Interview: The Art of Gifting for Word-of-Mouth

The following is a summary of my chat with Braydan Young from Sendoso. You can listen to the chat here:

Sendoso Interview with Viral Loops - The Art of Gifting

Originally called “Coffee Sender,” Braydan and his co-founder started out by sending $5 Starbucks gift cards to secure meetings. The idea took off, generating $60,000 in the first month. 

As demand grew for more varied gifts, they expanded beyond coffee. 

Evolving into Sendoso, one of the largest automated personalized gifting platforms in the globe.

What does Sendoso Do? 

Sendoso is a gifting platform that lets you send gifts to customers or prospects to show appreciation. They offer four types of sends.

First, the digital Sends. Basically instant gifts like $10 Starbucks gift cards or DoorDash credits, ideal for quick, thoughtful gestures. For example, you could send a note saying, “Thanks for the referral. Grab coffee on me today!”

Then, Amazon Sends. Where you can send anything from Amazon. Sendoso intercepts the packages, puts them in branded boxes, adds handwritten notes, and ships them.

They also provide Direct Sends. These are personalized gifts like cookies, flowers, or wine, perfect for expressing thanks or welcoming someone.

And finally, Warehouse Sends. Sendoso operates five warehouses around the world that store and package direct sends, making it easy to send anything you want.

Where does Sendoso find the most success?

Mostly in campaigns, starting with sales and marketing outreach. Sendoso enhances the customer journey, helping out in sequences or cadences.

The key here is reciprocity.

For example, if someone announces a new job on LinkedIn, you can reach out with, “Congrats on the new job! I’d love to connect and show you how we’re working with companies like yours. Grab coffee on me today and read this case study.”

When onboarding a new client, you can say, “Hey, you’re in the system and going through onboarding,” and follow up with more gifts during renewals, fostering better customer relationships.

Sending thank-you gifts keeps customers happy and encourages referrals and ongoing conversations. As well as, personalized gifts, such as sports team apparel or branded items.

Maximizing the Impact of Thoughtful Gifting Opportunities

From initial outreach, demo and contract negotiations, to life events like weddings, there are many opportunities to send something special.

 The bottom line is, once you have a happy customer, there’s the referral side. So if they’re helping with referrals, they’re helping with promoting you online.

Of course, all brands experience trial and error. For Sendoso, the key lesson was to keep it simple and avoid getting too personal or ambitious. For example, sending a beach towel because the customer tweeted about a trip to the Bahamas might feel too intrusive. There are also many stories of personalized gifts backfiring, such as sending chocolate in the summer or food delivery in general.

 Keeping gifts practical and considerate is essential.

Event-Driven Gifting: Sendoso’s Marketing Masterplan

Participating in events is their main focus of marketing. This includes investing in a booth and showcasing their logo. 

Why? Because they understand the importance for brand visibility.

 When sponsoring an event, they spend a lot of time talking to other exhibiting companies. They engage with potential prospects by asking about their booth setup and gift shipping methods.

After that, throughout the sales funnel, Sendoso incorporates gifting. From the first demo to the second, through the contract phase, and as renewal dates approach, they have triggers set up for sending gifts. For instance, six months before a renewal date, a customer receives a gift. Long-term customers, called super senders, also receive special gifts.

The goal here is to build a community around the art of gifting. Because through gifts they turn satisfied users into advocates.

What makes Sendoso stand out?

Back in the day, most companies struggled to track the ROI of gifts in systems like Salesforce. They knew they needed to send gifts but couldn’t connect them to tangible business outcomes. Based on this, Sendoso refined its discovery process, asking clients about the effectiveness of their previous gifting efforts.

This approach set Sendoso apart, helping it acquire a diverse client base. And while the broad ideal customer profile (ICP) might seem challenging for sales, Sendoso’s compatibility with about 40 systems makes it adaptable. 

Once a company identifies their client needs, Sendoso can help track and optimize gifting efforts.

Leading to great success with traditional SaaS tech companies, in marketing and sales. Real estate has also become a significant client, focusing on digital e-gifts and holiday gifting. In the manufacturing industry, B2B vendors have also embraced Sendoso. As well as HR departments, since COVID-19, who use Sendoso to send appreciation gifts to employees for their hard work.

The Ideal Referral Program

When it comes to referrals, Sendoso is no stranger to this strategy. 

Their marketing plan includes a free and express plan to send e-gifts easy, which has significantly boosted their product-led growth (PLG) by encouraging clients to get more used to sending.

 In fact, the company likens an ideal referral program to a great hotel, where everything you need is anticipated and supplied before you even ask. 

 Applying this hotel concept to the perfect referral program involves several strategic actions.

 For instance, when seeking a referral from a customer, it’s crucial to know the potential referrer well—typically, they are someone who has experienced a demo or engaged in a meaningful conversation. Establishing this connection with satisfied customers sets the stage for effective referrals.

 Before the referral call, an attentive gesture can improve engagement. For example, sending both parties a small e-gift, like a $5 gift card. This gesture acknowledges their time and effort, making the conversation more enjoyable and showing appreciation in advance.

 After the referral call, it is essential to follow up with gratitude. While there is no need to gift the prospective buyer, thanking the referring customer is crucial. Consider personalized gifts based on their interests or hobbies. Branded items like T-shirts or baseball caps work great in these cases.

 For customers who are consistent with providing referrals, occasional unexpected gestures can strengthen the relationship.  Rather than sending a gift every time they refer someone, occasional surprise acknowledgments can build a strong base.  A handwritten note from the company founder expressing gratitude can be a classy and memorable touch. The surprise factor is what keeps clients coming back.

 Ultimately, the perfect referral program requires so much more than just immediate rewards. 

 It’s about ongoing, positive gestures that foster true advocacy and long-term relationships. Many companies only send gifts after a referral call, but incorporating these additional steps grant a great strength to your referral program.

It all circles back to building a strong network through gifts.

Top Strategy to get more Referrals?

Build a personal brand, not just around your company, but around yourself.

Truth is, people who give referrals love your company and often have a personal relationship with someone at your organization. It’s important to maintain these relationships, even when individuals change jobs every few years.

So if a referral source moves to a new company, the relationship doesn’t and shouldn’t end there. Instead, continue to engage them—they could become a new referral source or even a repeat customer.

 It’s important to understand that relationships transcend companies, the real focus lies on the human-to-human connection.

After all, a brand that is authentic and genuine with its customers, guarantees a loyal and satisfied referral base.

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