Microsite Design #101 – Video content best practices

If you’re looking to increase your brand’s reach via video, then it’s worth bearing in mind some best practices to help maximize the return from your investment. 

Compared to text-based content, video often requires more input in terms of production. It can, however, be used effectively in microsites in order to vary the presentation that customers receive. 

Long stretches of text have a habit of putting people to sleep (your sales team has probably already noticed this). Those who want to present bids and sales proposals, learning content or personalized recruitment pages in a more engaging fashion can make use of video content in addition to embedded audio and data elements.

The good news is that when it comes to video, there’s a whole world of data already at one’s fingertips. Popular video hosting and sharing sites such as YouTube have hundreds of millions of videos ready to be embedded. These can add that missing touch of motion and excitement to your microsites.

Nevertheless, many creators want to add original and company-branded videos into their microsites. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the standout advantages of video that are relevant for those creating microsites and provide some tips for how to do it well. We’ll also look at how to add video to your microsites, using our platform. 

Human contact boosts engagement 

Clients often tell us that they want to increase their use of video in microsites because — intuitively — they feel that their buying audiences will forge a stronger connection with information that’s demonstrated through this means.

Zoomforth platform - add tile

The good news is that science is here to say, “yes, that makes total sense.”

Here are some observations from Wistia, the video platform, to bear that out:

“The global pandemic has overwhelmingly impacted the amount of time people spend watching videos online — we saw an 85% increase in minutes watched on our platform in 2020. People watched 12.2 billion minutes of video last year — that’s 23,211 years worth of content!”

Humans tend to be curious about video content that contains other humans in it. While most Zoomforth users are leveraging the tool in order to drive connection with B2B buying audiences, it’s important to remember that B2B buyers are just people, doing a job. In other words, the same rules that govern social engagement are likely to apply in this context. 

If you’re building out microsites for bid responses, then consider adding an introduction video showing the key stakeholders on your team who might be responsible for making the project a success. While getting to “e-know” your correspondents by email can help break the ice to an extent, many clients report that video introductions are more powerful in terms of building that sense of rapport and trust that can be difficult to create otherwise. 

Make sure that you stick to brand guidelines

Just because it’s video doesn’t mean that you don’t have to stick to the visual and brand guidelines that your communications team has laid down. They’re there to ensure that the brand is communicated in a consistent manner across formats. So in fact it’s especially important to use them at this juncture.

If your brand communication guidelines have set down a palette for internal use, then stick to that palette when drafting up transition slides and other still visuals to enhance the main video. 

If your brand name is to be written in a certain font then make sure that that’s how it’s written in the videos you include in your microsites.

Consider the dress code for your video participants, as well as the backgrounds they are filmed against. Videos don’t need to be overproduced or super-polished, but they do need to convey your professionalism. 

While you can definitely impress your prospects by showing that you’ve gone to the trouble of creating personalized videos for them, equally this isn’t a time to let your guard down and deviate from the type of brand that you’ve worked so hard to communicate through other channels. 

Keep your video content accessible

Whether you’re using microsites to communicate bid proposals or personalized recruitment offers, it’s vital not to make any assumptions about who will be viewing the content and what limitations they might be dealing with. 

Just as it’s best practice to add alt tags to still images on websites, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have a captions track added to every video that you produce and include in your microsites. This will make the video accessible even to those who have visual impairments.

A transcript is useful too. Not everybody is going to have the time or inclination to watch a full-length proposal video on the fly – or to want to watch that through video. Producing a machine-generated but hand-edited transcript of the video can make it easier to capture the attention of a larger pool of readers. Accessibility widens the audience as far as possible. 

Keep videos short

While videos can impress and engage, you risk losing people if your videos aren’t short and snappy. 

In its latest ‘State of Video’ report, Wistia observed that engagement starts to drop off at the 3-minute mark so aim for short and sweet, rather than lengthy explainer videos. 

“Engagement tends to stay just at around 50% for the first three minutes and drops steadily after that mark.”

There are no hard and fast rules here, but we can offer some general recommendations:

  • If you have a few points to cover in one video e.g. an overview of the solution you’re presenting for a bid, then consider breaking them up into several shorter videos. This will make it easy for those on the other end of the sales process to skip just to the video that impacts upon their role.
  • Don’t go above the three minute limit unless there’s a definite need. 
  • Consider creating a summary version of your proposal as well as a longer video that dives into the detail by area. The summary version can be sent to the project’s executive sponsor while the individual teams can skip through the longer video to hone in on the aspect of the proposal that most directly concerns their work.

