A Beginner’s Guide to Corporate Gift Giving.Posted on September 2nd, 2019 by Alise Houserman
A tale as old as time.
Sales rep meets prospect. Sales rep attempts to woo prospect with the various features and benefits of their solution over garden salads with too little dressing and diet sodas. Sales rep leaves lunch feeling that they nailed the pitch— and still a little hungry. Prospect leaves feeling good about the interaction, but still has several other solutions to review before coming to a decision, and a tennis game with the CFO in an hour.
But the sales rep isn’t quite finished with the wooing. In comes the classic gift basket.
Corporate gift giving is nothing new, but like the nostalgic charm of a handwritten letter, corporate gifts offer something digital marketing and sales strategies struggle to replicate. Warmth.
While corporate giving can be a can be a cost-effective means of enhancing the personal connection between you and your prospects, like any sales or marketing tactic, there are definite dos and don’ts in implementing a corporate gift giving program. Below, we have highlighted some gift giving best practices to keep in mind before creating or revamping your corporate gift giving program.
Giving Best Practices
Whether you’re a marketing director in charge of choosing the holiday gift, or you’re a sales rep looking to propose a creative solution for waning close rates, careful planning is key to making any gift giving program a success.
As we move into the largest corporate gift giving quarter of the year, here are some important practices to keep in mind as you start creating your gifting strategy:
1. Check for Policy Compliance
Before giving a corporate gift, it is important to check local, state, federal, and the corporate policies of the person or business entity you are sending the gift to. Many industries and government institutions must follow strict regulations that prevent them from accepting certain gifts, rewards, or rebates that could influence business decisions. According to Thomson Reuters, a company providing professionals with the information and technology they need to make confident business decisions, generally acceptable gifts include:
- Gifts of nominal value bearing the company logo
- Meals where the gift giver and the gift receiver are both present
- Perishable gifts
- Gifts approved by a supervisor
Taking the time to research what is and isn’t appropriate before giving a corporate gift can keep you and the receiver out of legal trouble and help prevent the awkward situation of receiving the gift back with a note from the recipient’s HR department explaining their gift acceptance policy.
2. Consider the Cost and Quality of the Gift
When setting a gifting budget, the giving experts at Marek suggest starting with items ranging in price from $50 to $150, with gifts for Junior level business partners skewing toward the lower end and gifts for C-suite executives and VPs skewing toward the upper end.
Marek also recommends focusing on quality items over quantity. Quality, high-value gifts delight receivers and are a positive reflection of your brand. Select vendors with deep domestic and international factory-direct relationships so you can maximize program budgets, without sacrificing quality. To really make your gift stand out, personalize gifts with the receiver’s initials or a personally-addressed note.
Careful consideration of the cost and quality of the gifts you include in your corporate gift giving program can be the difference between keeping you and your brand top of mind or ending up in the trash.
3. Track the Success of your ProgramTracking the success of your gift giving efforts is crucial in ensuring they provide value to your organization. Look at data points like:
- Email responses
- Program engagement
- Gift success
- Item popularity
- Unutilized gift funds
Be sure to select vendors that offer reporting on the success of your giving program and that help you select the right KPIs to track for your company’s unique corporate giving strategy.
TL;DR [too long, didn't read] of Corporate Gift Giving
Before giving a gift as part of a customer appreciation event, holiday celebration, or a “thank you” after a meeting with a prospect, it is important to check policy compliance, consider the cost and quality of the gift, and track the success of your gift giving efforts. A thoughtfully designed giving program can be a crucial competitive advantage, helping you optimize the client experience and strengthen critical relationships. While corporate gift giving isn’t a new concept, the sentiments of warmth and connection contained in a carefully curated basket of goodies can leave a lasting impression in our increasingly disconnected, impersonal world.