PODCAST 84: How to Operationalize Video in a Scalable Way w/ Ethan Beute

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This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with Ethan Beute, Chief Evangelist and VP of Marketing at BombBomb.

Ethan was one of the first employees at the self-funded video platform, BombBomb, which is now doing over $20MM in ARR. Ethan is also the host of The Customer Experience Podcast, and the author of Rehumanize Your Business.

If you missed episode 83, check it out here: PODCAST 83. How to Operationalize Alignment w/ John Kaplan

What You’ll Learn

  • How to use video in different parts of the customer journey
  • What video will (and won’t) do for sales
  • Authenticity in today’s sales marketplace

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [0:09]
  2. About Ethan Beute [1:21]
  3. Baseball card on BombBomb: [02:22]
  4. The high-level on why you should use video [4:57]
  5. What video will and won’t do [6:56]
  6. Using video for first touch [10:02]
  7. Addressing objections/Why video is so meaningful[12:55]
  8. How to operationalize video in a scalable way [16;53]
  9. Things to do (and not to do) with video [18:53]
  10. Hot to demonstrate authenticity to prospects [21:42]
  11. How to ensure video isn’t slowing down your SDRs [30:51]
  12. How video can help you defeat time & distance [36:43]
  13. Sam’s Corner [39:25]

Show Introduction

Sam Jacobs: Welcome to the Sales Hacker Podcast. Today we’ve got another episode for you from the Revenue Collective off-site that we hosted in October. And we’ve got a conversation that we did with Ethan Beute. Ethan is the Chief Evangelist and the VP of Marketing at BombBomb, a video engagement platform.

Using video in the course of both sales and customer success conversations is an increasingly prominent part of our overall sales and technology stack, but also how people are engaging. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Now before we get there, we want to thank our sponsor, Outreach, the leading sales engagement platform that enables sales reps to humanize their communications at scale, from automating the soul-sucking manual work that eats up selling time to providing action-oriented tips on what communications are working best. Outreach has your back.

Now, without further ado, let’s listen to this interview with Ethan Beute.

About Ethan Beute

Sam Jacobs: We’re going to be talking to Ethan Buete, who is one of the earliest employees at BombBomb. He’s the VP of Marketing and their Chief Evangelist. We’re going to be talking about the power of video, which is emerging as a new technology that people are using across the customer journey. Ethan is also the host of the Customer Experience Podcast, and the author of Rehumanize Your Business.

Baseball card on BombBomb

Sam Jacobs: So, tell us what BombBomb does.

Ethan Beute: We make it really easy for you and your team members to get face to face with more people more often, through simple personal videos that allow you to communicate more clearly, build human connection, and ultimately convert at a higher rate. That conversion could be a micro conversion like a returned phone call or reply to email, or of course it could also be a macro conversion like a signed contract or commitment.

Sam Jacobs: So before we dive into the discussion about video, let’s learn a little bit about you. What’s your background?

Ethan Beute:I unexpectedly came up through broadcast television. I ran marketing and promotion inside local television stations in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Chicago, Illinois, and where I live now, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Sam Jacobs: BombBomb is just a really interesting story in a sense — you are self-funded, right?

Ethan Beute: Correct, yeah. Friends and family money and then growing on revenue.

Sam Jacobs: Can you give us a rough ARR range?

Ethan Beute: Beyond 20 million.

Sam Jacobs: Amazing. Completely self-funded, 10 years old, right? Never raised outside financing?

Ethan Beute: Correct — it’s been a really fun and interesting and challenging. This obviously comes with some constraints, but it also comes with a lot of privileges.

Why everyone should be using video

Sam Jacobs: So let’s dive into the topic a little bit. Why should we use video?

Ethan Beute: I’ll start with some specific numbers. People report more replies and responses to their emails, more clicks through their emails, higher lead conversion, a greater ability to stay in touch effectively, more referrals, and other things like this. All those numbers are in the first chapter of the book, it might even be the introduction.

