Back in my day, we didn’t have tools like this. Never mind that “back in my day” was only two years ago—technological innovation moves like lightning. Back then, as an account executive at a major marketing software company, I was limited to a well-defined set of tools: email, phone, social media, video conferencing, text, and in the event of an end-of-quarter emergency, fresh-baked cookies. But the tool that I wish I had? Video.

This thought struck me during a presentation by Terrance Kwok, Sales Development Manager at Vidyard, at their Fast Forward virtual conference this year (If you missed it, you can still log-in to watch the session, and you really should.) Kwok showcased the awesome simplicity with which sales reps can prospect with video. I won’t lie, it made me jealous.

Here’s why.

Video sells better

Cold calling and email are like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. I know that because I started my career in outside sales with the privilege of face-to-face meetings. The further away I got from prospects, the harder it was to persuade them. When I switched to inside sales, I lost the ability to communicate non-verbally. When cold-calling grew less effective and I switched mostly to email, I lost my voice. As far as my prospects could tell, I basically evolved into a faceless text-bot.

I mean, how different can you really be when you type in Arial font just like everyone else?

Selling Software

With video, salespeople get all that back. The smile, the sound, the motion—it’s the next best thing to a crisp handshake. “It’s a great way to let your personality shine,” Kwok told audiences, adding, “Inside sales professionals can hide behind the phone but when you’re recording videos, you sit up tall, you’re cognizant, you’re excited, you’re enthusiastic about what you’re selling … and your prospect or customer can feel it.” As a former seller, there is zero doubt in my mind that this works, because it recently worked on me.

Sales videos are still new and exciting

I recently saw a sales video in my email and clicked just to see what it was. It came from an unfamiliar company but the brightly colored thumbnail caught my eye. A young woman was holding a sign with my first name on it. We’ll call her Jordan.

Puzzled, I wondered if their sales team had built an entire library of video thumbnails with common first names, like those personalized toy license plates you find in gas stations. Could this be the case? The video played and the experience was surreal. Jordan was a real person who had done real homework and told me what my company was missing. She wasn’t totally spot on, but I was still impressed.

This personalization was no accident. As Kwok explained in his presentation, video allows salespeople to break down traditional barriers. In this case, Jordan broke the pattern of poorly-personalized sales prospecting emails that I typically receive and replaced it with something so puzzling in my inbox that I had to investigate. Never mind my interest in their product—the approach is what got me. I can only imagine how much time it would have saved me as a sales rep to stand out like Jordan did. And time savings, according to Kwok, is a big component.

Video lets you share your candid thoughts

Video lets you cut out weeks of unnecessary back and forth. I know that because in my former sales role, I used to get caught in the “if I see value” loop quite a lot. That’s the catch-22 when clients won’t talk to you until they know it’s worth their while, but they can’t know if it’s worth their while until they talk to you. See how things can get stuck? And what’s worse, as a sales rep, you can only convey so much via email or phone before they stop reading or hang up. But with video? Video lets you convey it all.

“With an account-based video, what you want to do is walk them through your thought process,” said Kwok during his presentation. He demonstrates a sample video of himself where he’s recording both himself and his computer screen as he browses through articles. He explains to his client why it’s a good idea to talk, what he presumes are their pain points, and possible solutions. And because he tells them the exact time commitment up front in the email (90 seconds), they stick around.

How brilliant is that? Rather than simply summarize the benefits, he gets to walk his viewers through the steps that led him to think that they were a good fit. It’s collaborative. It’s consultative. And it would have been killer for me to have back in my day.

Chris Gillespie