//How Marketers Can Help Their Sales Teams By Using VR

How Marketers Can Help Their Sales Teams By Using VR

New hardware and software in the VR industry has allowed sales teams to use the technology to win more deals. Savvy marketers, equipped with the right knowledge and creative skills, can help their sales counterparts by creating exceptional VR experiences, using solutions like InstaVR.

How Improvements in VR Technology Have Changed the Sales + Marketing World

Even a few years ago, marketers had many excuses as to why they shouldn’t invest in VR. The technology was too expensive. They’d have to outsource production to designers or engineers. The image or video quality wasn’t strong enough. VR was more a novelty than an actual sales driver. They couldn’t measure the sales impact.

None of that is true anymore.

With little more than a sub-$500 camera, an internet connection, and an InstaVR Pro account, marketers can now create engaging VR experiences for the sales team to utilize. This is true across multiple industries — real estate, hospitality, entertainment, automotive, consumer goods, technology, education — just to name a few.

Below, we’ll go through why all the “old” ways of thinking about VR are no longer valid. And we’ll offer up some ideas on how marketers can best utilize the technology moving forward to jumpstart sales.

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Myth #1: VR Technology is too expensive.

Fact: The prices of 360 cameras is falling, and web-based software like InstaVR is budget-friendly.

When we talk to VR novices, one of their main concerns is that they’ll have to buy a new piece of hardware — a 360-degree camera. The truth is that, yes, you will have to buy a camera. But it doesn’t have to be expensive. Cameras from reputable companies like Ricoh, Samsung, and LG all retail for under $500 USD. There are also a number of VR-specific camera makers, like Insta360, 360Fly, and Vuze, that all offer sub-$1,000 360 cameras of very strong quality.

Additionally, if you want to do a 360 production involving extremely high quality media, you can now rent a GoPro rig or Nokia Ozo. The rental approach makes a lot of sense if you want to do just a small number of VR experiences for your sales team. By renting, instead of buying, you keep this technology off your balance sheets as a capital purchase, but still get all the benefits.

On the software side, InstaVR is designed to meet the budgets of clients. If you’re on a very tight budget, but still want to feature your company or product using InstaVR, you can sign up for a single month of our Pro solution. All apps would still be available even after discontinuing your subscription to Pro. If you anticipate rolling out new VR apps continuously — such as a real estate agency, advertising new homes in 360 each month — we offer 33% off our monthly subscription price with annual Pro sign up.

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Myth #2: You have to outsource to engineers or designers to create your VR experience.

Fact: InstaVR is completely drag-and-drop, meaning every marketer is equipped to author their own VR apps.

Any time a new technology is introduced to a marketing professional, they have to ask themselves who will own this project? For VR, I’ve heard concerns that the company will lose some creative control, as they’ll have to outsource the actual VR app creation.

This simply isn’t the case anymore.

InstaVR is a web-based, drag-and-drop interface driven technology. No coding knowledge is required. Everyone at the company — from product marketing to PR to field marketing to salespeople themselves — is equipped to create VR experiences. The web-based approach also enables collaboration, as multiple employees across disciplines can work together on the same project using InstaVR.

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Myth #3: The image or video quality isn’t strong enough.

Fact: New cameras and VR headsets make the experience completely immersive.

As recently as a few years ago, most mobile phones and 360 cameras relied on 2K resolution. That level of clarity and detail is frankly pretty impressive. But as computing and mobile phones have advanced, there’s a sense that VR must be as lifelike as possible. The wave of new 360 cameras and more powerful headsets are making it so sales teams don’t have to be nervous that their VR experiences are not top notch.

On the camera side, for example, Ricoh announced that later this year they’ll be selling a 4K version of their popular Ricoh Theta line of cameras. In addition to higher resolution, it will also capture spatial audio, a cool feature that users of InstaVR Pro can incorporate into their apps. The Insta360, in a bid to move upstream, is now selling an 8K Insta360 Pro edition for roughly $3,500 USD. Because the camera stitches in real-time, and has such strong media capture capabilities, it’s certainly worth a look for marketing teams intent on creating the best VR apps possible.

On the headset front, the mobile VR headsets like Gear VR and Google Daydream are perfect for salespeople to take on the road to client meetings or conferences. The higher end tethered VR platforms like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are also adapting, with HTC Vive now able to run on Mac computers and Rift planning a new non-tethered version.

