The Ultimate B2B Gifting Playbook from Alyce Superfan Brandon Ray
The power of personal gifting is here to stay. Just look at intent data platform 6sense, which turned $6,200 in Alyce gift cards into $3.6 million in pipeline.
Yet despite encouraging success stories, gifting can still get a bad rap. Sending gifts at the wrong time can feel awkward, and gifts can get lost in the abyss of customers’ inboxes and Slack notifications. In these scenarios, gifting’s true power never stands a chance.
To reap all the benefits of a gifting platform, you need to know how to weave authentic gifting into your GTM strategy. You’ll use gifts to build on connections that already have a spark, or as door-openers that help you break into new territory.
SaaS Business Development Leader, Brandon Ray, is the GOAT of gifting. A five-time Alyce buyer, Brandon has brought gifting to ventures like Namely, Black Crow AI, and StoryGen. At every company where he’s introduced Alyce, gifting has increased outbound leads by up to five times.
You’ve really got to take personalization to the next level. Adding a personalized incentive with Alyce as Step One goes a really long way.
— Brandon Ray
SaaS Business Development Leader
Deal Win Rate
To help you start your own success story, we’d like to introduce you to Brandon’s secret recipes for gifting success. These actionable tips and tactics bring big results to every company he joins, proving that gifting works if you do it right.
From Skeptic to Superfan
Today, gifting is a given for Brandon. As someone who’s made a career out of joining SaaS companies and helping them master sales — businesses like Sailthru, CM Group, Namely, Black Crow AI, and most recently, he joined StoryGen as an investor — gifting is an essential part of the sales growth starter pack.
However, he started off as a skeptic.
“I had a bad experience with Sendoso,” Brandon said. Sendoso is a sending platform and an Alyce competitor. “Our BDR team didn’t love using it. It was super clunky. And we didn't love the experience on the buy side, either.”
However, while at the email marketing platform Sailthru, he knew they needed a way to bring hyper-personalization to their outbound sales touchpoints. He saw the potential with gifting to be that extra “something else” that could make a difference — so when Alyce came recommended by a venture capital company, he was open to trying it.
The difference, he said, was “night and day.”
“It's just so much easier to use — the UX is better, the UI is better. Alyce really nails the usability for BDR teams and Sales,” Brandon said. “But more importantly, the experience for the gift recipient is so much better. It's very seamless, it's very clear where to click.”
Now, Brandon has gifting baked-in as part of his sales sequence.
The competition for consumer dollars is higher than ever. The need to stand out in the outreach process isn’t just for bonus points — it’s needed if you want to stay in the game. Brandon believes gifting is one of the best ways to do that.
“It’s no longer enough to just sprinkle in one mutual connection, and say, ‘I see you went to this university, ’” Brandon said. “It’s more about telling stories and along with that story, a personalized, tangible incentive.”
The ability to create a lead-gen experience that’s unique, actually personal, and attention-grabbing, is why Brandon has brought Alyce to company after company.
Now, with his work at StoryGen, their high priority on personalized touchpoints is completely aligned with Alyce.
“StoryGen was born with the concept of, it’s no longer enough to just sprinkle in one little mutual connection, whether it be the school or a mutual point of contact that you have,” Brandon said. “It’s more about telling stories, and then along with that, a personalized, tangible incentive.”
Consider the “Why”
The reason why you’re sending gifts matters. In the beginning, Brandon didn’t include this language in his outbound strategy because it could sound like a bribe. But adding a clear reason shows authenticity: “You’re super busy, and I want to show my appreciation. Here’s a gift.” And authenticity is the best marketing strategy ever to exist.
Brandon’s Gifting Best Practices
When companies hire Brandon as a business development leader, one of the first things he does is implement a gifting platform and key gifting tactics to start authentically connecting with leads. We’ve rounded up some of his greatest hits, so you can use these gifting strategies at your company.
1) Know Your Prospect
The first step to successful gifting is to understand the recipient: their likes, dislikes, and what’s meaningful to them. To understand your prospect, you’ve gotta do some sleuthing. Brandon’s go-to method for this is heading to LinkedIn and answering these questions:
- Where did they go to college?
- Do they have any volunteer experience?
- Any unique details about them?
- What/Who are their LinkedIn recommendations — shared connections?
Pick two or three of these, and you’ll have enough personalization to show you did some homework. From there, use Alyce to send a personalized gift based on what you’ve learned. Notice that they’re Red Sox fans? Use Alyce to send them Red Sox tickets. Find out that they give regularly to the local animal shelter? Make a donation in their name through Alyce, and let them know.
“The key thing is personalizing it right down to the individual,” Brandon said.
2) Lead with the Gift
Send the gift link first. That’s what Brandon recommends — he’s found that if you don’t send the gift first, the prospect might get accustomed to ignoring your emails. When the gift comes, it’s ignored as spam. Instead, lead with value and make Alyce the first touchpoint. The prospect feels valued right from the start.
