Keeping on the gifting theme, Boston-based Alyce announced a partnership with Salesloft to support “smart gifting” on the Salesloft Sales Engagement Platform. The partnership lets sales and marketing teams natively send gifts through Salesloft.
Alyce appears within the Salesloft People page side panel, where reps can select a gift and personalize the message. Gifting options include physical gifts, gift cards, subscriptions, branded swag, on-demand services (e.g., in-home massage, portrait session), experiences (e.g., walking tours, helicopter rides), and donations. Alyce’s AI suggests three gift choices, but reps can select other choices from the marketplace.
“Actionable insights, seamlessly integrated together can help your sales team say the right thing, to the right person, at the right time with the right gift to drive action that’ll ensure your team hits your targets month after month,” wrote Alyce.
A gifting history provides details on which gifts have been received and how the prospect engaged with the gift, helping revenue teams “optimize follow-up to drive greater impact.”
Alyce employs AI to assist with gift selection from its curated global marketplace. Alyce recipients are sent a physical or digital notification of a gift, which they can choose to accept, exchange, donate, or decline.
“Our partnership with Salesloft is such a natural match. We are both committed to enabling revenue teams to build strong relationships and improve business results with the help of smart technology. At Alyce, we are thrilled that our integration with Salesloft is giving marketing and sales teams new gifting superpowers right in their workflow that will allow them to deliver meaningful moments, increase revenue, and create greater impact.”
Alyce CEO Greg Segall
In a case study, Salesloft enjoyed a 50% increase in alignment between BDRs and strategic marketing with Alyce and drove a 9% increase in meeting attendance. Furthermore, twenty percent of gifts sent resulted in new opportunities.
“Through the platform, we have uncovered an increase in the sales team’s ability to sell to our target personas,” stated Nabiha Balala, Senior Manager of Enterprise Marketing at Salesloft. “Alyce has been such a game-changer. It’s organically become part of our everyday sales process.”
Alyce’s physical gifting is currently limited to the US and Canada. However, gift cards may be sent to the US, Canada, Britain, and Ireland.
Alyce raised a $30 million Series B in April.
I’ve been running a series on Offline Marketing Automation (E-Gifting and Event Marketing) this week: My other posts:
Offline Marketing Automation Platform Postal.io closed on a $22 million Series B led by OMERS Ventures, with current investor Mayfield Fund also joining the round. The series raised total funding to $31 million.
The funds will be directed toward growing the Postal.io team, ongoing product development, and international expansion. The firm is looking to address the lack of tracking, attribution, automation, and scale in the $120 billion market for direct mail, personalized incentives, branded swag, and corporate gifting.
Postal offers an “expansive marketplace featuring high-end, locally curated items from specialized vendors” that foster “meaningful experiences to drive better engagement with prospects, increase conversion rates, and boost employee engagement.”
“Teams that were once manually sending offline touchpoints are now able to efficiently automate and track direct mail, branded company swag, personalized gifts, and virtual events at scale. We help companies leverage this proven channel with a frictionless, team-agnostic platform. Companies are using Postal.io across their organization to deliver more meaningful, impactful, and delightful experiences.”
Postal.io CEO Erik Kostelnik
Events began as mostly marketing activities, but with so many employees working from home, roughly half of their events are employee team-building activities or celebrations. Postal claims an average attendance rate of 90% for its events.
Postal offers a concierge team that operates as an “extension of your marketing team.” Postal Concierge assists with managing “curated, branded, specialty items, and experiences that are guaranteed to surprise and delight your prospects and clients.” The Concierge team also assists with event customization and talent booking.
Another feature is collections. Instead of picking a single item, the rep sends a link to an array of themed items, allowing the user to choose from the collection. Thus, a drink collection would include coffee, tea, and cocoa options. Likewise, a cocktail-making event would offer a mocktail option.
Part II continues with a discussion of the Postal Marketplace and integrations.
With travel restricted and many executives continuing to work from home part-time or full time, face-to-face meetings and tradeshows will remain difficult for the foreseeable future. One of the successful workarounds has been offline marketing and e-gifting. Firms such as Sendoso, Alyce, PFL, and Postal have had significant success in rising above the din of digital marketing. I will be posting a set of articles on these firms over the coming days, beginning with Sendoso’s recent funding round.
San Francisco-based e-gifting platform Sendoso closed on a $100 million Series C round and announced plans to open a European headquarters in Dublin. The Irish office will include a dedicated logistics and supply center to support the firm’s 20,000 global customers. The new facility supports its multinational customers and expands its opportunities within the EU. Beyond logistics and warehousing, the Dublin office will host an engineering team, marketers, customer success, and an inside sales team focused on European sales.
The funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and raised Sendoso’s total funding to $152.7 million. Existing investors Oak HC/FT, Struck Capital, Stage 2 Capital, Craft Ventures, Signia Venture Partners, and Felicis Ventures also participated.
“We believe Sendoso offers the most comprehensive end-to-end gifting platform in the market,” said Priya Saiprasad, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “Their platform includes a global marketplace of curated vendors, seamless integration with existing tools, global logistics, and deep analytics. As a result, Sendoso serves as the backbone to enterprises’ engagement programs with prospective customers, existing customers, employees, and other key stakeholders.”
CEO Kris Rudeegraap termed the round a “major milestone” for the firm. The funds will be deployed to expand its products, services, and global footprint, including the Dublin facilities.
Sendoso sends corporate swag, regular physical gifts, and gift cards on behalf of its sales and marketing clients. In addition, the platform supports gift ordering, logistics, packing, custom packaging, and shipping. Sendoso is integrated with CRMs, MAPs, and SEPs, including Salesforce, MS Dynamics, HubSpot, Marketo, Outreach, Salesloft, and Groove. The firm has also partnered with ABM Platforms Terminus, Demandbase, and RollWorks.
According to Sendoso, customers enjoy a 55% net increase in new opportunities by “creating authentic connections that show prospects you care.” The firm suggests that marketers “send a coffee eGift before an event to encourage prospects to stop by your booth.” Reps can then “show them you’re listening by sending personalized gifts based on their interests and hobbies. If they’re a sports fan, send them a blanket with their favorite team or give them tickets to a game.”
In the absence of face-to-face meetings, e-gifting has helped build relationships and break through the digital noise. According to HubSpot platform data, virtual selling became significantly more difficult due to a flood of messages during the pandemic. For example, sales emails spiked 59% in Q2 2020 compared to pre-Covid levels, causing a thirty percent drop in buyer response rates compared to before the pandemic.
“Everyone was stuck at home by themselves, saturated with emails,” said Rudeegraap. “Having a personal connection to sales prospects, employees, and others just meant more.” Sendoso claims that it has the “marketplace selection and logistics precision of Amazon.com,” but with greater personalization. For example, Sendoso supports handwritten notes, special boxing, and an Amazon partnership that routes Amazon orders to Sendoso for repackaging.
“There are a lot of things we do uniquely in terms of what we have built throughout our software, gifting options, and logistics centre. We really personalize our gifts at scale with handwritten notes, special boxing, and more,” something that Amazon cannot do. We have built a lot of unique technology and logistics software that would make it hard for Amazon to compete.” He said that one of Sendoso’s integrations is actually with Amazon, so Sendoso users can order through there, but then the gift is first routed to Sendoso to be repackaged in a nicer way before being sent out.”
Sendoso CEO Kris Rudeegraap
Rudeegraap is a former sales executive who found gift-sending valuable but cumbersome. This experience led him to found Sendoso in 2016 with Chief Alliances Officer Braydan Young. The firm has fulfilled three million gifts over the past half-decade.
“I was manually packing boxes, grabbing swag, coming up with handwritten notes,” he recalled. “It was inefficient, but it worked so well. So I dreamed up an idea: why not be able to click a button in Salesforce to do this automatically? Sometimes the best company is one that solves a pain point of your own.”
Sendoso has 500 global employees with plans to grow its headcount by thirty percent by the end of the year. Sendoso did not disclose its valuation, but TechCrunch estimated it at $640 million.
Continuing on the Vidyard theme from yesterday, Personal Experience platform Alyce has integrated Vidyard into its e-gifting service. The Vidyard partnership lets customers record or insert personalized videos “within the Alyce gifting flow, helping sales reps create deeper, more personal bonds and connections with prospects and customers.”
Alyce customers with a Vidyard Enterprise account may insert videos from the Vidyard library or record a custom video that is displayed on the Alyce gift landing page. Recommended gifts are based on an AI analysis of the “#5to9” experiences of individuals, ensuring that the gift and messaging are better targeted than generic swag and marketing templates.
As Sales Engagement platforms have noted improved open and response rates associated with personalized video, it is likely that customers and prospects will well receive a recorded message. Alyce claims up to a 50% improvement in click-through rates when personal videos are included in email invitations and a nearly 80% lift in landing page conversion rates.
