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Video prospecting 101

Every SDR wants to stand out from the sea of salespeople trying to coax prospects into customers.

Think about it…

How many times a day do decision-makers get inundated with calls, emails and LinkedIn messages from random people trying to grab their attention with some shiny new solution to make all of their problems disappear?

The answer? A lot!

And with schedules already chock full of other things demanding their attention, finding a way to relay your message in a way that’s convenient for the prospect, while also sparking interest is key. 💥

A diligent sales development representative will always be on the lookout for a new channel or opportunity to engage with prospects. And the best of them will be trying to find innovative or creative solutions to their prospecting problems.

One of the best tools to help SDRs prospect creatively is a prospecting video. 📹

Why has video prospecting become such a popular B2B sales tactic?

It’s easy to see its appeal from both sides. Prospects can instantly put a face to a name, feeling comfortable knowing they’d be dealing with a real human if they decided to engage.

Plus, SDRs can get their foot in the door with a prospect in a way that catches their attention. Seems like a win-win to us!

That said, we wanted to investigate this method further. What are the pros and cons? Should video be added to your prospecting toolkit?

In writing this article, we called on the expertise of Ivana Ivanova, Cognism SDR. She’s been very successful in utilising video to reach out to prospects. Who better to ask?

Scroll 👇 for Ivana’s insights - hopefully, they’ll help you decide if you should give video prospecting a go for yourself!

What is video prospecting? | Incorporating video into your routine | Video for follow-ups | Benefits | Measuring results | Limitations | Video best practicesAdvice for beginners

First things first: what is video prospecting?

Ever wanted to appear on the big screen? Here’s your chance! Well, kind of…

Video prospecting is essentially approaching prospects with video content to communicate a specific message. You can send videos on a number of channels, and you can make them as specific and personalised to the prospect as you like.

Why did Ivana decide to film videos to send to prospects?

The idea was first proposed by her manager. She went on to tell us:

“I haven’t heard of many other companies using it, but I get a great response from it. Most of the SDRs at Cognism are now using videos in their prospecting in some way.”

“It’s a good way to stand out from the crowd. I usually send my videos over email, but if I connect with someone over LinkedIn and they don’t respond to my initial message, then I’ll send them there as well.”

“The platform I use, Vidyard, is fully integrated with LinkedIn through a Chrome extension. Usually if I’ve been ghosted by somebody and I send them a video, they respond.”

How to incorporate video prospecting into your routine

How successful is video really?

Well, it depends on who you’re hoping to contact and with what message.

For example, Ivana has found more success using video with younger prospects. In general, though, it’s all about testing and experimentation. We asked Ivana how she incorporates video into her routine.

“I use a dual prospecting approach. I’ll send videos to prospects I’ve never spoken with before via email, while on LinkedIn, I’ll only ever use them for follow-ups.”

“I also personalise my videos depending on who I’m contacting. For example, the messaging will be different if they’re a sales or marketing leader. I always try to include specific details about the prospect or their company, such as any pain points I know they’re dealing with.”

Tailoring your approach per channel and persona will help to avoid annoying prospects with irrelevant content and keep the video prospecting approach feeling fresh and convenient. ✨

Ivana said:

“Another way I use video is to show my prospects exactly how I found them [their contact details] using our software. It's useful to be able to demonstrate the product I’m selling right off the bat. With video, you can get them to see it in action.”

With 'seeing it in action' in mind, check out this example of one of Ivana's prospecting videos 👇


How to use video for follow-ups

Ryan Reisert is our resident sales wizard. He told us he finds video to be a great method for delivering follow-up information after cold calling.

“Instead of just sending text in an email, add a video!”

“This helps to interrupt the pattern that prospects are used to when being sold to, grabbing their attention and making the experience more memorable.”

“More and more people like to consume content in video form, and you can provide more context, use imagery alongside text. It's a powerful way to communicate, so roll with it.”

Even if you don’t choose to send short clips to your prospects, Ryan suggests trying to incorporate video calls into your routine.

The reason being?

It's easier for the prospect to feel comfortable building some form of relationship with you when they can see your face.

