Re-imagining the sales strategy – What makes it the need of the hour?

9 min read

Limitless Webinar Series brings yet another webinar where we share industry experience, strategy, best practices and most importantly actionable inputs that you can readily implement.

Featuring Sandy, marketing and communications specialist at Hippo Video, this webinar helps sales professionals on how to re-imagine their sales strategy using videos. Let’s dive in. 

The webinar is all about re-imagining your sales strategy with videos and we have covered 

  • strategies for remote-working sales teams, 
  • how to use video to increase productivity in your sales outreach, 
  • improve your prospect engagement with personalized videos, 
  • pointers on tracking and closing deals with effective video communication. 

Register here to watch the complete webinar now. 

Why should you re-imagine your sales strategy?

The situation we are facing right now is unprecedented. It is one of the biggest news stories right now. It has affected various industries from travel to industry events to global supply chains. None of us has seen anything like this in the last 100 years.

Be it governments or businesses, there is no playbook or manual on how to handle this situation. While the governments are discussing trillion-dollar stimulus packages, businesses have to try to keep their head above water.

Especially sales are at the fore-front of this. When this crisis began, sales professionals across the globe found themselves in a completely different place. They had to change everything. The way they work, they sell and any company would have had training for a crisis situation like this.

Why is it time for businesses to be brave and creative?

With social distancing having become the norm, sales teams have no other option other than selling remotely. So sales folks need new tools, new  strategies and new tactics to adapt to this situation. The idea is not just survive but thrive and come out stronger.

It is essential that sales professionals have to find new and creative ways to sell. And it is definitely time to re-imagine your sales strategy to be brave and creative.

This webinar is a short session on how to redefine your sales strategy for the current scenario of working remotely.

How to re-channelize remote selling?

There are a couple of things here. There are some things you shouldn’t do. A big No to some of the things we have already been doing. 

Second, we need to re-think the selling channels. We can definitely learn some things from the countries who are 2-3 weeks ahead of this. We can look at the things businesses are doing and we can learn a lot from them.

Most importantly, we need to rethink the way we prospect, we nurture, generate leads, qualify leads and close them.

And to the C-suite, VPs, directors and head of sales, your teams need you more than ever. You need to lead them from the front, you have to enable them and keep them motivated. And finally some of the best-practices that you follow with the new way of prospecting.

What you shouldn’t be doing?

The worst thing you can do at this point in time is being tone-deaf or being indifferent and continue to sell the way you have been and act as if nothing has changed.

The first thing you need to do is stop what you have been doing so far. Get rid of your standardized templates and email cadences. If you have one already running, please stop.

You will not only come across as being tone-deaf but you will infuriate your prospects. So get rid of your generic email templates at least for the next couple of months.

What has changed in sales?

So now that you know what you shouldn’t do, let us try and understand what has changed in sales.

All your prospects are working from home and so are you. You might have had a target of getting X number of meetings in the month of May. That is not happening.

Almost all the events and conferences are either cancelled, postponed or have gone virtual. So almost every salesperson is an inside sales representative. You have no chance of meeting your prospect in-person.

Fundamentally, the opportunity for you to build trust is gone. If there is no opportunity to build trust about you, your brand or your product, How on earth can we think about selling? Now we know what has changed. Let’s dive into what we should do

What you should be doing to increase sales?

First thing is to have empathy! 

It is not a tactic to sell. But it is important nevertheless. We have no idea what the email recipient or the person on the other side of the call is going through. The last thing you want to do is to pitch your product as it is business as usual.

Second, be authentic.

Third, genuinely try to help. Your product or service was built for a reason. It was built to solve a problem for someone, somewhere.

Your job is to find those people and genuinely offer to help. Having empathy, being authentic and genuinely trying to help is the core of sales. But it is more important now than ever. 

Remember we are not in this alone. There are businesses in countries that are 2-3 weeks ahead of us and there are some brilliant examples of companies doing some amazing things.

Let’s take a look at What a company in Wuhan, China did. So as you might know, this is ground zero.

This is the story of a company called Lin Qingxuan. Due to the outbreak of the Covid-19, the firm was forced to shut down more than 40% of its stores.