“Our integration with Alyce provides customers with the ultimate way to deliver end-to-end personal experiences to prospects and customers by pairing personal video and personal gifting in one platform,” said Vidyard VP of Marketing Tyler Lessard. “This partnership strengthens the movement around being personal in marketing and sales, which we and our customers embrace to build rapport and trust through the more engaging combined experience.”
Mutual customers can add a personalized video to Alyce’s email invitations. The thumbnail and associated video help “put a face to the name, and up your ability to be personal even more.” The video also appears o the gift landing page.
Marketing can deploy campaign-based videos. For example, a webinar follow-on Alyce message may be sent to webinar attendees or before events.
Alyce does not send a standard, generic item to customers and prospects. Instead, recipients can choose the recommended item, select an alternate item from the Alyce gift marketplace, or donate the value of the gift to a charity of their choice.
“The Personal Experience approach has a multitude of amazing use-cases to strengthen and enhance building personal bonds and professional relationships to help grow business. Integrating Vidyard personal video into Alyce platform itself to deliver face-to-face PX moments is a game-changer.”
Greg Segall, CEO of Alyce
Direct Marketing swag companies such as Alyce, PFL, and Sendoso seem to be trying out various names for their industry. Other frequent terms are one-to-one gifting, sending platform, and tactile marketing automation. Personal Experience seems too far afield as e-gifting usually involves swag, not services.
Alyce is based in Boston and has 170 employees in seven countries.
At its Unleash user conference, Outreach rolled out its expanded Galaxy partner ecosystem that “offers deeper partner integrations and enables sales teams to more effectively access multiple sales tools directly from the Outreach platform.” Outreach also announced a set of new partners including Vidyard (1-to-1 video), Intercom, (chat) and Sendoso (direct mail) along with a set of new plugins for composing emails, event streams, and link encoding.
“More visibility on information and actions performed by third-party applications like video views or website chats. Outreach Galaxy puts actionable information at reps’ fingertips so they can have more contextual conversations.
‘Next best actions’ enabled through integration partners. Outreach automates customer touchpoints and can trigger or be triggered by external information fed into Outreach.
Greater ability to meet changing buyer preferences. Outreach is the system of action for modern sales teams, and now enables reps to communicate with buyers through even more mediums.“
is evolving to become more personal and accurate. You must use the right
channel for the right engagement for the right prospect and customer,” said
Outreach CEO Manny Medina. “A sales engagement platform must be
multichannel and have the ability to optimize on each depending on the
customer. Now you can do that, with Galaxy.”
Marketing Automation vendor (Translation: Direct Mail Swag) PFL also announced
an Outreach integration. Sales reps include a direct mail or reward step within
all inundated with thousands of digital messages a day, but studies show that
touching something physical stimulates our emotions and ultimately improves the
perception of a brand,” said PFL CEO Andrew Field. “We are joining
the Outreach Galaxy partner program to put the power of direct mail and high
impact packages directly into the hands of sales reps so they can engage
prospects and customers. Together with Outreach, we are pioneering a new
approach to B2B marketing that empowers sales reps to do what they do best:
stand out, get noticed and close more deals.”
Outreach listed a set of future partners including Alyce, BombBomb, Clari, LeanData, OneMob, and Tiled.
When composing emails, third-party content is immediately accessible. Vendors leveraging the new plug-in capability include Vidyard and Sendoso.
events stream plugin feeds third-party events to the Outreach activity feed.
These events can then act as triggers for additional action.
Encoding provides website or content viewing intelligence related to Outreach
sequences. For example, the new plug-ins help Vidyard “record and send
videos within your Outreach email. And when your prospect views the
video, that activity triggers your next task so you can immediately take action
to convert at the highest level.”
Outreach will roll out an enhanced Team Performance Dashboard and expanded
Sequence Analytics to help sales managers and sales operations professionals
better determine best practices.
Outreach customers have has already built integrated solutions using the
Outreach API. The firm has over 40,000 weekly active users performing 47
Outreach added Out of Office reply detection. The firm noted that 18% of email responses are out of office emails. Amongst out of office messages, 25% include an alternate contact name with over half the names being manager titles or above. The Out of Office reply detection extracts the return date and alternate names then pauses cadences until the prospect returns. The sales rep is notified of automated actions.
“Modern sales means using technology to interact with buyers in the ways they expect. Outreach has the responsibility to enable this, but we can’t do it alone. The solution is a variety of different technologies. Unfortunately, these solutions aren’t well coordinated, if at all. They’re used on multiple computer windows, by multiple departments, using different devices. We owe it to our mutual customers to string everything together, for reps to do their jobs on one single pane of glass with each action informing the next.”
Outreach Strategic Programs Manager Stephen Farnsworth