Corporate gifting, whether using corporate gifting companies or handling it internally, can help B2B companies build brand awareness and nurture client relationships. It can support a sales and marketing strategy in many different ways.
But the adoption of corporate gifting needs to be well-considered and holistic. It will most effectively drive up sales (and improve your bottom line) if formulated within a coherent approach to customer relationships.
Corporate gifting, along with personalization, allows you to keep your company and its services at the forefront of a client’s mind – in a positive way. That has got to be good: securing brand attention through gifts is an undoubted advantage. Gifting has become a big business in its own right: the corporate gifting market is likely to reach $312 billion by 2025.
This article will identify the main benefits of corporate gifting before offering some examples of gifts and tips on implementation.
Firstly, though, what do we mean by corporate gifting? Attached you’ll also find an older podcast on corporate gifting.
What Does Corporate Gifting Mean?
This article explores how B2B companies can use corporate gifts as part of your company strategy. Gifting is giving: that sounds obvious!
But that can lead us to forget just how diverse and versatile gifts can be as a tool to leverage business development – across the entire sales pipeline. Sending a corporate gift can build early market awareness, develop a lead’s interest, or nurture an existing client relationship.
The nature of the corporate gift can also vary and it doesn’t always have to be something physical: it can range from small and generic swag (e.g., a branded pen or socks) to a more personal, bespoke, and valuable gift (e.g., a luxury gift box, gift cards, or a wellness experience). A corporate gift can be anything.
A corporate gift can be given at any point: from prospecting, all the way through to more established relationships with long-standing clients. Context is crucial when deciding what to gift and when to gift it. These decisions need to be guided by the nature of the client relationship. And your gifts must serve the tactical business goals desired.
What Are the Benefits?
Corporate gifting can support several B2B sales goals. Unsurprisingly these are primarily about gaining new customers and retaining existing customers. It can be a great platform from which to build brand awareness and send a positive message to your customers.
Build Brand Awareness
Giving small, generic gifts during the early awareness-building stages can raise the profile of your company or product.
These might be simple gifts such as a coffee mug or socks featuring your company logo. Such gifts customized with your logo can be handy, for example, at face-to-face events or following virtual ones as a way to welcome prospective new clients to your brand.
Some B2B firms send higher quality prospecting gifts to create entry points with potential leads. When chosen carefully and targeted at the right recipient, these gifts could certainly make more of a splash than a cold approach by email.
After all, an email is more likely to be ignored by recipients than a personalized gift of some kind!
By building awareness in such ways, corporate gifts can help to entice leads into your sales pipeline.
Enhance Client Relationships
In an account-based marketing approach, client relationships are everything. Alongside all the other elements of ensuring good customer care, corporate gifting can enhance your relationship with potential and existing customers.
Corporate gifting is a way to show that your leads and clients are appreciated.
If gifts are personalized and carefully chosen, it can show how you listen to them and understand them. All this can help to build a positive impression of your brand. It can add to the cumulative effort to persuade them to renew their custom!
By enhancing client relationships, gifting can help to convert leads or retain valuable customers and support a digital marketing strategy that grows sales revenue.
Support Your Employees
Corporate gifts can be an empowering and motivational tool for your teams. Just as people love to receive gifts, the gifting experience can also feel good!
Your employees can build exciting new recruitment and retention campaigns that incorporate corporate gifting – supporting their other efforts.
And employees working in your sales team can feel good taking part in the gifting process by going to leads and customers with the perfect gift to share.
Consider Tools to Help
There are many great tools (sales tools, prospecting sales tools, productivity apps, remote sales tools and/or social selling tools) available to support your operations. Many of these are digital or technological, and many you will have already debated or adopted. Do we get a virtual phone number for our sales team members? Which tools should we get to support remote selling? Corporate gifting is a powerful, human, and customizable addition to these technological tools that helps you build a direct connection with your clients.
A well-considered gifting program can energize your employees – broadening their armory and certainly build a strong sales culture. It is a positive way to help them do their jobs. Given the challenge businesses face to retain top talent, that’s no bad thing.
