How To Use Company Swag Stores To Power Your Sales Funnel

Max Williamson
January 10, 2024

SwagUp's company swag store platform is one of the many amazing ways your sales team can power their swag distribution and ordering process.

Company swag stores are often set up purely for employee recognition programs and additional revenue streams where fans of the brand can purchase items to show their loyalty.

However, an underutilized case for company swag stores is as a tool to attract and convert new customers. Company swag stores cut down on order management and data collection time on business gift initiatives so your sales team can spend their time where it matters most: servicing prospective customers. 

Below, we will walk you through the sales funnel and give some ideas on how a company stores can help your sales team level up their process and provide more targeted corporate swag efforts at scale.

Does custom swag work to help drive revenue and close deals?

The short answer is yes! In fact, 70% of brands consider promotional products mostly or always effective in achieving marketing and sales goals. Considering 85% of people who received customized promotional items did business with that company (PROmotion Marketing, LLC), we would say that’s true.

What is a sales funnel?

The sales funnel is a customer's progression through the sales process, from recognition to purchase.

The concept of a funnel, also known as a marketing funnel or revenue funnel, is a representation of the process of every sale, which starts with a large group of potential customers and culminates with a much smaller number of people who go through with the purchase.

What are the advantages of setting up a sales funnel?

It is beneficial to put in place a sales funnel for a variety of reasons, such as:

Bringing in customers. The purpose of the sales funnel is to take a business's target market and move them through a set of steps that can ultimately lead to them being customers.

Generating referrals. In addition to getting a main target audience and group of customers, a sales funnel also encourages contented customers to recommend other possibilities that previously may not have been part of the original target audience.

Tracking and monitoring. A sales funnel enables companies to check how well each phase of the sales process is working and to make necessary modifications. This helps to make sure of the effective use of time and sales resources. Moving customers through the sales funnel provides useful feedback.

Focusing efforts. A sales funnel limits the business's concentration to a certain set of prospects. This makes it easier to reach target audience members and transform them into customers when they arrive at the end of the funnel. A sales funnel can also help businesses eliminate unqualified prospects by requiring potential customers to go through a series of steps eventually resulting in a purchase.

The five stages of the sales funnel including acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue

The five stages of the sales funnel (photo credit: Salesmate).

What are the stages of a sales funnel?

Organizations typically separate the sales process into four distinct sections, which may vary by business:

Acquisition. There are a great many prospects who become aware of an organization through Content marketing, an email campaign, social media marketing or other avenues when they discover a problem and begin searching for a solution.

Activation. As the number of prospects begins to dwindle, the chances of a conversion increase. This is when the customer will engage with the organization and ask for more information, and assess if the organization's product can best meet their needs.

This step displays the prospect's increased interest in the organization, and can involve sales offers, further exploration of the organization's options, and price comparisons. If the customer decides not to buy, they will no longer progress through the funnel.

Retention. The concept of customer retention signifies the percentage of customers that stay with a company within a specific time frame. This aspect is commonly known as the churn rate, and it is an essential measure for both B2B and B2C establishments. Typically, a higher churn rate indicates less customer loyalty and a less successful business as it loses customers over time.

Referral. In order to maintain a steady influx of new customers, it's important to have a solid plan in place, such as utilizing word of mouth through referrals. This classic approach is both affordable and effective for broadening your customer base. Referrals occur when someone recommends your products or services to others who may be interested and potentially take action, even if they're not yet a customer, and that action doesn't necessarily have to be a purchase.

Revenue. This stage of the cycle refers to how to turn your one customer into recurring revenue for your business. This might include following up with new features or products, opportunities to optimize their current service, or simply ensuring that their current service is still helping them solve their problems.

Who is responsible for what stage of the sales funnel?

Typically, in the Acquisition stage, the Marketing team is driving most of the efforts. There might be some prospecting and collaboration from the Sales team, but, at this point, the Sales team’s efforts are best spent elsewhere.

Sales and Marketing are very collaborative in the Activation stage. Activation is typically the handoff between a campaign and actual communication with the prospect, so both teams are extremely invested in the success of this stage.

Sales really starts driving the bus at the end of the Activation stage, and Marketing takes more of a supporting role. This applies to the Retention and Revenue stages of the funnel as well.

Referral programs are most likely to be driven by Marketing teams, as referrals not only help drive business, but they are likely fairly automated and support content creation as well.

A creative branded cocktail kit for a virtual happy hour featuring items needed to make an Old Fashioned cocktail designed by Canary Marketing

Corporate Gifting company Canary Marketing created this cocktail kit. This is a great way to cut through the clutter, and show your prospect that you are thinking about their personal needs.

How can swag stores help move prospects through the sales funnel?


Virtual Swag Stores for Conferences.

52% of trade show attendees are more likely to enter an exhibit with giveaways (Source: PROmotion Marketing, LLC). However, often, those prospects walk out of your booth with brand swag or marketing material that will not fit in their suitcase, so it gets left behind. You might not even get their contact information.