The benefits of using video for prospecting

According to Ivana, there are a number of attractive benefits to using video in outbound sales, including:

  • Allowing you to put a face to your name when approaching new conversations - showing your prospects that there’s a real person behind the screen!
  • Builds trust on which to develop a relationship.
  • Saves you and your prospect time on sales calls. Your recipient can watch the video when it's convenient for them, hopefully meaning they’re more focused on what you have to say.
  • You can inject a little more energy and fun into a video than you can over text-based communication.
  • Videos can be personalised to the person you’re sending them to, showing you’ve taken the time and effort to think of them specifically and be creative in sparking their interest.
  • Depending on what you’re selling, your product or service can be demonstrated during the video. Some of your prospects will never have seen or heard of you before. Showing them exactly how your solution works can improve their understanding and provide colour to the descriptions you discuss over the phone or in emails.💡
  • Messages and tone are less likely to be misunderstood or misinterpreted.
  • As the method is still fairly new, you’re more likely to capture attention as prospects may not have received this kind of communication before. Remember, they already have mailboxes filled with people trying to pull them in a thousand directions - what can you do to make sure they remember you?
  • A video is likely to be more memorable, so the prospect should recall more of what you say versus an email they’ve only skimmed.

Ivana also shared with us some more personal benefits of using video too.

“It helps me enhance my own personal skills; I’m improving presentation skills, building confidence and honing my messaging. It’s a great method everyone should use! Moving into a fully digital age where so many people are working from home, it makes you stand out.”

How to measure the results of video prospecting

Depending on your approach to video prospecting, there are various ways to evaluate your success. 📈

The platform Ivana uses to send her videos offers her the capability for some data analysis, including metrics such as:

  • Link clicks.
  • How long they spend watching the video.
  • What percentage of the video they watched.
  • What parts they skipped.

This kind of data would not be available from a phone or video call. It allows the SDR to pinpoint the exact areas of interest - or alternatively, the content their prospects don’t care about.

This means videos can be iterated and improved on as you go. Ivana also makes a point of asking for prospect feedback on her video content for this same reason.

The limitations of video prospecting

As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to video prospecting. We’ve covered the benefits, but Ivana highlighted one of the slight hiccups she has faced in her experience using video prospecting.

“People are more aware of security these days. If I send someone a link, especially if it's a cold prospect, then they may not trust it enough to click through and watch.”

“As this approach is new, some won’t have experienced it before, and while that works in your favour if they do click through and watch, it can also be the reason people are hesitant.”

This may be a downside that SDRs have to live with for the time being - but in our opinion, it’s likely technology will find a way to catch up and resolve this issue in the near future.

Ivana was quick to add:

“Whenever I ask for feedback on my videos, I get positive comments on the approach. So the videos work really well; the downside is just getting people to click to watch them.”

Video prospecting best practices

Unfortunately, not all videos are made equal. There’s a knack to creating prospecting video content that your prospects will actually want to receive and pay attention to.

The trick is to get the balance right between giving enough information to let your prospect know who you are and what you’re about, without leaving them watching too much footage. They’ll only lose interest if you send them a 10-minute epic!

Instead, be concise. Use the minimum amount of words you can to get your point across. if you struggle with what points to address, try using intent data to enhance virtual prospecting.

Ivana’s advice is to keep your videos to about a minute in length.

“The idea is to save time for both you and your prospect. They can watch it when it's convenient for them, but that doesn’t mean you’ll hold their attention for long. So keep it short, try to spark interest, and end the video offering them a chance to learn more or see more of the features.”

Advice for video prospecting beginners

Filming yourself might feel daunting at first; if it wasn’t then we’d all be Hollywood actors or YouTube stars!

But, with a bit of practice, you can create videos that really help to boost your prospecting.  

Put yourself in the shoes of your future viewer. Ask yourself questions like;

  • What kind of information would they need?
  • What can you show them to improve their understanding?
  • How can you personalise the content to your specific recipient?
  • How long can you keep their attention for?

Try to build your video script around these answers, then find somewhere quiet to record. You want somewhere where you’re comfortable speaking. Make sure your surroundings are well lit and your backdrop is tidy.

Feeling natural on camera might take some time and practice, but really it’s no different to being on a Zoom call with your prospect. Be friendly and human - and don’t worry if it takes a few tries to get it right! No one is an expert on their first go.

Once you’ve filmed and sent some videos, use the data at your disposal to iterate and improve as you go. Don’t be afraid of asking for feedback!

Ivana has only been using video prospecting for about a month, but urges other SDRs to take the leap.

“I’d recommend anyone thinking about video prospecting to just give it a go, if it isn’t for you, then at least now you know that. But 100% try using it. Creativity for SDRs is so important - every lead you get is probably being sold to by someone else at the same time, so any way to stand out is helpful.”

“Not everyone will click the video but if they can see you’re a real human then they’re more likely to give you valuable time out of their day, especially if you make the effort to make it personalised and are willing to be creative. I’d love to be prospected in this way!”

Aaaaand action!

There you have it - if you’ve been considering using video for prospecting and lead nurturing, then now is the time to try it out.

Don’t be afraid of getting creative with it - after all it’s about doing something different to stand out from the crowd.

Be bold, build trust and book meetings! 📅

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