Month: July 2019

Beyond Prospecting: How to Use Video in the Rest of Your Sales Process

We all know one-to-one video is highly effective for boosting click-through rates and getting an initial response from a prospect. Whether you use the whiteboard-and-wave webcam or screen share approach, video is proven to get up to 3x the response rate and 5x more meetings booked than boring text-based emails. 

But once you’ve made that initial connection with a prospect, how do you continue to use video through the rest of the sales cycle? And how can you continue to add a personal touch while also making good use of your time?

Here are three tricks you can use to make video a regular part of your entire sales approach—at scale.

1. Work Qualified Opportunities and Re-engage Cold Ones

Video is a great tool for building relationships, so don’t stop using it after the initial cold prospecting phase. Instead, keep a list of qualified opportunities that you’ve already had contact with and stay in touch with video messages. The great news is there are a ton of situations where this can come in handy.

With so many contacts to meet in such a short time, conferences can be overwhelming! Sending follow-up video messages is the perfect way to solidify your new relationships and make them more fruitful. Not only will it show that you remember them and value the introduction, seeing your face will jog your contacts’ memories and keep the conversation going further than an email.

A video message is also a great way to stay top-of-mind after giving a demo or answering product queries. Let them know you’re thinking of them, and that you want to know if the information you provided was helpful. Seeing your face will remind them that you still care, and prompt them to respond to continue the relationship.

Depending on the situation, your list of opportunities might be very long. You might be thinking, how will I ever find time to make personal videos for 100 opportunities? But never fear! This method is all about efficiency.

At the start of your week, or immediately following an event that generated new leads, sort your list of contacts alphabetically by first name. Then create one video for each unique name, keeping the message generic enough that it works for any company.

For example, your video might say:

“Hi Ryan, great meeting you last week at ABC Con in Austin. I really enjoyed hearing about what your company is doing and how our solution might be a good fit. I wanted to follow up with a limited-time offer we’ve got going until the end of the quarter. Let’s talk.”

Send that video to all your contacts named Ryan, and then repeat for Marcus, Sherry, Julie, and all the other names you’ve got on the list.

If you’ve still got way too many names, you can create a generic message that’s special enough to make the receiver feel like the video was made just for them. This can work well as an event follow-up, but don’t feel like you need to wait until you’re back at your desk–there’s nothing wrong with sending a video from your mobile phone while you’re still on-site.

Beyond Prospecting: How to Use Video in the Rest of Your Sales Process 1


It can also be effective to prioritize your list based on who you know has engaged with your videos in the past. For example, target everybody who watched more than 50% of one of your videos in the past week. These people are more likely to engage again, moving them one step closer to a purchase.

You can use this same approach to revisit opportunities that have gone dark: “Hey, haven’t heard from you in a while…” Video is a great medium because it reminds the prospect that there’s a real human involved in the sales process, and that is hard to ignore.

2. Reduce and Reschedule No-Shows

Reduce no shows by showing your prospect that you’re a real person who treats their time as valuable—and value your own time with one easy hack.

Record five different videos, each referencing a different day of the week with a generic meeting reminder message. You might say, “Hey there, checking in before our meeting on Wednesday and I wanted to see if there are any additional resources you need prior to the call.”

Send that video to all the prospects you’ve booked for Wednesday, and repeat for the other days of the week. Adding your face to the calendar invite will encourage people to engage and deter them from leaving you hanging. These videos might look something like this…

Beyond Prospecting: How to Use Video in the Rest of Your Sales Process 2


Despite your smiling face and personal touch,, you’re still guaranteed some no-shows, and you can use video to follow up on those as well. With a mind for efficiency, you might opt for a generic recording like this:

“Hey, I’m just following up on our scheduled call. Wondering if something came up and hoping everything is okay? Let me know if you’d like to reschedule!”

Show them that you’re friendly, approachable, and ready to get to the point—and don’t forget to make it easy for your prospect to re-book with you by including a link to your calendar from the follow-up video itself, which reduces friction for the viewer. What’s their excuse now?

