You’ve found a good prospect. You’ve done your homework. Now it’s time for outreach. But how to capture their attention? When Frank Weschler was a Sales Development Rep at Dynamic Signal, the answer was easy: video prospecting.
When he was assigned Buffalo Wild Wings as a target account, Frank knew he needed to do something special to break through the noise.
That’s why he drove to one of their restaurants and picked up an order of their hottest hot wings to go. Made from ghost peppers, the company’s Blazin’ wings measure in at 350,000 units on the Scoville scale.
Frank hit record on a one-to-one video message and started to eat. Once he was down a wing, he delivered his pitch—through laughter, tears, and near-choking.
Needless to say, he booked the meeting.
Of course, video isn’t all that made Frank’s pitch stand out. His creativity and bold approach were a huge factor in his success (and a big part of what netted him a coveted Video in Business Award). But video is the medium that let all of that shine.
Think about this: If he’d simply written that he tried the wings in an email, or sent a photo after eating one, it wouldn’t have had nearly the same impact as watching him struggle to share his pitch in real-time.
There’s a fundamental truth that all sales reps know: Outreach is f@*#ing hard. Cold outreach especially so.
A video message can help you break through the noise, get a response, and book that meeting.
- 1. Video Prospecting Definition: What is It?
- 2. Why Should I Bother Prospecting with Video?
- 3. When Should I Use Video Prospecting?
- 3.1 Video prospecting generally works well for:
- 4. How Do I Make a Prospecting Video for B2B?
- 4.1 Choose Your Timing
- 4.2 Research Your Prospect
- 4.3 Decide What Type of Video to Use
- 4.4 Write Your Script (or Use One of Ours)
- 4.5 Record Your Video Message
- 4.5.1 Get the Video Production Basics Down
- 4.6 Select an Attention-Grabbing Thumbnail
- 4.7 Write Supporting Message Copy
- 4.8 Include a CTA
- 5. What Are Some Best Practices for Video Prospecting?
- 5.1 Keep it Short
- 5.1.1 Average Engagement for Different Lengths of Video
- 5.2 Dedicate Time Blocks for Video Recording
- 5.3 Send Out Account-Level Videos for Key Accounts
- 5.4 Group Leads and Record One Video for Multiple Recipients
- 5.5 Leverage a Folder of Pre-Recorded Videos
- 5.6 Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative
Want to watch instead of reading? We made a video version of this blog with all the video prospecting 101 tips you need to learn more about video as part of your outreach. Want to listen instead? Check out our audio version.
Video Prospecting Definition: What is It?
Video prospecting uses video messages as a fundamental component of the outreach to capture a prospective customer’s attention and connect with them.
The concept is simple. The results are powerful. And anyone can do it—all it takes is a free sales tool, a webcam, and a little bit of practice.
Why Should I Bother Prospecting with Video?
A whopping 40% of sales reps say that prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process. Luckily, video’s here to help.
Frank isn’t the only one seeing success with video prospecting. These stats prove just how far-ranging the benefits of video outreach (and video for sales, in general) are.
- Improve Open Rates—sales teams that use video get a 16% bump in open rates (SalesLoft)
- Get More Replies—sales teams that use video see a 26% increase in replies (SalesLoft)
- Net a Higher Click-Through—emails that contain video have 4x the CTR of emails without (Inside Sales)
- Close More Deals—closed deals involve using webcams 41% more often than lost deals (Gong)
- Gain a Competitive Advantage—only 43.8% of sales teams use video in their prospecting strategy (Inside Sales)
But that’s not all.
Video makes sending outreach emails faster and more effective. How? Unsurprisingly, sales reps spend 21% of their day writing emails.
Whether you’re recording a quick video rather than writing out a long message or adding a pre-recorded video to boost an email, video messages are a big time saver.
Personal video allows us to showcase our personality and create that important human connection. Unlike a phone call or an email, a personal video is memorable and puts a face to a name. So even if you do end up on a phone call with a prospect, the call is just that much better.Roger Bernardino1HuddleVP of Business Development
But video doesn’t just help in the messaging phase. It’s also a key tactic when it comes to follow-up.
Every sales rep knows how much timing matters. In fact, reps who reach leads within an hour are 7x more likely to have meaningful conversations with decision-makers. Video makes that easier too. How?
A video sales tool (like Vidyard) actually notifies reps when prospects have watched their videos—in real time. That means you can follow up exactly when your prospect’s most engaged.
Convinced? Read on to learn more about when and how to use video prospecting in your sales process.
When Should I Use Video Prospecting?
The answer to the question, “When should I use video prospecting?” can be as simple as: Wherever and whenever you need a boost.
The slightly more detailed answer is: Start with a part of your process that feels like a natural fit for video and test, test, test to see what works.
Figuring out where to use video prospecting comes down to thinking about the parts of your process that would benefit most from face-to-face interaction.
In many cases, actual in-person meetings simply aren’t possible. Video is the perfect digital substitute for face time—it builds similarly strong connections, but at a fraction of the cost, time, and effort.