What’s really going on here, though, is that humans have been speaking to one another for well over 150,000 years. It’s only been in the past 500 years that literacy is even spread. So, we’ve been looking each other in the eye in order to connect and communicate our messages, to trust and sell things, to persuade and convince — all these things that we need to do every day. We’ve been doing it 300 times longer than any other way. So, leaving faceless voicemails and sending plain typed-out text doesn’t differentiate us, it doesn’t build rapport. It doesn’t communicate as well as if I typed you a thank you email. If I did, and typed out, “Hey, thanks so much. It was great to meet you. You might say, oh, that’s nice. But if I look you in the eye and say “Thank you so much for your time. I really enjoyed the conversation. You reminded me of this, this, and this and I want to follow up on that other thing.” It’s just a different experience when you look someone in the eye, it’s how we connect and communicate best.

What video will (and won’t) do

Ethan Beute: Video is not going to magically give you these things that don’t exist. So this is you’re going to differentiate yourself just by acting differently, period. And ultimately, you are your own best differentiator. You are uniquely qualified to be yourself. No one is more uniquely qualified, and I don’t care what you sell.

Using video for first touch

Ethan Beute: First touch is a great place to use video.

There’s some of the pilot work that we’ve done with a variety of companies that shows that video increases show rates. But, on the backside of the appointment, is where the real money is. Now, you know them better, and you can go back and redress any of the objections that came up, go back and push the happy button that you discovered in that demo. Now you know what excites them, you know what concerns them, and you know what they really need to move forward.

Addressing objections about using video

Sam Jacobs: How do you address those objections:

  • I am sensitive about my appearance
  • I don’t really want to look at or interact with people that way
  • The production quality is low because it’s a fisheye lens from my laptop, and I’m not conveying the right brand for the company.

Ethan Beute: There were many objections in that objection. And here’s the deal — they’re the most common ones. No one likes the way they look and sound. I promise if you send that thank you video on the next break, Jeff is not going to reply and say, “Dude, what the hell. You’re standing in a hotel lobby. It was not very well lit, and your collar was turned funny.” No one cares but you. They care when you look them in the eye and you say nice things about them, or you solve their problem, or they learn something from you. That’s what people want. They’re not judging you the way you are. So, if record a simple video on your webcam or your smartphone, and you play it back, you’re going to find 18 reasons not to send it. Send it anyway, because the other person’s not going to find those.

How to operationalize video in a scalable way

Sam Jacobs: So how do we operationalize this?

Ethan Beute: You’re going to need to prescribe where the video belongs out of the gate. As the leader or manager, you’re going to look at the sales cadence and say, “Okay, this is a spot for a canned video, where each of my reps is going to record this video once, and every time we get here, it’s going to go out — automatically or manually, doesn’t matter. “But here, if this happens, then we definitely want to do a truly personal video, because it’s a big enough deal, or it’s an important enough stage of the process.”

Dos and don’ts with video

Sam Jacobs: Besides a lack of sincerity, what are the other worst practices or things not to do with video?

Ethan Beute:

  • Don’t: Make it about yourself. If you’re simply looking to put out some shallow, boring, self-promotional messages, just go ahead and type it once and shoot it out to 10,000 people, because there’s no reason to spend your time making that into a video. Every single message that you and your sales reps are sending is training people to open or delete the next message.
  • Do: Take the first 3 seconds of the video and make it into an animated preview. When we launched animated previews, it created a 49% lift in video play rate.
  • Don’t: If someone opens the email, and there’s a discrepancy between the subject line that got them to open it, or someone clicks , and it’s shallow and self-promotional, you’re training them never to watch a video again. So, I would say as long as its value-based, it’s specific, it’s targeted, it’s intentional, you’re good.
  • Do: Start your Thursday with a “thank you Thursday” habit. Come to the office 10 minutes early, and in 10 minutes you can send 5 to 10 videos to prospects, customers, employees, peers, any person in your network — even folks in the Revenue Collective. Just reach out and say, “Hey, I dropped that message in Slack the other day; I know thanked you there, but I just want to take another minute and let you know that I followed up on that advice. I just really appreciate being in this group with you, and I hope you have an awesome Thursday.”

