If you’re not doing video, you’re not optimising sales

As with all things in life, trends come and trends go, and for sales teams it’s no different. The way we’ve always done things isn’t the way we’ll always continue to do them, and the one tool that’s seems certain to be here to stay is video.

Last week I went to the Hypergrowth 2019 conference, the world’s fastest-growing business event organised by conversational marketing platform Drift.

There was plenty of eye-opening intel to take away from the day, but the session that really stood out came from Drift CEO David Cancel and VP of Strategy, Adam Schoenfeld, and dealt with the role of video in future sales strategy.

Anyone with half an eye on consumer trends will know that video is already hugely important in how users consume online content on a day to day basis. It’s the speed of channel growth that’s impressive.

Citing the likes of Cisco, Wordstream, Invisia, Insidesales.com and their own data, Cancel and Schoenfeld confidently predict that by 2021 – in just two years’ time – 82% of all internet traffic will be video.

In as little as a year, according to Cisco, around a million minutes of video will cross the internet every second. Put another way, a second’s worth of online video traffic in 2020 would take two years to watch.

You can read Adam Schoenfeld’s take on this in his blog on the subject. As he says, video is eating the world, and its potential and power is mind-boggling, even for those of us who understood the critical part it already plays in consumption habits.

The key, now, is how sales teams can leverage video to their advantage to drive better engagement through the sales process.

YouTube is and has for some time been one of the two largest search engines in the world, second only to its now-parent company Google. Sales teams – and particularly inside sales teams – can learn much from the nature of the 500 billion hours of video content consumed every day by its 1.3bn users.

The top two content ‘categories’ on YouTube in 2018? Product research videos and how-to instructional films. In that order. Unboxing videos were 10th.

This highly relevant because inside sales in particular thrives on the basis that buyers are comfortable using technology to inform their purchasing decisions in a remote sales relationship.

More than that, buyer markets are increasingly made up of millennials – currently estimated at 45%, but inevitably growing.

With that in mind, it’s clear that whether we’re talking about B2B or B2C, video must now be considered a primary element in any contemporary sales toolkit.

The questions that sales teams now need to answer are what type of video will best engage their buyer, and where in the funnel to use it.

That’s something that will come down to individual teams and will depend entirely on the depth of the existing relationship, the product or service being sold and the most effective way for video to sell the benefit (or start the conversation that does).

Well-produced, high-quality video doesn’t come cheap, so many businesses that are prepared to commit to creating or evolving their video content strategy will need to think carefully about how to get the most from their investment.

But there’s a place, too, for what might be described as ‘guerrilla’ video – the kind of short-form clip-based content shot on an iPhone or Android that engages the prospect in a conversation – not every video needs to ‘sell’ the product or service.

This was covered nicely by Cognism CRO Nazma Qurban at this week’s SaaStra Europa conference in Paris.

Video, then, is an inevitable part of sales and will become more important, not less. The businesses that integrate it into their sales structures will be the ones that will see the most benefit in their sectors, building trust through engagement that’s delivered in the right way, at the right time for the right audience.