The benefits of video to modern sales strategy - Vidyard’s Tyler Lessard offers his tips
- Video can be an enabling tool for the sales function if used correctly.
When Vidyard started ten years ago, it focused on becoming the video platform for marketing, helping to manage the growing amount of video marketing was starting to produce. Fast forward to today, and Vidyard is also working closely with sales organizations as video becomes a much-needed tool in the sales rep’s toolbox.
I talked with Tyler Lessard, VP Marketing at Vidyard, about the growing use of video in Sales. He also shared some tips for making great sales videos, and we talked about how Vidyard evolved to include a toolset to support sales.
The growth of video for sales
Lessard told me that they started building the Vidyard platform a few years ago with a larger focus on sales teams. The goal was to make it easier for any Sales rep to record and send custom videos. All that’s needed is a webcam and screenshare capabilities.
Their Sales solution has been gaining traction as sales started looking beyond email, messages, and phone calls to reach customers and prospects. And then there was COVID-19. When the pandemic hit, Vidyard saw a “massive acceleration” in their business as sales teams were pulled back into an inside sales model. While it may not be something every sales organization is doing, there has undoubtedly been a rise in custom videos as a way to engage with prospects.
These are not professional, polished videos either. Lessard said that audience expectations had changed dramatically. They don’t think of videos as ads or commercials anymore. The rising use of videos in social media (Instagram, Tiktok, and others) that are natural, authentic, and personal have made people expect the same type of experience from brands - both marketing and sales. We expect to see people in their living rooms or home office, with kids in the background and pets on laps, Lessard said. It’s not only acceptable; in many cases, customers appreciate the authenticity and genuineness these kinds of videos provide.
And because this type of video is accepted, there is a lot less pressure on Sales to make those polished, professional videos:
And again, in fact, I think it's quite the opposite where they're finding recording and sending these casual personal videos are become this really powerful way to stand out in people's in-boxes to make this kind of more personal connection and to ultimately build that relationship as they're going without having to meet in person or waiting for those live Zoom calls.
Measuring video performance
We talked about measuring the performance of videos to know if they are effective. Lessard told me that what you measure has a lot to do with the goal or purpose of creating and sharing the video. Video was always used as an awareness tool in marketing, so you would look at things like reach and views). Today, there is a greater focus on creating videos that share educational content for the purchase journey. In this case, you’re looking at metrics such as likes, resonance, and conversions.
There are video sales use as part of cold prospecting. For these videos, you should be looking at response rate (and is it better than email or social) or the number of meetings booked.
And then there are sellers using video throughout the entire customer lifecycle, Lessard said. Here, sales would look at metrics such as shortening sales cycles, higher close rates.
Shifting to an asynchronous selling model
We all know the traditional sales model goes something like this:
- Schedule a discovery meeting
- Schedule a demo call
- Schedule another call to discuss needs in more detail
- Schedule another demo (to show other team members)
- Schedule a call to discuss contracts, pricing, etc.
This old model for sales isn’t working. Think about how hard it is to schedule Zoom calls these days with people working from home. Schedules are crazy; getting people together for a call is challenging.
Lessard talked about a new approach, “asynchronous selling,” where sales is moving away from being dependent on all these live meetings or calls to progress a deal. With asynchronous selling, you can “spoon-feed” information through recorded videos to help customers as they move along the purchase journey path. These videos could be demos of specific pieces of functionality, a customer success story or some educational information that helps people.
Vidyard has some nice capabilities to help sales teams create custom videos that are authentic yet professional. A drawing tool lets you draw attention to specific areas of the screen when you are doing a screenshare, speaker notes for sales people who need that visual cue to help them as they record (without directly reading), and plenty of editing tools.
Security has been another key capability as more and more videos are created for internal communications or private use. Vidyard added the ability to secure your video to internal users, password protection, or keep the video public. It also integrates with Zoom to store recorded Zoom meetings in Vidyard and share them appropriately. (This requires a Vidyard Business account).
I like the ability to share videos with other people on the sales team through shared folders. If a video works, you want to share it with others to help each other to learn how to create great videos. Then there are the demo videos and the customer stories - someone can create and share these videos, and a sales person can select one, record a custom intro and include that video as part of a playlist for the customer or prospect.
A few tips to make great sales videos
Lessard provided three tips to help you create the best sales videos (here are a few more). The first one is to put your personality out there and connect at a human level. Videos should have a conversational style, not have someone reading from a script or wearing a fancy suit. Lessard said there is a sweet spot you need to find between personal and authentic yet professionally provide helpful information.
Second tip - the length of your video matters. Video is not skimable (although with some video tools, you can set listening points that you can skip to). You need to be conscious of respecting your audiences’ time, which means shorter is better.
For early prospecting, Lessard suggested keeping your videos at less than 60 seconds - “People won’t invest more time.” That means you need to learn to sharpen your message - introduce yourself, give your message, provide a CTA.
Finally, use visuals in your videos. Don’t have them just be you talking to the screen. Share visual information through your screen - a short demo, a customer success story, etc. Lessard said that visuals teach people more quickly, and it makes the message more memorable.
Lessard packaged these tips and many more in a new book he co-authored with Marcus Sheridan called The Visual Sale. I wrote about a session Sheridan did for Inbound 2020 on creating great content, so I know the book will be packed with great guidance on videos. Whether or not you’re interested in the book, check out its web page because it’s packed with free resources on how to make better videos for sales and marketing.
I like that sales is creating more personal and authentic videos. I like that sales are starting to feel less and less like selling. It is about relationships and making sure your brand is there and top of mind when someone does decide it’s time to make a purchase.
But I also think it’s essential to ensure that this video content is managed in the same way as marketing videos and any other type of video a company makes for its customers.
Tools like Vidyard are important because they provide this central video management, much like the CMS manages the content. But even more important is integrating video management tools with other marketing tools like CRM, marketing automation, or sales enablement tools, giving sales and marketing that consistent picture of what’s happening with a prospect or a customer.
Video can do for sales what it has done for marketing, as long as you think carefully about what you are creating, why and how to measure its performance. Many are still in that phase where they are making the sales videos, but not tracking and measuring performance. Step one is doing the video; step two is doing it the right way. Time to ensure we’re doing step two.