Over the past few years, we've undergone an undeniable shift in the way we buy, sell and consume content online. According to Cisco, by 2020 about one million minutes of video will cross the internet every second. And just a year later, 82 percent of the world's internet traffic will be composed of video.

And this is just the beginning.

Video is eating the world. And it's not just on the consumer side. We're already seeing the impact on B2B buying. In 2018, for example, 50 percent of Drift's revenue had video in the sales process -- which is part of the reason we've launched Drift Video, a product built to specifically to start conversations through video. Because in a world where the buyer has all the power, no one wants to be sold to. Now, whoever makes it easiest to buy wins. Prospective buyers are looking to establish connections to the salespeople and companies they're interacting with. The best way to establish these personal connections when an in-person meeting is out of the question? Video.

And when you look at the data, it's not hard to see why:

  • Data published by InsideSales shows that emails with video have click through rates 4 times higher than emails without video.

  • According to Wordstream, 59 percent of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text.

  • Invisia notes that viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they watch it on video, compared to 10 percent when reading it in a text.

Digital natives entering the workforce (and taking on managerial positions) are fundamentally changing how we buy in the enterprise. According to a recent article published by Harvard Business Review, contacting a salesperson now occurs later in the typical purchase process, and sometimes not at all. And CDO Trends notes that 75 percent of B2B purchases today involve limited interaction with salespeople.

Does this sound familiar? Do you contact sales first when you're buying something?

No. Of course not.

But salespeople are needed. A good salesperson can earn the trust of the buyer and guide them to an informed purchase they feel good about.

It all comes down to trust. Trust is built through personal connections -- and a great personal connection has always started with a conversation.

And video is proving to be the best conversation starter of all.

I'm not talking hyper-edited, highly produced video. I mean real, human, authentic, you. On camera, stutter and all. And who better to model your B2B videos off of than consumer-facing brands and influencers? Because let's face it, it's no longer B2B or B2C; it's human to human. Take Glossier, the beauty brand transforming the industry with its two million Instagram followers and counting. Or Casey Neistat, a YouTube personality and filmmaker. Most of his videos on YouTube have well over five million views, each.

Here are some ways we've used video at Drift:

  1. Sending prospecting emails: Breaking into an account is really hard -- just think about how many emails you get in a day. And the problem is, all these emails look the same: a lot of text and no visuals. Video allows you to cut through the noise -- and help build a human connection needed to garner a response. A video is eye-catching and you're able to provide so much more value than with text alone. 
  2. Sending meeting reminders: Let's face it. We've all accepted meetings with vendors with no plan of actually attending said meeting. The only real defense against this? Sending a reminder via email. But again, with plain text, those are very easily ignored. If you have a great relationship with your prospects, they're must less likely to stand you up. And if someone sends an email saying how excited they are for a call...you're much more likely to actually attend the meeting -- or at least respond to say you're not interested. 
  3. Getting internal buy-in: Most of the time, there are multiple stakeholders involved in the buying process at a company. With so many people involved, it's very easy for a message to get lost in translation while going from the internal champion to the buying committee. With video, you can arm your champion with everything they need to sell you internally. That could be sending a video walking through a case study or demo, or covering any specific questions that might come up. Not only does this help control the conversation, it accelerates the approval process as well. 

As mentioned before, video has had a huge impact on our bottom line. But beyond that, it has also helped us start conversations and build trust. So if you're not already incorporating video into your sales process, what are you waiting for?