There’s a good way and a bad way to make a cold call in sales, or to make a pitch with an existing customer. The same is true for using video as part of the sales process, except that few people, other than Michael Litt, know what those best practices are.

The founder and CEO of Vidyard, whose firm offers a platform for video sales and marketing, believes the most difficult challenge may be seeing video as less of a novelty but something that becomes more of a regular habit within organizations. “It’s just like going to the gym,” he says.

In this second installment of our interview series, Litt goes beyond the business case for selling with video and provides insight into training, workflow and the ideal length of a clip.

Selling with video will probably work better if it becomes a standard part of the process. How can organizations ensure it’s not treated as a one-off experiment?

We’ve seen companies do this in a number of ways. One is where they coach their sales managers to develop videos that are sent to their sales reps to complete certain tasks. Leading by example is obviously a great way of getting this going.

Another one is comping sales reps to produce these videos. So for example, imagine that you have a quota, you have a pipeline you need to manage. If the organization has indicated that they want their team to sell with video, reps are compensated for how many videos they’re sending. Maybe it’s a $500 gift card at the end of the quarter, but they have competitions and make it fun. We’ve seen lots of interesting things there.

The one thing I would always coach companies on in doing this is just get somebody on the team producing videos on a regular basis and proving that they’re successful with them. As soon as there’s a new technique in the sales process that works — and we have seen this time and time again — other people will follow suit. Creating short video snippets of customers and leads is the same as getting your sales team to write blogs and manage social media channels. Not everyone’s going to do it, but if you can prove the ones who do it are very effective, you’ll get the others to come along.

Are there any special skills sales reps need to develop to get good at using video as a sales tool?

I think it needs to be very easy. The beautiful thing about our Salesforce integration is that right inside the lead record, a rep is able to send a video that’s already been approved by Marketing, a PowerPoint presentation where they dictate a voiceover on top it and send it as a video or if they want to make a Webcam recording. If they do that, they’ll see on the dialogue box how much of that video asset the recipient viewed. It’s all built into their existing workflow.

On the softer skills side, one of the difficult things for sales reps is to tell a quick and concise story, because once someone clicks on a video, they need to be engaged to some degree. We’ve seen reps do things like put on luaus or wear funny hats so that when someone presses “play” they’ll have a laugh and want to watch the rest of that 30-second video. You can produce a five-minute video, but that person is only going to really watch the first part. You need to have some coaching on storytelling and engagement, but that can come from the data. The sales manager or VP of sales will be able to see who is influencing the pipeline the most with video, and can take what works and normalize it across the entire organization.

Shorter is obviously better, but is there an optimum length for videos as a sales tool?

At the very top of the funnel, there might be a video on your web site. That video needs to be as short as possible and provide value -- maybe even entertainment -- as quickly as is humanly possible, or you’re going to lose them. You need to give them just enough to go further. That video might just be to drive high-level awareness, but as they move down the funnel, the second video they encounter prior to the sales process might be a little more in-depth, that are dedicated to them as a buyer and the solution they’re looking for. Then they get into the sales cycle and see demos, repurposed Webinars, all those sorts of things. As you go down the funnel, those videos can get longer, and at the same time, the engagement score of those videos should improve. Sixty percent of the people who play that video on your web site should finish it. As you go down the funnel, at every stage of engagement you should be aiming to increase engagement by five to 10 percent.

For more selling tips, check out 130 Sales Tips, a free eBook from Salesforce.

In the next installment of this Q&A series, Michael will share advice on how to measure success in video-based selling.

Michael Litt Michael is the co-founder and CEO of Vidyard, the leading video marketing platform that helps businesses expand their use of video content and turn viewers into customers. He is a passionate entrepreneur, avid surfer and skier, and has recently been recognized as Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year and Marketing Magazine's Top 30 Under 30.