Smarter Selling with Videos

By Henry Canaday
A picture of a video interview taking place.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video should be worth millions. In sales, a video is the next best thing to meeting a live rep – and is a lot cheaper and easier to arrange.

Videos are far more than an offshoot of remote selling during the pandemic. For over a decade, Vidyard has been offering, developing, and continually enhancing its video solutions for a host of sales and marketing challenges. And the results have often been stunning.

Josh Kirkham is a sales manager for Vidyard. Through his own sales as well as from working with customers, Kirkham has learned some important lessons about how to use sales videos most effectively.

Kirkham summarizes, “Vidyard is a communications tool that can be used throughout the sales cycle in different ways,” including scheduling meetings, progressing deals though the sales cycle, conducting product demonstrations, explaining legal points, enhancing customer satisfaction after a sale, and more. 

Most commonly, prospecting reps and marketers use video for the same reason they were originally created: to help generate a robust sales pipeline. However, their use has expanded far beyond that role.

“Videos help with both inbound and outbound prospecting,” Kirkham says. “By going to a Website or a LinkedIn page – or sending out to a busy inbox – videos can catch the prospect’s attention.”

As with voicemails, the key is to keep these prospecting videos  short. While watching moving pictures may be more interesting than listening to a voice, prospects still have limited time and attention. 

So Kirkham recommends initially limiting videos to 30–45 seconds. “Introduce yourself, explain how your product can help, tell how it has helped similar companies, and then end with a strong ask.” 

The Vidyard manager has also found videos very useful at another point in the sales cycle. “A video can help the champion sell your solution internally,” Kirkham explains. 

Once a key contact at a prospect company receives a proposal, other decision makers or decision influencers – C-Suite execs, for example – need to review it. Even then, while initial contacts may be on board with your proposal and effectively become your champion, they must explain your proposal (and others’) to these members of the purchasing team.  

“You don’t want to put all the onus on the champion to explain it. You want to help them articulate the solution to others.”

This is critical because companies typically close only around 20% of their initial opportunities. That means four out of five possibilities fall by the wayside – much of this when the champion tries to convey all the competing offers to busy C-Suite execs.

For this and other steps in the middle of the sales process, videos can be longer. “You can get away with two minutes, but stick to facts and data,” Kirkham stresses. “Lots of these are shared with the C Suite – and the C-Suite has short attention spans.”

These are quick micro demos that walk prospects visually through the business case and showcase key elements – all at a fairly high level. “If you want to dive into the weeds, do that on a live call. Videos are not a silver bullet.”

Indeed, smart use of videos assumes that, as the process approaches a possible close, live calls become more important – especially to get additional buy-in for your offer. 

Once companies become experienced in using videos, they will start to accumulate an archive, or “playlist,” of demos and recordings of live sales calls. These can be customized and edited to use on future opportunities. 

But Kirkham recommends remembering the need for brevity in using these valuable video resources. Vidyard’s experience shows that decision makers are 30% more likely to watch five two-minute videos than they are to watch a single 10-minute video. “And if you do have a longer video, break it up into chapters, indexed to highlight certain parts.”   

After close, you can use videos to explain to all the buyer’s affected employees how the solution will be launched, to introduce the deployment staff from both buyer and seller, and of course to train critical users of the solution. “Make sure expectations are clearly set out and which stakeholders need to be involved,” Kirkham advises.

What are the major mistakes to avoid in using videos for sales? The biggest mistake is to try to be too perfect, says Kirkham. One major advantage of using videos is time savings, so don’t try to endlessly refine or improve a 45-second or a two-minute video. At Vidyard, the rule is: A marketer or rep gets two practice tries at most; then, “the third take has to go out.” 

Another common mistake is to try to start out by finding a hundred different ways to use videos in the sales process. Kirkham recommends new users should focus at first on one or two key areas and learn to use videos well in these areas. Success will breed confidence and understanding of how best to expand deployment.