May 21, 2021

How to Unlock the Power of Human-to-Human Engagement

By Sara DeForest
In our recent webinar How to Succeed in the Era of Human-to-Human , Sendoso VP of Product Marketing Kai Ichikawa was joined by Gong Senior Director of Marketing Russell Banzon, Guru Senior Manager of Demand Generation Julia Bersinto discuss the need for B2B customer-facing teams to create personalized, consumer-like experiences. They also shared how direct mail supports the human-to-human trend, and highlighted examples of real-world sending campaigns that drove results.

Keep reading to find out what we uncovered in the webinar, and why human connection is the priority #1 for B2B companies in 2021 and beyond.

What is human-to-human (H2H) engagement?

“At a basic level, human-to-human means rather than our company selling to your company, I’m selling to you,” explained Julia. B2B buyers today expect the same selling experience they get from B2C companies — and seek authentic connections with the brands they purchase software and services from. 

While the shift to human-to-human began over the last few years, it accelerated during the pandemic. As people were stuck at home, B2B buyers craved human interactions and engaged virtually more than ever before. 

On top of the rise in remote work and digital experiences, societal events triggered the need for empathy. “With everything going on in the world, in our society, in politics and so on, folks are starting to think more and more about the human experience,” said Russell.

The new standard of B2B engagement

Sendoso’s 2021 State of Sending survey of B2B marketers, salespeople, and customer experience decision-makers revealed 80% of respondents agreed that target audiences are experiencing digital fatigue due to increased digital efforts. Additionally, 92% agreed that virtual meetings, events, webinars, and conferences need to be more personalized and interactive to be effective in the next 12 months. 

B2B teams are already leveraging H2H strategies to combat digital fatigue and drive revenue. A majority of respondents agreed that taking an H2H approach helps them achieve higher client retention rates (64%), build deeper relationships (63%), and close sales (54%).

Many customer-facing teams turned to direct mail as a way to replicate in-person interactions as people were stuck at home. Russell and Julia shared how their teams used Sendoso to create the following H2H experiences at each stage of the customer journey.

Warming up cold leads with personalization

Today’s digital environment has driven increased expectations for personalization. In the same survey, 91% of respondents agreed that building a personal or human connection with their buyers and customers has become more important to closing sales since March 2020. 

Simple personal gestures like congratulating a buyer on their job promotion, or asking a customer about their pet have become standard components of B2B engagement. Researching your targets to understand their personal interests shows you care about them as individuals, and that they’re more than just a dollar sign. 

At Guru, SDRs also took a personalized approach by using Sendoso’s Amazon integration in their cold prospecting. For example, one BDR noticed that he and a top prospect both went to Georgetown University, and sent him a hat to start a conversation over their shared experience. “This level of hyper-personalization is really effective for us, helping us set meetings and grow relationships over time,” said Julia. 

At the beginning of COVID-19, Guru also used Sendoso’s Charity Choice eGift feature to warm up cold leads — enabling prospects to donate to a non-profit organization that means something to them. By leading with empathy during a challenging time, Julia and her team were able to build relationships and generate meetings.

Launching unique campaigns that stand out

One of Gong’s most creative and effective campaigns was sending an actual miniature gong to sales leaders at target accounts to give to their top-performing reps. As a follow-up, Gong AEs asked, “What if you could replicate your top-performer’s success across your team? Gong can help you do that.” The result? More than 400 new opportunities created, and tens of millions of dollars in influenced pipeline

“At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do with these human experiences is drive engagement,” noted Russell. “The mini gong send was super successful because it not only stood out from the crowd, but enabled a human-to-human moment.”

At Guru, the marketing team used Sendoso to scale their direct mail program. The team sent boxes of Baked by Melissa cupcakes to over 300 cold prospects with a personalized note. Compared to previous outreach without a gift, the cupcake campaign generated a 5X response rate and 3X pipeline ROI. Today, 40% of Guru’s outbound meetings have been influenced by Sendoso.

“Gifting really touches everyone in a way that an email just can’t,” said Julia. “Receiving a gift feels both personal and human, fostering immediate rapport between the gifter and recipient. Plus, who doesn’t like cupcakes?”

Sending eGifts to ensure meeting attendance

eGifts are a great way to incentivize demo attendance — but the daily sends can take up SDRs’ valuable time. That’s why at Sendoso, we used our Salesforce and Marketo integrations to create an always-on trigger to send coffee eGift reminders to demo attendees the morning of their meeting. The automation allowed us to continue this timely and compelling incentive while also freeing up our SDRs to spend more time engaging accounts at a human level.

Here’s a pro-tip when it comes to eGifts: You’re more likely to garner a response by sending eGifts outside of normal business hours. After reviewing Sendoso’s 2020 sending data, we saw that eGift redemption rates were highest (70%+) between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. PST — when fewer emails are sent. During business hours (5 a.m. to 3 p.m. PST) and weekdays, redemption rates went down to 40% or less. Consider sending a scheduled eGift message on weekends or off-business hours.

Engaging customers post-sale

H2H engagement doesn’t stop after the deal closes. In fact, customer success teams can use personalized gifting to drive customer loyalty and retention.

Guru’s customer success team uses Sendoso to send personalized swag boxes to customers to create memorable experiences at key milestones such as onboarding or renewals. The team can choose from a variety of Guru-branded items, from t-shirts and sweatshirts to baby onesies and dog bandanas. 

“Gifting with Sendoso is another way to remind our customers how important they are to us,” explained Julia. “It adds warmth and a human touch to the relationship, especially when we can’t meet in person.”

H2H is here to stay

Revenue-generating teams should expect H2H trends to continue — even as buyers return to offices and in-person events. In 2021 and beyond, revenue leaders who focus on creating human connections will set themselves apart and build deeper relationships with buyers and customers.

Looking for more H2H ideas? Watch our full webinar How to Succeed in the Era of Human-to-Human.

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