Episode 96: Phil Gerbyshak – Demystifying LinkedIn Ads in Social Sales
Phil Gerbyshak joins the Social Sales Link team to unlock the mystery behind LinkedIn ads and how sales professionals can leverage it to secure more deals.
Find out what the best performing ad on LinkedIn is according to Phil and why. He’ll also explain the benefit of LinkedIn ads and whether they’re more effective than other social media ads when it comes to social selling. Tuning in to this episode will also teach you about selecting the right content for your landing page once your target audience clicks your ad and knowing how much to spend on your LinkedIn ads.
Phil Gerbyshak 00:00
We put service over self. It’s really important, right, that were serving people, we put quality over quantity. I believe that making sales social means we put solutions over sales. If we’re not solving problems, we’re not going to make any sales. And I believe in putting value over volume. So if we put those four things together, for me that’s making sales social. And obviously, conversation wraps around all of that and connection because if we don’t have that, well, heck, there’s no sense being social.
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 Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 01:03
Welcome back to Making Sales Social! I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 01:07
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 01:08
And Brynne who’s joining us today?
Brynne Tillman 01:09
Oh my gosh, so excited. This is my friend, like in real life friend, like when we see each other, when he flies into Philadelphia, we meet for dinner, and I hug him and I love him. And we partnered on projects together and I am so excited to bring Phil Gerbyshak to the stage. Hello, my friend!
Phil Gerbyshak 01:29
Yey! Hey Brynne, it’s so good to see you again. Hey, Bill!
Brynne Tillman 01:33
That was a hi for you listeners.
Bill McCormick 01:35
We’re waving and sending virtual hugs. So Phil, tell everyone just a little bit about you and what you’ve been up to lately.
Phil Gerbyshak 01:41
Sure. So well, I’m you know, I’m a sales guy, right? I love sales, everything about sales. I love to make sales social. That’s why Brynne and I got to know each other, why we’re friends, right? So yeah, so I do sales for B2Linked. I’m the VP of partnerships and sales for them, working with the bigger accounts and bigger enterprise-type clients. We sell, you know, we’re the best and biggest LinkedIn ads agency in the country.
And when I’m not doing that, I do get to fly around and speak. My book Social Selling Essentials comes out on my birthday.
Brynne Tillman 02:14
Woohoo! Go look up Social Selling Essentials on Amazon or the .com. Excellent, wonderful.
Bill McCormick 02:21
Well, I can’t wait to get into talking a little bit more about LinkedIn ads. It’s something that we haven’t discussed on our podcast yet. But before we get to that, Phil, we ask every guest the same first question. What does making sales social mean to you? Easy for me to say.
Phil Gerbyshak 02:36
Yeah, right. Easy to say, hard to think about. No. For me, so it’s kind of four things, right? So first, we put service over self, it’s really important, right? That we were serving people, we put quality over quantity. I believe that making sales, social means we put solutions over sales. If we’re not solving problems, we’re not gonna make any sales. And I believe in putting value over volume. So if we put those four things together, for me that’s making sales social. And obviously, conversation wraps around all of that and connection because if we don’t have that, well, heck, there’s no sense of being social.
Bill McCormick 03:08
That’s one of the most well-thought-out answers. I think we’ve had to that question yet. So I love that.
Brynne Tillman 03:16
Yeah, I’m excited. Let’s jump deep into where ads may not necessarily feel social. LinkedIn has lots of different ads. There are lots of some I can’t even keep up with every once in a while, I’ll get something in my inbox that’s sponsored, I’m like, I haven’t seen that before, right. So talk to us a little bit about LinkedIn ads, the different kinds of ads, and even who they’re for?
