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Marketing

Your Startup Won’t Make It To 2022 Without Video In Sales

No matter how effective your current sales strategy might be, you won’t survive the next few years if you don’t add video to the mix.

The latest iteration of Cisco’s “Visual Networking Index” found that video will account for 82 percent of all online traffic by 2022.

That means most of the content your site visitors, leads and potential customers consume will include moving pictures. Fail to provide that content, and you’ll lose business to more proactive competitors.

What’s changed to make video so important? Smartphone usage and internet speeds, both covered in Cisco’s report, are driving video content consumption to unprecedented levels. Fortunately, those same technologies make it easier than ever for businesses to join the fun.

Back in the day, marketing agencies wouldn’t even consider a video project without a $40,000 budget — at minimum. Now, anyone with an iPhone can shoot high-quality interviews and promotions.

Quick-hitting personal videos make very effective sales tools.

Even a lackluster video that features a salesperson answering questions or speaking directly to someone can make a distinct impression. If you’re trying to align your sales and marketing teams — as every business should — video creates the ultimate bridge to do so.

Making Videos That Make You Money

Sales-centric video content makes the customer journey feel more personal while saving time for the salespeople. Instead of writing a 15-minute email, reps can spend two minutes on a short reply and include a video link that answers a prospect’s questions.

When everyone in the organization answers questions the same way, the company presents a stronger, more united front to its target audience.

Follow these five steps to make video work for your sales strategy:

1. Find The Budget

You don’t need to drop cash like George Lucas to create great video content. Apple recently shot a stunning commercial featuring heavy metal band Megadeth on an iPhone XS. Thankfully, your two-minute sales videos don’t need to look anywhere near that nice.

A great semi-pro camera, if you choose to buy one, costs roughly $1,000 to $2,000. You could also spend your budget on accessories such as lights or smartphone camera lenses to keep costs down. Editing software options don’t cost much, either. Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects, both excellent products, run on reasonably priced subscription models.

2. Prepare Your Scripts, Topics And People

Craft a list of all the topics you want to cover, including some bullet points on what to say, before you start shooting. Some of your reps may be able to cover topics without scripts, while others may need help to stay on topic or finish within the time limit.

Encourage participants to stay loose. If they mess up, just keep rolling to let them regain their composure. Don’t depend on salespeople without backgrounds in theater to memorize a long script.

A research review from The Inquisitive Mind discovered that while people under acute stress might form memories more easily, they typically struggle to retrieve memories in stressful situations. Even for some seasoned salespeople, time spent in front of a camera qualifies as a stressful event.

3. Shoot In Bulk

Keep a running database of the complaints and questions your salespeople hear from prospects. Every quarter or so, gather your team for a day to shoot one video after another in order to answer said questions.

Set up your environment the day before so you can shoot regularly throughout the next day. Conduct a few test runs to weed out the inevitable technical hiccups.

Get your setup together in a comfortable, friendly environment. Then, let your reps express their personalities. In my experience, you should be able to shoot at least 20 videos on your first attempt — more if you come fully prepared.

Creating videos in bulk makes sense: More and more small businesses and startups are using the medium to their advantage, mainly because it’s becoming easier to do so.

In fact, Vidyard’s “2018 Video in Business Benchmark Report” found that companies post more than 30 videos a month, with 86 percent using video on their sites and 77 percent using it on social media.

4. Distribute Videos Through High-Traffic Channels

A comprehensive content strategy that includes helpful videos could drive more traffic to your site, but your videos will do even better if you share them with the world.

A few years back, video software company Wistia experimented with video email signatures and achieved average engagement rates of 80 percent.

These short, personal and simple videos introduce the sender to the recipient in a relaxing, low-pressure setting. Plus, when senders include aspects of their personal lives, videos create some common ground before reps speak with prospects.

As you distribute your videos, think about how you want your audience to perceive you. Stay upbeat and offer genuine help. You’re not starring in a Super Bowl commercial; you’re making connections with real people.

5. Do It Live

Research from Livestream and New York Magazine found that more than 80 percent of social media users would pick live videos over regular posts, and another 80 percent would prefer to watch a live video than read an article.

If your reps are comfortable on camera, advertise a livestream to your prospects and invite them to experience something unique. Prospects will love the authentic look inside your company.

No one ever created a perfect live broadcast, so don’t pressure yourself to be the first. Think of it like giving a presentation:

You wouldn’t stop a speech at a conference because you stumbled over your words, so why worry on live video? When you inevitably get tongue-tied, pick yourself up and put on a happy face. Your viewers won’t care, so neither should you.

Sales videos do well because you and your team have knowledge your prospects want. Keep your videos short, express your personality and directly address the topic in your video’s title. The larger your video library becomes, the more your prospects will come to you for answers.

This story originally appeared in Entrepreneur. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

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