Does your sales team use video as a tool? If your answer is no, or: ‘only intermittently,’ you could dramatically increase customer engagement and win more business with regular video use.

For years, face-to-face sales have been on the decline. Then came COVID-19. Yet the old-fashioned ideal of face-to-face is still the gold standard in sales. There’s an intuitive appeal to the principle of doing business in such a way that a customer is able to look a supplier in the eye as a deal is struck. Closing a deal in this way taps into deep communicative processes that go beyond language. When money changes hands and a customer ‘buys in’ to whatever it is your company is offering, trust plays an important role.

The challenge: replicating human sales in a digital world

Behavioural cues have, for millennia, helped humans ‘read’ one another and build trust. It’s why the best sales people are charismatic with an inbuilt ability to tune into their customer, creating a rapport by ensuring others feel understood and prioritised. When a salesperson is good at this, it doesn’t feel like manipulation, it feels real. But with demanding targets, larger sales territories and restrictions on movement for most businesses, face-to-face sales are no longer a viable option, so technology steps in.

This has created the potential danger of a more impersonal sales experience. Even if your sales team’s people skills do translate across email, customers can easily choose to disengage, or may get distracted, however relevant your rep’s communication may be. Opening and properly digesting a sales email with links or attachments, even a helpful one, is a big ask at a time when customers have a lot on their plates.

Here’s why video, and in particular, the sophisticated simultaneous chat-as-you-watch functionality that Drift provides, is such a game-changing sales technology:

#1. It’s the next best thing to IRL

When you can’t meet in person, personalised video is the next best thing. One-on-one video, used not just as a sales demo tool, but at every stage of the sales cycle, recreates the individual connection between sales-person and customer. This is easy once you integrate Drift on your site, and it makes it much easier for a customer to buy from your business. It helps customers feel like they know you, which improves engagement, and it creates a virtual forum for relationship building. Using video in this way sets it apart from video conferencing, where a pitch to a group gives it less individual resonance.

#2. Video mailers are more likely to be opened than text ones

Every day, the average office worker receives 120 emails. We all have inboxes groaning under the weight of too many marketing mailers. Research by Mailchimp, drawing on data taken from hundreds of millions of marketing emails across a range of sectors, revealed that the average open-rate of marketing emails hovers around the 20% mark. For some businesses, the open rate was far lower.

Adding video, on the other hand, means your mailer is more likely to get read. Specifically, it improves the open rate by 6%. Why is this? Customers know videos are likely to be short, to the point, and more entertaining than plain text, and with a video there’s a feeling of immediacy that is more engaging than reading alone. Video communications also earns 3x more responses than non-video. In other words, the extra effort (which is minimal once you’re up and running with Drift), pays off.

#3. Video is a great medium for educating customers

Explaining something complex is easier over video, particularly if you have a live chat running alongside it. In a video you can use less formal language, and you can expand as necessary. And with Drift, the customer can pause your video and have a conversation running alongside with you in a chat pane as they watch it, so you’ll be able to clarify anything else they aren’t sure about in person immediately. The whole thing is a live interaction. This report by Social Media Today finds people spend three times longer watching a video that is ‘live’ than they do a pre-recorded one.

Video enables you to show, rather than tell. Research shows that particularly when it comes to teaching practical, procedural techniques, video outperforms text-based learning. Customers can replay your video until they’ve embedded the knowledge they need, whereas they may not feel so comfortable asking a salesperson to explain something multiple times. And because your customers are likely to ask similar questions, over time, you can build up a bank of video content that you can re-purpose.

#4. Video is a huge time-saver

Not only will video speed things up by improving response rates and reducing your sales team’s time on calls, it could also significantly shorten the sales cycle of your business, enabling you to do away with any overly time-consuming processes. In a HubSpot blog post, one customer shares an example of using a 70-second video to achieve what it would have taken almost 4 hours to achieve with a more traditional prospecting approach.

With Drift’s live video and chat pane, you can often work through the initial pitch, consideration phase and negotiate on price there and then, in one conversation and video interaction. At ESM Inbound, we’ve seen the benefits ourselves, with inbound enquiries turning into new business within the space of a single conversation. There’s a great example of this in our post: What Is Conversational Marketing?.

Our fellow HubSpot partners at Six & Flow tipped us off about Drift, and have seen a similar benefit themselves. They estimate they spend about 20 minutes per day in Drift but have seen their business grow by 15% and leads by 23% since adding Drift to their site. Research by Aberdeen Group puts these anecdotal examples into context: when businesses shrink sales cycles, performance improves.

#5. Video is more memorable

Because video is a visual medium, the brain processes it significantly faster than it does text. Customers are also more likely to retain information they have absorbed over video than by reading. Video has the power to captivate in a way that the written word rarely does.

It’s also a more passive medium: it requires less effort on the part of the customer than reading does. And because it forces marketers to condense essential information into soundbites (Drift advises that marketing videos should be 2 minutes or less, and many of their own are significantly shorter), it’s a great way to force your salespeople to cut their patter and focus on the essentials of what the customer really wants to understand.

It’s no surprise that HubSpot stats show 80% of video marketers have noticed video has directly increased sales. If you’re looking for a way to personalise your sales process whilst saving time, it’s likely you could benefit from investing in a tool like Drift to increase leads and sales, shorten your sales cycle and grow your business.