Sales dropped by 90%.

So what the store did next is interesting. It took all its in-store beauty advisors and turned them into online influencers. The company started hosting live streaming sessions where these beauty advisors recommended products on e-commerce channels.

People started streaming in. Slowly the sales from one sales advisor in two hours equalled that of sales from 4 retail stores. Eventually the company ended up with a 200% increase in sales.

This is an amazing case study for the following reasons.

  1. When companies are shutting down, this company understood the gravity of the situation, accepted it and adapted and as willing to try something radical that they have never done before. As is said before these kind of situations forced businesses to be brave and creative.
  2. Second, Majority of these beauty advisors would not have had experience doing live streaming. They got over the fear getting in front of the camera and quickly got on with it.

Every company will be forced to experiment with things that we have never tried before. And companies have to expedite their digital transformation and there is no other way. 

Why old way isn’t the best way anymore?

The old way of prospecting, nurturing and closing sales will no longer be effective. Here is a typical sales funnel that depicts the old of prospecting. 

A place where the majority of the prospecting activities happen over cold emails, text-based communications and cold calls. You send out cold emails, make cold calls and send out test-based invites.

It has a very low engagement rate and doesn’t help you build trust with your prospects. The only place where they get to meet prospects is via events, business conferences and in-person meetings. This is the only opportunity to meet the prospect and this is in fact the only opportunity to build trust and build real relationships.

The follow-up and qualifying sales calls happen over emails and phone calls. You give them a generic demo and finally even send out a proposal as an attachment. 

The problem with this approach is that it does not help you build trust and nurture real relationships, which is crucial in sales. Also the engagement rate is low and cost per lead is high.

If you think about it, in order to effectively prospect here 4 important variables., what ever do or say to the prospect it has to be

  • It has to be relevant
  • It has to be engaging
  • It has be actionable
  • It has to be lively

And in-person meetings i.e events, conferences are the one of the few places that ticks all the above said parameters.

That is the reason, a lot of companies have conferences as their main lead generation channel. Infact 68% of B2B companies depend on events as their main source of lead generation, even though they are very expensive. For a premier event a company could end up spending upwards of $100,000.

But what has happened now is that all events have been cancelled, postponed or have gone virtual including Microsoft, Adobes, SaaStr and more than 45 others.

And you can very well  forget about any form of in-person meetings for the next 3 months.

What we need is the next best alternative to the traditional prospecting approaches. And, videos are the way forward.

Increased traction of videos considering the pandemic situation – 

In fact the use of videos have been gaining traction for a while. With the current situation, the adoption of videos got fast tracked. That is the reason, Zoom is one of the most important businesses today. It has in fact become an essential for businesses to survive. But people assume it is only the live video sessions, Youtube and those sort of things. 

The whole idea of using videos as an integrated part of the sales cycle has been there for a while. We even have case studies of some companies who have had massive success with videos.

Instead of the first introductory text-email, you send a video that is highly personalized for the prospect and his problem. This video could be in the form of an email or a Video message via Linkedin.

Take video emails for example. It gets 3 times more response than your average text-based emails.

Because you get to stand out from the crowd of same-old text emails. On an average C-suite receives over 120 cold pitches a week and no wonder most of them get ignored.

The most underused mode of communication in sales

Similarly LinkedIn Video messages. It is one of the most underused modes of communication although it is catching up. Your prospects might be working from home but they are on LinkedIn. It is the bread and butter of every sales person.

You even wonder, how people prospected before LinkedIn came into play. Now imagine, you send them a video showing how you help solve their problem with screenshots or screen-recordings of their website, their product and you show them (not tell them) what you can do for them.

It is going to be far more effective. On  an average videos get you 3x more response rates.

They work because they are authentic. Videos put a face to an otherwise anonymous cold email. A genuine smile goes a long way. When you receive a video of a person saying ‘hi’ calling you name and talking about my problem, you will definitely pay attention.

This method of using videos can be applied along the entire sales cycle.Instead of real events, you have virtual events. Then you get to convert your live events into on-demand video content that can generate leads.

