Episode 80: Bonnie Habyan – Starting Slow to Connect Meaningfully, Focusing on Bringing Value to Clients
Bonnie Habyan joins the Social Sales Link team to share with us the inner workings of social selling from a C-suite perspective.
Listen to Bonnie as she stresses the importance of using all the tools available in the social selling toolbox to get to know your clients better, explains why she’s not a fan of cold selling tactics, and discusses the power of podcasts in helping her build more connections.
Visit Bonnie’s website. You may also reach out to her at [email protected] or connect with her on LinkedIn.
Bonnie Habyan 00:00
In today’s world that businesses can call on their own skills of just cold calling, sending emails, you need to now kind of leverage the network, which I believe is greater than PR, greater than advertising and that’s really the social channels that allow you to provide value to clients.
And in providing value, you’re able to build relationships and nurture those relationships so that you can eventually get to what everyone wants and that’s a conversion. So I think it’s a strategy. I think it’s something deliberate and I think you need to really know your clients and what’s of value to them.
Bob Woods 00:32
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast! Featuring the top voices in sales and marketing. Join hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick as they discuss the best tips and strategies they are teaching their clients so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Here are your hosts BrynneTillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 01:10
Welcome to Making Sales Social, I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 01:13
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 01:14
So Brynne, tell everyone who’s joining us today.
Brynne Tillman 01:16
So I’m excited to bring on a friend that I made through business. So this is a perfect example of social selling gone social personal, actually, we became pretty good friends. But our guest, I’m about to introduce, was the CMO of one of our very first large corporate clients during the pandemic. And so although she now knows this, we created a significant portion of our delivery the way we do today, based on the needs of the company that at the time, she was the CMO.
So I’m so excited to introduce Bonnie, she has now launched her own program and doing some great things. So you know, Bonnie, I’m gonna let you introduce yourself and tell everyone a little bit about what you’re doing today.
Bonnie Habyan 02:05
Thanks, Brynne, and thanks Bill, I’m so excited to be here. So yeah, I’ve been in marketing for the last two decades, mostly in the real estate finance segment but I’m finding myself having, you know, gone through some of the LinkedIn training with you and post-pandemic during the pandemic, how LinkedIn really just became so critical that I’ve found this great love for it.
You know, it’s so funny, you’ve taught me so much and I’ve learned so much from the social classes and I’ve learned so much about how useful it is now, in today’s world, especially with sales that I’m integrating in every aspect of what I do.
So I’m currently publishing my first book, which is something I wanted to do for some time and that’s really exciting, as well as looking at some other consulting opportunities, as well as a new position to find home but everything in which I kind of am now focusing really has a very strong social selling kind of aspect to it, which I think will continue to be very important as we move forward in 2021 and beyond.
Bill McCormick 03:07
That’s great! So, my mind… the wheels are spinning about some questions, and we want to make sure we talk about your book towards the end. But Bonnie, we ask every guest the same first question to kick things off, what is making sales social mean to you?
Bonnie Habyan 03:23
Well, I think it’s the new hybrid, right? I don’t think in today’s world that businesses can call on their own skills of just cold calling, sending emails, you need to now kind of leverage the network, which I believe is greater than PR, greater than advertising and that’s really the social channels that allow you to provide value to clients and in providing value, you’re able to build relationships and nurture those relationships so that you can eventually get to what everyone wants and that’s a conversion.
So I think it’s a strategy. I think it’s something deliberate. And I think you need to really know your clients and what’s of value to them and I think it’s very helpful to sales now. Before you’d be taking a gun and just kind of spraying out there hoping to get every and all lead. Now you’re able to really target in and say, “These are the segments that I want to focus on” “This is what I want to try and do” and “These are the people I want to connect with.” “And let me think of how I can do that in a strategic way that isn’t very salesy but provides value to them and allows me to become sort of an advisor, sort of someone that’s going to be a value to them and eventually, you connect and perhaps do business one day together.” I think it’s essential.
