ABM Playbook

Time to get personal with video

In this episode of Let's Talk ABM, we talk to Nikhil Premanandan Head of Marketing at Hippo Video, on how to unlock true personalisation with video.

Date published: Date modified: 2021-02-04 strategicabm 550 60

Nikhil Premanandan
Head of Marketing, Hippo Video

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Nikhil leads marketing at Hippo Video, an innovative video marketing platform that is pioneering the use of personalised video in sales enablement and ABM. Nikhil has held a number of SaaS and Technology marketing roles including Zoho and Yokogawa.

Declan heads up marketing at strategicabm. After some 20 years working as a CMO in the Professional Services, SaaS and EdTech sectors, Declan is now Agency-side building the Strategic IC brand and sharing our clients’ ABM success stories.

In this webinar you will learn:

  • How Hippo Video  is revolutionising video marketing 
  • The role of Hippo Video in your ABM tech stack 
  • How Hippo Video can increase your sales conversations 
  • How Hippo Video clients have adapted to the new “normal”
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Time to get personal with video

The full transcript

Declan (Strategic IC) - Nikhil, thank you for joining me today. Nikhil's Head of Marketing at Hippo Video. Delighted that you're joining us today to talk a little bit about Hippo Video and your solution, and how you're actually helping clients to engage better with their clients, with their prospects, and also how to help sales executives, SDRs, account executives, to work better in these current circumstances. So obviously, Hippo Video, it's not necessarily yet a household name to many people. Would you mind telling me a little bit about Hippo Video and the history and the organisation?


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - Yeah. Thanks a lot, Declan, for that introduction. So before I talk a little more about Hippo Video, let me bring a little context to this conversation. So, just before we were engulfed in this pandemic, we actually saw the rise of video platforms. Platforms like TikTok, platforms like Instagram, Instagram Stories, they actually grew multifold. Now, what was the key ingredient here? Now people were actually creating bite-sized videos and distributing it on these platforms. Now, why did these platforms explode? It's because videos are inherently a very engaging medium to consume content.


Declan (Strategic IC) - Yeah.


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - All right? Now, this actually sets the stage for Hippo Video. So, Hippo Video is trying to bring this engagement in businesses. So when businesses talk to other businesses through their sales reps, we want to bring this particular engagement into their conversation. Hippo Video is the leading video engagement platform for B2B sales teams.


Now, what do we mean by that? As a salesperson, if you're trying to build relationships, to empathise with your prospect's problems and resolve them, you actually start with the cold prospecting template and what happens there is your prospects, actually, they're burdened or there is a text overload in this particular world and every other email looks the same. So in this particular scenario, how can your sales reps stand out? So the idea here is to record a video using Hippo Video, to show the prospects that you are real and that you mean business. Business is actually built on trust. Business is built by building these real relationships, and if you have a video, if you put a name, if you put a face to your name, it actually helps you build that trust and you're not just building that trust in one particular email you're building it throughout the sales journey or the sales funnel. And what we have seen is using videos in your email were able to increase your response rate by 300% and that is what Hippo Video is all about. It is all about making your conversations more engaging using videos.


Declan (Strategic IC) - That's really, really interesting, 300%. Now tell me what, with the platform itself, what are the kind of two or three features that you think kind of make you stand out from other video platforms? What kind of two or three things would you say that really resonate with your clients?


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - I'll give you a glimpse of a few features which are really important for sales reps. Now, I already told you that you can record video and you know you can put a face to your name so that it's not just hidden behind text. The person can actually see whom he's interacting with and actually, that builds relationships.


So you can record your face, that is one important feature. You can do it via the Chrome extension itself, you don't have to download or install any software in your system. So it is very secure. Second thing is, now let us say we have activated a camera and we are actually putting you on the spot to record a video. It is difficult because you're on the spot then. If you have not memorised a script it becomes very difficult and when you don't have a proper flow it becomes very difficult to go through a particular flow.


What Hippo Video does is, you have a teleprompter feature right inside the platform itself. You can actually read the script. It is very close to your camera, and you won't know that you're actually reading the script. That actually helps you become more confident. When you're recording videos, you also tend to make some errors.


If you're making an error, we don't expect you to retake the entire video because we understand the time and effort you need to record videos. Okay, initially there'll be some hiccups. You'll need to get used to the concept of recording videos. After some time it becomes a piece of cake, but initially, when you have made some errors, we don't want you to record to retake the entire video. What you can do is, we have a quick editing feature where you can trim and crop those videos so that you can make those videos crisp and easy to digest.