You get detailed analytics of the people who have engaged with your content. You follow it with more personalized/ high converting sales collaterals.

Most companies send whitepapers, ebooks etc. But how about short video collaterals such as user-generated customer testimonials?

Actually a couple of review sites have brought in this feature. In review sites such as G2crowd, you can actually post video reviews. It will help bring down fake reviews. So the whole point of using videos is to keep things real and build trust with your customers.

Now that you have sales qualified warm leads. Every now and then you keep in touch. Nurture them. Send out a video greeting on their birthday or Christmas.

How to send video proposals after closing a deal? 

“Please find attached the proposal.” you hope the prospect will respond. So are 10 other competitors of yours. Now how about you send a short video explaining the important terms of the proposal, the next steps and the outcome of the partnership, how you will help them etc.

You are definitely going to stand out from your competition. Because you have made the effort to build trust with the prospect. If there is one thing that if your prospects don’t buy from you, they definitely will at least appreciate the efforts you put in.

The thing with videos is, it is very cost -effective, it is highly engaging. Infact over 65% of B2B executives watch at least one work related video every week.It is actionable. It can be highly personalized.

The story of a SaaS Unicorn

Here is a story of a SaaS unicorn. This company is known for running creative experiments. They were very successful in the SMB segment. They had over 10K customers.

Now they slowly moved towards the enterprise segment. So they adopted Account-based marketing and selling in order to crack this segment.’

But what worked in the SMB segment did not work here at all. They had an excellent sales team, a good marketing budget but getting the first meeting or even response from their prospects became difficult.

As weeks went on, the response rates kept dipping. With time they realized they are sending the same standardized text email templates. 

And somehow they came with the idea of experimenting with videos. Initially they didn’t do much, they just created a 14-touch point sales cadence with videos integrated in it. Instead of the introductory text email, each sales rep recorded a short video and emailed to their clients.

They followed up via video messages on Linkedin. And once their first demo was over, they sent out a thank you note and minutes of the meeting and next steps via video messages.

It helped get the attention of enterprise prospects. They were able to get more responses and build trust and good relationships over the course of time.

In fact they got a 66% increase in their leads and their sales cycle became 40% shorter.

And, all they did was integrate videos in their sales cadence.

These are definitely new practices for most companies and most sales people wouldn’t have gone before the camera. They might be shy and self-conscious.

It is understandable. It is the role of the manager, VP, Director or the Head of sales to help them adapt to the new practices. Equip them with the right tools, enable them with the right training and most importantly you gotta keep them motivated.

In fact, we believe every CEOs desk should have a tripod.

In the time of crisis, you need to reassure your team . Give them security and lead them from the front and constantly keep in touch.

And emails and memos won’t cut it. Imagine the President sending out an email at the time of a crisis. It won’t work.

Get in front of your team, show your face. Record a quick video and send it to your team, employees etc. That is why every CEOs desk should have a tripod.

When it comes to your team or your company, you are commander in chief, you gotta keep your team motivated. And the best way to do that is only show your face. 

Here is an example from the company Shipa Freight.

The company operates in the logistics space and in the time of crisis the CEO recorded a quick 2 minute video to reassure its customers that how their company will continue to help their customers.

It wouldn’t have taken a lot of time to do this. And when your sales team goes out, this helps them as well. The key here is videos have more credibility than other modes of communication.

Best practices to follow while sending video emails – 

The subject line should be crisp and talk about the outcome. Question, be provocative, convey that a video is inside. Keep the subject within 5 words. 

And, name the video after your company or project. Ensure the video is providing answers, has that ‘make me watch’ factor, and most importantly personalize it. 

Sales pages – Best way to ‘WOW’ your visitors – 

Hosting videos on sales pages that have already been personalized is a best way to wow your prospects. 

You can increase the speed of your sales cycle with the help of custom branding, personalized content, and compelling call to actions.

Getting started with videos – 

Start using personalized video content at various stages of your sales cycle. With videos in sales, you can not only close deals faster but also build trust, nurture relationships, and be authentic. 

Register here to watch the complete webinar now. 

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