EPISODE 16: USING VIDEO TO MANAGE & COACH SDRs
Episode 16 Transcript
Alex: Hello, and welcome to The SDRealness podcast brought to you by SDRevolution, where we’re talking with practitioners about their take on important topics in the space. I’m Alex Ellison. And here with me is my co host as always Greyson Fullbright.
Greyson: Hello, everyone! I hope Halloween was good and can’t wait to have this discussion.
Alex: Awesome. So, we’re now in season 2 of the podcast and the theme for this series that we’re currently in of episodes is “See Action, Take Action,” where we’re diving into topics in sales development for listeners, whether they’re SDRs or managers, to learn specific tactics from experts who do it every day.
So today’s topic is one I’m pretty excited about. We’re going to be talking about video coaching and communication between SDRs and managers. So joining us for this conversation we have Reva Pellerin, former business development manager of Vidyard, who just recently moved into a commercial account executive role.
Reva, thank you so much for hopping on with us.
Reva: Yeah, thanks! It’s nice to be here.
Greyson: Awesome. So, to kind of kick things off, Reva, I wanted to get your take, before we even get started into the tactical stuff, of why you think video is so important as a tool for today’s managers. Especially, you know, dealing with the challenges today that come from being remote.
You know, what is the role play for using video in management? And how can you kind of use that with other communication channels, as well as kind of replicate the skills you learn from video to other communication channels?
Reva: Yeah, so I think that in this world we’re in right now where a lot of teams have gone remote and for a lot of teams that’s something new, they are used to being in an office together.
I know that when I was in an office, as a manager, it was very easy to be reviewing emails and catch something like an opportunity to coach on positioning value propositions or maybe there was like a misunderstanding of how the technology works for a new hire. It was really easy to just pop over to someone’s desk or meet with them later on that day and clarify things and give feedback in person, real-time.
And that’s always the best if you can give real time feedback on small little things, because then they can incorporate it into their process, go about their day, and it doesn’t need to be revisited in their one-on-one three days later. And you’re like, “You remember that email you sent five days ago? Well, this is what I would do differently.”
So, sometimes there’s a time and place for real time feedback. And when we moved at Vidyard to being fully remote, that was a big challenge where, personally, I was managing a two-year-old at home as well. And I couldn’t always get on a Slack call or a Zoom call and give some feedback after I had reviewed something.
So, I started to lean quite heavily and Vidyard’s a video company, so we use video through and through. Bu I started to rely pretty heavily on video in a different way, which was for coaching.
And it gave me this like asynchronous superpower, kind of, where I could I read an email or I listened to a call, I had something to say and I wanted to get it off my chest right away. I record a video, you know, maybe I pop the email up, I walk through it and I’m like, “You know, where you positioned it like this,” maybe and I give some ideas or you know, I felt like they could have gone deeper with their research to personalize, I give my two cents.
So, that was where it came in clutch for me where I could record that video, send it off to that person, and then if they had additional questions, we could talk more about it in a one-on-one.
So because we’re all remote right now, that asynchronous video coaching is really helpful to keep the like personal nature of giving feedback and have it be real time still.
Greyson: Yeah, I completely agree. And I truly believe in using asynchronous communications. I’ve always been a remote traveler and a startup entrepreneur and so I’ve had to work all over the world with people all over the world.
And it’s really convenient to be able to ensure that like your time is respected and that you can actually dedicate like immense focus just to that one thing, that one situation. And that’s not always going to be when, you know, they’re ready for feedback or maybe when you actually identify the mistake.
And so I think that’s a really good call out. And I also wanted to mention that like video, to me, I think gives the ability for people to understand the nuances of what people are saying.
My experience from this comes in having to manage engineers, because there’s a big kind of gap between engineers and people who are non-technical who still have to work with them. And that was a big breakthrough for me, I feel like that was a parallel to what you were saying is, Reva, is I was able to break through with engineering teams by just sitting down in the app and doing a screenshare and just like slowly kind of walking through.
And it was just one time, whereas in the past, you know, sometimes it would just take conversation after conversation and screenshot after screenshot. And it sounds like you’ve found a solution that is really impactful, and yet is highly efficient, I think, for both parties.
Reva: Definitely. I… That concept of the nuance, because you could write, you know… I found at first I was trying to write feedback in an email and it was just bullet point after bullet point. And I was like writing paragraphs trying to massage the feedback.
And it comes out so much more naturally, when you can just pop it open, highlight things. And the other piece is – it’s kind of meta – but giving feedback on video itself. So, if my team is prospecting with video and they have a one or two-minute video, instead of writing at 15 seconds, “when you said this, I really liked the way it sounded.”
Instead, I can just play the video in my video and pause it and say, “Amazing job! I think that intro was so strong.” And it just yeah, the nuance gets carried forward. And it’s just so much easier than writing down feedback.
Alex: Yeah and I think it’s, especially obviously in the time we’re living in right now with everyone working remote, there sort of was this mad scramble to figure out like how are you supposed to manage people when you know, yesterday we were in the office, today we’re all at our own homes like the the system isn’t set up the the right, like the communication channels aren’t set up.
