For most of us, the words ‘sales email’ don’t exactly spark joy.

We’re receiving more email than ever — on average, a staggering 121 messages every day — a significant number of those are selling something. With this many messages to wade through, it’s all too easy for busy professionals to skim through and hit ‘delete,’ no matter how exciting, valuable, or revolutionary these products are.

And yet, email remains one of the top tactics of choice for sales prospecting and outreach. Why? Because, against all odds, it works. In fact, email is 40 times more effective for securing new sales than Facebook and Twitter combined!

That means that forward-thinking salespeople aren’t abandoning email. They’re just getting super-smart about how to grab their prospects’ attention, stand out from their competitors, and broadcast their value loud and clear.

One of the most powerful tools to do that is video. Video’s power to market and sell products, especially those aimed at a B2B audience, is well-proven. In one study, 80% of respondents said a video had helped convince them to buy an app or SaaS product, and 87% of marketers who used video had seen a positive ROI.

Video is especially powerful in combination with email. Did you know that emails with the word ‘video’ in their subject line are 19% more likely to get opened?

That’s why video prospecting is one of the best sales enablement tools out there to pump up your sales strategies, connect with new customers and decision-makers, and find sales success!

But if you’re a little confused about what video prospecting is, or why you should try it out, don’t worry. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about video prospecting.

What is video prospecting?

Video prospecting is exactly what it sounds like — making video part of your sales cycle!

Face-to-face conversation is the most human, authentic way to communicate. But today’s business world is overwhelmingly digital, which means very little of the sales cycle actually happens face-to-face.

With video, you can change that. Video prospecting lets sales and marketing experts recapture the power of in-person conversation, even when they’re connecting virtually.

That’s a powerful selling skill to possess, because prospecting and lead-generation is one of the most difficult parts of the sales pipeline. At this early stage, there’s no relationship yet between you and your potential customer. You’re trying to build one from nothing, and that means you need every advantage you can possibly get.  

Video lets you bring your sparkling personality and conversational skills to a virtual sales pitch. Instead of seeing just another text-heavy email, when your prospect opens up your email, they’re greeted by an actual human, speaking to them!

Throughout this article, we’ll talk a lot about email, because that’s how most sales reps do their prospecting. But even though video prospecting typically involves adding video to outreach emails, there’s no reason you couldn’t use it on other channels too, like social media or even text message.

What are the benefits of video prospecting?

The power of video is no secret. Consumers retain information much better this way — in fact, up to nine times better than over text!

That makes video an obvious choice for explaining complex topics, and a natural fit for B2B sales. B2B products tend to be a little more technical, and require a little more education to communicate their value effectively. Anything that can make that process easier is a valuable addition to the marketer’s toolkit.

Video also gives you a much better chance of making sure your prospect actually grasps what you’re trying to say. This way, you’re able to speak to them in your own voice, with the added benefits of visual and nonverbal cues.

As we mentioned, video also helps you stand out. When someone’s sifting through dozens of emails every day, a human face is a powerful thing to see. It’s radically different from the text-heavy emails we’re used to, and our brains are hardwired to respond.

All these benefits add up seriously improved sales performance and sales acceleration for reps who choose to leverage video. Sales email templates with video have been shown to:

  • Get a 16% higher open rate
  • Get 26% to 56% more replies
  • Result in more conversions
  • Have a 4x higher click through rate (CTR)

When should you use video prospecting?

Inbound or outbound, the power of video prospecting is clear. But when should sales management teams and reps use it to maximize their results?

First of all, video invites experimentation. Savvy sales professionals can try using video at various points in their sales funnel, and track how it impacts their desired sales metrics like conversions, replies, and engagement.

When deciding when and where to include video, consider it as a close substitute for in-person conversation. Where would your prospect benefit from face-to-face interaction the most?

This could include situations like:

  • First contact with a potential customer, to kick off your relationship
  • Reconnecting with a prospect that may have gone cold
  • Sharing particularly complicated news or information
  • Creating an easy-to-understand demo
  • Communicating the key points of a new piece of marketing content
  • Leveraging recent news, like a product launch or update, to connect or reconnect with an account

Here are a few great examples of prospecting videos in action.

By including the prospect’s LinkedIn page, this video uses personalization and screen recording to make an impression.

This video highlights the sales rep’s personal connection with the prospector to set the stage for a new business relationship.

This demo video unboxes the product to show exactly what makes it so special.

