The more effort you invest in your sales videos, the greater dividends they’ll pay.
Best practices for creating effective sales videos range from the simple (don’t record in a dark closet) to the advanced (tailor your videos to a specific buyer persona).
There are four key things you should do to capture your viewer’s eye, keep their attention, and drive them to take action.
It doesn’t take much to get started, so jump in, give it a try, and keep this guide around for when you’re ready for more pointers.
- 1. Get the ‘Production’ Basics Right
- 1.1Use the Best Lighting Available
- 1.2Get the Clearest Sound Possible
- 1.3Choose Your Recording Location Carefully
- 2. Capture Attention with Animated Thumbnails
- 3. Always Be Interesting
- 4. Tailor Your Video and Your Message to the Buyer Persona
1. Get the ‘Production’ Basics Right
At the most basic, you need to make sure you’re seen, heard, and taken seriously in your sales videos.
You don’t need fancy equipment or tons of video production training to make sales videos. So long as you keep these classic filming principles in mind, your videos will be golden.
Use the Best Lighting Available
Natural lighting is best and, often, free. Record videos in front of a window in the morning and afternoon to avoid harsh light. If you dedicate a conference room as a recording studio, make sure it has soft lighting.
Get the Clearest Sound Possible
Record in a relatively quiet space or use headphones with a microphone to dampen background noise. (If you’re still getting a lot of extra noise, try using a noise cancelling app like Krisp.)
Choose Your Recording Location Carefully
Any backdrop will do. Part of the appeal of personalized one-way videos is that they contain authentic imperfections.
If a background is too manicured and looks like a movie set, it can actually hurt you. Likewise, a blank white wall is the kiss of death. Not only does it say nothing, it’s also boring.
Try to tailor the background to the situation, and always dress the part. If you’re selling enterprise legal software, don’t record from your kitchen in your pajamas while your cat knocks things off the counter behind you.
Yasemin Ozderya, a Business Development Rep at Vidyard, traveled to Rome and recorded a series of video snippets featuring the Colosseum in the background. Needless to say, it earned her lots of interested responses.
It’s good advice for other reps: Whenever possible, take advantage of new and interesting locales.
The agency Punch! takes backgrounds to the next level by preparing spaces for its sales team to record. Each conference room at their office sports different wallpaper designed to appeal to each buyer persona, such as wood and brass paneling for startups and more staid cubicles for large enterprises.
While the approach Punch! takes is certainly eye-catching, it’s not a prerequisite for getting started. A good background can be as simple as finding an uncluttered space with a bit of visual interest such as a textured wall or busy office.
2. Capture Attention with Animated Thumbnails
As more sales reps are using video to sell, they’re raising the bar for what counts as creative. That starts with the video thumbnail.
You have to really wow prospects and give them a reason to engage, and that starts with your thumbnail image. Using an animated GIF with motion can increase your chances of catching their eye. Consider recording in front of an interesting locale or, my favorite, weave a story into the video, and just have fun with it. If you’re being yourself and connecting in a more casual manner, prospects can sense that and it puts them at ease. Then you’re in.Ryan O'HaraLeadIQVP of Growth
Does the thumbnail make prospects curious? Does it hint at some value concealed within the video? Is it so strange prospects can’t help but know more?
An easy way to capture attention is with motion. With Vidyard, salespeople can use a GIF as their video thumbnail. It’s eye-catching and tells a story.
In one video, Bizible’s team hesitantly steps in front of the camera and waves, making viewers want to wave back and, perhaps, click.
grow with video.
3. Always Be Interesting
Once your video’s rolling, you have to sustain the viewer’s interest.
Just because they clicked doesn’t mean they’ll stay, so you’ve got to get to the point fast, telling them what they’re going to get from the video or asking relevant and probing questions.
Frank Weschler, a sales rep at tech company Dynamic Signal, went big in a video targeting a big account.
The account was a restaurant known for their hot wings, so Frank went to a nearby location and picked up an order of the hottest wings on the menu. Made from ghost peppers, they register at 350,000 units on the Scoville scale.
Then he hit record and started eating. He delivered his sales pitch after having one of the wings—laughing, crying, and nearly choking his way through it.
He booked the meeting, proving that taking a bold risk in a sales video pays off. (He also won one a 2019 Video in Business Award for his efforts.)
Above all, keep experimenting. Hold contests on your team to see who can come up with the most creative way to deliver an effective message while still entertaining.
4. Tailor Your Video and Your Message to the Buyer Persona
It’s age-old advice, but it’s true as ever: Always show you’ve done your homework. Don’t reach out to prospects with questions that you easily could have answered by looking at their website.
If you talk about your product, do so in the context of their challenges and what it means to them personally—like making them so successful they get promoted.
Here’s a simple template for your early-stage sales videos to keep them focused on the buyer’s needs:
Why them? In the first five seconds of your video, appeal to the prospect’s ego. Let them know that this isn’t a batch-and-blast message and why it’s in their interest to keep watching.
I reached out because you recently shared a fantastic article…
Why you? Explain how you’re going to add value to their business. Don’t pitch features, pitch benefits. Be clear what’s in it for them. The goal is to convince them to schedule a call, so leave them with at least a few lingering questions.
We can help you hire better recruits in half the time…
Why now? Explain the compelling event.
Roles are getting harder and harder to fill and the inevitable Q4 hiring freeze is coming up…
Call to action: In as specific terms as possible, suggest a date and time to talk or meet.
Can you chat this Thursday (January 10) at 4 p.m. EST? Let’s book it—my calendar will pop up at the end of this video.
Sales managers, team up with marketing to create video templates that accurately reflect each of your buyer personas’ interests. Have a few of your top reps demonstrate how the template should be used, and save them in your sales training video library.
This post was originally published on January 23, 2019. It was updated on June 15, 2020.