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - Yeah. Two other features that I would like to bring here is something very specific to AEs now, Account Executives. Right now what people can do is they are sending video. They are recording one video and sending it across. With ease, you can actually send much more than one single video. You can create sales pages. It looks like a brochure, and you can add multiple pieces of content in different formats so you can have an introduction video. You can also have one-pagers, flyers, you can also have contact PDFs of, let us say if you're in the contract negotiation stage, you can add your contracts, have an intro video and send it across to your prospects where you're explaining individual line items in the contract. It actually builds a lot of context around your message, otherwise, you'll go back and forth trying to understand individual line items in the contract, trying to get more clarity. A video can solve all that.


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - To top it all we have detailed analytics, so you understand who's opening your email, who's not opening your email. Are you getting the right traction, not getting the right traction? Is your video being seen and what kind of play rates are you getting and from different geographies. You can understand where you're getting all your traction from. So these are a few features that complete the entire solution of using videos for sales.


Declan (Strategic IC) - And with your clients, what kind of, you know, we've seen that video is being rolled out as a huge part of the sales engagement strategy. What are you hearing from your clients, what kind of stories are they telling you about how they're using video?


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - All right, so in this climate also, what we have seen is video has become an absolute necessity, all right? In the absence of physical, face-to-face meetings, the only way you can actually have these meetings is through videos. You need an alternative to a physical meeting where you can build trust. So how do you build that trust? You cannot do that by sending cold emails. You have to do that by sending videos. Some of our customers - and some of them are you know, SaaS unicorns. They have actually seen close to about 300% lift in response rates and some of them have actually gone more than 500%. So they are using videos throughout their journey. It is not just in prospecting. It is there in prospecting. It is there in your discovery calls, it is there in your pipeline, it is there during when you send your contracts, it is there during when you're negotiating on a deal, and then after that it boils down to customer success and advocacy as well. So throughout your buyer's journey, videos can be integrated throughout the journey. And at different processes, at different stages, you can use these videos to actually help build that particular list. So not just the physical meetings but throughout the funnel, you would be building trust using videos.


Declan (Strategic IC) - Yeah. Now obviously you touched on it then actually, about the extraordinary circumstances in which we are now living. What are you hearing from your clients about that? What are you hearing from them about obviously the fact that you're working from home, I'm working from home, this huge shift of everyone moving to working remotely, what are you hearing from your clients about the use of video there?


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - So a new use case also popped up, that is in team collaboration. So you know the need of DR for, because a lot of people are still testing the productivity, their teams productivity when they are working remotely. So what we have observed is people, apart from using it for sales, they want to use it in their collaboration suite as well. Now they collaborate on Slack, they collaborate on Facebook Workplace, they collaborate on multiple platforms. So Hippo Video, understanding this particular need, we have actually built integrations for all these platforms as well. So that is how we have adapted to this particular situation. So we have integrations currently with Slack, Facebook Workplace, Trello, Jira, to help our customers collaborate internally using videos as well.


Declan (Strategic IC) - Yeah, and for those companies that are perhaps new to video or thinking about using video in all those kind of use cases that you just mentioned, what kind of tips would you offer them in terms of how to start off?


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - All right. So, when we talk to a particular customer or somebody who's trying videos for the first time, we ask them to take it one step at a time. All right, so just to get in front of the camera is a challenge so we try to motivate them to get in front of the camera. Now, when you get in front of the camera like I mentioned before, you may stutter or you may find yourself in a place where you're at a loss for words.


So have a script ready, memorise the script, and if you're failing there then, in that case, use the teleprompter feature. This actually helps you develop that particular, that confidence that you need to record great videos. You have to be confident when you're recording videos because it is not just sending a message. It is not just conveying your message, you have to transfer that message. You have to transfer your confidence.


So sales is more about transferring confidence. If you stand and record a video or you know, compared to you sit and record a video, there's a big difference. When you stand you can be more expressive. Your emotions actually bubble up and you look very lively on the camera so it is always better to stand in front of the camera and record your video. We always tell our customers to look at the camera as if you are talking to a friend, all right? If you look at the camera as a friend those inhibitions of recording you know if you're looking too good, if you're looking pale, if you're looking bright, dull.


