OMI: Brad Banyas, On Social Selling

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Brad Banyas, CEO of OMI, joins us to discuss why manufacturing marketing and sales teams do actually need social selling strategies.

Danny:

Hey, alright, we’ve got an awesome episode for you we’re lining up here. We’re going to be talking about social selling. What is it? I don’t know. But we have Brad Banyas here from OMI who’s going to tell us what it is and why you need to use it. I’m Danny Gonzales, and this is IndustrialSage. Alright, let’s go ahead and jump into this episode. Brad, thanks so much for joining us. We have Brad Banyas here from OMI who, basically what they do is they do a lot of sales force, marketing automation, and social selling strategies and integration kind of things. So before we get into this topic on, we’re going to be talking about social selling, Brad, tell us a little bit about OMI, yourself, your background, all that good stuff.

Brad:

Good, yeah, so we’re 19 years old this year; just turned 19. We help companies implement and execute CRM, marketing automation, and more recently, new social selling platforms. So companies struggle with that because there’s a lot of opportunity. There’s a lot of products, a lot of services. They don’t know, really, what fits for them. So we typically help anyone in the small to midsize business area and can come in with them and help evaluate tools on their behalf, help them get better sales processes or marketing processes on tools they’ve invested in in the past, and maybe they’re not leveraging those.

Danny:

That never happens.

Brad:

Yeah, actually, most of our clients actually have CRM in place, and so we help them execute that and help their teams better evaluate some of the new things that are going on in the market like social selling.

Danny:

Perfect. And that’s a great lead-in to the topic we’re going to be talking– because I think a lot of us have heard of social selling. You talk about it, and probably some of us or a lot of us, or maybe none of us– I don’t know–are actually doing it and engaging it. But I think what is really interesting, you have been hearing about this probably over the last two years or so, social selling, so let’s break that down before we get into how to do it. What is it? How would you define it?

Brad:

Yeah, I think a lot of people are like, is it just a buzzword? And in some cases, it may be. But social selling has really come out of the CRM space. And so what happened with the CRMs, people thought of it as a big database that you put data in, and you can’t get any information out or information changed on your contacts and your prospects. So what social selling really is about is the technology such– people are familiar with LinkedIn, probably the most recognizable platform that people use every day, new tools like Nimble CRM that are really catered to helping you to reach out and build more information about a lead or a contact where it will automatically go out and find information on your social accounts, so it builds a social dossier. So what that does, in the past we were all looking through books or buying lists or procuring other lists and trying to import them into CRM. The problem was, there was really no contextual information around that individual. So social selling is really built around that realm to help you identify that person, learn more about that person, and be able to reach out easier across different mediums. Traditional was phone and email; now it could be Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. So it’s really bringing that front and center to the sales and marketing teams of these companies to interact more easily and more readily.

Danny:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s such a great thing. It’s funny, too; it’s like maybe it’s a new term, but the reality of it is the basis and the premise of what goes on with it and how you do it, it’s no different than sales probably was done 100 years ago, 200 years ago. It’s the same process; it just has a different face to it. But I think sometimes it can be a little challenging, a little daunting because it’s like, wait, essentially we’re talking about getting on social media platforms like Twitter. Do I really need a Twitter? In certain cases it’s like, well, it’s interesting because everybody has their own, there’s all these different tools. You mentioned maybe not even email 20 years ago, but your phone. Now, it’s all these different things. Here’s my phone; here’s my email; here’s my LinkedIn; here’s my Twitter; here’s my Instagram. Look at all these different things here. So what are some practical applications in terms of using that in the sales process? How might a salesperson, and even marketing as well, how might they use those tools?

Brad:

Right, so part of the reason I’m going to step back as why it’s becoming more relevant is the whole way that people buy services and interact with your company has changed. Before, we would educate through a number of ways, mediums like magazines or trade shows, and that’s still effective in some cases. But today’s world is not about, can I find you or do I know who you are? But it’s, how do I better communicate with you or really build that relationship that used to be taken over time, maybe years, down to weeks or months to build a trusting relationship? So some of the ways that people use social CRM today is really being able to target that ideal person around their interests on things like LinkedIn. You can put categories in of what you’re interested in, CRM, manufacturing, certain things, boats, automobiles, whatever may be—

Danny:

The niche.

