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Snackable Video Content: Sales Enablement Lessons from HBO’s Vice

Apr 19th, 2017


Sales enablement professionals are laser-focused on sales training, onboarding, coaching, buyer engagement and more—but the common thread between these components is often strong, engaging content. It’s the basis on which those critical activities are built.

While listening to National Public Radio, I heard a report about HBO’s Vice and its efforts to reinvent online news for Millennials – a group that makes up a growing proportion of both sellers and buyers. In the words of NPR reporter David Folkenflik, “Video made Vice young again.”

Vice wanted to revamp its news strategy from the ground up, so it hired Josh Tyrangiel, a former senior executive at Time Magazine, who also reinvented Bloomberg Businessweek. “Nobody’s going to need a nightly newscast because when you look at the world right now, people are inundated by information. Our job is to actually make them want it.”

One way Vice does this now is by incorporating short video content into its website, in part through its show Vice News Tonight, which has helped make news more appealing to Millennials. Vice founder Shane Smith said, “When we started news, it was a given that Millennials didn’t [care] about news… so we started doing short-form. It had to be short-form. It had to be snackable content.”

The role of snackable content in sales enablement

This idea should resonate with sales enablement practitioners. Like Vice’s target audience, today’s B2B salespeople are also inundated with information. Unlike Vice’s audience, sales reps can’t just want your content; they need it to succeed in their roles. That’s why – especially given that Millennials are expected to reach 50% of the global workforce by 2020 – sales enablement leaders should take the Vice lesson to heart.

“Millennials are all about video and mobile,” says Mary Shea, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “Where training is concerned, they don’t want to sit in a room and be trained. They want video-based mobile platforms so that they can learn wherever, whenever, however they want. They want training on their own terms.”

Related: How Can B2B Sales Leaders Engage with Millennials?

Luckily for sales enablement leaders, technology now makes it easier (and faster) to create short video content assets for things like sales training, onboarding and coaching. Perhaps it’s competitive intelligence, product enhancements, industry knowledge or insight from a recently closed deal. Perhaps it’s refreshed onboarding content based on market changes or evolving customer needs. Whatever the case, sales readiness solutions provide a simpler way to create the type of ‘snackable’ video content that was so impactful for the Vice team, and apply it to a sales enablement strategy via formal courses and curricula, or informal just-in-time training.

Sales leaders can also use short video to reinforce this learning – asking reps to demonstrate their understanding of training or share success stories via short recorded video. In this case, salespeople are actually empowered to create short videos, which can then be used for peer-to-peer learning, sales coaching, demonstrating “what good looks like” and more.

Like the team at Vice, a growing number of organizations are empowering their sales leaders to create short video content to improve sales effectiveness and accelerate new salesperson ramp-up time. Is your sales organization taking advantage of short video content for sales onboarding, training and coaching?

For more information on the role of content for sales enablement leaders, read Sales Productivity Investments Start with Training Content or explore Brainshark’s content authoring solution.