If there’s one truth when it comes to gossip, it’s that it can take on a life of it’s own. As gossip spreads, each person ends up adding their own touches — a changed word here, an exaggeration there — until the final result bears little resemblance to the initial message.
A product marketer can attest to this phenomenon when they find out their carefully constructed product announcement has gone through the blender that is the sales team and comes out unrecognizable on the other side.
Sales teams are born to reshape messages
Sales departments reshape messages by design. Salespeople sell by telling stories and learn by imitation, which makes sales departments a swirling cauldron of shifting phrases, strategies, and sound bites. Whatever works is adopted by all. Typically, this means that messages take on a much more optimistic and affirmative spin.
For example, “Our software can integrate but only if you have a really good developer” can become “hands-free integration,” and “We’re considering this feature” can become “that’ll be released any day now.”
This is bad for obvious reasons: misaligned customer expectations lead to misery for both sales and product people. As a product marketer, you owe it to your team to nip this confusion in the bud by cementing these messages in personal videos that preserve your initial intent.
5 ways to help sales teams using video:
- Lay out your product vision in video: Product teams hate to lay out public roadmaps because they feel that it over-commits them. But, not having one can be just as bad, if not worse, because in the absence of any insights, your sales team will almost inevitably develop its own narrative. Take back control of the conversation and release soundbites on your product vision. It doesn’t have to be the whole story (you can certainly go wrong by over-sharing), but offer enough to dispel untoward beliefs about what’s coming. This puts an end to upset salespeople complaining about surprise features and customers complaining about false promises.
- Arm sales with sound bites: Want salespeople to be on-message? Tell them exactly what to say. Enlist the most persuasive orator on your team or draft a sales leader to record a video that’s a cinematic display of persuasive sales pitch brilliance. You’ll find sales people are dying for killer phrases and messaging that’ll give them an edge over competition, so why not hand it over rather than hoping they nail it on their own?
- Give sales demo tutorials: Show the sales team how your product really works and record a demo for them to copy. This helps overcome the common phenomena whereby most salespeople actually get worse at demos the more they learn about the product. Why? They catch the ‘curse of knowledge.’ That’s when they learn too much to say things simply, and in their excitement to share it all, they make your product look terrifyingly complex. Help push your sales team up the demo maturity curve and teach them to say it clearly and exactly as you intended it.
- Give the sales team actual customer use cases: Social proof and name dropping are great, but if salespeople can’t describe actual implementations in detail when customers ask, it blows their credibility. It looks as though they were making it all up. Arm your salespeople with more than surface-level stories: record videos of fully-realized customer use cases with details and statistics that can be memorized and internalized. It keeps the product-story straight and helps the sales team with their intended goal: sales.
- Give the sales team competitive snippets: Where messages most often get crossed is in how your product compares to that of your competitors. Your salespeople may be the best in the business, but even they can get caught up in the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) that your competitors are trying to instill about your product. Set the story straight with competitive video snippets where you outline your product’s advantages, overturn competitive FUD, and even lay what Marketo’s sales team calls ‘sales landmines,’ which are particularly tough product questions that you can arm your sales team with to trip up the competition.
When you set your product communications in stone with video, you set up both product marketers and sales teams for a win. You provide message consistency that you know accurately reflects your product while your sales teams gets more powerful messaging to go out and win more business.
Chris Gillespie is the writer and founder behind Find A Way Media which helps great businesses create killer marketing content. Based in Brooklyn, Chris spent years selling SaaS technology solutions and now helps those companies craft their content marketing strategies.