Brynne Tillman 04:29
Yeah, I absolutely love that. I want to dive deeper into your perspective on that but before I do, I want to kind of go back to something that I think we started with, which is, you know, you come from a pretty prominent CMO position at a very prominent company in the real estate world. And you were there for a significant portion of your career, it was 17 years. Is that right?
(Bonnie: Yes, Right.) So you bring an enormous amount of knowledge and skills from the corporate CMO world. What would you say to the entrepreneurs or the sales professionals out there? The marketing efforts and the things that you did in a large corporate? And bring it down to, how can they apply those to their social selling?
Bonnie Habyan 05:24
Well, you know, I think in today’s world, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money. If you start slow, and you’re able to start, you know, connecting in meaningful ways, and then able to create a small list of those people who would bring tremendous value to your business, and just start kind of figuring out how you connect with them and build a relationship with them by maybe creating a piece of content, sharing something that you know is of value to them.
It’s small baby steps, right? A lot of time executives and sales folks say they don’t know where to start. And they don’t have to start big, you can just find something that’s of value that’s already posted, and make small steps and engaging in a meaningful way, not just selling them. I think we all… I know I don’t like getting those immediate, “boom, connect, then sales pitch right in your inbox.”
But what are things that you can pay attention to say, “I know what that challenge is of someone looking to buy their first property,” “I know what that challenge is of that CEO who is worried about what’s going to transpire in the economy,” and “Can I send them something of value, engage with them in that respect, to help maybe solve some of their problems?”
I don’t think it has to be something you know, where you have to go a huge campaign. Start small, maybe five or 10 folks more from an account-based feature, and figure out how you can start to get in front of them in a way that’s going to be mutually beneficial, and then take it from there.
Sometimes it just grows organically. Next thing you know, you’re seeing these folks a lot and you start connecting and you start commenting, and then you build this relationship, similar to how you would if you met them in a room, but let’s face it, that’s not happening anymore. So we have to think creatively.
Brynne Tillman 07:04
So I heard something in there that I think resonated with the corporate mentality and how to bring that into the entrepreneur or individual sales professional, which was account-based, right? So I absolutely love, we call it account-centric sales versus account-based sales because most companies today don’t assign a finite number to sales reps that they usu— not — they still do, some still do, but usually, there’s some room for prospecting that’s new, so we call it account-centric sales but from a corporate account-based sales mindset, what are some things that you can pull from what the big companies do that (Bonnie: Right.) entrepreneurs and salespeople can do?
Bonnie Habyan 07:50
I think that’s an excellent point. I mean, I think in today’s world, some of the small entrepreneurs don’t have the databases available to them that can give them a full customer journey using something like Salesforce or Pardot and start looking at the behavioral type of tactics. You don’t have that, right? So I think, as opposed to just sending out blank emails to your database, what an entrepreneur can certainly do is kind of look at where they want to be in a year, weed out or kind of figure out those top five,10 folks that they want to focus on in a meaningful way.
Focus on them through LinkedIn strategy, providing value, and then also do that through your email, through your direct mail, through the other integrated channels. LinkedIn will be one channel. So you can provide that customer journey or that account-based approach, saying, I am going to look at the three or four decision-makers within this company and try and get in front of all of them in an integrated fashion and then kind of layout that plan. Do that to five to 10 people. Be consistent, be meaningful. Try and provide this incredible touchpoint that you know, from access points that you’re able to provide them and then you’ll see some results.
I think the problem is that you have, you know, these larger companies that can do that in an automated fashion. As an entrepreneur, you can’t, right? You have to think about scrappy ways that you’re going to be able to provide that same type of experience, but we don’t have the resources. So you know, you can do it on a small scale. Follow in, theory, what large companies do, but do it in a way that’s really focusing on those top low hanging fruits or those top wishlist fruits that you want to garnish at some point and create a little roadmap.
Brynne Tillman 09:33
I love that!