Video prospecting generally works well for:
- Sending cold outreach
- Reconnecting with a prospect
- Leveraging recent news to connect with an account
- Prospecting from one-to-many
- Highlighting a piece of marketing content
It all depends on your process, your business, and your prospective customers. Test video in a variety of different points in your cadences to see where it works best.
How Do I Make a Prospecting Video for B2B?
Creating prospecting videos is nearly as easy as picking up the phone. Plus it’s more effective and more efficient.
1. Choose Your Timing
Before you get into making your actual video, you need to think about where it fits in your prospecting cadences. Will it be your first outreach? A follow-up nudge? A wake-the-dead effort?
Once you know where your video belongs in the sales process, then you can carry on with actually making it.
Pro Tip:Sales emails containing video sent within the second and twentieth days of a cadence resulted in significantly higher reply rates, according to SalesLoft. Test to see where in the process video works best for you.
2. Research Your Prospect
As with any effective outreach tactic, you need to know your prospect before you send them a prospecting video.
Who are they? What’s their title? What level of the organization are they? What are their responsibilities, challenges, and pain points?
Once you know these things, then you can craft a pitch that shows how your solution helps.
This video prospecting example from Diana shows the power of good research. Covered in sticky notes that speak to her prospect’s pain points, it’s clear she’s done her homework.
3. Decide What Type of Video to Use
There are three different types of sales videos. Before you make yours, you have to determine which one to use. Each is best suited to certain situations:
- Webcam: Perfect for introducing yourself and relationship-building as your face is front and center
- Screen Share: Great for explaining or walking through something as you can show as well as tell
- Playlist: Excellent for adding a personal intro to a pre-recorded video or curating a collection of videos for a prospect to view
Different types of sales videos work well at different points in your cadences.
Gunjan grabs her prospect’s attention with this eye-catching screen recording. Starting on his LinkedIn and adding a hard-to-ignore message of “JARROD CLICK ME!” she’s created an irresistible outreach message.
4. Write Your Script (or Use One of Ours)
If you have a phone script or talking points that you typically use, this will be really easy. Don’t worry though, it’s not tough even if you don’t.
If you already have a phone script, think about what visual elements you could add or how you could adapt it to work for video.
If you don’t, this simple framework is a good way to start thinking about what elements to include in your video script (and in what order).
- Introduction: Greet them and introduce yourself
- Value: Mention the relevance of your outreach
- Purpose: Explain why you’re reaching out
- Next Steps and CTA: Encourage them to book a meeting
- Thank You: Show gratitude by thanking them for watching
If you’re feeling stuck, start with one of our sales script templates and fill in the blanks for your unique solution, value prop, and benefits. Then, use our free video script timer tool to find out how long your finished video will be.
5. Record Your Video Message
This might feel like the scary part but just remember: Small “imperfections” are what people tend to love most about one-to-one personalized video.
Don’t be afraid to stumble over your words occasionally.
If you’re nervous, there are a few simple things you can do to get more comfortable on camera. The biggest one is practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and the more natural it’ll feel.
Keep your video conversational and natural. If you stammer, who cares? People love it when you’re your authentic self.Adam RatajHubSpotSales Manager Mid-Market
Get the Video Production Basics Down
For best results, follow a few video production basics:
- Use the best lighting available—if possible, sit near a window for natural light
- Get the clearest sound possible—people can forgive bad video, but they rarely forgive bad audio
- Choose your recording location carefully—avoid clutter and distractions
Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Do the best with what you have available. Sometimes the scrappiest solutions work the best.
Commercial Account Executive Alana nails the video production basics in this A+ prospecting video example.
6. Select an Attention-Grabbing Thumbnail
Your video’s no good if no one watches it. That’s where your video thumbnail comes in. It entices the audience to click play.
That’s why it’s critical to pick a good one, something that catches your prospect’s eye.
To get prospects to click on the thumbnail, I’ll call up their LinkedIn profile and have that on the screen or write their name on a whiteboard. I always say their name, role and company in my opening. I’ll also try to reference something they’ve written about their role or their company, and speak to them as if I’m speaking to a friend to build instant rapport. It’s a surprisingly low effort on my part, but it has a big impact. I’ve only had positive feedback.Michelle SuJostleMarketing Development Representative
When it comes to one-to-one video prospecting messages, this can mean including something that highlights that you made the video just for them. Lots of reps like to use a whiteboard, chalkboard, or magnet board to write the prospect’s name.
Consider using an animated GIF—the movement is hard to ignore. If you’re doing this, consider smiling and waving at the beginning of your video so the first thing your prospect sees is a friendly smiling face.
Who can resist a colorful, personal, animated thumbnail? The visuals draw you in, then BDR Candance does a great job of delivering her message in only a minute.
As with all other parts of your video, test what works best.
7. Write Supporting Message Copy
Video’s powerful, but it can’t stand completely alone. Be sure to call attention to it right from the outset.
