How Personal Gifting Lifted AlphaSense's Pipeline by 132% In One Year
AlphaSense, the leading market intelligence and search platform, is growing — big time. With an ARR of over $100 million and more than a $1 billion valuation, the company surpassed unicorn status and was named a “centaur” in 2022.
Here’s how it works: If you’re researching a company, market, or industry, AlphaSense leverages proprietary AI search technology to help you find what you're looking for faster giving you granular search engine capabilities combined with an extensive universe of public and private content. Think company documents, news, trade journals, expert calls reports, and broker research from Wall Street’s top analysts.
“Alyce has thousands of different gift options. So if we want to go with a coffee chat angle, great. But if they don’t want coffee, they can easily exchange it for something else. It’s a warm touch, and they still have the power of choice.”
— Liana Best
Senior Manager, Demand Generation | AlphaSense
increase in pipeline attributed to gifting (YoY)
more meetings booked from inbound (QoQ)
pre-purchased, unused gift inventory
AlphaSense’s customer base consists of corporate clients and financial firms that may be hard to reach but find enormous value in the real-time market intelligence that AlphaSense provides. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of getting noticed — which is where demand generation through gifting comes into play.
As Senior Manager of AlphaSense’s Demand Gen team, Liana Best works on acquiring new leads and nurturing them through the sales funnel while looking for impactful ways to engage potential customers. One of the approaches Liana has rolled out is personalized gifting, which helps her team engage prospects and provide white-glove experiences for clients.
With the help of gifting through Alyce, Account Managers (AMs), Account Executives (AEs), and Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) make genuine human connections that naturally bring customers into their product landscape.
Of course, implementing a gifting program doesn’t come with the wave of a magic wand. Liana and her team have worked hard to educate their sales and marketing teams on the value of gifting — knowing that in the end, the ability to nurture leads with gifting is well worth it.
Switching to Alyce
When Liana joined the AlphaSense team in 2021, she understood the power of gifting. In her previous role with Adobe Marketo Engage, gifting with Alyce was integral to every SDR’s sales strategy; some reps sent 50 gifts per month to book meetings and personalized the experience.
Before switching to Alyce, AlphaSense was using a gifting platform where the results left much to be desired. The previous gifting vendor had a contract that supplied a limited number of seats; if any of those seats went inactive, they were reassigned to someone else.
“I wasn’t a huge fan,” Liana said. “It never took off because only a small group could use it. We also had to pre-purchase inventory which we were then stuck with. With a growing sales team, we needed a partner with flexible plans that could grow and adapt with us. ”
Liana knew Alyce could provide seats to the entire AlphaSense sales team and would be the push they needed to ramp up a gifting program. At her recommendation, they switched platforms and started a pilot program in Q4 of 2021. Ade Suarez, a Demand Generation Analyst at AlphaSense, took on getting users set up on the platform and providing training materials.
“I had seen Alyce rolled out at Adobe Marketo and how well it worked. I knew we needed to roll it out here, too,” Liana said.
How To Get Gifting Buy-In
Despite the proven benefits of gifting, getting buy-in took time. Sales reps already had many other tools in their toolbelt and little room in their jam-packed days (or their mental space) for onboarding a new platform.
However, thanks to thoughtful preparation and onboarding, they saw their adoption rates soar and more meetings booked. Since implementing Alyce, they’ve seen a 132% increase year over year (YoY) in marketing-sourced pipeline from the personalized gifting channel.
“I don't think you are ever at a point where you have everyone's buy-in,” Liana said. “With new reps joining the revenue org across roles, there must be ongoing enablement for your sales team to make the best use of gifting.”
Here are several ways Liana and her team have used to ramp up Alyce’s adoption and educate their teams on the best practices for gifting:
Start with a pilot group.
Enlist a few gifting champions to form a pilot group that can then share gifting success stories to amp up the team. AlphaSense focused on a few high-performing SDRs nominated by their managers. By starting small, they could focus on teaching best practices and answering questions with quick, personalized responses.
Create an onboarding program.
While the Alyce platform is straightforward, product education is still vital for successful implementation. Liana says it’s helpful to illustrate how the product fits in their SDR’s workflow. They created training decks with step-by-step screenshots and Vidyard explainer videos for gifting with the Salesforce and Outreach integrations. You can also use Alyce’s training materials at the YOUniversity.
Show the value.
Once your reps see how gifting contributes to pipeline and revenue, adoption becomes a much easier sell. Take note as your pilot group scores wins. AlphaSense’s AM and AE teams were early adopters of Alyce — they created unique experiences for clients and started sharing various use cases and messaging that their colleagues could leverage.
Embrace out-of-the-box thinking.
Gifting is an opportunity to spark creativity in your sales and marketing teams, inspiring them to think of new ways to delight their contacts. “Birthdays, work anniversaries, parents returning from maternity or paternity leave, people who adopt a dog — those are all touchpoints that your teams can engage with on a more personal level,” Liana said. Get excited about gifting!
When AlphaSense introduced gifting software internally, some felt gifts were unnecessary. Get to the root of the objections and push through misconceptions by sharing data, internal wins, and helping team members expand their mindsets. Liana put it this way: “Our product is innovative — our outreach should be too.”
Understand your unique audience
Know where your team might encounter resistance, and prepare them for it in advance. For instance, as a global company, Liana and the AlphaSense team have found that corporate gifting is less common in the European Union (EU) than in the US. This understanding helps construct a global gifting strategy that takes a softer approach.
AlphaSense has also learned that gifting can be complicated in the financial services sector. When the gift is above a certain value, the recipient has to document it. But the beauty of Alyce is that if a recipient cannot accept, they can donate their gift value to charity (or respectfully decline).