Four ways to use video in Zoomforth

To upload a video to your Zoomforth microsite from within our tool:

1. Upload a video from your desktop 

  • Add a new tile to a grid section 
  • Click on the “add” icon within the tile
  • Click on Upload media
  • You’ll be prompted to upload a video. You can either drag and drop a compatible file in from another window or you can use the file manager on your system.
  • You can choose to have the video expand and play in an overlay or play inline. 
Zoomforth platform - upload media

2. Embed a YouTube video 

If you’d like to embed a video from YouTube, first double check that you’re not violating the usage license under which the video was shared. Then, click on the YouTube video option and copy the embed code. This will embed the video into your site. 

Zoomforth platform - embed YouTube video

3. Record a video on the fly 

If you just want to include a short video introduction to your site, you can do that directly in the app. Simply select the ‘Record video’ option and talk! Once you’re done, the video will automatically load into your site. 

Zoomforth platform - record video

4. Add a video playlist

If you want to create a video playlist, first create a new section within your site’s page and then select ‘Video playlist’. This will allow you to add a playlist so the visitor can pick and choose which elements to view. 

Zoomforth platform - add video playlist

Videos make microsites more fun

For readers, videos widen the gap further between boring old PDF documents and something new and exciting. For that reason, getting creative with the type of media content that you leverage in microsites can give you a further edge over your competitors who are stuck in the static document era. 

Use a few well placed videos to improve the engagement levels you see on your microsites. Just make sure that they accord with your brand communication guidelines, are of an appropriate length, and that you’re okay to use them. The results should speak for themselves. 

Want to learn more? Join one of our free Design Skills Workshops here. 

Microsite Design #101 – Video content best practices

If you’re looking to increase your brand’s reach via video, then in order to make the most from this engaging form of content, it’s worth bearing in mind some best practices to help maximize the return from your investment. 

Although compared to text-based marketing channels, video requires its own production demands, it can be used effectively in microsites in order to vary the presentation that customers receive. 

Long stretches of text have a habit of putting people to sleep (your sales team has probably already noticed this). Those who want to present bid proposals, learning content or personalized recruitment pages in a more engaging fashion can make use of video content in addition to embedded audio and data elements.

The good news is that when it comes to video, there’s a whole world of data already at one’s fingertips. Popular video hosting and sharing sites such as YouTube have hundreds of millions of videos ready to be embedded. These can add that missing touch of motion and excitement to your microsites.

Nevertheless, many creators want to add original and company-branded videos into their microsites. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the standout advantages of video that are relevant for those creating microsites and provide some tips for how to do it well. We’ll also look at how to add it, using our platform. 

Human contact boosts engagement 

Clients often tell us that they want to increase their use of video in microsites because — intuitively — they feel that their buying audiences will forge a stronger connection with information that’s demonstrated through this means.

The good news is that science is here to say, “yes, that makes total sense.”

Here are some observations from Wistia, the video platform, to bear that out:

“The global pandemic has overwhelmingly impacted the amount of time people spend watching videos online — we saw an 85% increase in minutes watched on our platform in 2020. People watched 12.2 billion minutes of video last year — that’s 23,211 years worth of content!”

Humans tend to be curious about video content that contains other humans in it. While most Zoomforth users are leveraging the tool in order to drive connection with B2B buying audiences, it’s important to remember that B2B buyers are just people, doing a job. In other words, the same rules that govern social engagement are likely to apply in this context. 

If you’re building out microsites for bid responses, then consider adding an introduction video showing the key stakeholders on your team who might be responsible for making the project a success. While getting to “e-know” your correspondents by email can help break the ice to an extent, many clients report that video introductions are more powerful in terms of building that sense of rapport and trust that can be difficult to create otherwise. 

Make sure that you stick to brand guidelines

Just because it’s video doesn’t mean that you don’t have to stick to the visual and brand guidelines that your communications team has laid down. They’re there to ensure that the brand is communicated in a consistent manner across formats. So in fact it’s especially important to use them at this juncture.

If your brand communications guideline has set down a palette for internal use then stick to that palette when drafting up transition slides and other still visuals to enhance the main video. 

If your brand name is to be written in a certain font then make sure that that’s how it’s written in the videos you include in your microsites.

Consider the dress code for your video participants, as well as the backgrounds they are filmed against. Videos don’t need to be overproduced or super-polished, but they do need to convey your professionalism. 