Without a gift, Brandon estimates that you’ll send out at least 200 email touchpoints to get a positive first step. With Alyce, he’s seen that number reduced to as low as 25 touchpoints per positive result. The golden ratio is 25:1.
“For every 100 leads, you get four conversations that close,” Brandon said. “I haven’t seen those numbers with anyone else besides Alyce.”
3) Talk About The Why
A common hesitancy around gifting is that it might be perceived as a bribe. Brandon recognized this and recommends addressing this right away in your initial email.
“Make it clear — you want to show your appreciation, and here’s a gift,” he said.
An example email:
Hey ____, I know you’ve got a million things on your plate. Just a quick note to say I value the work you’re doing and want to show my appreciation. I saw that you’re a Red Sox fan. Thought I’d send over some tickets to the next game — need some extra luck to break that dry streak we’re in! You can download them here: Thanks _____. — Brandon
If they want to exchange their gift or donate it to charity, they can do so using Alyce’s Power of Choice option. Your sales team can monitor their choice and apply these insights to the next gift, keeping the process personalized.
4) Donations Work Better for C-Suites
Not all gifts resonate equally with each audience. For instance, Brandon finds C-Suite VPs and Directors typically aren’t interested in a $50 gift card. Instead, what moves them is a personalized donation to a cause that’s important to them.
“Look through their LinkedIn and see where they’ve volunteered, what causes they care about,” Brandon said. A donation to a cause close to an executive’s heart goes a long way.
Meanwhile, for managers and entry-level reps, a gift card for a store or product they enjoy can make all the difference.
5) Bring in Multiple Stakeholders
Why reserve gifts for only one person when you can spread the love? Perhaps your first meeting isn’t with the key decision-maker, or you’re trying to make a great first impression (as you should).
Take the opportunity to ask the first prospect about other stakeholders on the team, and what they might like. This is a great way to get intel on how to send them personalized gifts and include everyone on the team.
6) Boost Event Attendance with Gifting
Who doesn’t love a free lunch? At StoryGen, Brandon incentivizes online event attendance with a free lunch through Alyce. Invitees are sent a $10 – $20 UberEats gift card, so they choose a lunch they want at the meeting.
For example, a 1-to-many Alyce blast offering a free lunch during a Lunch & Learn webinar. Or, if you’re hoping to meet with someone in-person at a tradeshow, a lunch gift ahead of time can incentivize meeting during the event. Go ahead — treat them to something delicious!
7) Be Careful with Booze
Something Brandon learned the hard way: Be mindful when gifting alcohol. After accidentally gifting a bottle of wine to someone who doesn’t drink, they now steer clear of these gifts.
Make sure you understand the person’s lifestyle and interests; and if you aren’t certain that they drink, he recommends steering clear of alcoholic beverages.
8) Sometimes, Someone Just Wants the Gift (And That’s Ok)
Another barrier to gifting is the concern that prospects may just grab the gift and run. Are my prospects interested in learning about the tech, you might ask, or do they just want the gift?
The answer is, sometimes, yes. Some people may just be in it for the gift. What Brandon has learned is that those people are par for the course. If four out of every 100 gifts lead to a closed deal, it’s more than worth it.
“Yes, there is going to be one person out of every 10 or 20 that just wants the gift and then doesn't show up to the meeting. But that’s the cost of doing business, right?” he said. "The cost of not having a gifting tool and sending emails that look just like everybody else’s is higher. If you want to break through the noise, you’ve got to be doing something that differentiates yourself.”
- How to personalize customer outreach
- How to implement gifting in your sales sequence
- Successful gifting practices for entry-level reps to the C-Suite
- Where you can integrate gifting within your existing tech stack
About Brandon Ray
As a modern B2B SaaS business development leader, Brandon Ray has scaled global sales teams at some of the world’s fastest-growing tech companies, including Greenhouse Software, BetterWorks, Wunderkind, CM Group (Sailthru, Liveclicker, Vuture), Namely, and Black Crow AI.
Ray is also on the board at a GTM-as-a-Service company StoryGen, which helps companies drive 10x more qualified business opportunities through the art of authentic storytelling. Incredibly disruptive in a world 99% of BDR agencies just spam your entire addressable market with hot automated garbage.
It’s that golden ratio of 25:1 for every hundred contacts you reach out to, you can get four qualified meetings. That’s something I don’t see anything close to when I’m not using Alyce.
— Brandon Ray
SaaS Business Development Leader
It Pays to Stand Out
Brandon firmly believes in the power of gifting — enough to bring it to five different companies. He’s seen how gifting can be the secret ingredient that differentiates you from an ultra-saturated market. With Alyce, you can personalize your outreach and tailor your communication to the person behind the screen.
In a world where we’re becoming increasingly disconnected, gifting makes our interactions special and our prospects feel valued. The result of this personalization speaks for itself.
“At each new company, I always tell them, ‘If Alyce doesn’t work, I’ll pay for it out of pocket myself,’” Brandon said. “So far, that hasn’t happened.”
Are you ready to use gifting in all the right ways for your company? See Alyce in action by scheduling your personalized demo with a gifting expert today.