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Myth #4: VR is more of a novelty than an actual sales driver.

Fact: Companies not using VR are missing out on a real opportunity to connect with customers.

Up until 2016, VR was perceived as more of a buzzy technology without a lot of practical applications. Now, for some industries, it’s essentially a must-have. And for others, it provides significant value that helps differentiate tech-forward companies from those still stuck in an analog world.

For instance, if you’re selling high-end real estate, you have no excuse not to create a 360 virtual tour of the home and distribute it. It will allow potential customers a cool way to virtually visit the home — be in through WebVR, in a headset at the real estate agent’s office, or downloaded to their mobile phone and experienced on a Google Cardboard. This is particularly applicable for potential buyers not located geographically close, such as overseas.

Other industry sales teams see a significant advantage to being able to show off their company via VR headset. For instance, the group tours division at Hello Kitty Puroland uses InstaVR to give travel agents an immersive look at their majestic theme park, making for a memorable experience that hopefully translates into those travel agents being more receptive to booking visits to Puroland. Also, a major jet manufacturer uses InstaVR to give tours of the jet interiors at sales meetings and trade shows, as physically bringing the aircraft to certain venues is not possible.

We’re starting to get to the tipping point where marketers not using 360 or VR technology are seen as the outliers. As discussed, with affordable access to VR hardware and software, and the ability to create VR in-house, there’s really no reason to rely on traditional limited-view images and videos.

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Myth #5: You can’t measure the sales impact of VR.

Fact: With analytics, heatmaps, and calls-to-action, you can get very granular information on how effective your VR marketing is for your sales.

Marketers have definitely gotten more metrics-driven over time. For some companies, every single marketing campaign — be it through email, social media, or face-to-face — is analyzed to determine the most effective channels. There was historically a perception that VR cannot be tied to metrics to prove ROI.

Again, with InstaVR, that’s not the case.

First, you can tie your Navigation Links and Hotspots directly to your Google Analytics account. This will give you engagement metrics. For a more visual approach, InstaVR Pro users can use our heatmap overlay to see where users are looking within the VR experience. This will let marketers know where their audience is most engaged, and signal to them where it might make sense to place a Hotspot or the initial viewpoint. Finally, we have actual calls-to-action that can be placed within the VR app, allowing users to either call a phone number or pull up a web page. This type of direct response approach to VR means consumers can be connected directly with the marketers’ companies, making VR a direct response vehicle.

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Top 5 Tips For VR Marketers Looking to Drive Sales

  1. Think Carefully About Distribution Method – InstaVR Pro allows you to publish across all the major VR platforms. When you author a VR app, think about how you want your audience to experience it. If you’re selling a high-end product through a field sales team, invest in a higher-end mobile headset like Gear VR or Google Daydream. If you want as many people as possible to see your VR, publish to Web or create an iOS/Android/Google Cardboard app.
  2. Think About How to Best Leverage 360 Media – As mentioned earlier, a jet maker giving in immersive tour of the inside of a jet is great use case for VR. You can’t necessarily bring the jet to the end customer, initially. But VR will pique their interest. Don’t just use 360 for the coolness of the technology — really think about how you’re providing insight and value to your potential customers using the technology.
  3. Get Feedback from Your Sales Team – After you’ve deployed a VR app to your sales team, gather feedback. Our web-based platform allows you to rapidly iterate your projects. If a prospective client says the VR app needed more info, perhaps think about adding hotspots or voiceover. If they said it made them a little queasy, perhaps do shorter videos or use a steadicam for video capture.
  4. You’ll Have to Market Your VR App – Both internally and externally, you have to get buy-in on VR. Initially, people unfamiliar with the technology might dismiss it. Once salespeople try it though, they fall in love with the technology. Schedule a VR day where you share what you’ve created and get ideas for future VR projects.
  5. Don’t Give Up – If your first VR app doesn’t elicit the response you want, keep at it. The technology is rapidly changing, as are people’s attitudes. Five years ago, you’d rarely see a VR headset at an industry trade show like Shop.org. Now, VR is all over the place at those types of conferences, with multiple panels on the topic. Like with any technology, your apps will get better over time, and your output will become more and more impressive. You can start small — an in-house iOS or Android app at our Free level — before investing significantly in the technology. But be assured that if you’re not using VR, your competitors are definitely thinking about how to leverage the technology.
2017-07-05T21:24:44+00:00 July 5th, 2017|General|