While you can definitely impress your prospects by showing that you’ve gone to the trouble of creating personalized videos for them, equally this isn’t a time to let your guard down and deviate from the type of brand that you’ve worked so hard to communicate through other channels. 

Keep your video content accessible

Whether you’re using microsites to communicate bid proposals or personalized recruitment offers, it’s vital not to make any assumptions about who will be viewing the content and what limitations they might be dealing with. 

Just as it’s best practice to add alt tags to still images on websites, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have a captions track added to every video that you produce and include in your microsites. This will make the video accessible even to those who have visual impairments.

A transcript is useful too. Not everybody is going to have the time or inclination to watch a full length proposal video on the fly – or to want to watch that through video. Producing a machine generated but hand edited transcript of the video can make it easier to capture the attention of a larger pool of readers. Accessibility widens the audience as far as possible. 

Keep videos short

While videos can impress and engage, you risk losing people if your videos aren’t short and snappy. 

In its latest ‘State of Video’ report, Wistia observed that engagement starts to drop off at the 3 minute mark so aim for short and sweet, rather than lengthy explainer videos. 

“Engagement tends to stay just at around 50% for the first three minutes and drops steadily after that mark.”

There are no hard and fast rules here, but we can offer some general recommendations:

  • If you have a few points to cover in one video e.g. an overview of the solution you’re presenting for a bid, then consider breaking them up into several shorter videos. This will make it easy for those on the other end of the sales process to skip just to the video that impacts upon their role.
  • Don’t go above the three minute limit unless there’s a definite need. 
  • Consider creating a summary version of your proposal as well as a longer video that dives into the detail by area. The summary version can be sent to the project’s executive sponsor while the individual teams can skip through the longer video to hone in on the aspect of the proposal that most directly concerns their work.

Four ways to use video in Zoomforth

To upload a video to your Zoomforth microsite from within our tool:

1. Upload a video from your desktop 

  • Add a new tile to a grid section 
  • Click on the “add” icon within the tile
  • Click on Upload media
  • You’ll be prompted to upload a video. You can either drag and drop a compatible file in from another window or you can use the file manager on your system.
  • You can choose to have the video expand and play in an overlay or play inline. 

2. Embed a YouTube video 

If you’d like to embed a video from YouTube, first double check that you’re not violating the usage license under which the video was shared. Then, click on the YouTube video option and copy the embed code. This will embed the video into your site. 

3. Record a video on the fly 

If you just want to include a short video introduction to your site, you can do that directly in the app. Simply select the ‘Record video’ option and talk! Once you’re done, the video will automatically load into your site. 

4. Add a video playlist

If you want to create a video playlist, first create a new section within your site’s page and then select ‘Video playlist’. This will allow you to add a playlist so the visitor can pick and choose which elements to view. 

Videos make microsites more fun

For readers, videos widen the gap further between boring old PDF documents and something new and exciting. For that reason, getting creative with the type of media content that you leverage in microsites can give you a further edge over your competitors who are stuck in the static document era. 

Use a few well placed videos to improve the engagement levels you see on your microsites. Just make sure that they accord with your brand communication guidelines, are of an appropriate length, and that you’re okay to use them. The results should speak for themselves. 

award, press

Zoomforth named amongst the best sales enablement companies in San Francisco by Best Startup US

award, press

Zoomforth recently got a mention in the Best Startup US Magazine as one of the top sales enablement companies in Silicon Valley. 

Microsites are often associated with marketing, recruiting and learning use-cases so it was nice to be recognised for the role we play in sales, as well. 

Over the past year, we’ve seen the sales use-case really come to life, with enterprise firms building branded microsites for RFP responses, digital sales proposals, oral presentations, and to use as client portals. 

We understand that Zoomforth made the list due to exceptional performance in the following categories:

  • Innovation
    • Innovative ideas
    • Innovative route to market
    • Innovative product

We’ve been working closely with our customers in Sales, Pursuits and Bid teams around the world to meet their evolving needs, from system integrations to detailed data analytics. 

Our product roadmap for the next 12 months includes further development to support sales teams, including CMS and CRM integrations, along with more personalization and collaboration tools. 

About the Best Startup US Award:

Best Startup US is an online publication that helps promote American businesses and put them on the international stage. They primarily focus on businesses who show positive signs of growth, innovation, management and excel in areas which have a beneficial impact on society. 

Annually, Best Startup US awards the most successful startups in the US, with its lists featuring companies who are pushing the limits of innovation to solve critical problems and challenges. 