Phil Gerbyshak 03:42
Sure, well, let’s talk. Yeah, let’s call it paid media at first, right? Because that could be an InMail. For sure, right? So if you’re in sales and you have Sales Navigator, that is a LinkedIn ad, right? It’s somebody that you don’t know that you can get in their inbox. And certainly, you know, you have that and then you move that to a conversational ad, which is someone that only do you not know, but you didn’t target them based on their name. You didn’t say, “Hey, Bill.” You have an avatar and you put in the ad, categories, demographics, and insights that you want to go after, and you send those to different people with a goal of trying to start a conversation.
You could also do that with you know, sponsored InMail, which is straight up kind of advertising in your inbox. And the interesting thing of that is that will show up on LinkedIn the next time you log in, so it’s not like the advertiser just sent it but it feels like it because (makes a beeping sound) now I have an InMail and it’s at the top of my inbox and it’s unread, almost impossible to ignore. So that’s you know, that’s an ad format. Of course, we’ve got tons of display ads, right, could be at the top could be in the sidebar, but the best ad, the best performing ad is the sponsored post. It’s still It’s in your feed. And it is targeted, and it is valuable. And, you know, making sales social means solutions over sales. So we’re having a solution to our target customers’ problem.
And we’re putting that in a sponsored post. And if you do it right, you’re like, “Oh, that is a problem that I have. Therefore, I should click on this.” And then after it gets clicked on, you fill out a form and hopefully, some salesperson calls you and says, “Hey, why are you interested in that? What’s that?” Right? “I do some, you know, I do some research on that. And I see why you might be interested in that” and try to have a conversation. So ads absolutely lead to social sales.
Brynne Tillman 05:41
I want to go one step deeper into the sponsored ad because I find that to be interesting, mostly because you see them every single day. And the sponsored ad, I’m getting hit by companies. I’m surprised like if they were doing a really good job of betting, and probably not a big enough company for them, but they’re showing up anyway.
One of them is Corporate Visions that I see probably three or four times a week, and I love their stuff. So maybe that’s why they keep sending it. But how direct, you know, how specific can you get to a persona, when you’re doing some of these sponsored ads?
Phil Gerbyshak 06:19
Yeah, super specific. You can get as specific as you want, right? Most of the time, though, I will tell you, like I, just for fun here, I went to my LinkedIn and I looked to see because of course, sponsored content is everywhere, right? So probably every three to five posts from a company for sure. So you can target as much as you want, much like you can Sales Navigator, in fact, you can target even more because I can target groups that you’re in, I can target skills that you have, I can create custom audiences and look alike audiences to do that.
So advertising, I would tell you, when done correctly — now that’s the key here, when done correctly, can be super pinpoint sharp and create, you know, you can match you and you can run different ad formats and different, you know, different AV tests, right at the same person but if that’s not what you do, if you’re saying okay, so for instance, I’ve got an ad right now that says they want to reach members with similar company size as the current employer listed on my profile, and they want to reach members based on my profile location of the United States. That’s not very specific. There’s nothing there, right? That’s silly, right?
I would tell you, that’s an awareness post that they’re probably paying some you know, CPM, right, cost per milli, which is ridiculous.
(Brynne: What is cost per mili? I’ve heard of…)
No, it’s per impression, right? As opposed to cost per action, which is, only pay if you get a click, right. That’s what I would typically pay eventually, right? Not at first, right? I might do that CPM first but here’s the thing. I want the right people, to your point, right? I want only people that I want in my sales funnel. That’s who I should be targeting but the problem is, most people run ads completely wrong. They’re lazy and they run something like that, and they spend way too much money and I’m, people in the United States. Well, I’ll tell you what, flood insurance in New Orleans is not the same as flood insurance in Maine.
So we got to think about that, right? I mean, and then now, if we work with nationwide, right, and we only work with the company size that’s cool, then target that, right? But if we’re not, if we’re not niched in who we talk to, LinkedIn ads, I mean, you could burn hundreds of thousands of dollars, and we’ve seen it. We have companies that come to us, you know, that I get to talk to that they’re like, “Yeah, well, our cost per lead…” — ready for this — $60,000 or $70,000, because they sell a million-dollar or half a million-dollar product, right? And so that’s not terrible. If they get 10 leads, and they have a good sales team, and 50% sit for an appointment, and then 10% of those close, okay, that’s probably, you’re probably pretty close here to breaking even but you can do so much better than that.
