<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=154003588595255&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

In Conversation

The Virtual Sales Cycle with Zach Basner

How sales teams can use video to dramatically cut down on long sales cycles.

By Grace Amodeo

 

 

May 26, 2020

In_Conversation_Cutaway_Thmb_1920x1080_Zach_Basner

Our guest Zach Basner outlines how video content can streamline your sales team, and how to get started. 

The following interview is an excerpt from our video series, Marketing In Conversation. To watch the full interview and see more video content, click here. Or you can listen to the SHIFT - In Conversation podcast here

-----

Zach Basner - Director of Inbound Training and Video Strategy, IMPACT
Grace Amodeo - Program Manager - SHIFT 

Grace:
I'd love if you could start off by telling us about IMPACT on a high level, and more specifically what you do at the company.

Zach:
IMPACT is a digital sales and marketing company. We specialize in training and consulting, so we train our clients to be fully self-sufficient when it comes to their digital sales and marketing success. We work with our clients for sometimes up to a couple of years to get them to the point where they're fully confident, fully insourced, and fully in-house. And my role within the company is to oversee all of our training offerings, and also the way that we teach and talk about video strategy. 

Grace:
What I find most fascinating about IMPACT is the way you focus on video specifically for sales teams. The way most people use video is often in content marketing or advertising. When we talk about video for sales, what does that look like? What problems are you solving for the sales team that video can address?

Zach:
Here's what we know about today's buyer, which certainly affects the way that we sell. Our buyer today is more informed than they've ever been by the time they get to us. So when that moment of truth occurs, studies show that over 70% of the buying decision has been made before they reach out to sales. They are more skeptical, generally speaking, than normal. And they really want to have a good idea of what they want before they'll work with a salesperson. If you want to build trust and you want to have a highly educated prospect, one of the best ways to do that is with content. Video content allows our prospects to see us, to hear us, and to know us before we see, hear, and know them.  We like to say the best time to eliminate a concern is before it becomes a concern, and you can use video to do that very easily.

Video content allows our prospects to see us, to hear us, and to know us before we see, hear, and know them. 

Grace:
Another unique aspect of what IMPACT does is the way you talk about internally produced video versus externally produced video. I know one of the services you offer is embedding a videographer into a company or into a sales team. Why do you choose the internal video route? What benefit does that bring?

Zach:
Yeah, "insourcing" or "ownership" is what we like to say. Owning your ability to succeed without having to be dependent on somebody else. And there are at least two major reasons why that is the better route versus having all of your videos produced by a production company. The first thing is the amount of video content that you can produce when you've got the resources in-house. What we've seen is that our most successful clients that have adopted video and begin using it in the sales process effectively, they're producing about two or three new videos per week. That's a lot of content. It would be very difficult to manage that kind of relationship with a production company to have that type of turnaround. The second reason is the cost. So you consider the average salary of an in-house videographer at this point is somewhere between $50,000 to $80,000, depending on how skilled this person is and exactly what you need from them. So you take that and you say, okay, they can produce over a hundred videos for us per year. If you take that same amount of video content and you take it to a production company and it would be significantly more expensive.

 


Grace:
I can also imagine that there's a learning curve of a production company trying to understand your brand, what you need, and how you speak to your audience. An internal videographer really gets to know your team and speak to your brand’s identity. 

Zach:
This is such a great point because nobody is going to know your business, your buyer, and the soul of the organization as well as somebody who is going out to lunch with your employees on a regular basis, you just can't replace that. If we have the best shot of really earning trust and getting information across as best as we can, then it needs to come from us. 

Grace:
I'm curious as we talk about the world we're in today, I can imagine that video has become even more significant now than it was in the past. Can you talk a little bit about some of the changes you've seen in these last couple months in how you are working with your clients?

Zach:
Before all this happened it seemed like we were really trying to get the word out. Like, hey, video's important. You need to be thinking about this. This is changing the way that people buy. And it took a lot of convincing. Now it's very top-of-mind, everybody gets it. Especially for folks who may have been resistant to this kind of philosophy of video and visual sale before, it's not really an option to not be virtual at this point. They're worried about more of the efficiency of a virtual sales process, and the most beautiful thing is that with video you can cut back on so much. Is it really that desirable for your prospect to be able to have a virtual call with you? Instead, what we can do with video is  drastically cut down that time that they have to spend scheduling a meeting, showing up at a certain time, and spending time with you. Instead we can send them video content, and they can consume it on their own time. They can watch it as much as they want, rewatch things, and then they can share it with people. 