Best Startup US aims to accelerate the growth of the foremost US based companies, businesses and innovations by promoting them to a global audience. This year, Zoomforth makes this list for their service to the enterprise sales space.

Zoomforth Shortlisted for 2021 SaaS Awards

International Software Awards Program Announces Finalists

San Francisco – 27 July 2021 – Zoomforth is a finalist in the 2021 SaaS Awards Program in the category ‘Best Enterprise Level SaaS Product’. 

Now in its sixth year of celebrating software innovation, the Software-as-a-Service Awards program accepts entries worldwide, including the US, Canada, Australasia, EMEA and UK.

Categories for 2021 include Best Enterprise-Level SaaS and Best Data-Driven SaaS, alongside new categories including ‘Bespoke SaaS Solution’.

Head of operations for the SaaS Awards, James Williams, said: “Just as SaaS technologies have been vital in pivoting organizational functions to respond to global crises, they will be essential as we look forward to returning to normal levels of productivity.

“We’ve seen remarkably innovative solutions across all conceivable areas of industry, and it’s increasingly difficult for our team to identify the entrants that can’t make it past this shortlist stage.

“The shortlisted candidates announced today, however, have made it through that first round. They represent truly innovative thinkers in the SaaS industry, whether they’re freshly-funded disruptors or established names.

“Our judges have some incredibly difficult decisions to make before announcing the final winners in each category of the software awards at the end of August.”

Zoomforth partnership onboarding portal example site

Wendie Michie, CEO of Zoomforth said: “It is an honour to make the SaaS Awards shortlist, which recognizes our team’s creativity and innovation in developing enterprise-level SaaS technology.”

Final SaaS Awards winners will be announced on Tuesday 31 August 2021 and the program will return in Spring 2022. Hundreds of organizations entered, with international entries coming from North America, Canada, Australia, UK, Europe and the Middle East. To view the full shortlist, please visit: https://www.cloud-awards.com/2021-software-awards-shortlist/

Zoomforth professional services example site

Last year, entry fees donated from shortlisted entrants to the ‘Communication, Collaboration and Conferencing’ category raised $3,555 for the WHO’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

A sister program to the SaaS Awards, The Cloud Awards (https://www.cloud-awards.com/), will soon accept submissions for a new 2021-22 program, continuing its recognition of excellence in cloud computing, with an October deadline.

-END-

digital proposals

Microsite Design #101: Adding images to your microsites

digital proposals

In the first of our Zoomforth design explainer articles, we spoke to Luke Jones, Zoomforth’s Director of Design, to discuss what images you should include when designing microsites.

Thanks for checking out the first blog in our Zoomforth Design #101 series, we’ll be focusing on some of the best practices from the world of design and looking at how you, as a Zoomforth user, can implement these when building your microsites.

Imagery is one of the most important aspects to consider when building a microsite – whether you intend to use yours as a digital sales proposal, for personalized recruitment, or any other use case (check out some of those here). Unfortunately, slapping a few stock photos into a microsite in a bid to break up the text isn’t likely to be a successful strategy. To achieve the best results, the image selection process has to be as thoughtful as the process that goes into creating the text. 

Here are a few quick guidelines to set you in the right direction when you’re picking out imagery for your microsite. 

Make sure that your imagery meets your brand guidelines

Many brands produce detailed style guide material that sets down standards for both the design palette (colors, fonts, etc) as well as the brand’s tone of voice and communications.

When deciding what imagery to include in a microsite, it’s vital that the images selected comply with any guidelines that might be in existence. If the brand guidelines haven’t been drafted yet, then extrapolate from the overall communication guidelines and work out what kind of tone is going to be appropriate for the imagery being used.

If you haven’t already developed brand guidelines, then this could be a great chance to do so. While picking out imagery on the fly might seem tempting, ultimately, readers are going to be more impressed when they see a consistent look and feel across your communications that has been clearly coordinated.

The grid is your friend … make use of it 

Zoomforth’s user interface includes a 20-column grid system that allows you to create a wide variety of pixel perfect layouts for your images. You can quickly and easily create beautiful image montages or sections that contain multiple elements, like text accompanied by an image. Simply drag and drop your images into your sites, and then you can move them around and change their shapes, as you wish.   

If you are not confident in laying out your content, remember that you also have access to a branded Style Guide. Your Style Guide comes complete with a library of branded components that you can copy & paste into your sites. Take a look at some of the options that we have built into our system. 

zoomforth design #101 grid images
zoomforth design #101 grid layout

People can up the excitement factor 

Your first focus when picking imagery to complement a microsite should be identifying images that will help to explain the message being communicated. It’s also useful to include a mixture of imagery that includes both static objects and people. This holds true whether you’re using microsites for sending a sales proposal; to recruit personnel; or to support your marketing. 