3. Keep Momentum and Get Stakeholder Consensus

Especially for businesses with longer deal cycles, keeping the momentum going on deals is key to getting them over the finish line. Use video to do regular check-ins and actively keep your solution top of mind.

For smaller accounts in your pipeline, a generic video might be a good way to maintain the benefits of video while giving yourself more time to dedicate to creating personal videos for key accounts and large deals.

Your generic video might say:

“Hi, I’m just checking in to see how things are going with your team. Let me know if there is any additional support I can provide to help you decide if this is the right solution for you.”

If there are common objections you encounter in your sales cycle, it’s worth it to create a video that addresses them specifically. You may even want to tag in a subject matter expert from your company to really cover your bases.

Keep the video in a shared folder as a resource for the rest of your team to access. When you send that video to your champion, combine it into a playlist with a brief custom introduction video. That helps you add a personal touch to a video you send over and over again.

Your intro video might go something like this:

“Hi, I just wanted to check in with you after our initial call. One of the common things I get asked about from companies like yours is whether our product does X, Y, and Z, so I’ve included some content in the next video to addresses that. Let me know if you have any questions!”

This video, combined with a more instructional or informational one, addresses specific concerns and can be easily shared around to other stakeholders involved in the purchase decision as they work towards a consensus.

For example, you might want to send a short product demo video with a personal introduction that your champion can easily share with their manager, like the one below.

Beyond Prospecting: How to Use Video in the Rest of Your Sales Process 3

Personal, one-to-one video outreach may be key to modern sales, but the reality is, there are times when a pre-recorded video gets the job done. Either way, using video throughout your sales process helps to maintain a human connection while building momentum and providing support. Be consistent with video and crush your quota every time.

The post Beyond Prospecting: How to Use Video in the Rest of Your Sales Process appeared first on Vidyard.

5 Tips For Directing Actors and Other On-Camera Talent

Between the comfy chairs and the Oscars acceptance speeches, directing seems like the coolest gig around. But in reality, directing actors for film and video is hard work. Working with actors takes discipline, strong leadership, flexibility, and a positive attitude.

Our video experts Blake Smith and Mathew King have years of experience directing on-screen talent here at Vidyard, and although they still have lots to learn, they’ve offered up some in-depth advice on the Video Island Podcast.

5 Tips For Directing Actors and Other On-Camera Talent 4

Learn from the video experts—subscribe to the Video Island Podcast!

If you’re about to make your directorial debut, read on for five useful tips for directing actors, and non-actors too!

1. Be Prepared

Just like Scouts or Girl Guides, “be prepared” is the number one rule to planning a video shoot. Besides making sure you’ve covered all the pre-production basics, it’s important that you know your material.

As the director, people will look to you for authority and leadership, so first thing’s first, research your topic well in advance. Talk to experts, catch up on the latest news, and know your material.

By the time your talent arrives on set, you’ll be equipped to answer all their questions, provide context, and be better informed to rework the material on the fly. If you’re working with an interview format, you may have to rephrase questions or elaborate on the information you’re trying to extract. It’s going to be a lot easier to do that if you actually know what you’re talking about.

The same rule applies when preparing your physical space:

  • Set up all the gear with your crew before actors even step foot on set so they aren’t distracted by the technical aspects of the environment
  • Use stand-ins during lighting set up so your actors aren’t already hot and tired before they start
  • Have water and snacks available so that no one has to interrupt the workflow by leaving the space

2. Plan Ahead

Whether you’re directing a scripted production or a loosely organized interview, having a plan for the shoot will cut down on wasted time. Prepare a script or list of questions and let it guide the process.

If you’re working with a script, actors will need to see it well in advance. Make sure to deliver it far enough ahead to leave lots of time for questions before the shoot day. Better yet, plan to hold a table read—where actors read through the script with the direct and other creative leads—at least one day before the shoot. It’s a great way to rehearse and get all the questions out of the way before the cameras start rolling.

In the case of an interview format, there is some debate (even among our video experts!) about whether or not to share interview questions with your subject ahead of time.

On the one hand, you give the interviewee an opportunity to prepare and feel comfortable with the material. This is especially helpful when directing non-actors or people unused to being on camera (like your coworkers).