Bill McCormick 09:34
Yeah, and so what I love about this is what you’re, what I’m hearing is, you know, basically taking a marketers approach to selling. So we’re from a marketing standpoint, you’re segmenting, and you’re giving value to each client profile, basically, with triggers.
So what we’re saying is let’s make it smaller rather than spraying it. Rather than, you know, seeing, throwing so much mud against the wall and see what sticks because that doesn’t work, you know, not everyone is your client, not everyone is your ideal client. Figuring out, okay, these are my top 10 that I’m going after.” And just making everything smaller, I love the quote from the…
Bonnie Habyan 10:18
Right. And in that way, you can do the personalization, right, I can do the customization.
Bill McCormick 10:23
Aim small, hit small, right. So if you’re looking, if you’re aiming for a small spot and you miss, you’re only going to miss by a little bit. And that’s the same idea that if we focus on a certain segment, we can customize that, which is going to give us a better return. And also those that we don’t quite hit with that, we’re not going to turn them off, because we’re not spraying and pitching, you know, just the other day, somebody reached out to me, and it’s something that I’m not interested in. It’s a product and service I’m not interested in, but in the way that person reached out, I didn’t feel like, “Alright, I never want to talk to you, again.” I added them to my network, and we’re gonna have, we’re gonna have a conversation just as a networking call. So I think that’s what I hear from you. I love that. I love that!
Bonnie Habyan 11:08
Yeah, I think that’s where a lot of marketers are headed towards more of this account-centric, you know, count-based personalization customization. And, you know, if you’re an entrepreneur, you can’t do that at scale, you don’t have the resources, but at the same time, as an entrepreneur, just sending out, you know, blanket approaches to something isn’t going to get your value, probably gonna get less quality of leads. If you kind of really focus on those that you know, have a sure business for you, and you hit one out of 10, but that now a person is able to bring you a lifetime of value, your ROI is, you know, increased tenfold because you have something that you can go to now for the next 10 years. And all those resources that you would spend on just a blanket approach have now been pushed towards something that, you know, is a little bit more definitive. That’s the beauty, I think, really, of LinkedIn as well, it provides you that.
Brynne Tillman 11:54
Yeah, I love it. I mean, there are so many ways we can use LinkedIn first to build the list, right? So a couple of things. If you look at your ideal client, your favorite client, you can now find more companies like them, number one.
Number two, this is my favorite, or our favorite, really, is the social proximity and socially surrounding people inside of these organizations that you can do with LinkedIn. So you’ve got your top 10, that you’ve sourced out because they match your ideal client persona.
Now with LinkedIn, you can start to find the eight,10 people that you’re talking about right inside of LinkedIn. So if you have a champion that you’re talking to internally, instead of saying, “Who else is responsible for…” you know, “…are you the only one responsible?” or “Who else should we bring?”
We can say, you know, “Hey, Bonnie, I noticed there are, you know, five or six other people inside the organization that typically come in around this time to start talking about the solution. You know, here are the names, which of these people do you think we can bring into our next meeting?”
Bonnie Habyan 12:59
Yeah, and I think that’s the approach everyone’s taking and anything’s involved, where you can get closer to those that you know are going to be the decision-makers. We didn’t have that five,10 years ago. (Brynne: Right.)
And I think, you know, this is making marketers a little more vulnerable. I mean, you can get to the point now, but <inaudible> metrics, you couldn’t do that, you know, 10 years ago, you didn’t have the data, you didn’t have the systems, you didn’t have the capability. And things are changing very quickly. And I think, you know, LinkedIn, and social handles of that sort through social selling, will start to help you really drive both results, and you know, ROI and metrics that you can now measure and look at.
Brynne Tillman 13:41
So we did miss a little piece of what you said if you wouldn’t mind repeating it. We lost your internet for a second.
Bonnie Habyan 13:47
Okay, yeah, I’m saying you have such a toolbox in front of you now that we didn’t have 10 years ago, you can get closer to those clients. Now you can understand their needs and wants a little bit. So we can be much more deliberate. You couldn’t do that five or 10 years ago, you didn’t have the data capabilities, systems capabilities. And LinkedIn has helped provide that.