Photographs of people can help build empathy and a human connection with site viewers. For instance, an authentic photograph of your key team members, deep in discussion in the boardroom, can help to build trust with recipients. 

This doesn’t mean that you need to use human photographs in every image. Simply a mixture of static objects and human imagery is advisable in order to boost engagement levels. 

Use stock imagery – but only sparingly

Stock imagery fulfills a vitally important function for organizations involved in producing news and content marketing collateral. It can help to plug the vital gaps that might exist between the imagery that you have on hand —or can get —and the imagery that could best communicate the information contained in your microsite.

Unfortunately, there are a few pitfalls that those using stock imagery need to be aware of. For one, research has proven that being exposed to imagery has the ability to alter people’s moods. You may not think that your stock imagery containing a slightly frowning executive, or a room full of fake smiles, will have any effect upon your microsite’s reception, but these things can have an impact upon how your readership feels when viewing your site on a subconscious level. 

Secondly, because many companies maintain subscriptions to popular stock imagery portals, there’s a chance that any photograph that you will use will have been used by many other brands before you—including your competitors. It’s never a good look to be the thousandth company to use a certain well-known image. So it’s worth developing an internal image library to complement the one you may have access to.

Using imagery that you develop “in house” can also be a great way to diversify the type of imagery used on your site. Real photos of your team will add a more authentic look and feel than posed, stock images, every time. Take a cue from the pros and develop your own internal stock image library. You can then be sure that your imagery is unique to your brand, and you won’t need to fork out for subscription charges.

Alt tags make your website more accessible

Some of the people viewing your microsite might be visually impaired. Adding alt tags to your imagery is a best practice that will ensure that the visually impaired are able to access a similar microsite viewing experience to other people accessing the content. 

Consider looking up and following other accessibility best practices. For instance, consider verifying that an appropriate contrast ratio is in use between main and offset text in order to make the website visually easier to read. Ensure that any text that is embedded within images is also sharply contrasted and not so small that it can be barely read. 

A little image magic can go a long way

In summary, when adding imagery to your sites, here are some quick rules to follow:

  • Make sure your images are carefully selected and meet your brand guidelines.
  • Experiment with layouts, using our grid system and your Style Guide component library. 
  • Images can make your sites more engaging and break up long reams of text but don’t overdo it – images should only be used if they add to the story. 
  • Stock imagery is ok, but use it judiciously. Aim to build up your own, internal stock of images. 
  • Make imagery more accessible, by using alt tags and paying attention to color contrasts, will help improve your audience experience.
digital proposal example

Growing a true brand with digital sales proposals

digital proposal example

Your brand is everything. It’s a promise you make to customers. It creates trust with clients. It helps motivate your employees. And most importantly, it is what makes your company unique within the marketplace. In digital sales today, most would say it’s critical to have all of these pieces woven together seamlessly.

And if those aren’t reasons enough to protect your brand identity, a solid brand also helps you generate most customers and more revenue.

Why branding matters

There’s a million case studies out there of what makes a great brand. Everyone knows Warby Parker because they donate one pair for every pair they sell. The world rediscovered milk with a single line in the 1990’s: Got Milk? 

The stronger your brand is, the more recognition you’ll receive within your industry. It goes beyond your font styles and logo and instead your focus should be on recognition.

Let’s use TOMS Shoes as an example of a strong brand structure and how it’s properly implemented.

It creates a consistent client or customer experience

The Warby Parker brand has always stood by their “One for One” motto. Make sure your company has a mission statement that remains true throughout a client’s lifecycle and is one that your employees rally behind.

It fosters awareness, recognition and loyalty

Not only does Warby Parker tell you who they are, but they also show you. They constantly share stories of their trips donating eyeglasses to those in need. They honor their mission and in turn, they’ve created brand loyalists. Consider how you can do the same with your brand so that each client you have will want to share their experiences with others.

It underpins your company values

One of the Warby Parker’s values is that they are in business to improve lives. That’s pretty powerful stuff. If you can let clients know what type of values your company has while you show them the value you can add to their lives, this will help make your brand stand out and be memorable.

It evokes trust

A solid brand has enough recognition and awareness that people trust that what you say you’re offering, you will actually get. I know based on thousands of reviews and video testimonials that Warby Parker’s eyeglasses won’t disappoint. If you can get your brand to a level of trust, it will continue to grow your business’ bottom line.

