Corporate gift-giving is far more complex and nuanced than it seems. That’s why you need a thank you strategy.
It’s no secret that gratitude is good for the bottom line. The simple act of saying thank you has such a powerful, positive effect on business relationships that it has been dubbed “a global phenomenon for marketers.” Reap the benefits of gratitude all year long with a simple, effective thank you strategy. Here's how.
1 | Set clear goals, and measure your impact
Think about: What do you want to accomplish with your thank you strategy? Perhaps you’re looking to turn more leads into sales, reduce client turnover, applaud a milestone or celebrate a new business relationship. Or perhaps you’re looking to improve employee productivity and retention. Written goals will help you decide who should get a gift, when to send it, and what kind of gift to send.
Clear goals also give you the opportunity to measure your progress: Do prospects who receive a “good faith” gift after a sales call turn into customers more often than those who don’t receive a gift? Your return on investment should be clear.
2 | Establish a budget
There are two ways to set a budget for your corporate thank you strategy. The simplest option is to estimate the number of recipients and multiply by the cost of each gift. For example, if you make ten sales calls a month and follow up with a $100 gift, you’ll need a $1,000 monthly giving budget. The second option is to calculate your gift-giving budget as a percentage of a sales goal. For example, if your goal is to win $5 million in new business from your top 200 clients, set aside1% for gifts. That’s a $50,000 total budget, and you’ll have $250 to spend on each client.
3 | Determine who will receive a gift
Deciding who will receive a gift –and who won’t –can be a challenging process. Keep in mind that the overarching purpose of a thank you strategy is to foster strong, mutually beneficial business relationships. This means that your giving should target high-value customers and employees whose favor and goodwill has the potential to boost your bottom line. Will long-serving, high-ranking or high-performing staff receive larger gifts?
Will you give a gift to every sales prospect, or only to those who commit to a follow-up meeting? Will you send a gift to clients who spend over $500,000 a year, or only those who hit $1 million? Use your goals to guide you.
4 | Decide when to send your gift
The end-of-year holiday season is the most popular time to give corporate gifts, but sending thank you gifts all year long is an easy way to set yourself apart from competitors. In fact, experts recommend devoting up to one-third of your gift budget for non-holiday gifts, and many believe that unexpected corporate gifts have more impact. With your goals in mind, use your thank you strategy to establish milestones and celebrations that warrant a gift.
Consider sending a gift when you want to:
- Get your foot in the door with a high-value prospect;
- Follow up after a great sales discussion;
- Celebrate a contract signing, first order or other new business relationship;
- Thank customers for ongoing or high-value business;
- Apologize for a mistake;
- Acknowledge a referral;
- Introduce your business to prospective new clients;
- Introduce your business to prospective new clients;
- Commend a client on a promotion or significant business achievement;
- Celebrate a wedding, baby or other personal milestone;
- Praise an employee for hitting a sales or production goal;
- Commemorate a team member for five, 10 or 25 years of service;
- Honor a team for superior achievement or breakthroughs.
5 | Choose the perfect gift
Selecting an appropriate corporate gift is an art and a science: quality and fit are key. Your thank you strategy should lay out the types of gifts that are acceptable in each situation, keeping in mind that the gift will influence the way your recipient views both you and your company. Presentation matters.
First, consider the recipient’s role at work, along with their income, age and lifestyle. Different people will appreciate different gifts. For example, a 40-pound Christmas turkey might be the perfect way to say thank you to a Midwestern manager with a big family, but it’s a poor choice for a single 23-year-old at the helm of a Silicon Valley startup.
While personalized gifts can be powerful, they can be difficult to get right, and should be chosen with great care. Catered lunches and event tickets are typically well-received. The best option is a high quality gift that surprises and delights any recipient, like an elegant gift set of Champagne or wine, chocolate and stemware or a case of private labeled wine.
6 | Add a message that's just right for the occasion
The final step in creating a thank you strategy is to set out guidelines for the notes that will accompany the gifts. The key here is to write something authentic and meaningful. Explain why you’re sending the gift, add a note of gratitude, and sign your full name. Be sure to include a reference to your company, on the card or elsewhere, so the recipient can be sure of the sender. You want them to know who went to all that trouble to say thanks!
Creating a thank you strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. Gratitude, combined with a little bit of thought and planning, can help you forge stronger business relationships, distinguish yourself from the competition and win new business.
Ready to bring your thank you strategy to life?
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