And so that’s where, you know, long answer to your short question of how focused can you get, well, you can focus almost like a salesperson, because you can’t read the profile before you place the ad. But I can read the stuff that’s there, meaning I can’t read your activity but I can read all your other stuff. Like, think about your profile, everything that you put on your profile, plus everything on your company page. That’s how targeted you can be. (Brynne: Wow! That’s great.)
Bill McCormick 09:29
You know, you mentioned cost. And so that’s always something that’s top of my mind because I’ve always, I wasn’t sure if it’s anecdote, anecdotal that you know what, well, Facebook is cents or dollars per click, LinkedIn is like $9 to $10 per click. So how true is that? Is LinkedIn more expensive? And if so, what’s that benefit that you get from that greater expense?
Phil Gerbyshak 09:54
Absolutely. Way more expensive, right. So in some cases, from a Facebook ad, it could be honestly, 5x or 10x, maybe even 20x, than Facebook. And Google Ad, depending on how you run it could also be very expensive like LinkedIn. But here’s the benefit, right?
So first, on Facebook, I can advertise almost nothing against your work. It’s all about your activity. So if you go to Facebook, so Brynne, you’re not super active on Facebook. So it probably doesn’t know anything that you do, really, like truly like for work, right? Like you don’t even post, you barely post, you know, you won’t, you probably won’t post this interview there, you probably know (crosstalk) very little stuff, right? You know, so it doesn’t really know you but you’re getting ads.
So Brynne’s getting fed the same ads, probably that another person of her age in the United States (Brynne: Cole Haan shoes, that’s what I got.) Yeah, there we go, right? So and that’s fine. But that’s a $100 or less product, usually. And that’s cool, right? So for $10, I’ll get $100. Okay, so now let’s crank that up. For $100, I get $10,000. For $1,000, I get $100,000. right. So here we go.
So let’s do some simple math, let’s pretend that you’re going to invest $50,000 a month in LinkedIn ads. And just for round numbers with $50,000. Let’s say it’s $50 per click. So now we get a thousand clicks. Of those thousand clicks, 10% of them are qualified leads, like they’re good, right? They fill out your form and they’re good. That takes us down from 1000 down to 100. Of those 100, maybe 27, 25, maybe less, right, have a time, like right now, like they’re right now they are hot, they’re gonna make a decision, right? They’re emergency, right? Woohoo, that’s great.
And let’s say, then 5% of them sit for the meeting and one of them closes. Now, if I’m selling $100 shoes, that’s a big waste of money, right if I’m selling a $100,000 product, a million-dollar deal, and I can net one of those or two of those a month, that’s great. Plus, I’ve still got a full pipeline full of people who may be the timing isn’t this month, but it’s next month, might not be this quarter but it might be next quarter, it might not be next quarter, but it might be this year.
So now. And I do that every month. And the key is you have to test and test and test and retest and test and test because we get ad blind. So you pivot and change and change, you know, but eventually, you’ve got a pipeline full of qualified leads. And if you had a great sales team, who knows how to sell with social, now we’ve got an opportunity here to really do some good work.
So that’s the benefit. And let’s say because we targeted, I didn’t just say women in the United States, I said sales VPs of companies of 10,000 or more that had activity on their company page, and so many with senior leadership changes of this with you know, all these things. And now, I’m honed in now the keynote is you have to have an audience size big enough that it’s not one person but an audience size small enough that you can actually target that (crosstalk) (Brynne: And talk to them.) Yeah, yeah. Right. And try to earn a conversation. Try to get them to “Oh my gosh, that solved my problem. Oh, my gosh, that’s so great. Thank you, Bill, that piece of content was awesome but I’ve got bigger problems too and maybe you can help me with those.”