It differentiates you from the competition

There’s been a million knockoffs of Warby Parker’s eyeglasses. But there’s only one company that actually gives away a pair with every pair sold. Consider what your differentiator is. Maybe it’s that your experience with a client begins with a microsite and allows you to have a powerful, customized connection to your client from the beginning through to the end.

Begin with a digital sales proposal

We’re in the business of digital sales proposals, but we’re also a company that has many years experience in advising clients on how to best increase brand engagement across thousands of microsites. 

It’s why we know firsthand that a digital sales strategy is a strong first step to differentiating your brand and building your business in a profitable way.

Here’s how a digital bid proposal (which we also refer to as a microsite here at Zoomforth) can help protect and grow your brand identity.

  • You’ll have access to built-in style guides to ensure your brand’s fonts, colors and styling is easily accessible so your communications to a client consistently conveys your brand identity
  • Templates to help teams keep messaging and style consistent across the company, whether you’re all gathered in one place or you’re a business with multiple headquarters spread out across the world
  • A variety of multimedia options to enable you to humanize the proposal with an ‘About Us’ video, demonstrate your values with a note from your CEO and feature designs like quote blocks with testimonials from past clients
  • Underline your credentials and build trust by sharing relevant articles and news resources that you can collect for each client’s needs
  • You aren’t just walking the talk about being a digital sales pioneer in your industry—you’re actually doing it  

How to Create a Killer Sales Deck With Your Team

Teamwork makes the dream work—especially when it comes to putting together a solid sales deck. 

It takes a lot of stakeholders to create a strong RFP response that will grab the attention of a potential client.

The more team members involved in crafting a thoughtful, creative company presentation, the more likely your deck will close the deal.

The key stakeholders and their roles

Several disciplines come together when creating a proposal deck in response to an RFP for a big pursuit. 

Here is the team structure  you’ll need at your table.

Project Manager – This position is tasked with keeping to deadlines and overseeing the project milestones from start to finish. They help keep everyone accountable.

Sales TeamLet the bidders vying for the project on behalf of the company create the core content for the deck. 

Finance TeamThis group will need to determine pricing as well as payment terms.

Marketing DepartmentThese are the storytellers of your team so let them come up with creative content  for the deck that will resonate with the company you’re pitching. 

Design Team They will be in charge of creating the format and look of the deck once the handoff of content is complete.

Branding DepartmentOne of the last steps will be to give your branding gurus a chance to make sure the deck is sticking to brand guidelines for both your business and also your potential clients.

Legal TeamBefore this goes out as a final RFP, make sure legal gives it a pass to ensure it’s compliant.

Now that you’ve assembled the team, it’s time to determine what must be included in the deck.

6 elements to make your deck stand out

When it’s time to hit the deck, you’ll want to consider incorporating some of these elements into your proposal. 

A strong executive summary

This is usually written by your company CEO or the Senior Lead on the team putting the proposal together.  This is where you want to instantly grab your audience’s attention and give them a rundown of what they can expect from the proposal, along with an overview of how you plan to help and de-risk them. This can be the last piece you put together for your pitch since it’s a summary of the plans you’ll have just finished outlining.

Fix the problem

Remember that a client presentation is just that—it’s for the client. Show them you understand their unique problem that they’re looking to solve and find ways throughout the deck to incorporate a way your team will execute on that solution.

Show the solution

Imagine having a leaky faucet and in your hunt for the perfect plumber (affordable, well-fitting pants, etc) you don’t find anyone that you can hire that actually tells you how they’ll fix the leak? Here is your chance to highlight what you can do for your potential client and make it personal. Introduce your team and highlight their expertise in order to show your authority.

Mark out the milestones

Outline how success will be measured right in your client presentation. The best way to share this data is to make it extremely digestible, preferably in a chart or infographic to illustrate your points, rather than in a lengthy paragraph.

A clear call-to-action

Your clients made it to the end of the sales deck. Bravo! Now make it abundantly clear what the next step should be. Include your contact information and a link to a custom microsite for them to access. 

Once you’ve completed your well-written proposal to be submitted, make sure you make it easy for all company stakeholders to access it by adding it to your microsite.

Showcase your proposal on a microsite

Everybody loves a touchdown during a football game. But you know what really gets the fans going? A little end zone dance. 

