Before we delve into Part 3 on the evolving landscape of virtual selling, let's quickly recap the series so far. Part 1 emphasized HubSpot's findings on the pivotal role of platforms like Facebook and TikTok, as well as messaging apps in modern marketing. Building off the first section, part 2, based on Vidyard's comprehensive report, revealed that in-house video production is the new norm, with YouTube as the preferred hosting platform for B2Bs. User-Generated Content (UGC) is dominating the video scene, and analytics reveal short videos garner the most engagement while also offering solid ROI.
If you haven't already, I encourage you to review Parts 1 and 2. They provide invaluable insights into the current digital trends and challenges that are shaping the sales and marketing sectors, setting the stage for a careful analysis into virtual selling in this final Part 3.
6 Big takeaways from Vidyard's State of Virtual Selling Report
Vidyard's "The State of Virtual Selling" report draws insights from over 720 validated sales and marketing professionals. The study sheds light on the challenges and opportunities faced by sales professionals in today's digital-first environment. Here's what I found most interesting:
“63% observed an uptick in response rates, and a third felt that these videos expedited their deal cycles… 41% of users witnessed improved close rates”
The Changing Dynamics of Buyer Engagement
A majority of sales pros are experiencing increasing difficulty in reaching buyers, with extended sales cycles, more touch points needed to seal deals, and an increase in stakeholders participating in the buying process. This aligns with our earlier findings from HubSpot’s report.
"Ghosting" has emerged as a persistent challenge, with 42% of salespeople finding it tough to establish or maintain contact with potential customers. A significant 53% felt that reaching or selling to buyers has become more challenging over the past year.
The Power of Custom-Recorded Videos
- Custom-recorded videos are gaining traction, with a majority agreeing that they outperform text-based emails in terms of opens, clicks, and responses.
- A staggering 88% of sales professionals reported that custom-recorded videos either matched or surpassed the performance of text-based emails.
- Interestingly, while text emails tend to induce anxiety in recipients, video emails seem to mitigate this effect.
- In terms of video styles, 26% were selfie-oriented, 20% showcased screen shares, and a majority (54%) combined both elements (hybrid).
The Impact of Video on Sales Metrics
Custom-recorded videos have proven beneficial for many sales pros: 63% observed an uptick in response rates, and a third felt that these videos expedited their deal cycles. The influence of custom-recorded videos on close rates is also noteworthy: 41% of users witnessed improved close rates, while a mere 5% experienced a decline. An overwhelming 93% of respondents believe that video content either matches or outperforms other content forms in terms of conversion.
The Shift in Sales Cycles and Stakeholder Involvement
The sales cycle's duration has seen changes, with 80% of participants stating that deals now take over a month to finalize.
For half of the respondents, the sales cycle now spans between 4 to 18 months.
The number of touch points in the sales process has surged for 57% of sales professionals. The buying process is increasingly collaborative, with a mere 7% selling to a single decision-maker.
The majority navigate through 2-to-4 person buying committees, either intra-departmental (30%) or inter-departmental (25%).
A significant 40% of sales pros have observed an increase in the number of stakeholders involved in the sales process over the past year.
Video Usage and Adoption Trends
The adoption of video in business has skyrocketed, marking a 135% increase year-over-year. On average, businesses are now producing 510 new videos annually, marking a 49% surge from the previous year.
Vidyard's report underscores the pivotal role of custom-recorded videos in reshaping the virtual selling landscape. As businesses navigate the challenges of extended sales cycles and increased stakeholder involvement, the strategic use of video emerges as a powerful, low-cost and increasingly efficient tool to enhance engagement, response rates, and overall sales outcomes.
Industries are increasing their video usage universally, but I'd like to particularly highlight the real estate sector and its swift and effective adaptation.
The insights from this industry will further validate the aforementioned trends and provide research on effective strategies, their applications, and the key performance indicators that confirm their return on investment.
5 Insights Into Real Estate's Digital Evolution: Embracing Video for Enhanced Engagement
The real estate industry, which traditionally depended on face-to-face interactions, has undergone a digital transformation, with video content taking center stage. Vidyard's analysis provides valuable insights into how real estate professionals are using video to revolutionize their methods, offering lessons for other sectors to learn from their achievements.
[video messages are] 40% more likely to be opened, 37% more likely to be clicked on, and have a response rate that's three times higher than non-video content.
Surge in Video Adoption
The real estate industry has experienced a remarkable 132% uptick in video creation year-over-year. Furthermore, there's been a 155% increase in user-generated videos compared to the previous year. This surge underscores the sector's recognition of video as an indispensable tool for engagement.
Why Video is Reshaping Real Estate
Several compelling reasons account for real estate's rapid pivot to video: Clarity in Communication: Videos simplify complex explanations, making property features and contractual details more accessible to potential buyers. Enhanced Engagement: Video messages, whether shared via email or social media, boast impressive engagement metrics. They're 40% more likely to be opened, 37% more likely to be clicked on, and have a response rate that's three times higher than non-video content. Versatility and Customization: Once created, videos can be easily repurposed, reshared, and tailored, ensuring each communication feels personalized. Efficiency and Connection: Videos expedite deal progress by swiftly addressing queries, highlighting property amenities, and fostering a genuine personal connection between agents and clients.
The Power of Cold Outreach Videos
Real estate agents who venture into cold outreach video messages are reaping dividends. These videos not only capture attention but also leverage social media algorithms. For instance, Instagram videos garner 38% more engagement compared to non-video posts, while Facebook's video engagement soars to an impressive 135% versus non-video posts.
Keeping Deals Alive with Video
In the competitive real estate market, keeping potential deals warm is crucial. Agents found that follow-up videos outperform traditional emails in this regard. The perceived effort behind creating a video translates to higher value in the eyes of clients, helping to ensure sustained interest.
Showcasing Personality for Client Acquisition
For real estate agents, personality can be a significant selling point. Videos offer a platform where agents can let their unique personalities shine, providing both current and potential clients with a blend of personal and, at times, entertaining experiences. This approach not only helps fosters client loyalty but also helps earn more referrals, ensuring a steady stream of satisfied home buyers and sellers.
These reports show us how influential video, socials, UGC and AI have become in today's online world. We also see that consumer behaviour is changing and how businesses are adapting. Sales pros are finding that old tactics are increasingly ineffective at closing deals and earning new business - and it’s forcing industries like real estate to get creative to stay competitive. As technology and what people want keep changing, businesses need to keep up and attempt to predict what might be next.
The findings from these reports may leave us asking:
- How will AI and video change the way people connect with brands in the next few years?
- With so many changes online, how can businesses make sure they stand out and give people what they really want?
- Just like real estate is using more videos now, which other businesses might start doing the same?
- In a time when we talk to each other more through screens, how can businesses keep things real and honest?
- And with more and more videos popping up because AI makes it easier to scale, will people get tired of them? Will they keep evolving to get shorter and more punchy? And if not that, what might be the next big trend(s) with video?
As we navigate this dynamic digital terrain, understanding these key questions is not just insightful—it's essential for strategic planning. Grasping the future roles of AI, video, and shifting consumer behavior will not only redefine brand engagement but also identify the trailblazers in the next wave of online business. In a world where technology is constantly reshaping the sales and marketing landscape, those who adapt, innovate, and anticipate will not merely survive—they will set the industry standard.
If you found this article insightful, please consider sharing it, leaving a comment, or tagging me on HackerNoon, LinkedIn, or X where this discussion can continue to evolve. Let's lead the way together in this exciting digital frontier!