Brynne Tillman 14:05
That’s around social listening and research, really. (Bonnie: Absolutely)
Bill McCormick 14:09
Yeah. So I love the toolbox analogy, because you know, you can bang a nail in with a screwdriver, but it’s not as effective if you use a hammer. You can stick a bolt off of a screw with a hacksaw but then you cannot use the screw again, if you use a ratchet, then you can do it.
So great, great, really great analogy there. I’d like to change it up a little bit (Bonnie: Sure.) and kind of throw you a curveball. Most of our listeners are folks that are in sales, many of them sell into the C-suite. They may be calling and calling on chief marketing officers.
Tell us a little bit about your time in the C-suite. What were some tactics, some sales tactics that sales professionals use with you that you found valuable that caused you to trust them. That causes you to say, “Yes, I want to partner with this company or with this individual.”
Bonnie Habyan 15:06
You know, cold selling type of tactics just don’t work. I have found I am a huge podcast listener. I have to tell you, I have gone and made more connections through listening to podcasts than I have through anything else.
A, it gives me you know, someone strong credibility. B, I’m listening to them in an environment where they’re not selling me anything directly, I get to hear their education, their experience, case studies, whatever. So I actively reach out to them. So for me a tactic in that respect, share me a piece of content, show me something that you’re doing, let me give a chance to research you if I think you’re worth listening to, I will download that podcast, take a listen to it and I have actively sought out five to 10 people from anything that I’m doing to find more information about to maybe just say, “Hey, you are doing a rockstar job.”
I mean, there was a person I listened to from Supermetrics. You know, when I’m trying to understand some things I reached out to her and I said, “You just explained something super, super well. Kudos to you. Congratulations!”
I didn’t want anything else from her. I just thought she did a great job. So it’s almost like when you’re listening to a podcast, you’re getting this education, but it’s almost a little bit of a celebrity status. You’re listening to someone that if they’re that credible, to be on a podcast that has XYZ listeners, they must know their stuff, I’m gonna reach out to them, it helps me do my job better. I don’t have to go through dozens and dozens and dozens of possible vendors. It gives you instant credibility, instant, you know, kind of access. And to me, send me something like that, that I can listen to and learn from, your foot’s in the door.
Bill McCormick 16:43
Mic drop moment right there for our listeners. Rewind this, go back and listen to (Brynne: Rewind.). There’s a stat, go back, whatever. There’s a stat that we throw around a lot from Corporate Visions, it says 74% of B2B buyers said that they chose the sales rep that was the first to add value and insight, not the one that had the cheapest price, not the one that said they had the best bells and whistles for their product or service or the best customer service but the first to provide value and insight.
Many people might roll their eyes at that stat like, “Oh, yeah, sure.” You just heard from a C-suite executive. 17 years in the C-suite, who told you that very thing that she looks for value, she looks for insight. So don’t discount that. Go back and look at your posts and see, are you providing value and insight or are you just spraying sales stuff out there hoping somebody finds it, hoping somebody raises their hand? Brynne, you’re gonna say something?
Brynne Tillman 17:45
Yeah. So we just closed the first big piece of business, that I can clearly lead back to YouTube. So they were vetting out LinkedIn trainers, we actually have a small YouTube following, because it’s new for us. But they found our content and reached out and did all… so this is, you know, I hope I get this right. Is it 57% of the buying process? I don’t know if that’s right.
Bill McCormick 18:18
I think it’s 68, actually.
Brynne Tillman 18:22
68% of the buying process is done before the sales rep even has the first conversation. This was proof of that, right? They watched our videos, they reached out. And they already did all their vetting. They were down to us and one other trainer.