Consider a microsite your final celebration. Your team has put together a killer presentation and now you can upload it for everyone to access time and time again. It’s that final piece that will push your sales proposal above others hoping to land the job.

digital proposal example

A microsite allows you to add supplementary material like videos and supporting docs to bring your proposal alive and differentiate your proposals  from competitors.

Your microsite will also act as a resource for everything throughout the working relationship: new assets, transcripts from a group call, resources and more.

Once your client is interacting with the microsite, you’ll be able to access analytics that show you how your pages are being viewed, how long someone is spending on a particular page and if there is any information being skipped over. Having this information arms you with the ability to inform future content and follow-up with clients.

Unlike a standalone PDF sales proposal or sales decks, you can also customize the experience for each stakeholder and send them directly to different sections of the site and even limit access to particular people when it comes to sharing more sensitive data.

By using a microsite you’re not just talking about your digital savvy and credentials, you’re showing them. 

Online sales pitch

How to maintain the human touch when in-person pitches aren’t possible

Online sales pitch

If you’re part of a sales function within an organization, then getting your remote pitching strategy in order is an important part of your overall COVID transition plan. With global and domestic travel restrictions looking to stay in place for the short to medium term, remote pitching is likely going to be the new way to initiate sales interactions for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, learning how to become an effective remote pitching team isn’t quite as simple as setting up a webcam and microphone at your workstation. In person meetings have some advantages over sales proposals conveyed remotely. In this blog, we’d like to provide some guidance for how companies can effectively bridge the divide and make remote client meetings as effective and streamlined as possible.

Selling During The Age of Distraction

Breaking through the noise has been a challenge for marketers and sales teams since time immemorial. And these days — with everything from social drinks to business pitches happening online — that challenge has only grown greater. Not only do sellers need to deal with the increasing overwhelm facing their buying audiences, they also need to deal with the mental space which personal turmoil might be taking up in buyers’ minds during this period of change and transition — one which is unprecedented in recent memory. 

For instance, buyers might be concerned about a loved one who has contracted the virus. They might be working from home for the first time and acclimatizing to juggling the challenges of domestic and professional duties in the same physical space. Perhaps their business has been thrown into disarray by the virus and they are losing sleep (literally) about how to keep the lights on. The types of personal and mental health challenges that the current crisis can throw up for buying audiences is legion. And mental health issues including anxiety and depression are known to cause impaired concentration. 

The coronavirus therefore presents a multifaceted challenge for sales teams for whom pitch meetings are a core part of their diary. On the one hand, thanks to the explosion of remote working and the existing connectivity that has enabled the transition to happen, it’s arguably easier than it has ever been before to facilitate meetings with sales teams. On the surface, it seems as if  an internet connection and webcam are all that are needed to make the pitch. On the other, it’s psychologically harder to forge a connection with buying audiences. Both the deficiencies of remote communication and buyers’ heightened distractibility are very real threats to effective message delivery. Modified communication is the answer. Here are some suggestions for how to drive the right change.

Design Microsites With Focus in Mind

Microsites are small websites that are often put together for one-off purposes as part of bid development exercises during a tendering process. In other cases, they can be used for account based marketing (ABM). Microsites offer more compelling buying experiences compared to more traditional formats such as static websites (examples of the latter include brochures and presentation decks). As such, simply using microsites is a good way to cater for the concentration whims of  audiences with built-in heightened distractibility.

But to be as effective as possible, pandemic-era microsites need to be built according to some specific guidelines to maximize their effectiveness.

These include:

Distilled Messaging 

Before putting together the first wireframe, selling teams should ask themselves what information they consider the most critical to their buying audience. What’s the elevator pitch? And what goes after that? This information should be displayed prominently on the homepage. Supplementary content — like further use-cases or tangential benefits for the prospective buyer —  can be positioned somewhere else in the hierarchy. Therefore, it’s useful to map out and order by priority the information that needs to be conveyed through the microsite. Additionally, the order of the microsites should reflect the type of content that the audience is likely to care about. For instance, sellers should lead with financials in a microsites targeted for a CFO and with team biographies in an asset being sent to a HR director. 

Iterate For Different Audiences

Content that feels too generic has a lower chance of resonating with target audiences — and the same has been shown to hold true for images. One of the advantages of targeting audiences with microsites is that they can be quickly copied in order to develop relatively quickly microtargeted assets that are hyper-personalized to the unique interests of a buying audience. For instance, B2B sales processes often involve pitching a product or service to an evaluation panel. Conventionally, sales teams might send the same resource to the group as one. Using technologies such as microsites, however, allows selling teams to create different engaging experiences for each member of the purchasing committee. Generic cookie-cutter content is a great way to lose the attention of already distracted audiences. Sellers can iterate down and across a recipient audience in order to increase engagement and achieve better outcomes.