On the other hand, too much time to prepare can result in a scripted or robotic delivery on camera. In an interview format, there’s nothing worse or more inauthentic than a scripted response. Mathew King, Video Production Manager at Vidyard, advises his interviewees not to prepare fully scripted answers because “more often than not, people can tell that you’re looking off to the side of the camera and it looks really amateur”—so don’t even think about using cue cards!

The happy solution to this debate is to give your subject an overview of the questions you’ll be asking, but leave out the details. If you think you’ll want your subject to provide specific stats, then absolutely ask for those ahead of time. Otherwise, stick to a topical overview. Your subject is being interviewed for a reason. They’re the expert. The more you convince them of that, the more comfortable they’ll be on camera.

Having the interview questions or script to guide your shoot will help you plan your time, and lead with confidence.

3. Establish a Protocol with Your Crew

There are few things worse for an actor than receiving conflicting information. Direction should come from you and no one else.

To avoid any confusion on the day, be sure to talk to your crew ahead of time to establish a protocol for giving feedback. For example, if your actor is on a roll, giving a fantastic description of what their company does, it would be a shame if your camera operator interrupted to tell them to stop looking directly at the camera. You could have used the audio recording and put it over some B-roll later! Also, now the actor is probably going to be way more concerned about where they’re looking than what they’re talking about.

As the director, you’re the filter between the performance and the technical, and to do that Mat says, “You have to be able to multitask and edit in your head.”

In order to get the best performance, an actor should see and hear as little as possible about the technical aspects of the shoot. Any conversations you have with your crew about lighting, shooting order, set up changes, etc. should never distract the actor from their performance.

4. Be Flexible!

Nothing goes according to plan, so remember the first tip and be prepared to make changes on the fly. Unless you’re working with Meryl Streep, don’t expect your actor to be a one-take wonder. Your talent will be more at ease when you accept the bad takes in stride.

If you’re interviewing, be prepared to circle back to a question. As Mat says, “You can always come back to that question later on once they’re a little bit more comfortable with some of the softer questions. When they feel like more of a professional and more comfortable, you can come back to that question and suddenly, more often than not, you’ll find that they’re able to easily answer that question for you.”

Plan time to mess up! Why do you think restaurant hosts always over-quote people on the wait time? It manages expectations. Planning extra time into your shoot gives you a buffer if you need it and, if you don’t, everyone leaves pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy everything was.

Be sure to get “one for safety,” even if you’re confident you got the shot, because an extra take will give you more choices during editing. Phrasing it this way will also relax the actors because it implies their work is already done. Some of the best performances come out on the safety shot if you’re willing to be flexible and explore creative alternatives.

5. Set the Tone!

As their director and guide, actors will be very attentive to your mood and tone. Even if everything is going wrong (and sometimes it will), it’s important to keep a brave face. If you don’t, that worry will be visible on screen. Instead, always lead with positivity.

One thing that our video experts always start with is making the actor or interviewee comfortable. This can be as easy as chatting with them about something personal or off-topic before you get down to work.

Getting them to speak freely for a few minutes without worrying about lines or delivery is often enough to relax the actor for the beginning of the shoot. As they start to deliver lines or answer questions, it’s up to you to notice their pace and tone, and always bring it back to a natural state. (If only Tommy Wiseau paid more attention to pacing in The Room! See what I mean in the infamous flower shop scene.)

If an interviewee sounds robotic while delivering a memorized answer, you can try asking them to slow down, or to explain it to you like a friend.

If you sense the energy has dipped, get the ya ya’s out! A classic move is to tell the actor to do a take as “big” (or ridiculously) as they can. Feel free to get silly and give an example. Shout and jump around. This will instantly lift the mood so that the next take, while not as ridiculous, will carry some of that renewed energy.

If you’re great to work with, more projects and more talent will come your way. If you’re working for a company, word will spread around the office about how much fun it is to shoot a video with you, and you won’t have to beg people to be on camera.

The post 5 Tips For Directing Actors and Other On-Camera Talent appeared first on Vidyard.