Bill McCormick 18:38
Bonnie, you researched us right? Before—
Bonnie Habyan 18:41
I will give you tremendous kudos on that because, I have to tell you, you know, saying, we looked at 15 to 20, you know, different vendors, A, your content was spot on. B, the customer service and the personalization, and the listening to what our needs were were spot on.
The feedback and the response of you know, we need X, Y, and Z very quick. And, of course, the first thing I do as a CMO is I’m researching. I’m researching who’s offering what, do I like how they’re presenting things? Do they seem to get what we need? Do they have experience in the sector we’re in? And are they responsive?
Those boxes are checked, and then it’s, well, we need a little bit of a customization here. Can you do that for us? And you know, being able to write all of those things of value and being an expert in your field, like looking at seeing how many followers or followers you have? What are the testimonials? What is the feedback from other folks? What referrals do you have?
All those elements go into the cake of, “Are we going to you know, is this the recipe we need for what’s going to help us move the needle?” And you did so we’re still here. I mean, I’m still here after you know, just kind of meeting Brynne, we’ve become fast friends because I think we align a lot but I think you know your brand and what you guys do is spot on and it’s developing that relationship, which is you don’t see that with many businesses.
Bill McCormick 19:59
I say many times as sales professionals, we have a sales process. And we like to force that on our clients sometimes because that’s what we’ve been trained in. It’s what we know. But I think what you just heard Bonnie say, was there’s a buying process. And that’s really what we have. And that’s what we cater to with Bonnie, when we were going through the discovery phase, as our friend Jeff [inaudible] says, we weren’t doing discovery on Bonnie in our company, we were doing discovery with Bonnie in our company.
How can we help you? How can we move this forward the best way? So I think if you go back and re-listen to this, you’re going to hear some real keys that will tell you some really great strategies. If you’re reaching out to the C-suite, if you get a call with someone in the C-suite on how you can move that forward. And a lot of it starts with what are you doing now? On social right now? What kind of content are you creating? And how are you conducting those calls? So wow, just really perfect.
Brynne Tillman 21:03
And are you doing what we say all the time is detach from what the prospect is worth to you, and attach to what you are worth to the prospect? When you can do that. You will sell more than you could ever imagine because you’re really doing what they need, not what you need.
Bill McCormick 21:20
For sure. For sure. Well, I think we really just scratched the surface but unfortunately, we’re coming to the end of our time together. Bonnie, thank you. This was so, so good. Tell everyone a little bit about the book that you’re writing.
Bonnie Habyan 21:34
Yep. It has not a lot to do with marketing but it’s funny, you know, my mom is 90 and over the years, she’s just been hysterical. And you know, it’s funny, if you look back a generation or so ago, things have changed tremendously. So it’s a little bit of a memoir of her life, but it’s also life lessons. And I think in today’s environment of running and fast-paced internet, you know, and just being on all the time she really brings it back to a little bit about what made family and what made a simpler life. And so that’s what I hope to convey to folks that are interested. But she’s funny. Funny, too.
Bill McCormick 22:09
So special, that’s so so special. So tell our listeners how they can connect with you and find out more about you.
Bonnie Habyan 22:16
Sure, sure. meetbonnieh.com is my website. That’s where it has everything with respect to my book, but [email protected] as well feel free to shoot me an email. And of course, I’m on LinkedIn. So I’m on there every day. You know, it’s like my favorite new thing now. So thanks. Thanks, too, for having me. Thanks for all that you do and bring to the business and to the profession. Appreciate it.
Bill McCormick 22:40
Yeah, so definitely, definitely our pleasure, and listeners thank you so much for spending your time with us. Make sure you catch the next episode of Making Sales Social. And as you’re out and about this week. Don’t forget to make your sales social. Bye-bye, everyone.
Bob Woods 22:54
Thanks for watching, and join us again for more special guest instructors bringing you marketing sales, training, and social selling strategy that will set you apart. Hit the Subscribe button below to get the latest episodes from the Making Sales Social podcast. Give this video a thumbs up and comment down below on what you want to hear from us next. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Visit our website socialsaleslink.com For more information.