Brad:

Yeah, and the niches that you can define will then allow you to closer target that group of who you might be able to reach out to. So one example is, obviously we’re in the CRM space, so we want to know people that are using platforms like Salesforce or Nimble or other products that we consult on. So it’s very easy for us to identify those relationships. And then once we do, we find certain common things that’s going on at that company. Maybe there’s a job opening that was posted. Maybe there’s other what you would call storylines or tags that are important for us to know this person may be worth engaging with. And we use those tags, and they are made readily available and the social tools to bring it to our attention. So then we can focus on messaging. We can focus on, how do we want to communicate? Maybe we just reach out via LinkedIn. Maybe we call them, or maybe we put them in a nurture campaign to get them warmed up to talk to us versus aggressively going after them.

Danny:

Exactly. So really, what you’re talking about there in that explanation is really that omnichannel approach. Really, we have all these different channels, if you will, to be able to reach contacts. So maybe you put that in part of that sales process, part of that cadence. You’ve got, maybe it’s an initial phone call; and then it’s an email. And then I think what you’re really talking about there is engaging with somebody on the outside. If somebody’s putting a post up about whatever, like it. Maybe make a little comment on it. Or, like you mentioned, if somebody has a job posting or something, well maybe you know somebody that might be a really good fit for that job. Say, hey, I’m going to share this with such and such or send that link, and really providing some value and helping them.

Brad:

And that’s a great point. What social CRM has done and social selling has done is bring those listening points or those things that are going on front and center so that you can act on them. And you can actually become more helpful to someone. You can actually say, hey, I found this article; I know it makes sense for you. Or I know you go to Disney World every year; here’s a great article on Disney. So some of the things that we’re doing you mentioned briefly in the automation space is things like gifting or things like bringing their attention to something that, if you know someone, it means something very much to them, that they love Disney World, send them a nice card that’s personalized about something with Disney or a character on it. It’s about really trying to connect with that person at a human level and then begin to do business versus our old cold calling, call, call, call, you need it, you need it, you need it. And you just can’t get to those people anymore. So social CRM and social selling is really helping you nurture these relationships or find some type of common ground with an individual to then be able to really see if your products or your services are right for them.

Danny:

Yeah, a couple of key things in there you mentioned. At the end of the day, people want to do business with their friends. It’s a really great tool of being able to start to build that relationship. And the other thing that you said that, I love it there, really is providing value. Provide value first. Instead of, hey, come buy from me, buy from me, buy from me, it’s making that initial connection, and start having these interactions and building that relationship by providing value. So maybe looking and seeing, what can you do to help make their day better or solve their challenge or whatever that doesn’t have to take a lot. You mentioned, send them a little gift. You see them; they’re putting this post on–people pay attention. People love that, and that stands out way more than, hey, you want to buy this thing from me?

Brad:

Exactly, and the world is so funny, whether people believe in networking or referral marketing or referrals in general. In the consulting world, you get a lot of referrals because you don’t necessarily have a product that you can see, so you have to build trust and get referrals. And things like LinkedIn have been so successful because you’re building that network; you’re building that referral network. And I can go to any industry expert that I know in LinkedIn and say, we’ve got a client that’s got a problem, and I know you guys can help them. It has nothing to do with me, but I’m going to introduce you to them. That’s a different approach, and our clients remember that. I may not know anything about electrical engineering or whatever it may be, but based on our network and the strength of our network, you can disseminate hey, I’ve got a client that’s got a problem, and is there anyone out there who can do it? And you’re using the speed of the internet and these social tools to bring those expertise together and then solve problems. And it works. So you can’t take the traditional approaches; I’m going to go sell you this. It’s earned over time with the things and the good deeds or the referrals you provide over time.