Show Appreciation To Your Team
Your recipients don’t only have to be potential or existing clients. You can give corporate gifts to your employees to express your appreciation for their hard work and to celebrate their successes. You can also insert appreciation quotes in your thank-you notes or cards to make your employees feel even more special. Doing so can help create a more engaged team that will be more willing to go the extra mile for you. They will also act as great ambassadors for your company, helping you to promote your services and meet your goals.
Doing so can help create a more engaged team that will be more willing to go the extra mile for you. They will also act as great ambassadors for your company, helping you to promote your services and meet your goals.
What Can Be A Corporate Gift?
Anything! You really are only limited by your imagination when thinking of gifts to send to your clients. Broadly, however, a gifting program often feature the following types of corporate gifts.
These gifts could be for anything (e.g., goods, experience, food). If you know your client reasonably well, choose gift cards appropriate to their interests. If not, consider the profile of your typical customers and go for a gift that is suitable but generic.
Gift cards are also an option with low shipping costs or none at all if your send it by email. There are plenty of services that can help you customize digital gift cards for your specific recipients.
Pens, clothing, water bottles, headphones, and many more low-value gifts with the company’s logo can be helpful. Giving fun swag like this to leads and clients can help lift the brand’s profile. A gift may be low value, but – if approached imaginatively – it can get your brand noticed. It can also make a great free welcome gift and help power sales prospecting.
Software & Apps
You could even gift links to free versions or trials of software or apps you think might be useful to your clients. Some fun ones to consider are note taking apps like Evernote and Onenote. For example, if you know your clients spend a lot of time sending routine emails you could send them a link to FlyMSG, a personal writing assistant and text expander application. You’ve identified a potential pain point and found a way to save them time and money, something they’ll definitely appreciate.
Carefully chosen food and drink can be a useful corporate gifts. Gourmet boxes can be customized to suit your sales and marketing budget and to appeal to your client’s tastes. Moreover, they can carry your logo, boosting your exposure. Gifts the recipient is sure to enjoy!
Think carefully about shipping. You don’t want to send anything perishable that will need to be thrown out by recipients upon delivery. If you want to go down this route then look into refrigerated delivery services or make sure the gift is clearly labelled so the recipient or the building’s concierge know how to store the gift.
A Personal Touch
As the relationship with a lead or client develops, your business should know them better and your team will be able to come up with better gift ideas. These relationships may have also become more valuable to your company over time. In this case, a more personalized and higher quality gift can often make sense.
These corporate gifts might be a product or an experience your sales agents know they will like – a gift linked to their interests. The aim is to delight the client with something thoughtful and fun, demonstrating how valued they are. And, let’s face it, people love personalized service.
Seasonal gifts have been part of corporate gifting for many years. Shipping your clients a thoughtful gift around Christmas, New Year, or Divali (depending on your clientele) can feel more natural and relevant. Your employees can pack and send business gifts with custom packaging created for the season.
Celebrate Customer Milestones
As a client relationship develops, identify milestones. These could relate to their usage of your service or renewal patterns. Maybe you want to give a corporate gift to show appreciation after five successful years of partnership, for example. This could be a bottle of wine, a branded coffee mug, a fun wellness experience, or a customized box of gifts depending on the milestone. If you have the budget, you can even go for something luxurious like jewelry and lab-grown diamonds if you’re environmentally conscious.
Maybe a valuable client you have worked with has reached a personal milestone (a birthday, for example). A personalized gesture of some sort may be appropriate. Why not accompany it with a handwritten note from an employee in the office? Of course, you’ll want to make sure you accompany it with a professional thank you email.
What Makes An Effective Corporate Gifting Program?
We have seen that there are many different approaches to corporate gifting. Let us now pull out a few tips to help you get started and using business gifts effectively in your marketing strategy.
The more you use gifting as part of your strategy, the more onerous it can become. To assist, consider working with corporate gifting companies.
These can help you choose appropriate gifts (depending on the context), arrange personalization, pack and ship gifts, and generally streamline the gifting process.
They will ensure your clients receive your corporate gifts, taking the pressure off your team and employees. It can also be good option as you get started as they will handle the entire process from start to finish.