And I think this was, it’s… I mean, it’s awesome that Vidyard is themselves doing it, right? Because you have the tools on hand. But, it’s cool that you were able to sort of look at your own product and say, “Hey how can we use this in a way that will help us otherwise with sort of these other remote aspects of working?”
And I think that for anyone out there who uses any sort of, you know, video prospecting tool should probably look into turning it inward and saying, like, “What can I do with this?” Because you’re right, it’s better than like leaving comments on a Google Doc of email templates or like writing, like you said, like a bulleted out email. Just like sending text doesn’t really work.
It’s hard to have just sort of impromptu conversation like an impromptu Zoom call doesn’t really happen anymore. So how do you sort of replace that ability to like hop over to someone’s desk and say, “Hey saw that video, here’s some thoughts.”
And this is, I think, one of the one of the great ways to do it. So, I’d love if you could share your process a little bit on what that looks like on maybe a more tactical level, how you go about just figuring out what videos are worth sending to your reps and what sorts of feedback works best within the video feedback framework.
Reva: Yeah, it took some time to get into a rhythm and understand what I was going to do. At the time I had quite a large team. And so you have to be fair to each rep, you can’t, you know, bite too much off and then realize you’ve done too much.
So what I would recommend is get into a rhythm where you start to incorporate this into your already-created process for coaching and one-on-ones and things like that. So maybe let your team know… If you’re already doing call coaching for instance, this is going to be just a natural add-on. So if your team’s already familiar with you looking at their emails and listening to their calls and chatting about it, this is just a natural add-on.
So maybe let them know, you know, “Now that we’re not in the office anymore, I would love for you to share with me your calls, share your emails, share videos if you’re using video in your sales process, and I will commit to giving you X amount of feedback through video.” So it’s kind of a two-way street.
With call coaching, it’s easy. We have a process at Vidyard setup where if you want to call reviewed, you put it into a queue, your manager is alerted and they can review it. With video, it wasn’t wasn’t created yet. So what I had to request of my team was, “Can you share video with me that you would like to know to review?”
Because I can spot check it and find videos here and there, but I’d rather… What that kind of elicited was – I’m sure lots of SDRs and VDRs are like this – but you always are testing little things, you’re tweaking things. And feedback is like so craved, right? You want so much feedback, if you’re someone who’s growing in their role.
So what that did was it kind of opened the floodgates where I was constantly getting videos emailed to me and I had so much to choose from. And that gave me a nice little sample size of things to review for my team.
What I would say is like caution the managers who are thinking about this not to overdo it. So having too many video feedbacks in your email can be a little bit nerve-racking, if you wake up and you see your manager’s, “Oh I’ve got like 19 videos I’ve reviewed for you, here’s 40 minutes of content I want you to watch now.” So you don’t want to like add too much to your team’s plate. So, find that happy medium that gives you both what you need.
Greyson: That’s awesome. And I wanted to just ask a little bit of a follow-up question because it sounds like to me that, you know, every time – whether it be you or whether it be another manager at the company is doing this – I mean, that’s documented, reusable value for the employees everywhere and for the future.
And so do you have another kind of backend process for the managers to not only kind of like store together all of these awesome resources they’re creating internally, but is there also a method for managers kind of collaborating to help each other out if a video has maybe already been made by somebody?
Reva: That’s a very good question. We have a couple things set up at Vidyard and I think every company sort of does it differently.
We have a Slack channel, for instance, where it’s not for feedback sharing, but if you used a video, if you created a video and sent it out and it booked a meeting or it elicited an amazing response, we have a Slack channel set up so that everyone can see it, marketing and sales is in there. And that way other sales reps can watch it and say, “Oh I love the way they positioned that,” or you know, they can replicate it.
And so we have a Slack channel like that. We also have a hub, we call it a Video Hub, and it’s basically a secure place, it sort of is like YouTube, it’s got all content that you want in there. A secure place for new reps who are onboarding, who can watch a bunch of like A-quality videos that other BDRs or SDRs have created over time. So, that you can just consume that and start to get the like top track of what people say about Vidyard when they’re prospecting.
So, those are the ways we share like A-plus quality content. But for the feedback, that’s more so to-date been something one-on-one that we share directly with the rep themselves.
Alex: That’s interesting. But I do like the… I’m glad you brought up those other channels. Because you look at something like Slack that’s been obviously, you know, in my personal use, it’s increased I don’t know, 10, 100 fold since we’ve started working from home, right? All of these different communication channels.
And it’s interesting to be able to see that you’ve sort of integrated this video feedback process into the other sort of channels and things you have, right? It wasn’t… You’re not replacing anything that already existed and already still works. And I think that’s an important thing to just note to anyone who’s looking to implement this.
You don’t have to stop sending email feedback when it makes sense, right? If you just have a quick note, you don’t need to send a whole video about just, you know, one bullet point or something like that.