Danny:

One of the best things, I think that’s a key differentiator between being a vendor versus a trusted advisor. And I hate the word vendor; I really do. But I had an experience a couple weeks ago. Somebody called me, and they said, hey, listen–it was somebody, we hadn’t sold anything to them; we were talking to them. They said, hey, I’ve got a question for you about this, and it was kind of outside. But I thought you might be a really good person to. But hey, I guess it’s pretty good that I’m calling you, asking– we made that jump, and we trust you, and all that stuff because there are some times, they had other challenges that, completely unrelated to the products and the service that we were selling. People say, hey, look. We see you have this problem over here; I need to connect you with this person over here, and let’s do that. People totally remember that.

Brad:

Oh yeah.

Danny:

And they’re like, thank you because this was a big pain in my butt, and you’re helping to solve it.

Brad:

It’s funny you mentioned the vendor comment because that’s something we dread. We want to be a trusted partner. And when someone says vendor, it’s the kiss of death, and you’ve just been commoditized down to a point that, next time it comes up, you’re gone. So whether you’re selling pencils or whether you’re selling Teslas, customers want to feel good. They want to do business with you, and you’ve got to add some value or differentiation. So some of these, back to these social selling and these tools available like we mentioned, Nimble, and LinkedIn, and all these great tools– that are very affordable; everyone can use them. Some of them are free– is it’s bringing that information and aggregating that information where you work, in your email, online, and it’s, anyone can use it. The old days of where you had to enter information in on Danny or– nobody wants, that’s death to a salesperson that has to sit there—

Danny:

Do data entry.

Brad:

Yeah, for three or four hours and do research and do that. And it’s a large percent of their time. In most cases, it’s a day a week. If you can give that selling time back to them and get them networking, get them interacting with some of these available software tools out there, it saves them time and money, and you’ll win more business.

Danny:

Now, I’m going to make a little bit of a pivot on there. Let’s bring some of that marketing into the conversation in terms of the tools and the market. How can marketing help support some of this because obviously, it’s outbound? Call it SDR work or whatever. How does marketing come in to be able to help support that?

Brad:

Right, I think staying away from the technology side, what some of this has been able to do is for really marketing and sales to align more around the customer profile or the segmentation. So in some of these services we’ve talked about, I have the ability to tag someone as, I need to nurture those people. They’re interested in automobiles; they’re interested in software or whatever it may be. The ability now for marketing to work with sales around nurturing them and pulling those leads and tags and executing a content strategy– these people are interested in automobiles; we only want to send content about automobiles to them– really has evolved, and it’s not as difficult as people think. So one example would be, you’ve heard people talk about drip campaigns, automate campaigns. It’s really irrelevant. It’s more about finding someone’s interest, knowing what they’re interested in, and slowly giving them relevant content. Same thing with the referral that we were talking about. Giving them relevant content over time so that, when they’re ready to buy, they know you’re targeting them, not for boats–it’s an automobile that I’m looking for.

Danny:

Yeah, and they knew who they’re going to go with on it. So that’s super key. We talk about this on the show all the time, that alignment between sales and marketing. Sales out there; they find these people. Okay, maybe they’re not quite ready to go, but let’s continue to nurture that conversation. That’s where some of these tools, whether you have these tools or not, but marketing should hopefully, in an ideal world, come in to be able to help to nurture them and provide that content, really to provide that education, to help solve their challenges so once they are ready to go, to your point, good to go.

Brad:

Yeah, and it’s really interesting because more of the content, where in the past in the traditional world, marketing had all the content or managed all the content. What we’re seeing that’s been successful is, in many cases some of the sales team is directly with the clients and getting feedback. So some of these things where sales-generated content, specifically around video, people creating their own video, people using that video over and over again just to try to get through to someone. We’re seeing really where they’ve had success in sales that the marketing and sales teams are coming together and jointly saying, hey, Danny did an awesome job on this kind of video for this client. We need to take this and put this into our marketing and our sales process for our other teams to learn from. And that’s been, we’ve seen that over and over be a success.

Danny:

So it’s really, instead of having that lone wolf approach to the sales. I’m just heads-down; it’s really bringing in that team.