Design For Mobile

The new distributed-first working environment has made it more important than ever to ensure that websites have responsive mobile-friendly versions. Microsites can be designed to look good whether accessed from a mobile or desktop device.

Get Your Tone Down (Literally)

Many selling teams are reporting a curious and unexpected effect of the pandemic: the shared struggle of mankind, which transcends countries and cultures, has led to professional contacts — like buying and selling teams — forging stronger and more authentic relationships than may have been the case previously. 

For communicators, it’s important to design a website using a tone of voice that reflects this societal change. Now is an excellent time for communications teams to reflect upon whether the brand voice they have been speaking in is really their own. Consider lowering the formality a notch and focusing on building a real connection with prospects. The results usually speak for themselves.

Remote Pitching Can Work

Today’s hyper-distracted and remote-first environment undoubtedly presents challenges to sales teams more accustomed to pitching for business at clients’ sites rather than online. 

However, with some modifications, it’s possible to emulate previous bricks and mortar success — or even build upon it to achieve new heights.

Microsites, which can deliver immersive and personalized user experiences, are ideal tools to overcome the yawn factor when pitching to buyers.

Some quick changes to make to steer towards success: focus on ordering messaging logically and use an authentic and natural tone of voice. Avoiding stock imagery and stock language can help too. Personalization and intentionality are key. Microsites, rather than static documents, are the ideal tools to facilitate such radically revised pitching.

To book a demo or contact us to find out more about the Zoomforth platform, please visit us online at Zoomforth.com

sales

Evolving Your Client Relationships Through Sales Proposals

sales

“Technology does not run an enterprise. Relationships do.” – TEDX Speaker Patricia Fripp

As much as we believe in the power of technology for improving your business, sales transactions will always be between two human beings. In order to improve your client relationships, you have to provide a memorable experience and nurture that working relationship from start to finish.

How do we build meaningful and memorable business relationships in today’s climate? How can we provide outstanding client proposals with the absence of in-person client meetings?

Using a microsite as your business sales proposal allows you to create a customized and personal experience from the initial pitch to the final handoff.

Here’s how you can use Zoomforth to let your potential clients know you beyond just a name, demographic and expectations.

Inject humanity into a client proposal

Share videos about your company that show how your company values align with theirs.

Create a library of thought leadership relevant to your client.

Write team bios that just don’t list experiences, but that will also be moving (and fun) to read. 

You can provide clients with these media-rich experiences throughout the proposal process to capture their attention but also remind them about the people behind your business.

Take them on a personal journey

You can create surprise experiences that will delight and educate your clients, but also let them know that your company is thinking of them.

With Zoomforth’s Editor Tool you can build out hidden subpages or sections of the microsite, ready to reveal at the appropriate point in the relationship with a single click.

When you have content that’s waiting in the wings it shows your client that they are top of mind, all the time, and they’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness that much more.

You can release news about current events, company news, trends you’re seeing in analytics when the time is right.

Understand and adapt to what your audience cares about

If knowledge is power then analytics are your best tool for building content that resonates with your clients.

Zoomforth has robust analytics that let you see where your client is spending most of their time on the sales proposal. You can adjust the content you serve based on what they’re enjoying. If they have spent hours looking at articles you’ve collected for them, begin to add more to that page. 

You can also see how the proposal is being shared and used by specific employees throughout the company. It’s easy to identify if relevant stakeholders haven’t accessed important pages so that you can reach out and make sure they’re not lost in the proposal abyss.

As with any relationship, the more you can do to make the other person’s life easier, the happier everyone involved will be. Compiling all relevant information in a safe, secure and dynamic way will give your clients the confidence to hire you and refer you once the job is finished.

Build the relationship beyond the closing

You don’t ask someone to marry you and then think “OK, my work here is done!” Any married person can tell you that thinking would be wrong, so very wrong. 

If you want to carve a path towards marital and business bliss, you need to look at a relationship as a long-game, not just a quick win towards closing the deal.

You can use your microsite beyond the bid process and continue to create client onboarding portals, landing pages for events and workshops, an account-based marketing site and more.

Just because the way we do business is increasingly digital, that doesn’t mean we don’t still crave connections. It’s more important than ever to establish rapport by offering your clients a meaningful and customized experience throughout your working relationship.

Ready to go digital? Discover how Zoomforth can help you.