Fresh off the announcement Australian video company Clipchamp had been acquired by Microsoft, the company’s Head of Product Anna Ji (pictured) has shared her advice on utilising video in sales.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced B2B buyers and sellers to turn to digital in huge — and unexpected — ways.
As borders shut down and the ability to rely on human interaction to connect with new clients has been effectively put on hold, businesses have been scrambling to find new and creative ways to find clients — and hook them in.
Yet, what began as a crisis response is evolving into the next normal, with big implications for how buyers and sellers will do business in the future. B2B sales leaders are moving from being “forced” to adopt digital in reaction to the widespread shutdowns in the early stages of COVID-19, to a growing conviction that digital is the way to go.
As the next few years pan out, here are some ways businesses can update their lead generation strategies as we transition to a new way of working.
Accept the new way of doing business
One of the first things any leadership team should do is agree to accept that things have changed.
According to McKinsey data, more than 75 per cent of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions, a sentiment that has intensified even after lockdowns end.
Self-serve and remote interactions have made it easier for buyers to get information, place orders and arrange service, and customers have enjoyed that speed and convenience.
So, with that in mind, how is a B2B seller supposed to find new customers, when customers don’t want to go back to the old way of doing business?
Using video cleverly is one solution. Since the pandemic, video and live chat have emerged as the predominant channels for interacting and closing sales with B2B customers, and McKinsey statistics back that up: with e-commerce and videoconferencing now accounting for 43 per cent of all B2B revenue (more than any other channel) customers are are making it clear that, given the choice, they prefer video to phone.
It’s also time to really invest in creating a well-thought-out video marketing strategy that will engage your audience and win their trust and business.
And before you panic, just remember you don’t have to be a natural-born salesperson to be the best at the job: just being aware of some key tips, such as engaging in storytelling (customers want to know the story behind your business and what inspires the products you sell); focussing on addressing the needs of customers within your video by pitching how your product, service or company will help them; and understanding how to effectively use a whole digital ecosystem alongside the video will get you far.
As we are all going through massive changes, this is a good time to invest in skills that are emerging as the most useful in future business dealings.
Dwindling team size
Another thing to consider is that your team may have suffered throughout this period. Perhaps some were laid off, others quit or most have started working remotely, shifting the dynamic.
In that case, it’s never been a better time to learn how to use virtual collaboration tools. Not only can they save you a lot of time if thought through and organised well, but it will help lead the transition from predominantly face-to-face interactions to digital-based communications.
Reskilling and upskilling is part of this new journey, and understanding what resources are out there and what gaps your sales team has is a good way to start investing in future sales techniques.
It can also be a good time to step back and think about what new content — or perhaps revamping old content to suit a new way of driving sales — you can create. Ultimately, B2B sales leaders must create content that the field can bring to market, such as white papers, technology transformation roadmaps and standard pitch materials, as these will allow salespeople to position themselves as thought leaders.
Target the right channels
Now that your workforce has been upskilled, it’s time to help direct their time and energies towards channels where their potential clients actually are, rather than encourage them to chat aimlessly with clients or prospective clients over Zoom or Teams.
Yes, warmth and interpersonal skills certainly help, but on their own they won’t close the sale. In order to make a splash in the business world, encourage your salespeople to become thought leaders by contributing to digital conversations in interesting, nuanced and data-driven ways on platforms where they actually are: primarily on LinkedIn and Twitter.
A good way to do this is to use videos to voice your thoughts and expert opinions. It doesn’t have to be long and convoluted: all you need to create a great video for business is clarity on what you would like to contribute to a conversation. Instead of, say, writing a long piece, making a pithy video with a clearly defined topic and points is a great way to showcase thoughts in a clear and confident way.
If you’re new to this, writing out a script is a good idea: not only is it a safety tool in case you forget a point, but it also helps you read ahead and feel confident that your arguments flow together.
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