The future of work continues to evolve in practice and in conversation, crossing the divide from technology to productivity to office culture and back again. Recently, it’s even begun infiltrating the discussion on how we connect and map the customer journey. How does customer engagement equate to decision making? How does decision making translate to buying behavior?
According to a 2019 Gartner article, the customer journey for B2B buyers is an extended state of evolution further enhanced by the disruptions of the last two years. The article points out several insights into the growing fragmentation of purchasing decisions, the most significant being the amount of time buyers are willing to meet with potential suppliers.
“Gartner research finds that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase‚ they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers. When buyers are comparing multiple suppliers‚ the amount of time spent with any one sales rep maybe only 5% or 6%.” (Source: Gartner)
The flipside of this statistic? The amount of combined time these same individuals spend researching key buying activities on their own is 45%. The article goes on to diagram the growing complexity of not only the selling side but the buying side as well, stating that in a selling journey becoming increasingly non-linear, information is the new lodestone of buyer enablement and content delivery is the compass.
This is where possibility meets opportunity. SAP’s Customer Innovation Office began recognizing a content void for certain types of messaging, pre-pandemic – with video becoming particularly effective in filling in these empty spaces.
“We already knew video and digital content delivery as the way forward with many of our customers. As things started to shift in 2020, we realized we had to double down,” says Andrew Marti, Director of Virtual and Digital Platform and Technologies for the Media Studio (a component of North America Design Services). Marti also makes clear how the new challenges of remote work and collaboration further incentivized the Media Studio to ideate a solution specific to navigating sales plays.
“Video is not a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, done right, video is an extremely effective and nuanced tool to benefit our customers, and our customers’ customers. That’s why we created a process and infrastructure for supporting knowledge stakeholders with a video vehicle that would directly translate for them.”
Working in tandem with Mike Monahan, Director of North America’s Design Services team, together they engineered a live action video offering that would allow Solution Advisors, Account Executives, and anyone looking to deliver a demo or informative presentation in a genuine and easily consumable format.
Offered officially as a Virtual Live Action Video or Expert Insight Video, the videos lean heavy on the natural performance of the presenter and then use commercial-level production value like motion graphics, music, and editing to enhance the overall delivery.
“It’s like taking someone’s best ‘live’ performance and capturing it in a way that it has all the impact of being in the moment so that it’s scalable,” says Marti. “Scalable for the next meeting. Or the next one hundred meetings.”
It’s the scalability that reveals the medium’s true possibilities. Comparing the offering akin to watching Disney Plus’s airing of Hamilton – it’s not taking away from the energy or humanity of a live event, rather it’s furthering the reach of the experience.
The Media Studio’s Live Action and Expert Insight videos put forward many benefits, each reinforced by the very nature of video itself.
“These videos are produced and then are available to be distributed on demand, either as standalone or in conjunction with other materials and events in a broader sales play,” says Marti. “It allows stakeholders to be more strategic and mindful with in-person meetings.”
But the real proof is in the application. Since the start of 2021, the Media Studio has worked with Solution Advisors and Account Executives to create and distribute over 120 distinct types of Live Action and Expert Insight Videos for a manifold range of industries and subjects. Demonstrating the versatility and flexibility of the medium, the videos have tackled topics as complex as global tax compliance to previewing the possibilities of customer delight in the telecommunications industry. Some of the videos in this aggregate are considered one-offs, others are part of a series.
“The collaboration with the team including the Media studio created a much higher level of content than I would have created individually,” says Tom Bourke a Solutions Advisor, who worked on a series of four Live Action videos highlighting a variety of software solutions.
Bourke goes on to reveal a secondary benefit of the video series: the further enablement of colleagues inside of SAP. Many of the videos the Media Studio produces also act like teaching narratives for other solution advisors to learn from. “As a result, there is a greater understanding in the SA community,” Bourke concludes.
Both Monahan and Marti agree, Live Action and Expert Insight video offerings provide a unique response to some of the familiar hesitancies around the efficacy of video while touting the potential broadscale influence of video and the other enablement tools provided by SAP’s various creative teams and departments.
“On the statistical side, these Live Action and Expert Insight videos seem to be getting more clicks and longer view rates,” Marti adds. “Furthermore, these types of video tools advance SAP’s value proposition as a digital transformation innovator and in maintaining an edge against competitors – large and small.”
In the on-going discussion around the future of work, the very nature of what fits in a normal workday is being restructured. The same effect is happening throughout every phase of the B2B customer journey. And as this journey continues to become increasingly circuitous, those willing to pursue extraordinary differentiators that supply vital information towards decision making, will be the trusted guides. Everyone else will just be struggling to keep pace.
Have you delivered (or witnessed) a compelling SAP solution demo recently that deserves a professional-grade video treatment?
What are some of the ways #thefutureofwork and remote collaboration are changing how you engage with customers?