We can send them video content, and they can consume it on their own time. They can watch it as much as they want, rewatch things, and then they can share it with people. 

Grace:
Have you found that you've had to do more of, or a different type of, training when you're talking to these sales teams? 

Zach:
Absolutely. We've had to design and reconfigure some of our consulting services to cater to working with sales teams directly. Before we would be consulting with the marketing team or marketing leadership within an organization and we were essentially training them to go and train the sales team. Now we are working directly with sales managers, directly with sales teams, getting them all the training that they need. We've been developing an online learning resource called IMPACT Plus, and we had to really put our foot on the gas and make this training available for everybody very soon. We need to focus on sales professionals and getting them the training that they need. 

Grace:
Would you have any advice for a sales team? Where is a good place to start? 

Zach:
So this is the best advice that I could give you, it's actually a type of video that you can make. We have a system of videos that we call the “Selling Seven”. These are seven types of videos that we found in working with hundreds of companies over the past few years that have the biggest impact on sales specifically, on closing more deals and building more trust. One of those videos in the Selling Seven is what we call the "80% Video”, and here's where the name comes from. If you were to go to a sales rep on a typical sales team and say, out of all of the questions that you get on the first sales appointment, what percentage of those questions do you think are the same every single time? They would say somewhere around 80%. So that's 80% of the questions that they hear on the first sales appointment are the ones they hear on every sales appointment. So the question is, why do we continue to use time on that meeting to address those questions? What if we could eliminate those questions before that meeting ever took place? Well, we know at least one thing would happen, the meeting would be shorter. If it's not shorter, if it's the same length, you're making more progress during that meeting. 

So that's 80% of the questions that they hear on the first sales appointment are the ones they hear on every sales appointment.

The second thing is, if they see this video before they jump on a call with you, well now they've had the opportunity to see, hear, and know you. So now they trust you a little bit more, hopefully, if you've done a good job on the video. You'd be surprised how many people will actually watch that video depending on how you ask. And if they do watch that video, you're going to notice an immediate improvement in your sales process. 

Grace:
Is it important, as you're making this video content, that the person making the video and the face they see in the video is also the person making the eventual sale?

Zach:
We've seen it done in a few different ways. From what I've seen, sales teams are most satisfied when they are the ones that are in the video because it changes the mood of the prospect once they actually communicate with them. Who do you want them building trust with? Do you want them building trust with somebody they're never going to work with or do you want them building trust with you? You're the person who's going to help them with the problem that they've got going on. It's just a matter of what's truly attainable. 

Grace:
Internally, how have you been changing your marketing strategy to make sure that you're still reaching the audiences that you're wanting to reach?

Zach:
Our investment in online training is indicative of really what we are trying to do. And we really believe that providing as much value as possible for free or for very low cost is a good way to keep growing the business. It's something that we're all really passionate about and we believe in, we feel good about it. 

Grace:
What is your imagination of six months from now, or a year from now, do you see the sales cycle and the sales process fundamentally changing forever? 

Zach:
Well, it's certainly a new normal. When things go back to normal, it's going to be a new one. I used to say, "What if somebody could go through the entire buying process only watching videos and never having to talk with you one-on-one? A fully touchless buying experience, what might that look like?". And the reason I would do that is that it would show us what we can do now to get closer to that. I think now the more permanent change that is happening is we, as buyers, are going to expect to have a more touchless buying experience and be able to self-select, self-configure, and self-serve versus going through a long buying process. We're not going to go back to wanting to be sold on things. And I think that's a permanent change. 
----------
Would you like to participate in a future In Conversation video interview? Email grace@shift.io for more information. 

Grace Amodeo is a program manager at SHIFT, where she oversees the annual SHIFT Creative Fund grant program. She is a graduate of Emerson College, where she studied film with a concentration in directing narrative fiction. Grace lives in Los Angeles.
Read more by Grace Amodeo