Talk to team members at every stage of the process. Before implementation, AlphaSense asked their sales team what their day looked like to understand their workload and how Alyce fits in. They check in periodically to see how it’s going to figure out what tweaks to make and new campaigns to run.
Making Business More Personal
With the gifting program in place, AlphaSense’s top priority was focusing on outreach quality to stand out in the crowded marketplace. In an inbox full of impersonal, cold emails, the question becomes: how do I stand out? The answer is quality messaging.
“When you open an email, you can tell if it's automated, and when there's no personalization,” Liana said. “With the volume of cold emails I receive, I’m actually pleasantly surprised when I see that someone has taken the time to mention something from my LinkedIn or craft a creative and thoughtful email with value.”
Over the past year, a big win for AlphaSense and Alyce has been customer gifting. Gifts enhance a variety of customer touchpoints. For example, AlphaSense uses Alyce to make a smooth introduction/handoff from AE to AM. But that’s just the beginning. The team also schedules coffee chats and lunch-and-learns to welcome new users and strengthen relationships by making the experience more personal.
“Account Managers aren’t actually going out with all customers in different states to grab coffee or lunch. But we’re in an exciting place where technology has evolved and allows our team to set up virtual coffee chats or lunch and learns to welcome new customers and provide a nicer experience,” Liana said. “It’s those little wins of seeing that fantastic, white-glove customer experience.”
Gifts aren’t generally expected, so it’s a little surprise to engage customers immediately and start on a solid path forward.
The cherry on top is the flexibility of gifting, known at Alyce as the Power of Choice. Recipients always have the option to accept the initial gift, exchange it and shop from Alyce’s diverse marketplace, or donate to a charity of their choice.
“Alyce has thousands of different gift options: physical gifts (including swag), gift cards, and charitable donations. So if we want to go with a coffee chat angle, great. We can lead with a coffee gift card,” Liana said. “But if they happen to be someone who doesn’t like Starbucks, they can exchange it for something else they do want. It’s a warm touch, and they still have the power of choice.”
Enabling the Inbound Sales Motion
After seeing the successful results from their AMs, AlphaSense focused on increasing gifting adoption with their inbound sales reps in 2022.
The team of inbound SDRs has grown from three to 10, and Liana’s team trains them extensively on gifting best practices to help their outreach stand out from the noise.
“It’s not about just sending another email,” Liana said. “It’s making sure that when your email goes through, you’re capturing [the prospect’s] attention.”
Liana noted the approach should be different if you’re going in for a cold pitch as an SDR versus sending a message from an AM. Gifting helps you create a door-opener moment where you’re one step closer to finding the company champion — but it’s often only effective when you’ve already built that rapport.
“It depends on where customers are in their journey,” said Liana. “For SDRs doing cold outreach, the Alyce gift shouldn’t necessarily be the first touchpoint.”
Seeing an email with a gift from someone you’ve never talked to could look like a spam link or unwanted communication. While some advocate for leading with value and sending a gift at the first touchpoint, Liana and her team prefer to send the gift on the third email. What’s best for you? It might be worth testing out both approaches to see what sticks.
At AlphaSense, the Demand Gen team identifies specific gifts that resonate, helping the inbound sales team exceed customer expectations on initial touchpoints. (Alyce’s AI feature and State of Gifting Report provide essential insights on gifting trends.)
They’ve found that prospects especially appreciate gift cards for coffee, lunch, or any college-related gift.
When they started implementing gifts for scheduling meetings, AlphaSense’s rate of meetings booked skyrocketed. From Q2 to Q3, inbound SDR meetings booked through Alyce increased by 660%.
Survey Says, Gifting Works
As AlphaSense became more comfortable with Alyce, the marketing team explored different gifting campaigns. The company looked to improve the response rates to a customer survey.
Getting people to fill out surveys is challenging for any company, but AlphaSense’s marketing team counts on the information they provide.
So the team decided to incentivize their survey process — and found gifting is that extra perk that heavily influences someone’s choice to complete it.
“Our events team was planning an event next year and wanted to get feedback on it,” Liana said. “We asked questions such as should it be virtual or in-person. Does it need to be hybrid? They floated an idea: Anyone who fills out the survey will get a $50 gift from Alyce.”
They received 100 responses in just a week. The Demand Gen team tracked data for contacts who filled out the survey and then started a one-to-many campaign with Alyce to send gift links out to all survey respondents.
With a few successful survey pilots, the marketing team is excited to continue exploring new gifting use cases.
What Gifting Is All About
Of course, gifting isn’t only about opening the door — it’s also about continuing to bring value and “surprise and delight” moments for AlphaSense customers.
“Our goal doesn’t end when a lead gets passed over to an SDR. We care a lot about what happens to those leads,” Liana said.
Equipping their sales team with tools to make the experience better, convert their existing prospects into meetings, and help delight new customers is what the practice of gifting is all about at AlphaSense.
By following their lead, you can build the outbound marketing motion organically and see those stellar adoption rates follow.
Ready to see how gifting can work magic throughout your customer journey? Schedule your personalized demo with an Alyce gifting expert.
Industry: Market Intelligence
Company Size: 1,000+ Employees
Location: New York City, NY
AlphaSense is a market intelligence platform used by the world's leading companies and financial institutions. Since 2011, its AI-based technology has helped professionals make smarter business decisions by delivering insights from an extensive universe of public and private content—including company filings, event transcripts, expert call transcripts, news, trade journals, and equity research. Its platform is trusted by over 3,500 enterprise customers, including a majority of the S&P 500. Headquartered in New York City, AlphaSense employs over 1,000 people across offices in the U.S., U.K., Finland, Germany, and India.
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