E38 - From AE to CEO - The Sales Superpower Kris Rudeegraap, Sendoso

Corporate gifts are a key part of maintaining business relationships. Corporate gifting is significant since it aids in the development of brand recognition, engagement, and overall loyalty. It accomplishes this by generating an unboxing experience that elicits an emotional response, thereby enhancing the recipient's relationship with the firm.

In sales, it can persuade existing customers to keep doing business with a company. Despite this, many companies find corporate gifting a logistical nightmare. This is where Sendoso comes in. The company aims to reduce the hassle of the logistics and back-end operations of corporate gifting.

In this episode of Tech Sales Insights, Kris Rudeegraap, CEO of Sendoso, discusses his inspiration to start his company, why corporate gifting is important, and leading by example.

Kris spent about 10 years in software sales in San Francisco. Around 2016, while working at Talkdesk, he felt that the emails he was sending to clients and prospects were impersonal and spammy. This spurred him to be more creative by sending out handwritten notes and gifts instead.

He realized that this was still rather inefficient and decided to create a sending platform that helps companies send out direct mail and corporate gifts. This idea eventually became Sendoso.

Automating the Corporate Gifting Experience

Sendoso came about from Kris’ experience in sales and finding that sending gifts out to clients and prospects was a pain point for him. He found this process too cumbersome because no part of it was automated. He then envisioned a piece of software to automate this process.

Sendoso takes a technology-first approach with gift-giving and makes it easy for salespeople to send gifts and mail using any CRM tool they currently use.

Having this approach also makes it easy for VPs or senior managers to set rules and budgets for corporate gifting. Since this is based on CRM software, companies can also generate reports and run analytics to track the progress and successes of their gifting program.

What sets Sendoso apart is that they offer a huge variety of gifts for their users. This ranges from t-shirts to wine, to gift cards, and even to virtual experiences.

Behind the Scenes at Sendoso

For Kris, Sendoso, at its core, sells software. Customers go to them to modernize and digitize their corporate gifting process. So as a company that sells software, Kris emphasizes the need for salespeople well-versed in selling software.

Sendoso’s best salespeople typically have a high-tech sales background. This isn’t to say that salespeople with different sales backgrounds don’t succeed. For him, any salesperson with high grit and ambition and who can sell well can succeed.

In terms of long-term goals, Kris hopes that Sendoso eventually becomes a global brand that people enjoy working for. Being a publicly-listed company is also part of that long-term strategy. However, he emphasizes building a company where people enjoy working as an important feature as he believes that if they’re having fun at work, it will translate into greater customer success.

When it comes to who used Sendoso, sales departments aren’t just the primary user. Kris has been seeing marketing, customer success, customer support, client service, and human resource departments using their platform to give gifts to clients, customers, and even to new hires and current employees.

In terms of operations, Sendoso sources all the gifts. Their biggest draw is the customization of the experience. They allow their customers to be as creative as they want with their gifts and the receiving and unboxing experience.

And this customization extends to how companies and departments can give individualized gifts to different clients. By having integrations with major CRM tools like Salesforce, Salesloft, and Outreach, knowing what gift to send a client and sending that gift is just a click away.

While their sales team is primarily focused on the US market, they have expanded globally. Sendoso now has warehouses in Europe, Asia, and Canada. They have a lot of Fortune 2000 companies that have operations all over the world as clients. As a result, they want to be able to provide sourcing and fulfillment, as well as assistance to those businesses, no matter where they are or where their clients are.

A Leader by Example

Despite being a CEO, Kris still enjoys being involved with sales, customer success, and account management. With a sales background, he loves getting his hands dirty to help unlock new expansion opportunities. Occasionally, he jumps on sales calls to share the company’s vision and do a little bit of team selling to potential clients. He also enjoys doing customer roadshows in order to connect with existing clients and meet with potential ones.

His hands-on approach stems from his philosophy of leading by example. Kris firmly believes that if he’s going to ask his sales team to do something, it must be something he, himself, must be able to do.

And this principle is embedded in Sendoso’s culture. On occasion, the company would conduct what Kris labels “fun cold calling power hours” where some of the executives compete with sales representatives and account managers to see who can set more meetings with prospects.

Apart from being involved with sales, Kris is also involved with the hiring process. Stemming from his sales background, when talking to potential hires, he tries to sell them the “dream of Sendoso”. Working with his recruitment and talent acquisition team, he’s active in talking to candidates to get them excited about working at the company and convincing them to join.

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