All these things go away, so it is all about conversing with your friend which actually brings out a lot of confidence. And the third thing that we always tell our customers is to bring a lot of emotion to your video. Don't worry about how you're looking in the video. It is all about transferring your message. Don't be shy about using your hand and your gestures because that is how you transfer your message. Remember that it is not just about transferring your message. Your message should not sound like a robotic monologue. It has to sound more like a conversation so that it incites a response. So we have partnered with Jeffrey Gitomer as well. He is a well-known name in the sales training industry and he has written close to about 16 books on sales management and how to improve your entire sales prospecting. You can actually see his videos inside the platform where he motivates people and actually educates our customers on how to record these great videos. So you can see that entire thing in the platform itself.


Declan (Strategic IC) - Yeah, and so obviously in the context of Account-based marketing where we're seeing an awful lot of uptake in use of video in the process. Talk me through a little bit about how Hippo Video can be used when it comes to personalisation, the use of video at scale?


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - Got it. So we are seeing multiple use cases when it comes to Account-based marketing as well. So in Account-based marketing, you have these targeted accounts that you follow so you could be in the one-to-many, one-to-few, or one-to-one prospecting there. So if you have identified a particular account and the contacts then you can build a sequence for all those contacts.


So all you need to do is record a particular video and you can inject or insert these merge fields inside your video itself. So what happens is, we don't expect you to create a video every time, for every contact. You can actually leverage an existing library of videos to prospect with multiple people as well. All you have to do is, you have the data already, it could be the company name. It could be the first name. It could be a screenshot of their webpage itself. So the data is already there, all we are doing is we can actually stitch this data, stitch this information in your video template and with that, our Hippo Video engine, what it does, it automatically creates many videos out of one single video, so in this particular personalisation what happens is every recipient does not get the same video experience but everybody gets a unique video experience that is contextual to them. It is not just one video blast that we are doing. You can actually contextualise your message based on the template as well. So that is how Hippo Video helps you in personalising your videos which is very essential for Account-based marketing.


Declan (Strategic IC) - Yeah, and are you seeing with your clients that it's being deployed widely within ABM?


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - Yes, exactly. So I'll tell you why the adoption also is high. Now, typically, the ABM stack has multiple platforms, like you'll have Salesforce, you'll have a DSP as well. So what happens is, you will have to send these sequences out using those platforms, so Hippo Video has actually integrated itself with your existing ecosystem itself so we have integrations with Salesforce, we have integrations with HubSpot, we have integrations with Pardot, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Outreach, Outlook, and Gmail as well. So we are not asking you to move away from your ecosystem, we plug inside your ecosystem itself. So we'll be part of the ecosystem and that is the reason why adoption is really high when it comes to using personalised videos in your ABM strategy. And not just in the ABM strategy. The idea of Hippo Video is to use videos in your business processes. So like I mentioned, we are getting a lot traction for team collaboration now. So like that, Hippo Video has complete workflows for customer support, customer success, collaboration, marketing, and sales. So for each and every workflow, these contextual integrations have already been built.


Declan (Strategic IC) - Yeah, and tell me what's... We mentioned earlier about the fact that there's so many people working remotely, working from home?


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - Yeah.


Declan (Strategic IC) - Working from locations that are not the office. Now obviously, traditionally, SDRs and account executives would try to reach them by telephone, by their direct telephone number, et cetera, et cetera, what would you say are kind of three top tips that you would give any company that's looking to outreach now to prospects via the use of video if they can't reach the customer via telephone? Or reach the prospect, rather, by telephone. What would you say that kind of the three things that you would suggest?


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - So this is actually an interesting question. and this is one of the questions we get the most. I'll talk about three. It is a series of processes. It is a process that you need to follow. A three-pronged process that you need to follow one after the other. Let us say the first thing that happens when you don't receive when somebody doesn't attend your call, is you leave a voicemail. Now when you're leaving a voicemail, just mention that you'll follow up with a video email and that they have to expect a video in their inbox. What happens here is, what we have seen happen is, prospects actually wait for that particular video because you've already mentioned, you've set the expectation that you'll be following this voicemail with a video email so they want to look at that particular video and they want to see.


They are intrigued by the fact that they are getting a video, all right? And they look out for that in their inbox. So what we have done here is we have just doubled the response rate. Just bringing that particular message in the voicemail itself, that we'll be leaving a video email to follow up. The next thing what we mention is let us say if they have not got a reply for their video email as well, what we tell our customers is use the social setting button. That is if your prospects are active in LinkedIn or Twitter or any other social media platform. Record a video, send it to them, and tell them that you really appreciate the content that they are putting out on those platforms and that you look forward to that. Also mention that we have already sent you a video email. It is in your inbox. Can you just take a moment to look at that? So what you are doing is you're bringing the attention back to that particular video email.


