B2B Gifting Best Practices: How to Make a Positive Impact

Katie Penner
Katie Penner

Head of Sender Relations at Sendoso
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Want to send business gifts to clients and prospects? Follow these B2B gifting best practices to deliver a memorable customer experience.

Corporate gifting has long been recognized as an essential marketing strategy, not just a tool for sales teams. It’s a notable way to improve customer relationships and employee engagement, too.

But for those newer to corporate gifting, we put together several best practices to leave a positive impression on your gift recipients.

Corporate Gifting Basics

Despite the name, corporate gifting is the practice of sending a personalized gift to a person to start a new business relationship or expand on an existing one. Recipients often include potential clients, loyal customers, and other stakeholders.

In fact, the corporate gift industry is projected to reach $312 billion by 2025, according to Coresight Research. Gifting is commonplace among many B2B companies and is used to stay top of mind and show goodwill.

The best business gifts are ones that are personal, relevant, and thoughtful.

Gifting in a business setting isn’t just fun and games. There are several unspoken rules to follow, especially if you want to avoid offending anyone.

Types of Business Gifts

Depending on whom you buy the gift for, there are appropriate gift ideas and types of gifts to keep in mind when creating your gifting strategy. Here are four types of B2B gifts:

  • Physical Gifts – High-quality tangible products sold by trusted vendors that deliver gifts to your recipients’ home addresses on your behalf. These are the business gifts that stand out.
  • Gift Cards – Electronic e-gift cards loaded with a predetermined value so the recipient can purchase an item or service on their own. Gift cards are a safe fallback if you don’t have an extensive business relationship.
  • Personalized Gifts – Personalized gifts can include custom etched, monogrammed, or otherwise finely crafted high-value custom gifts. These are the perfect gifts for recognizing long-term customer relationships.
  • Company Swag – For employee gifts and partners, opt for sending promotional business swag. To minimize the chances that your gift with fall flat, send a curated gift box with a handwritten note.

Gift-giving is an art, and it requires a lot of thought and research into people’s preferences. It requires elements of surprise, delight, and relevance.

Selecting the right corporate gift takes time. If you need to choose gifts for many people, you will save dozens of hours every week with gifting platforms like Sendoso.

Gifting Pro-Tip: Reward your best customers by remembering them on their birthday. Inspire customer loyalty. Don’t send just an average business gift — treat your customers to a digital gift they’ll brag about to their friends.

Why Use a Gifting Program?

The recent pandemic has emphasized the importance of personal connections with others. A well-rounded gifting strategy invests in the relationship with your recipients.

As a B2B gifting best practice, companies should use a few different types of gift campaigns. Doing so improves the customer experience and team’s success.

1) Create Lasting Customer Relationships

Customer relationships and customer retention are central to showing your appreciation. The best way to do this is by client gifting because business gifts are essential for maintaining good business relationships.

Corporate gifting will expand your customer relations and is a very important part of the touchpoint journey. Awareness and consideration go a long way toward establishing loyalty. This loyalty lowers customer churn, and positive word-of-mouth feedback from happy customers drives increased referrals.

2) Enhance Employee Engagement

Branded swag is a great corporate gift idea because it increases brand awareness, especially on LinkedIn. It’s a perfect gift to welcome new employees who join your team.

Onboarding gift boxes and employee gift cards are good choices for professional milestones. However, not everyone wants branded merchandise. Use the power of choice to give them the option to exchange their gift for something more desirable.

Also, companies can send employee gifts for referrals while keeping costs in check. Don’t forget to include a handwritten note in your gift message so they know it was sent from you personally.

3) Boost Business Development

Sendoso offers more than 30,000 gift options to send to prospects. To earn the right to stay top of mind, you should lead with a thoughtful gift instead of a generic one.

Sales outreach programs and prospecting are critical to scaling.

A positive customer experience goes a long way toward lasting customer relationships. A follow-up thank-you note for attending a webinar can also be considered a gift.

Using an inbound marketing strategy such as a webinar program is nice, but you can improve engagement by sending a unique gift to attendees. If it’s a welcome surprise, all the better.

Nevertheless, there’s value to growing the business by reaching out to your target audience. When you pair your gifting program with an intent-data platform, the possibilities are endless.

B2B Gifting Best Practices

Be thoughtful about the types of gifts you send to customers and prospects.

Don’t make the mistake of going overboard, which would send a bad message and derail your gifting strategy.

You don’t want people to think you’re trying to buy their loyalty. Instead, you want to create the emotional connection that a thoughtful gift provides.

Be respectful of one’s personal preferences.

Always respect the recipient by offering the choice of accepting the suggested gift, exchanging it for another item, or donating the gift value to a charity they support. Be mindful of global gifting practices so you don’t unintentionally offend.