You’ll want to mention your video in the message’s body copy as well. Be sure to include a brief intro in your email copy before dropping in your video thumbnail. Use this text to provide some context about what the video’s about so prospects know why they should watch.
In this episode of Sales Stage, Vidyard’s video series by and for sales reps co-hosts Reva Pellerin and Jimmy Gagnon discuss what’s hot—and what’s not—in prospecting.
They debate texting prospects, highlight some tactics their teams have implemented recently, and share some of the outreach they received that caught their attention.
Think about where your video thumbnail belongs in your message too. Best practice is to write a line or two that’ll appear before and after your video.
If you’re looking for a jumping-off point, SalesLoft analyzed more than 134 million emails to see what worked. They found that teams who place videos after the first 10% of email copy but before the halfway point see the biggest increase in replies.
There was also a bump for reps who included the video at the very end of their message, such as in the postscript.
And, of course, make sure you include some kind of call to action (CTA) and sign off.
8. Include a CTA
Every sales message should direct the prospect to take the next steps and your video prospecting is no different.
Be sure to include a CTA, both in your video and in your supporting copy. The video CTA can be as simple as you saying, “Reply to this email,” in the video.
Adam Rataj, HubSpot Sales Manager Mid-Market, demonstrates an effective in-video CTA in this quick recording that he sends to people who’ve signed up for HubSpot’s free product.
Or, take things to the next level by using a plugin to add a calendar CTA so prospects can book a meeting directly from your video.
And don’t forget to reiterate your next steps in your video’s supporting message copy. The action you want prospects to take next should be crystal clear.
What Are Some Best Practices for Video Prospecting?
Once you’re up and running, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure you get the most bang for your buck out of video.
Keep it Short
When it comes to prospecting videos, shorter is almost always better. Cold outreach videos should be around 30 seconds long up to 60 seconds maximum.
This means you have to focus on the most important part of your message.
It’s a good way to show you respect the prospect’s time. Plus, people are more likely to watch your entire video if it’s shorter.
While 54% of people will watch a video all the way through, regardless of length, just over 60% will stick around to the end if it’s less than 60 seconds long, according to research from our Video in Business Benchmark Report.
Average Engagement for Different Lengths of Video
Dedicate Time Blocks for Video Recording
While it’s perfectly okay to record videos throughout the day as you need them, you’ll be much more efficient if you figure out what videos you’ll need that day (or week) and record them all in a single time block.
This allows you to get your recording spot set up once and helps you get you in the video-making zone. Once you’re warmed up, it’ll take no time at all to record dozens of videos at a time.
Send Out Account-Level Videos for Key Accounts
Whether your company does account-based marketing or not, this is a targeting tip that’ll up your video efficiency.
If you’re prospecting a group of people within the same company, you don’t need to record a personal, one-to-one video message for each one.
Instead, make a single video that’s customized to the organization (or even a team within it) and their specific needs. Send it to all of your contacts in that org.
This is a great way to keep things custom and personal, but do it at scale.
Group Leads and Record One Video for Multiple Recipients
Odds are, your leads have a lot in common. Title, job function, industry, maybe even first name.
If you sit down ahead of recording and group leads together based on common attributes, you may be able to record one video that works for multiple people, while still feeling customized to their unique needs.
Leverage a Folder of Pre-Recorded Videos
Not every single video you send as part of your sales process has to be custom recorded right at that moment.
If you find yourself answering the same question often or running through the same mini-demo script, consider recording a version of that video that you can keep handy in your library.
When I started getting the same questions over and over, I created one video and sent it to people… I send one video rather than drafting up an extremely complex email that’s going to be revised several times after I reread it and reread it. Or I could just explain it on a quick video, send it their way, and they’re happy as a clam.Adam RatajHubSpotSales Manager Mid-Market
This approach means you can send out that pre-recorded video anytime you need it, rather than capturing it fresh each time. It’s a huge time saver and the sort of thing that’ll really let you scale your video efforts.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative
Creative videos tend to be the most attention-grabbing and often get the best reactions. Prospects can’t resist replying when reps do something truly outside the box.
Eric SimmonsMediaValetVP of Sales
We try to always keep it very real and natural. For instance, a BDR may be shooting a call recap and other team members will do a fly-by; photobomb into the frame to say ‘hi’. It helps customers put faces to names and to feel warmly welcomed.
This can be as simple as holding up a product from the prospect’s company (if they make physical products), visually aligning yourself with some interest of theirs (for instance, by wearing a jersey from their favorite sports team), or wishing them a happy birthday/holiday/etc. with some kind of prop.
It can also be as elaborate as wearing some sort of costume, changing locations, or scripting a bit of a story for your video. We know one rep who dressed up as Sherlock Holmes and another who recreated the oversized message card scene from Love Actually (yes, it worked).
In this excellent video prospecting example, Morgan uses her prospect’s passion to deliver a great analogy with an impossible-to-resist thumbnail.
What are you waiting for? Give video prospecting a try today and reap the benefits.
This post was originally published on January 23, 2019. It was updated on March 2, 2022.