Corporate gifting is a company investment and, as with any spending, you need to keep a tight grip on your gifting program. How much is available? How does that pot need to be split across the sales pipeline? Which employee in the office will manage that budget? How will you ship your gifts?
These are important questions to answer as the last thing you want is for your corporate gifting program to become a financial burden. A corporate gifting company may be of help here as they will help you work within a fixed budget and avoid overspending.
Ensure you manage your gifting budget most effectively by identifying different tiers. Concentrate your spending where it is likely to have the greatest return.
Rank sales leads and clients into tiers, e.g., low to high value. Create a structure to identify where to focus your corporate gifting and who will be recipients of your gifts.
Concentrate Your Resources
Consider giving fewer but higher-value corporate gifts, especially for your more special clients. For example, if you have multiple clients to choose from, send a custom gift to the recipient who will potentially provide you with the most value.
This will help you build better relationships with important clients and help you see a greater return from your investment.
Internal Processes And Policies
Create a consistent and coherent approach to your corporate gifting program across your company and teams. Define the process of how to use it, and specify the goals. Share this with all the relevant employees so they know how to get started.
By organizing things from the start your program will work seamlessly and you’re more likely to see the benefits.
Consider how you will monitor the success of your corporate gifting program. What metrics or qualitative feedback will you capture? What constitutes success?
Many digital tools can support monitoring – inbound SDR services, to name just one. And what can be tweaked in response to that monitoring?
Be proactive and don’t be afraid to adapt your gifting program as you need to.
What Are The Potential Risks To Consider?
Gifting can carry potential risks. However, if you bear them in mind, they are all avoidable.
Choosing gifts, organizing them, managing budgets: this all takes time and requires resourcing. As mentioned above, working with corporate gifting companies can help mitigate this risk.
Another option is to assign the work to multiple employees in the office to handle the service. This can include everything from personalization, packing boxes, and shipping to ensure a single employee is not overwhelmed by the work.
Unsolicited gifts can backfire and may not be appreciated. Unexpected corporate gifts can be delightful. On the other hand, they can prompt annoyance. The recipient may ask the question, “Why am I receiving this?”
It must be well-judged gift and, wherever possible, based on your team’s knowledge of the client. You want to present your company in the best possible way.
For example, a bottle of alcohol can be an inappropriate gift for some. Likewise, festivals like Christmas are not universal. Such cultural factors become especially significant when working with international clients.
If you are uncertain about the type of gift to send, it is best to step back from being too culturally specific: go for something more generic.
It’s also worth asking your employees to compile notes on your CRM platform about possible recipients so you send a gift that demonstrates your company’s appreciation appropriately.
Similarly, humor is not always shared. It might seem like a good idea to create, customize, and send a fun gift that is aligned with current trends.
However, it may not be seen as a thoughtful gift. Avoid humor unless you know the market or gift recipients well.
You don’t want your clients or potential clients viewing you as being wasteful and not environmentally friendly. This can leave a bad impression on those trying to be more conscious in this area.
To make sure your company is doing it’s bit for the environment think carefully about the type of packaging you use to send your gifts. You could use recycled paper and boxes and include instructions on how to dispose of the packaging. It could even be a good idea to consider ethically sourced gifts or use local suppliers to cut down on transport costs.
Ill-judged gifting will make relationships awkward so think carefully before you send a gift. However, if tackled thoughtfully, the risks are avoidable.
Taking a more developmental view of the sales journey can help. For instance, it is safer to stick to generic gift ideas as a welcome gift during the early stages of a client relationship.
As the relationship deepens and you learn more about the client, you can send more personalized and customizable gifts. Ultimately, the goal would be to build a Fanocracy around your brand and representative.
Such an evolution will help the process feel natural, appropriately targeted, and better received.
Corporate gifts to boost your business
Corporate gifting can be a great addition to your company strategy when used with care. It can be a platform on which to build awareness of your company and help drive prospects into your sales funnel, as well as showing appreciation for those valuable existing clients.
Careful monitoring can reveal the efficacy of your approach and make improvements possible. So, be aware of how your gifts are received and consider asking for feedback from the recipients.
What will gifting look like in your business?