This ensures the gifting experience is a net positive. Likewise, put their interests above yours.

Be generous with your gifts.

In your outreach, take the time to think about what would excite the recipient. Is there a #5to9 interest that you can genuinely connect with? Invest in a high-quality gift that shows you care. As they say, it’s often the thought that counts in gifting, not necessarily the gift itself.

Ideas for Business Gifts

Here are just a few practical corporate gift ideas for you to choose from to help you select the perfect gift.

  • Custom Gifts: These personalized gifts are an excellent idea for client gifts so that customers feel valued. Nothing makes a person feel quite as special as knowing you picked a gift just for them.
  • E-gift cards: Gift cards are a safe choice. They allow the recipient to choose their gift from within your pre-defined budget. E-gift cards are delivered by email, not direct mail, so there is no long wait.
  • Desk Plants: A plant is generally a solid idea, especially succulents, as they don’t need much care. A potted plant on a desk brings new life to the surroundings, and the beauty of nature really inspires productivity. It’s a must-have gift for remote employees .
  • Throw Blankets: A high-quality blanket is a fantastic wintertime gift idea. You can even go a step further and have the company’s logo printed on it.
  • Insulated Mugs: Face it, no one likes a lukewarm drink. Consider sending a high-value Yeti® insulated mug for the beverage of your client’s choice. Brand it, and it will also be a friendly reminder of your outreach.
  • Gift Baskets: Everybody likes to nibble on their favorite treats. Consult the Sendoso gifting software and use AI to find your client’s preferences. Or dig deeper into business relationships to find personal tastes, then provide a snack box or gift basket filled with tasty treats.

Also, don’t neglect the packaging. A gift box can be created with the company’s logo printed on it, or the wrapping paper can advertise the product or company. A gift card or a handwritten note to make the gift more personal is also a lovely touch. Sendoso works with top print and packaging leaders to professionally deliver these to your contacts.

Corporate Gift Ideas To Avoid

Just as important as knowing what to do is knowing what NOT to do. That way, you can avoid unintended consequences.

Here are a few tips on practices to avoid and what NOT to give your clients as corporate gifts.

  • Unsolicited business swag: When someone gets a branded shirt out of the blue, they are left wondering how you got their address and what else you know about them. It’s best to avoid these unwelcome surprises — especially perishables.
  • Religious gifts: In a business context, religious-themed gifts are likely to feel intrusive unless you really know the recipient very well. It’s tempting to be in the gift-giving spirit during the holiday season, but a spiritual gift that doesn’t align with one’s personal beliefs could alienate them.
  • Expensive gifts: Avoid even the appearance of impropriety by sending an outrageously priced corporate gift, which could make the recipient feel uncomfortable or obligated. Thoughtful — not shocking gifts — are key, because you don’t want your client to feel that reciprocity is expected.
  • Alcohol: Be aware that not everyone on a sales and marketing team is an alcohol connoisseur. Be confident the recipient enjoys alcoholic beverages before leading with this corporate gift. It’s not a bad idea to give the recipients the choice to accept, exchange or donate its value. (P.S. The Sendoso personal gifting platform handles all the logistics so you can gift wine, beer, and spirits to clients lawfully.)
  • Humor/Novelty gifts: Refrain from sending funny gifts unless you know the person exceptionally well. You need to be sure that they will appreciate your sense of humor and not be offended. You never know who might be around when they open it, so it’s best to be considerate. Keep the funny GIFs to your LinkedIn messages.
  • Holiday gifts: When sending holiday gifts, be aware that not everybody celebrates the same holidays. A more suitable alternative could be to send a New Year, New You gift. You can’t go wrong with congrats on the customer renewal (retention), initiated automatically from your CRM or marketing automation software.

Gifting Pro-Tip: Despite the end of the year being the peak gifting season, our gifting data suggests that businesses compete for attention from personal gifts. If you want to reward customers and perk up prospects, aim to do it outside of late November to January.

Build a Cohesive B2B Gifting Program

Behind every great business gift is an underlying gifting strategy to connect with the recipient. It could start with a simple “thank you” or can be engineered to leave people curious.

More often than not, a unique gift counts just as much as a high-value gift. By connecting with someone‘s #5to9, they are curious and are much more receptive to your outreach.

Personal Experience Flywheel - Alyce

Never underestimate the power of a personal, relevant, and thoughtful gift.

It’s definitely a good idea to follow up to find out what your client thought of their gift. A happy, well-satisfied client gives good referrals, and word-of-mouth recommendations are great for business.

Corporate gifting amplifies your customer experience — it doesn‘t replace it. It enhances your outbound prospecting campaigns, but remember that you must continue delivering value long after sending a business gift.

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