Video is the perfect content format for beginning sales conversations about business software solutions. Software explainer and demo videos are engaging, powerful, and viewers remember what they learn. In fact, research shows that customers are about five times as likely to retain information they see in a video when compared to simply reading it on screen.
This makes software demo videos ideal for introducing customers to the value your software will bring their business. You can make a lasting impression that reinforces and guides the rest of your marketing and sales campaign, which can last several months for large business-to-business (B2B) deals.
Crafting successful software product videos begins with deciding which information will grab customers’ attention. You have 30 to 45 seconds to engage viewers and drive home your software’s key value points, so you have to make sure every piece of information resonates with your target audience.
And in B2B sales, you’re often talking to multiple audiences, each with a very personal set of problems and concerns.
Identifying the individuals who make group B2B software purchases
Purchase decisions for businesses are made by groups of people, each of whom have different perspectives and roles in the final decision on a software vendor. Recent surveys show that in 80 percent of businesses, three or more people are involved in software purchase decisions. In very large businesses, that number can be seven or more. Even in smaller businesses, software purchases typically involve more than one person.
Each of these customers contributes to the group purchase decision in different ways. And each has personal interests and motivations that determine exactly what video content will get and keep their attention.
There’s actually an enormous amount of research around this concept, which is often referred to as B2B Buying Groups, along with complex B2B selling methodologies based on these ideas. In this post, we’ll take a simplified approach and consider the possible audiences for your software explainer and demo videos as fitting into two fairly broad personas.
Decision-makers ultimately approve software purchases. These people tend to focus on big-picture, organizational issues. They also tend to think strategically and want to know how a purchase will help their business grow. If they are interested in a particular software feature set, it’s usually analytics and reporting.
Decision-makers tend to not do a lot of detailed research on product specifics, and that’s particularly true in very large businesses. Often, they green-light a purchase research project based on their recognition of a strategic need, and then are not actively engaged in the process for several months. Instead, they rely on other team members to make recommendations after the list of vendor candidates has been trimmed to a handful of finalists.
Influencers are the managers whose teams use the software solution every day. They want to know how the software works and how it makes their jobs easier. Some influencers may have cross-team responsibility in reviewing potential software purchases. A good example is an IT manager who reviews potential software purchases for security and data management details.
Influencers are also concerned about big-picture issues, but they tend to view them from a bottom-up perspective, as opposed to the top-down view of decision-makers. Influencers often do the detailed research for a purchase and advise a decision-maker on the final vendor call.
The best high-funnel software explainer and demo videos for B2B software
Now that we’ve defined the two customer personas you’ll want to connect with early about your B2B software solution, let’s look at how different types of product videos can really grab their attention. Remember, you always sell to a person, not a business – you have to immediately connect on the issues that matter most to them as individuals, and then fill in additional information as you grow and nurture the relationship.
Explainer videos for decision-makers
Explainer videos often are the best choice when initiating a sales conversation with a decision-maker.
Explainer videos conceptualize and illustrate the business value of your software. This can include new innovations, or dramatically improved business results. In B2B sales, explainers tend to focus on organization-wide benefits, such as return on investment (ROI) or customer satisfaction.
If your target audience isn’t already familiar with your business, explainers are a great way to build awareness about your brand and software category. It’s critical to win decision-makers’ mindshare in what will likely be a long, detailed buying process – one in which the decision-maker won’t be continuously involved.
When it’s time to pick from the finalists, you want the executive to see your software offering and say “I remember those guys.” A good explainer video makes that kind of impression.
Pro Tip: Because decision-makers have a lot on their plate, it never hurts to give them a reminder about why your solution is a great fit for them. Explainers can be a great mid-funnel “lift” asset to offer in conjunction with more detailed decision-support content, such as case studies and financial modeling. They also work great as sales collateral.
Demo videos for influencers
As you might expect, influencers typically respond best to demo videos as high-funnel assets. Good demo videos speak to influencers where they live and give them a personal stake in adding your software to their toolset.
Demo videos showcase specific differentiators between your product and the competition. They often include screen captures of unique “wow factor” features of your software that really stand out and will make a lasting impression of why you’re the best choice. High-level concepts like efficiency and cost-effectiveness still can be an important part of the messaging, but demos focus on how your software does it better.
Demos are most effective when you’re trying to connect with customers who already understand, and likely use, similar business software tools in their daily work. That’s a good description of most influencers.
Pro Tip: Because influencers make product and vendor recommendations to decision-makers, they can be a great channel for getting a demo video in front of that audience. Consider creating a mid-funnel “make the case” content package, perhaps a site landing page, that includes a demo video. Influencers can then pass that on to decision-makers as part of the purchase research they are compiling. That endorsement carries a lot of weight.
Tips for completing content in B2B software explainer and demo videos
Whether you decide to lead with an explainer or demo video, the decisions you make about the video content and presentation will determine how successful your sales pitch will be.
Video is a great format, but more than anything else, B2B buyers want useful information that supports their purchase research. So in addition to the “wow factor” – and every video should wow your audience – you need to ensure that you are answering the customers’ most pressing questions about your software.
- Don’t waste time talking about table stakes. You have about two to three minutes to drive your message home. Spend about 30 or so seconds on the three or so compelling benefits your software offers.
- Don’t dumb down the conversation, particularly in explainer videos. You want your video script to be accessible, but decision-makers have a basic understanding of concepts like data management, uptime and scalability. Talk the talk of the business you’re trying to sell to.
- Explainers are a great vehicle to introduce category language – specific terms for benefits and features that are relevant only to your software and its competitors. You don’t want your script to get loaded down with jargon, but adding to a decision-makers’ vocabulary of how they think about their business challenge is a huge win for your software and brand.
- Work closely with your video production partner to create a “wow” factor for business metrics and concepts in your explainer videos. Decision-makers work with big numbers every day, so creating visually compelling representations of ROI or efficiency benefits can be a creative challenge. But commit to that process. Remember, you only have one shot at making a first impression.
- Remember, the main audience for a demo video is familiar with your software category – they will immediately recognize if your user interface or report generator is superior to the competition. Screen captures and animations let your audience know you’re not afraid to show off why you are the best choice.
- Use the same voice in both your explainer and demo videos. The content may be tailored to different audiences, but the voice reflects your brand, and should always be consistent.
Using software explainer and demo videos to connect with the right B2B buyers
Explainer and demo videos are great ways to initiate a conversation about your business software with customers. In B2B sales, choosing the best content to present to the different individuals who work as a team to make the purchase decision is essential to making a powerful first impression that gives you competitive advantage in the long B2B buying process.
Autodemo is Your B2B Software Video Partner
Our team of scriptwriters and animators work with many of the world’s leading business software companies to create videos that engage and inform potential customers. We’d love to talk about how we can help communicate your software’s unique value.