And the third thing that we ask them to do is now you have sent a video, in the voicemail, you have asked them to... You have set the expectation that you will be sending a video email. You have recorded a video and sent it via email. You have also touched base on social media, on any, let us say LinkedIn, on LinkedIn that you really appreciate their content and that they should look at the message that you have sent. After that, if you're not getting the right engagement, what happens is people usually play the video but they don't have enough time to respond to that particular video. You will actually get to know this by looking at the analytics. You will get a notification saying that somebody has opened, that particular prospect has opened the email, has played the video but not responded. You can follow up saying I know that you are busy. Acknowledge the fact that people are busy. Tell them that we know that you are busy and if you find the time, here is a link to my calendar. You can actually book a meeting whenever you find the time, all right? And in the meantime, till that particular time, what you can do is you can actually send engaging content to them that is just to keep the engagement going. Now let us say if they have no interest in politics but if they are interested in the latest advancements in technology, if you get an engaging article, send it across. I mentioned about the sales page earlier. You can attach that particular link in the page, send it across while recording a video and sending it. You are not pushing them for a sale. You're not pushing them for a demo or a meeting, you are just keeping the engagement alive and over a period of time this will warm up into a close. This is something that we ask them to follow as a three-pronged approach to closing more leads using videos.


Declan (Strategic IC) - Are you seeing, Nikhil, kind of a duration in terms of video length that is working well for your clients?


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - Yeah, exactly. So we have done a lot of experiments there. What we have seen is anything between 30 seconds to 40 seconds is a good video but anything that goes beyond that, your open rates or your drop off actually increase on those videos so we recommend that all these videos are really bite sized, really crisp, to the point with the right message. Make it actionable by inserting a link at the end and keep the duration between 30 to 40 seconds. That is all.


Declan (Strategic IC) - Interesting, that's fascinating. We mentioned, obviously, we touched a couple times during this call on what's actually currently happening and obviously the terrible things that are happening in the world at the moment. How has that, on a personal level with Hippo Video, how has that impacted your marketing? How are you changing your strategy with regards to your clients, your prospects, et cetera?


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - Exactly, so whatever is happening currently, it is unprecedented so nobody has any experience in dealing with a crisis of this magnitude. So we've had to change our entire marketing strategy, or take a look at our entire marketing strategy. How we look at marketing is in three different categories. First thing is branding, second is Demand Gen, and the third thing is customer experience. When it comes to branding, we really like the word about videos to be out there. So people should start using videos because we have seen the kind of engagement and the kind of success you get using videos. So Karthi, our CEO, is actually going to be talking on a lot of forums in the next couple of months advocating videos and how sales reps can actually use videos to help them during this particular crisis. So it is all about delivering a lot of value instead of pushing people for a sale, so all the content that Karthi would be talking about is basically for the community. It is not going to be pushing for a sale. The second category that we look at is the Demand Gen. All right, so in Demand Gen also we are specifically creating content that can actually be used by the sales community and it can actually benefit the community by giving them actionable tips that they can use immediately. Now we understand that sales pipelines are busted right now, so how can they actually stay motivated and still get good results? So that is where this entire education content comes into play. So it is more about gaining traction inbound than being adverse and pushing outbound. The third thing. The third category that we see is the customer engagement side, so this is where a customer has shown an interest in Hippo Video and is inquiring more about Hippo Video and it is on the platform. This is where the videos that I mentioned earlier with Jeffrey Gitomer come into play. So there are two kinds of videos that he's creating. First, they are the motivational videos because everybody's down right now and because the climate is such, all right? The kind of news that people get every day, it is all about a meter ticking. Every time, every day some people get up and they are not getting good news so the energy levels are down. The motivation is down. The first thing that we are trying to do is motivate the sales reps and the second thing is create videos that can actually help them create good videos and make their message more actionable. So the points that I mentioned about how to use the teleprompter, what to say and when to say, and how to make your videos more actionable, so all these videos can be seen inside the platform. Apart from the motivational videos that Jeffrey is creating, you can also see educational videos created by Jeffrey which can readily be used to create these great video experiences.


Declan (Strategic IC) - It's fascinating, Nikhil. Listen, thank you so much for taking part today. Thank you so much for sharing the insight into how to use video effectively in the SDR sales process and obviously also in ABM which are obviously key at the moment. Thank you very much.


Nikhil (Hippo Video) - Thanks a lot Declan, it was a pleasure being here. Thanks for inviting me.


Declan (Strategic IC) - Thanks, Nikhil.