Apollo partners with Reachdesk to level up social engagement with physical gifts

Daniel Cmejla joined Apollo as VP of Community in February 2023. By that point, he had already been using Reachdesk for over a year at his previous company Chili Piper.  

Before Reachdesk was ultimately introduced at Chili Piper and Apollo, Daniel performed an extensive evaluation of all the players in the direct mail space. Each and every time, it was Reachdesk and one major competitor – an offline engagement platform with similar product features – that made the top-two shortlist. 

We spoke to Daniel about the reasons both companies chose to partner with Reachdesk and how he has been using gifting to streamline projects and elevate marketing initiatives.

Right place, right tech

Both Chili Piper and Apollo had international teams and international audience bases, so the fact that Reachdesk had roots (and warehouses) in Europe was a big plus and separated us from our main competitor. 

This was what separated us from our main competitor, especially with the strict regional data privacy laws and GDPR in EMEA compared to the US. 

Reachdesk’s ability to flourish in Europe made Daniel feel confident that they could provide a consistent and scalable gifting experience to their global audience. 

From a product perspective, he believes that Reachdesk is the best sending platform for sends in Europe and outside North America. 

He notes that the platform is particularly useful for companies based in North America who are looking to break out in Europe, as it is easy to run experimental campaigns to help establish themselves in a new market. 

For example, Daniel can organize a one-off event in Ireland, accompanied by a branded swag campaign. The success of this experiment can help him understand whether Apollo could benefit significantly from having a representative for Europe moving forward.

Gift options galore

Another important factor that helped differentiate Reachdesk from our main competitor is the breadth of options in our Marketplace, which can be augmented by our warehouse stock. 

In his experience, there are typically two types of swag tools out there: one is a warehouse, the other is an online marketplace, where anything can be customized. But he believes a combination is optimal in order to deliver campaigns with a broad appeal – and in his words, nobody does that better than Reachdesk.

“Reachdesk is probably the most mature, well developed, and technologically advanced sending tool in the ecosystem out there.” – Daniel Cmejla, VP of Community


Empowered departments

One of Daniel’s favorite aspects of Reachdesk is the many admin privileges it offers. When asked which of his teams use Reachdesk, his response was “all of the teams!”. 

He praised the platform's versatility and notes that he has seen it used for Customer Success, Operations, Sales, and Marketing, as well as for promoting user-generated content on social media. 

While it’s always great for teams to be so engaged in a direct mail platform, in his past experience, all of these teams would typically rely on the support of Marketing whenever it came to executing campaigns. However, Reachdesk enables him to set up different admin privileges for different departments, so they can own and manage their projects from start to finish.

For example, when Sales approaches him about creating custom t-shirts for their team, he can give them full control of that project – as long as they've undergone the onboarding process, of course. This saves him lots of time and empowers each department. 

Additionally, Reachdesk’s Salesforce integration has been highly popular at Apollo – particularly among their Operations team – and has allowed them to automate the gifting process. For example, they can create a rule that stipulates if a champion at a company over a certain average contract value is a month pre-renewal, they will receive a gift. 

Daniel notes that many companies focus on extractive tactics – such as alerting customers that their contract will auto-renew ten months into the contract. He believes Reachdesk “flips the script” on that because it allows companies to show customers how much they appreciate them, rather than trapping them. 


User-generated content

In under a year since Daniel joined Apollo, he achieved a 1,000% increase in the organic impressions Apollo was generating on LinkedIn – not to mention an uplift to user and employee-generated content that was in the many thousands.   

In September 2023, Apollo generated over two million organic impressions on Linkedin from employees alone – that’s four times what Apollo would have previously achieved over the course of a year before Daniel joined the company!

Despite this success, Daniel remains focused on taking things to the next level. He’s passionate about using gifting as a way to create organic user-generated content. He notes that marketing teams will happily pay for ads that will generate a certain number of impressions, but aren’t tapping into a chance to send gifts that essentially guarantee the exact same thing.

One way to achieve that is by replacing the digital gift cards that sales teams are sending out with physical (and ideally photogenic) gifts. Why? Because it enables and encourages recipients to take a photo of their gift and post about it on social media accounts.

Daniel’s strategy is to choose recipients who have a large audience and whose posts gain a healthy number of impressions. Whether you’ve chosen a great gift yourself, or you’ve made use of Reachdesk’s Recipient’s Choice feature that enables recipients to select their own, Daniel believes that a solid gift has a 50% chance of being posted and discussed by the recipient on social media. 

He views gifting as an investment. For him, the equation for assessing whether an investment is worth it goes something like this…

Apollo "Gifting Formula"

Daniel views this type of gifting strategy as a paid ad of sorts – but notes that it’s more of an acknowledgement of a partnership, based on “beautiful reciprocity”, rather than a straightforward ad campaign. 

“The best marketing is just about celebrating those around you and Reachdesk makes it really easy to celebrate people.” – Daniel Cmejla, VP of Community

A proper partnership

When assessing direct mail companies, Daniel says he couldn’t fully trust that our competitors would actually be able to deliver campaign gifts on time. 

Reachdeak was one of the very few that was willing to put a guarantee on deliverability in the contract, and this proved to be an incredibly important factor for him when making his final selection. And after all this time, he says that every campaign powered by Reachdesk he’s been involved in has been delivered on time. 

Finally, Daniel praises Reachdesk’s Leadership, Partnership, and Customer Success teams for working hard to extend the relationship with customers beyond just transactional software usage. He adds that, while our competitors have great teams, Reachdesk offers both stellar long-term customer support and software that has never let him down.

“Reachdesk fought to earn my business with two companies, not only by providing the best product, but ensuring that they'll actually be there for me.” – Daniel Cmejla, VP of Community


About Apollo

Apollo’s sales intelligence and engagement platform features everything sellers need to find, email, call and close their ideal customers, all in one place.

Industry: Software

Company Size: 1,156 employees

More customer stories

Cordial celebrates employees with a custom swag portal
Prophet puts employees first with global gifting campaigns
Thales drives pipeline with out-of-this-world campaigns

Ready to deliver moments that matter?