Brynne Tillman 13:38
So I love that. Talk about the quality of content that goes into that and is that for… Is that something that you guys work on? Are you pushed back to their marketing and say, this is what we need from you in order for this ad to work?
Phil Gerbyshak 13:51
Yeah, so two pieces there, right. So first, let’s talk about the quality of the ad and then we’ll talk about the quality of content. So quality of the ad means great headline, means great graphic that is not in LinkedIn’s colors. So for instance, your colors for your brand are blue, and white, well so are LinkedIn’s, which means that if you ran and you just said, “The heck with that, Phil, I’m running my brand colors!” Well, you look like a LinkedIn post and nobody would pay attention to it, they would just ignore it.
So you got to find the third color right? So that, hence, filled (crosstalk) (Brynne: Orange) …right (Brynne: I love it.) So, right? So, that and then you got to have a call to action, right? So that’s the ad itself, the copy. Then we get to the landing page, right? Landing page got to fulfill the promise of what you had. And it’s got to have a single purpose. I call this buy or die. You either gotta fill out the form, put in your information or not. Like no other choices. You can’t go click around on my social, you’re not going to read a related blog post. You’re not going to hit the con — no, buy or die. It is a landing page dedicated to this and then from there, right then the quality of the content.
The quality of content is determined on the company because I can’t write your white paper. I can’t tell you, you know, I can’t produce a video for you. (Brynne: But what works? Is it…) So what works? So, still, simple stuff, right? Infographics work, white papers work, long ones, no, but solve a problem that works, still, right? Because people are still, I mean, truly, people still want to solve problems. I mean, when we’re social, people, right, we’re looking for answers to our problems. We’re not just like, (makes a sound) “There’s nothing going on here,” Right? Like, so if you’re not — and solve an urgent problem, right? So the more we can, right, if this is hot because this is right now, then that’s great if it’s going to make your money, right.
So we’ve got one client that you probably have seen 100 times in your feed, that, you know, gets you, they talk about you, they can get you $50,000 back from the government, or you get money from them, right? And so that it’s worth it to them because right, they make they get a good chunk of that, if you get that stuff back, right. So if you think about that, an offer that or the content, that’s great, that solves a problem that then is there that’s conversational, that if I call you, you can be like, “Oh, yeah, well, I did have some questions about that or no, I couldn’t go deeper about that.”
So content that gets a form fill, right. So I would call that a soft conversion, doesn’t always get you a hard conversion of a sale, but it absolutely makes conversation happen. And then (Brynne: They move from lurker to engager.)
Yeah, well, and even from engager to actually letting us call them, right. I mean, that’s the whole desire here. Really, I want more conversations in sales. I want to bat right, I want to swing the bat if I’m, if I’m hitting zero, it’s because I haven’t swung it’s not because I suck. You know, if you suck at sales, you got a whole another problem, right? But I mean, most of us, right, if you’re listening to this show, you’re probably not someone who sucks at sales. You’re someone who’s looking for an edge. So ask questions, right? Invite the conversation. So, sales and marketing, though, that will line up here. Here we go, right. So that’s the big miss with most ads, right?
Marketing goes off and runs an ad and then sales, you know, they ran the ad. So they don’t like, “Hey, I download this awesome white paper, Phil” and Phil’s like, “What white paper? Can you send me a copy of that?” Right? “Why are you calling me? Like what?” You know, I know, you got the, maybe you got the notice that said, you know, Brynne downloaded a white paper but did you read it? Did you do anything with it, right? Are you aware? Do you know the top 10, you know, opportunities because of that white paper? Why? What are you doing?
So that’s what works, right? That’s, and it doesn’t have to be long. You don’t have to give away you know, 180-page ebook? Because nobody’s going to read it. Right?
Bill McCormick 17:47
Right. Nobody’s going to read it.
Phil Gerbyshak 17:49
But find time to solve a problem that you know, is pressing that you know is important, that you know, if they do right, you could probably shorten that sales cycle up.