But yeah, I think it’s awesome your ability to integrate it into the the overall, I guess, communication ecosystem, you could call it, within your team and really just turned it into something that… Would you say you guys would continue to use this even when you’re all, you know, when everyone’s back in the office?
Reva: I think we will because what we’re seeing at least for ourselves is our team is becoming more and more global. So even if 90% of us in N years are back in the office, Vidyard in particular, we’ve gotten digital first where we are not really expected to go back in the office anytime soon. And I’ve heard a lot of companies be like that.
So this is probably going to be something we use for years to come. I think even in the office, I think it’s super helpful because I remember being in the office and a lot of times your day is just back-to-back meetings as a manager. So, you know, you have all these one-on-ones, meetings with other teams. And then when five o’clock hits, that’s when you do your feedback. And, “Oh now I’m gonna get really deep in prep for my one-on-ones,” or something.
So the async component is super helpful because I know a lot of people sign on after their kids go to bed or after they have dinner or workout, they come back on and they do more work. And that was true when you’re in the office or when you’re at home.
And so that async ability to just say, “You know what? I’m in the mood to give some feedback right now. I’m going to do an hour’s worth of email or video coaching,” and have it ready for the rep to watch whenever they want.
It also frees up your selling hours. So, you can say, “You know what I’m going to review that feedback early in the morning when I’m doing my own stuff, or late at night, but nine to five, I’m prospecting and I’m selling. I’m not going to be watching or getting feedback right now. That’s my selling hours.
Greyson: So sounds like it just helps organize your schedule as a manager and management in general. Because I definitely get how like if I had back-to-back calls in an office at the beginning of my day and it took up like more than 50% of my day, it’s almost like you’re going through a washer and then like, “Alright, you’re out for the day, I’ll see you tomorrow,” you know? So it’s kind of an awkward thing.
But I think the power of being asynchronous with this is like you know as a manager that you must give your time to others, but you have your own stuff that you must also do that doesn’t take anyone’s time. And so I think this video piece really gives you the ability to choose where you put it in there.
And it could be something as small as like I’m going to get, you know, I’m going to go through feedback and create a video in between calls, maybe just one every hour, or you could say I’m going to dedicate a whole hour and just create 30 videos and be done with my day for feedback and I think that’s amazing.
Okay so Reva, I wanted to cap this off with kind of a pivot in conversation to actionable advice and top tips. I think one thing that kind of struck me as interesting about this conversation is we’ve talked a lot so far about the manager’s perspective.
But I’m also interested to get your thoughts on maybe some best practices or some advice for SDRs and people who either want to help make video feedback and video coaching a bigger part of their organization or maybe somebody who’s an SDR or their company does use video feedback, but they want to improve how they can streamline that and how they can make the impact of that learning as effective as possible.
Reva: Yeah so I would say my biggest piece of advice is to keep it short and concise. Easy to digest feedback I think is better. I know we use Chorus at Vidyard. And so when my manager reviews a call I’ve had, so I just had a call reviewed last week, those little snippets of feedback where I can go to that part of the call, I can listen to it, I can be like, “Oh okay, I get what he’s saying.”
That’s way easier to consume and incorporate into my process than like a 10-minute feedback, generic feedback where I I can’t really incorporate it. So short and sweet is great.
I would say don’t – like anything – don’t go all in on video feedback. Video feedback helps to humanize feedback in a remote setting where you don’t need to be on a one-on-one, but you still get that like feeling of, “You know what? I can tell my manager cares, I can see where this is coming from,” the nuance, as you mentioned.
But if you go full-in on asynchronous feedback, you’re missing the back and forth that can come out of live feedback. So you still want to talk about feedback and coach in one-on-ones because you want to get that real-time reaction of your rep, you want to be able to clarify things. So don’t go all in on like I’m getting feedback async from here on out.
And like I said before, don’t overwhelm the rep with too much feedback. I think the last one kind of stands for feedback in general, make sure it’s got positive and negative or critical feedback. So don’t go all and just like nitpick the whole email or something like that.
Alex: Awesome. I love that advice. And I think this is really something that if you’re not already using video to manage, it’s something that you should definitely at least dip a toe in if you’re out there listening to this.
It clearly works wonders and I think it does a great job of replacing some of the communication that was so much easier when everyone was in the office.
Reva, thank you so much for joining us today to dive into managing through video feedback and the advantages it can bring. If people want to find out more about you or more about Vidyard, where can they get in touch?
Reva: Yeah, LinkedIn is my preferred social platform. I’m on Twitter as well, but it’s not always business-related, but I am there. And if you are curious about like trying out video, we have a free tool. It’s free forever. It’s not just a trial. So you can check that out as well. And give it a try, see if you like incorporating it into your feedback process.
Alex: Awesome. Well, there you go. We gave you the actionable advice. We gave you a tool to use. There’s no reason anyone shouldn’t be able to go do this. That’s awesome. Reva, again, thank you so much.
This has been Alex and Greyson for the SDRealness podcast. Until next time, SDRs, keep it real.