Creating a prospecting video: a step-by-step guide

If you aren’t used to video prospecting, it might seem like a lot of work. After all, you’re a sales expert, not a content creator!

Don’t worry. These videos are at their best when they’re simple, immediate, and authentic, and there’s a plethora of online video tools out there to make your life easier.

Here are a few steps to follow as you get ready to create your first prospecting video.

#1. Research your prospect

Since video is all about communication, it’s at its most effective when you know exactly who you’re speaking to. That’s why you should start by researching your prospect, so that you can make a personalized video especially for them.

What do they need out of your product? What are the pain points you can help them overcome, or goals that you can help them reach? Even if it’s not realistic to personalize a video for every single prospect, try doing so just for your most important accounts. Even simple personalization, like adding custom text and thumbnails, can boost your response rate 300%!

#2. Timing is everything

The next step is to decide where in your process this video should come in. Depending on the situation, you might decide to use your video for cold outreach, follow-up, or to educate the prospect via a demo or explainer.

While you’ll want to experiment and see what works for you, there’s some evidence that video is especially powerful between the second and twentieth days of your sales cycle.

#3. Decide on your format

Many different kinds of prospecting videos can help you connect with potential customers and reach your sales goals! Here are a few to consider:

  • Personalized videos. These super-targeted, branded videos will make a great impression on your prospect. They’re polished, helpful, and using tools like PlayPlay, surprisingly easy to create.
  • Webcam videos. Created using software like Zoom, these are a simple way to spark a virtual conversation. If your goal is to humanize your relationship with your prospect, this could be the perfect fit.
  • Screen recordings. If you need to show off exactly how your product works, deliver a virtual sales presentation, or demonstrate features of your product in action, a screen recording is the natural choice. Tools like Loom are a fast, easy way to create them.

#4. Focus on value

If your pitch isn’t thoughtful, helpful, and considerate of your prospect’s needs, it doesn’t matter how great your video is — you’re not going to see the results you want.

Instead of info-dumping with every little detail about your product, carefully choose the information you think is most relevant to what your prospect wants. Remember to tie everything back to the real-life problems it can solve for them!

Keep things actionable, too. End your video with a clear call-to-action (CTA), so you don’t leave your prospect hanging and you can make the most of all the interest you worked so hard to build up!

#5. Write a script

Never, ever hit ‘record’ without a script ready to go! It doesn’t matter if your video is 20 seconds or 20 minutes — you need a script to make sure your message is clear and compelling.

Remember, your prospect is busy, and if your video doesn’t deliver its key messages right away, they’re simply going to hit ‘close.’ No matter how simple your concept, a script will help you keep things concise, engaging, and easy to understand.

#6. Create your video

Gone are the days when you need to be a professional filmmaker to turn out fun, high-quality videos. With online video makers like PlayPlay, creating your prospecting video can be simple, creative, and even fun!

PlayPlay comes with a library of video templates to get you started. Then, you can add animated text and stock footage for visual interest, and subtitles so your video is effective even without sound.

This ease-of-use is especially important if you need to create many different videos, such as personalized ones for nurturing different prospects. Tools like PlayPlay make the video creation process much more efficient, so it’s within reach to use video throughout your prospecting workflow.

In order to create a quality video, you need good content which means good using best practices at both the shooting and editing stages.

#7. Choose a good thumbnail

Your thumbnail might seem like a simple detail, but it’s actually incredibly important — it’s what your viewer will use to determine whether they watch your video at all.

Try choosing an attention-getting image or GIF, with some text over it that hints at your video’s message. Include a ‘play button’ icon to make it crystal-clear that your prospect should click, watch, and be amazed!

#8. Perfect your subject line

Your subject line is the only opportunity you have to convince prospects to open your message.

A great subject line sparks your prospect’s curiosity, hinting at the value proposition your video offers without giving too much away. Make the first few words as compelling and intriguing as possible, communicating to your prospect that they’ll actually get something in return for reading your message.

Also, make sure that your subject line includes the word ‘video’! Doing this has been shown to improve open rates by 19%, and CTR by as much as 65%.

The future is video

The future of sales might be digital, but that doesn’t mean we’ll forget about human interaction.

With video, you can bring the power of face-to-face conversations into the virtual age in a way that’s fast, convenient, and valuable — not just for sales teams, but for customers and prospects, too.

With online tools like PlayPlay to make video creation fast and accessible, there’s no reason companies everywhere can’t harness the power of video prospecting.