A virtual store for company giveaways is a type of online shopping experience provided by corporate gifting platforms. It allows individuals to receive unique gift codes that they can use to redeem physical or virtual items. 

Rather than managing numerous boxes of logo merchandise, event attendees can choose from a variety of items to find the best swag items for them, such as Amazon gift cards inside a slippy, custom socks, and local chocolatier samples. 

Marketing teams can now send attendees cards with a link to their online branded merchandise redemption page, where they can select from a curated list of swag items and input their information to receive the e-gift. The gifting platform, such as Alyce, handles all order and delivery logistics to the recipient. Additionally, marketing teams can set up gifting campaigns within the platform, view the success of their swag, and track KPIs.


Send a Small Keepsake Along With A Cold Email.

The typical method for outbound sales at the beginning of the sales process involves finding potential customers based on specific conditions, adding them to a pre-set sequence, and then waiting for them to convert into leads. 

However, this method is widely used by everyone, and most organizations could benefit from a major revamp of their approach to the top of the sales funnel that incorporates physical gifting and direct mail campaigns. This might involve sending mass sales pitches to specific job titles on LinkedIn or utilizing pre-written email templates with the subject line “Did you check your mail?”

Branded Item for Self-Care in the Middle of the Funnel

After your sales team generates leads, it is customary to go through the BANT checklist which includes checking for budget, authority, need, and timeline. The channels used to tick off these boxes are primarily through phone calls and emails. However, when it comes to gauging authority and need, there may be multiple stakeholders to reach out to or other potential solutions they might be considering.

To stand out from competitors, it can be effective to include a branded self-care item as part of your outreach. For instance, you could send a branded coffee mug to each decision maker and suggest discussing your solution over a cup of joe (whether in-person or virtual). 

It's important to tailor your messaging and choice of branded item to show that you care about making their day better. The best company swag at this stage shows that you empathize with the potential customer as an individual, and care about their needs. This could include options like sending a branded water bottle to help them stay hydrated in hot weather. The possibilities for creative outreach are endless.

Hyper-Personalized Item As A Meeting Follow Up

If a prospective client spares their precious time to meet, they typically do not anticipate any form of return except for a simple expression of gratitude such as "Thank you, talk soon". Particularly in situations where the transaction involves a substantial amount, sending a personalized gift that speaks to a particular interest of the client, like their favorite sports team, will go a long way in closing the deal.


Send a Swag Pack Congratulating a Landmark

To celebrate your customer's one-year anniversary or subscription renewal, consider sending them a swag pack as a way of congratulating them. This approach can be particularly effective for accounts that have reduced their usage towards the end of their subscription. By including a friendly message encouraging them to renew with their swag for business, this strategy can significantly boost retention rates.


Motivate Your Sales Team With Branded Gifts

After a deal is closed, and the sheen is taken off that win a bit, it takes a happy and motivated sales person to keep following up on that lead. Therefore, the most effective way to use swag in this stage of the pipeline is to keep that sales team motivated by rewarding them with employee  incentives that match up with company goals.

It is important to carefully evaluate the quality of promotional items that are given to salespeople. This involves selecting corporate apparel reputable brands that are known for their superior quality and design. Since salespeople contribute to the company's reputation and revenue, it is essential to reward their performance with high-quality gifts. 

When it comes to brand apparel and accessories, it is important to choose items that are durable and fashionable, and keeping them up-to-date with current trends can promote a positive corporate culture.

In today's environment, it is important that the swag kits provided to remote employees reflect the company's concern for their work-from-home situation. When selecting office swag items for sales teams, it is important to consider high-quality items that will provide comfort, utility and a sense of delight. 

Providing useful swag items can leave a lasting impression on employees. Additionally, since employees are no longer commuting to work, it is important to select items that can make their home office more suitable for productive work.

When it comes to office welcome gifts and gifts for sales meetings, including awards and recognition for the team can have a greater impact. This not only boosts team morale but also reminds everyone of the benefits of working together towards a shared goal. It is important to acknowledge the efforts of the entire team and foster a sense of unity.

Branded corporate apparel created by Corporate Couture including a hoodie, beanie, and hat for User Testing, custom socks for Google Meet and Kodify, a t-shirt for Caiis, and a branded Patagonia jacket

Corporate Couture creates high quality branded apparel for companies including UserTesting, Google Meet, and Kodify.


In conclusion, company swag stores have proven to be an effective tool not only for employee recognition programs and additional revenue streams, but also as a means to attract and convert new customers. Setting up a sales funnel can help businesses to bring in new customers, generate referrals, track and monitor progress, and focus efforts. 

Swag stores can be used to move prospects through the sales funnel by providing unique gift codes to attendees at events, incentivizing customers to refer friends, and rewarding loyal customers with exclusive merchandise. With the help of a swag store, businesses can level up their sales process and provide more targeted efforts at scale.

Max Williamson
January 10, 2024