SalesTechStar Interview with Jonathan Lister, COO at Vidyard

Jonathan Lister, COO at Vidyard joins us in this SalesTechStar interview to share a few top learnings from his sales journey through the years and to highlight the growing importance of videos in B2B;


Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Jonathan, we’d love to hear about your Sales journey through the years and what you’re most looking forward to as Vidyard’s new COO.

Thank you for having me! I’ve been at Vidyard since more than a month now, I’m enjoying the journey so far! I’ve had a long career as a a go-to market executive. I’ve had 20+ years as a sales leader and have always been in a more tech-focused role. I’ve actually moved from the ad space to the SaaS space over time…

I started out early on as an editor and then dove into sales actually. This was thanks to a mentor I had along the way who say my editing ability and thought I’d be a good fit for Sales!

From an earlier point in my sales career, I have always been focused on how to create value in sales. The sales process earlier was a lot about sharing information with the buyer. But here’s the thing – there will come a time when buyer’s will literally have all the info they need.

For me, trying to build teams and companies with the aim of improving go-to market processes and creating user and customer value is how I drive business goals forward, as far as Vidyard goes: this product creates a lot of value for sellers and users; it allows sellers to do things they can’t otherwise do: like using videos to drive the sales experience and scale it. This interests me about Vidyard, it’s helping people solve a meaningful problem in sales and what I’m excited about is being in a company that is at the intersection of powerful trends like video and AI.

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How are you seeing the demand for platforms like Vidyard/videos-in-sales redefine the marketplace? Also, in what ways do you feel the increased use of videos in marketing/sales today will change how campaigns and outreach are planned in future?

I would say salespeople and go-to market is changing today, Sellers and individuals are looking for tools that can help them be better. They are less willing to rely on tools that are already-provided by the companies they work with, they want more of what they feel can help them, they are trying to be independent while wanting to find newer ways to get their job done.

In the past, historically, companies chose the tools but now sales people want to invest or have their company invest in tools they would like.

We are seeing more pull here for tools like Vidyard partly because of this and in terms of what’s driving the demand.

Video is changing the relationship between buyers and sellers. Video enables you to meet buyers where they are, they might not all want to meet in-person and might not want a long call either. It allows an asynchronous, quick communication mode that is more personal in nature. Video can, as a tool, help build trust and authenticity if used well.

In a world where being remote is more common than before, videos help build business relationships at scale, its efficient and can drive the sales cycle.

Sales was more linear before, now they are more about networks and video can play into the newer trends in sales well.

We’ve seen sales reps working with customers to go into detailed analysis about a product or service more visually within a few minutes because it is tailored to them and reduces the need for them to sit through long demos or meetings. This speeds up the sales cycle as well.

For sales teams who are still at the nascent stages of implementing videos into their sales process/prospecting stages: what tips and thoughts would you share with them?

I would take the view that’s it’s not about changing the way you sell. It’s not about building a new sales cycle either. Its about using video to drive what you have. Video is more personal and authentic and allows sales to relay the information they want to share in a more effective and meaningful way. If you view it that way, it reframes how you deliver what you deliver.

Sales people who can deliver detailed information in a shorter, simpler manner (with video) can ease the complexity in a sales cycle as well. Videos by Vidyard is a self-serve model and in some cases a free product. It’s easy to use and can be integrated into existing systems as well.

Once users use the product, we keep a track of how there are using it and how we can add more value with our other features. Using it for free initially already allows sales teams to unlock that initial value and then we can help them push the boundaries from there.

How can sales teams drive better output with improved tools and processes in 2023, some thoughts and takeaways to share?

For 2023 – I think this year will be a different year for tech sales. I think the idea of focusing on value is more important than ever, so is the focus on understanding the user’s core problems. What are your target prospects facing in terms of problems –> understand that and don’t try to sell without creating value against that problem.

Most companies will have finite or shrinking budgets through 2023. Helping customers understand where you sit in their priority tech stack can enable a better conversation going forward. Because everyone is looking for a more fruitful and valuable conversation today.

This is a good moment to also take care of existing customers, create more loyalty, understand their path and what the future looks like for them so you can drive value against every conversation.

We’d love to hear about some of the biggest sales faux pas you’ve made over the years….

Because I’ve been in sales so long, I’ve definitely made mistakes. I have seen reps make some common avoidable mistakes, let me talk about that:

This might be useful for 2023: transactional selling that’s too rushed, remember, it won’t work. Everyone has a sales number, its how we are driven and compensated in Sales. I would be conscious about not pushing and being desperate even if you have that number over your head.

I would try to understand what a customer would do if they heard me talking. Its important to be candid about what your customer thinks and avoid being transactional when in sales.

The next mistake to avoid: not listening actively. I’ve seen this happen often, sales people are in a call, a prospect says something, but the sales person isn’t listening to what they are looking for with full attention.

Overselling or selling without listening by trying to get your prospect to buy more when its not necessary and without understanding buyer’s remorse can break relationships. The important thing is driving that deeper business relationship and this should be the core focus always without burning the trust and bridge.

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Watch the complete Q&A:


Vidyard is the easiest way to create, host, and share videos so you can keep connecting with customers and colleagues.

Jonathan Lister is COO at Vidyard

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