There’s nothing more frustrating than having a salesman go the distance with an software deal, only to have the customer select a competitor at the 11th hour.
There are any number of reasons that can account for why a prospect would drop of of your sales pipeline, but one very real possibility is that the they doesn’t understand how they would actually use your software solution to address the problem they’re trying to solve.
Salespeople — especially a new salespeople — are so intent on talking about the features and benefits of your software that they haven’t taken the time to create a vision in the customers mind for how they will actually use your software.
As a former marketing executive for an enterprise software company, I can tell you that it’s hard to get marketing and sales folks to help customers build a vision in their heads for how they will actually use your software. Descriptions of features alone are not enough.
Testimonials and case studies are an excellent way to improve your close rate, by helping customers understand how your existing customers use your solution to solve problems, similar or identical to theirs.
They serve another purpose by providing proof that other customers are happy with the solutions you provide. This is called social proof, and it’s a powerful motivator for customers at the bottom of your sales funnel.
Testimonials Make Things Real
Testimonials speak in very real-world terms about very real-world problems and solutions. Unlike white papers and other sales collateral that speaks in general terms about what can be done, testimonials talk about what was or is being done.
And, video testimonials magnify both dynamics by allowing customers to speak in their own word with passion about how they used your software to solve their problems. A good video testimonial brings your solution to life, grounds everything you’ve told a customer in the true, real world, reduces the risk associated with your solution in their minds, and encourages them to buy.
The Road to Real
At the core of all customer testimonials is the customer’s endorsement for your product or service. While most marketers are happy to have customers go on and on about how great they are, it’s a mistake to allow the endorsement to overshadow the rest of the testimonial.
Your testimonials should feature your customer’s use of your software, with the actual endorsement tucked away inside of the broader storyline. Here are some things to consider.
See this clip of a video testimonial for a SaaS company.
Telling Your Customer’s Story with Video
Let your customers tell their story, but be sure to direct that story in a way that will engage viewers. One way to do this is to follow the arc of the Hero’s Journey, which has been used to tell stories, from Homer’s Odyssey, to George Lucas’ Starwars.
The Hero’s Journey begins with your customers’ realization that there’s trouble afoot, and follows him or her, with the aid of a mentor or guide, through various trials and tribulations, until a solution is implemented. (Just in case you’re wondering, the hero in this story is your customer, and the mentor or guide is you.)
The Hero’s Journey works because it mirrors the way most people go about solving a problem or meeting a challenge. It build tension throughout, and then releases that tension at just the right place.
Following the storyline of the Hero’s Journey is a great way to increase engagement, and to encourage viewers to watch to the end.
Numbers Speak Volumes
Software success stories often benefit from statistical examination. If your software lends itself to such analysis, then you’re probably already selling it that way, by talking about how much more your customers typically make, save, or otherwise improve performance with your software.
If the customer you’re interviewing for a testimonial has used your software to achieve similar results, be sure to include your customer talking about specific metrics in the video.
Having a customer speak to the strengths of your software in numeric terms provides concrete evidence that your software achieves results, proves that your marketing claims are based in fact, builds trust, reduces perceived risk, and helps prospective customers understand how they might realize similar outcomes.
Creating Effective Software Testimonial Videos
In conclusion, testimonial videos provide you with an opportunity to highlight how your software solution can be used in the real world, by real people, to solve real problems.
Whether you use the Hero’s Journey as a model, or some other story arc, you’ll achieve much better results with your testimonials if you place your customer at the center of your testimonials, allow the endorsement to flow effortlessly from their story, and ground that story in success metrics.
Make it real!
Additional Video Testimonial Resources
Video testimonials close deals (when done right). Find the right kind of production company to help tell your customer's story.
Most businesses need outside help to get testimonial videos done right, so it's important you partner with a production company that can help you achieve your goals.
Download the Video Testimonial Buying Guide and get it done right!