Brad:

Exactly. And the wins today are a lot easier to share. They’re more visible. But as far as executing some of these sales processes and social selling processes, there’s been– in the past, everyone was a little hesitant. I don’t want to enter data. I don’t want to do that. Well, these kinds of tools are really beneficial around building your brand as an individual no matter what company you’re working for. It’s building your brand, and that’s really what it’s about. It’s about you’re confident in your products; you’re confident in your services. But you are the brand, and in the past, that’s not been the case. Well, the entity is the brand, but you as a representative have been empowered through a lot of these tools. And they’re readily available. And that’s how people really connect. So I think some of it’s good.

Danny:

That human connection.

Brad:

Yeah, I think it’s good, human to human.

Danny:

Exactly.

Brad:

It’s all about that. It’s funny how, as much technology as we have and such great automation and things we’re doing with artificial intelligence, at the end of the day, all these tools are making us do is be better at communicating our message more succinctly, more directly because it has to hit at the right time. The sales cycles of 20 years or five years or six years are being pushed down.

Danny:

Absolutely. Alright, so my last question here would be, okay, somebody says they watched this, and they’re like, you know, I haven’t been doing this. Maybe I should be doing this. It sounds like it’s pretty valuable. What key tips or advice would you give to somebody that is saying, you know, I want to start doing this?

Brad:

There’s a thing called the internet which we all know.

Danny:

Google.

Brad:

Yeah, you can Google it. You can learn anything about some of these concepts we’re talking about. I would say, if you haven’t been on LinkedIn, it’s one of the largest business networks in the world. It’s not new, and it’s something that I think will help you learn. You can get in; they’ve got some new things now that train you on social selling. You can literally get learning classes from LinkedIn, directly in LinkedIn. So there’s a company called Microsoft that bought those guys. Other things you can do is go out and look at tools like, we talked about these Nimble CRMs and these new, really simple, the easy-use tools where they connect to your existing tools you’re used to like Google or Microsoft Outlook. They connect dynamically, so it’s not like you’ve got to be a real tech wizard. And just start playing around and reaching out to people trying to link in with them. Have a subject; have something readily available that you need to talk to them about or that is relevant to them, and just engage, and you’ll be amazed. So if you start, and you’re like, I only have 20 people in my network, if you consciously do that and look for the right people, that network will grow. You will become a trusted part of the network, and it will bring you more business than you can imagine versus the traditional ways of cold calling or direct mailers.

Danny:

That’s awesome.

Brad:

Get at it, and good luck.

Danny:

Well, Brad, thanks so much for coming on. That was awesome. There’s a lot of great information here, a lot of great takeaways. If somebody would like to ask any questions, how can they get hold of you?

Brad:

Yeah, so we’re at OMI.co, as in company, so just OMI.co. You can go there; there’s a plethora of information about what we do, some of the topics we’ve talked about today. And you can call, and we actually will pick the phone up and actually speak to someone. Or you can email us or Twitter us or do whatever you want, but that’s where the best place to go would be.

Danny:

So if you need the plethora of information, go call Brad.

Brad:

Call OMI, yeah. There are 100 people behind me, by the way.

Danny:

Excellent. Well, thanks again for coming on. Hey, listen, another great episode here. Social selling, really awesome, really, really cool tool here. A couple takeaways that I can think of, that I pulled out here: Look, really leverage the social media platforms that you have. LinkedIn is a very easy tool to use. If you haven’t really used it a whole lot, set that up. Get your profile picture up there. Put your information in there, and start engaging. Maybe even just set some time up, I don’t know, once a day, just for five minutes. Go look; go join these groups that are in your industry. And start commenting. Start looking at people you know; help to solve their challenges. That’s really the goal, and to really cultivate that relationship. There’s a lot of other great nuggets of wisdom here, so if you have any questions, we have everything in the show notes.

And, as always, if you have any other questions that we would love to answer for you, you can write in at Optim–not Optimum Productions because that’s the production company here– IndustrialSage.com/questions. We’d love to answer your questions. If you’re listening on iTunes, we’d love a review. Please share our content, like it, post it. And as always, enjoy. We’ll see you next week on IndustrialSage.

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