Hot to demonstrate authenticity to prospects

Sam Jacobs: What are the other strategies beyond using video that you’re using to demonstrate authenticity, humanity, originality, and sincerity over the course of the customer experience?

Ethan Beute: A lot of it comes from what John presented earlier, which is, “Who is the customer in this circumstance? What do they need? What do they want? What do we know about them?” So, obviously, we’ve shifted to a lot more outbound in over the past few years. We were over 90% inbound on all of our opportunities as recently as 4 years ago. So, in that shift, you just get as personal as you can, and empathy is the key.

How to ensure video isn’t slowing down your SDRs

Ethan Beute: Some of these videos can be evergreen. Record it once, then send it over and over again. It’s as fast and easy as sending an email that’s already been written.

(By the way, here’s another pro tip: don’t send the video on its own. You need to use text along with the video — they complement each other. Give a line of text to support why the video should be played, what’s in it for the person who received it and then at least another line of text to drive the ultimate call to action, which should be in the video as well. It should not be redundant. If it is redundant, there’s no reason to watch the video.)

So, this is another thing that I hear all the time: “My activity count is down.” I think there’s a little bit of an over worship of activity count, and under appreciation for what activities really matter.

Activities are a means to an end. Activities in and of themselves don’t have any necessary or inherent value. So if someone takes 45 seconds to record a video, and that reduces their overall activities from 120 a day to 110, but the 10 that are missing are less valuable than the 5 that were added, then that result is going to be positive. In the beginning, video will be slower and more difficult. But by the time they do it 10 times, it’s going to be so easy, it’s going to be second nature.

In general, we speak 4 times faster than we type. So, if any of your messages are actually being created on the fly and then typed out in email, videos can be faster in a lot of those cases, period.

How video can help you defeat time & distance

Ethan Beute: What we do is we help overcome time and distance. You can sit at your desk and pop out 5 thank you videos at the end of your day, or the beginning of your day, in the middle of the day, whatever. One person is going to open it up immediately and click play and experience you in that moment. Someone else is going to do it 5 minutes later, someone 5 hours later, someone maybe even 5 days later.

Sam’s Corner

Sam Jacobs: Everyone at Sam’s corner, hope you liked that interview with Ethan Beute. The most point Ethan made is around authenticity, and around using different types of communication mechanisms like video, but it could be anything — it could be email, LinkedIn messaging, etc. The point isn’t about what the medium is or what type of content that you’re creating is. The point is really about being yourself and being human and being authentic and engaging with the people you’re trying to reach.

So many of us, especially as SDRs, are just putting things into a sequence and letting them run without a lot of thought, or we are on the receiving end of those messages, and they just don’t feel authentic.That’s one of the things that video helps us do — it helps create context and tone in a way that email obviously doesn’t.

How many of us have been on the receiving end of an email that reads like the person’s being a total asshole, and when you actually talk to them in person, you realize that that’s not the case? That’s where video can really add a meaningful component to what you’re doing as it relates to sales engagement and sales outreach.

What You’ll Learn

  • How to use video in different parts of the customer journey
  • What video will (and won’t) do for sales
  • Authenticity in today’s sales marketplace

Don’t miss episode 85

I hope you enjoyed the show. Before we go, let’s thank our sponsors. Outreach, the leading sales engagement platform and Vidyard. Vidyard helps you easily record, send, and track who is viewing your video content in real time in three easy steps. Email isn’t dead, but it sure is boring. Add video to your emails to stand out in the inbox with Vidyard.

If you want to reach out to me with feedback, you can reach me on LinkedIn. If you haven’t rated the show, please give us five stars on the iTunes rating system so that we can remain in business and continue to bring you this show.

As always, thanks so much for listening, I’ll talk to you next time.

This is a sponsored guest post from a Sales Hacker partner.

Sam Jacobs is the Founder of Aqueduct Revenue Advisors and the New York Revenue Collective and regarded as one of the top start-up CROs in the tech community.

He has has over 15 years of experience scaling companies from post-revenue to ~$300M, has helped raise over $400M in institutional capital, and has helped companies of all sizes achieve an average annualized revenue growth rate of 48% over the last 15 years.