years ago it was all about the phone and cold calling. Sellers came up with different strategies on how to use the phone, how to make people engage during a cold call.
“How to cold call was a big thing in the late 2000s,” Erik says. “And books were written on how to cold call but then you realize everybody got that book. Everybody got that memo of how to cold call, so then the impact of cold calling got suppressed and ultimately we had to change the way we do things.”I loved the approach of this @GoModernSelling episode and the must-ask questions to build the correct strategy for an account-based selling. Thanks, @M_3jr from @GoVengreso and @erikkostelnik from @postalinc Click To Tweet
Then in the 2010s, came along platforms for sales cadences that allowed a salesperson to schedule emails and call sequences. But as it happened with the cold calling playbook, now everybody knows about that.
According to Erik, the new trend today centers around social selling, video for sales, and sales gifts sent through direct mail.
“You’re starting to see this differentiation happening,” Erik says. “And by the way, 10 years from now everyone’s going to have this Playbook. So don’t think that this is going to be where it stops. You always gotta be learning. You always got to be figuring out, what are competitors not doing? What can I do more effectively and how can I scale that?”
Sales leaders need a scalable system where they can dedicate technical and human resources to increase their sales pipeline and revenue. Such a system is Account-Based Marketing (ABM) or Account-Based Selling (ABS).
According to HubSpot, account-based selling is a multi-touch, multi-channel strategy coordinated across the entire company to pursue a target number of high-value accounts. An ABS strategy is a hyper-personalized approach to go after strategic accounts.
Erik says you must ask yourself several questions, such as:
- How do you attack these strategic accounts?
- How much do you want to spend on each target account per lead?
- What do you need to do for that opportunity (what is the cost per opportunity)?
- What channels will you use in your omnichannel approach?
Using Sales Gifts in your Account-Based Marketing Strategy
A successful account-based strategy will seek sales engagement through a variety of channels, both online and offline.
Erik’s company, Postal.io specializes in helping companies engage prospects and customers offline, with physical corporate gifts sent by mail and tracking them within the CRM’s workflows. These gifts may include a gift certificate or gift card, a gift basket or any kind of personalized gift, like a mug or a holiday season card with their names and interests.
He says he is educating people on how to leverage and how to scale the offline in direct correlation to how they scale the digital.
Unfortunately, not every company has even scaled the usage of their digital sequences (like email automation, for example).How to Use Sales Gifts in Your Account Based Marketing Strategy with Erik Kostelnik, #156 Click To Tweet
Today, however, it’s imperative that every sales leader understands what sequences his or her team must use, what works and what doesn’t.
“You got to look at what it is in your opportunities,” Erik says. “So how many calls did it take to get an opportunity? How many emails did it take to get an opportunity? And then with Postal what we’re able to do is, because everything is tracked inside any CRM that you use, you can then see how many offline pieces that I’ve had in this account for in this opportunity.
How much did I spend on this gift? If that cost for that lead or that opportunity to that meeting was $80, you got to make sure that that’s in the account record. That is the key.”
Sales leaders in mid-market and enterprise companies are very familiar with account-based selling or account-based marketing. Instead of focusing on lead volume, they define well their target buyer personas and industries and go after specific clients or accounts.
According to Erik account-based marketing has everything to do with blueprinting, appointment dialing, sequencing, and running demos.
You need a strategy or policy per account, knowing how much you are willing to spend on them, through advertising, social media, or direct mail.
“Define the dollar amount that you want to spend per account,” Erik says, “and then develop your sequences for your sales reps on those blueprints that you’ve created within that account. And that really for me is scalable.”
Offline Engagement with Sales Gifts
Anytime a sales gift is sent, the salesperson must include a personalized message. That message must be aligned with the overall branding of the company and follow marketing guidelines and policies for product promotion.
For example, there might be a policy against sending alcohol to a client and your sales reps must be aware of that. There must be a process within your company to approve sales gifts, budget, design and sales messaging.
Listen to this episode as Erik explains why sales and marketing alignment is necessary for a successful account-based strategy.Personalization might be everywhere in your sales & marketing strategy. But, especially with account-based selling/marketing. I learned how to in this ep. o @GoModernSelling w/ @M_3jr from @GoVengreso and @erikkostelnik from… Click To Tweet
Erik states that Direct Mail today is more relevant than ever and should be part of the new normal of selling.
“We got a lot of folks saying I’m just not sure about sending Direct Mail pieces or things to people at their homes,” he says. “Believe it or not, people are extremely receptive to receiving anything at home, anything that takes them away from the daily norms that they’re facing: Zoom calls, phone calls, putting data into whatever system they have. People want a break. So, break up the day and give someone something that they can physically engage with.”
Offline engagement is about engaging with people where they are, but your sales team must do it through the right message with the right branding, at the right timing and must be relevant in the sales process.
“You create a different brand experience when you actually engage with someone offline,” Erik says. “The data that supports why you need to be using offline engagement and why you should be sending things to people’s homes. I have not heard yet anybody tell me that they are not happy to see the UPS man.”
Offline engagement is not only a great prospecting strategy but also a way to engage with employees. Listen to our conversation to find out how gifts are a valuable strategy to motivate and engage remote employees, prospects and existing customers.
As a sales leader, you must have an omni-channel approach to touching every sales prospect. You already have email and phone, but you must also add social selling, video for sales and offline engagement with platforms like Postal.io.
Outline of this Episode
- [2:00] About Erik: From Seller to Entrepreneur and CEO
- [10:00] What sellers need to be doing differently to reach today’s modern buyer
- [17:30] How to effectively engage your audience with online and offline efforts
- [21:54] Account-Based Selling or Account-Based Marketing?
- [29:30] Offline engagement with the perfect gift
- [31:10] Is direct mail still relevant?
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- Connect with Erik on LinkedIn
- Follow Erik and Postal.io on Twitter: @erikkostelnik and @postalinc
- Postal’s website
- Erik’s favorite movie: Braveheart