Bill McCormick 17:56
So great, really great stuff. And so one last question that I have is, so if I’m a sales professional, maybe I’m a marketing professional listening to this, and I’m saying, okay, you know, maybe we need to pull the trigger on LinkedIn ads. What’s the cut-off? So if I sell a product that is only $5,000 per sale? Is it worth it? Is there a cut-off amount of amount per deal? That says yes, it’s worth it to do LinkedIn ads, or no, you really need to explore other avenues?
Phil Gerbyshak 18:27
Yeah, awesome question, Bill. So I would say, if your sales cycle is short enough and you have enough volume, that if I gave you 100 leads for $5,000, that you could do something with it, that you can convert one or two of those every month. That’s probably worth it. So the price point of that is probably five to 15k. Right, but I’ll tell you, again, a higher price point, means you have a better shot at getting that ROI because frankly, you can’t control timing, right, like salespeople, we can’t, right? We’re not magicians. So if we acknowledge that, I would say five to 15k for an offer is about right.
If you go higher, and it’s a stronger offer, and you have a real urgency and a real need that you can feel, like we have one client, who does, she gets you number one on the podcasts, that sort of thing. Well, a lot of people, wouldn’t that be nice, right, if we do that. Now, it’s going to cost you more than $5,000 but if that’s what you want, then you’re going to pay and you’re willing to pay that, you’re going to talk with her, you’re going to see “Oh, yeah, that’s incredible, right? I could do that.”
So I would say look at your offer and say, like, be honest with yourself, maybe you could increase the value of that offer. Right? Maybe it’s product plus services or maybe it’s a lifetime value, right? Maybe the first contract is only 5,000 but then, you know, you guys do a knockout job, and it’s $15,000 for the next one. The next one is 50. That would make sense, too.
Brynne Tillman 20:11
I love this. And I think you know, LinkedIn Ads is a little bit of a mystery to a lot of people. So I appreciate you kind of pulling back the curtain and letting us see a little bit what’s behind there. My last question and then I think we’re wrapping up for time, before we ask about you and how people get in touch with you, do you believe that LinkedIn ads will continue to roll out other kinds of or do you see other kinds of like video ads, or additional kind of creative, innovative ways to engage the buyers?
Phil Gerbyshak 20:53
Yeah, for sure, right. I mean, there are video ads. Oh, sure. (crosstalk) They’re out there, right, and there are carousel ads, they just don’t convert as well. Right. So I like creativity as much as you do but we’re a data company. I’m going to be totally transparent here. We’re not an ads company. We’re a data company. We make decisions based on data. I will tell you, I’m a sales guy, I can sell an emotion but we’re going to deliver on data. And that’s the big difference, right? So I can tell you that, you know, there’s tons of other ad formats that you can waste your money on but I’m going to tell you that a sponsored post, as unsexy as it sounds, is still the most effective way. And I will tell you, if you want to get started with that, right, so listen to the B2Linked, listen to the LinkedIn Ads show.
AJ Wilcox is the founder and I’m going to tell you right now he gives away all of our secrets. Like he’s not going to come back and say, “Phil, why don’t you tell Brynne and Bill about this?” No, we give away all our secrets because here’s the thing, we scale, right? The difference is we’re going to scale your ads. Yeah, if you’re spending 1,000 bucks a month, just go do it. That’s cool, right? Like, go listen to LinkedIn ads show. That’s great. You’re spending 10,000 a month, start thinking about calling us. You’re spending 100 grand a month you want an expert that’s not going to waste your money. Right.
So to your point about, you know, are there other sexier ad formats? Sure. I expect sponsored polls are coming next from companies, right? It’s got to come because there’s so much simpler engagement on a poll that for a company not to get that and bang, have their sales team drive through that? Come on, right. Like, that’s obvious that (Brynne: I would love that.) Yeah, no, of course, right. Wouldn’t we all love that? So that makes sense. I mean, so anyway, so I mean…
Brynne Tillman 22:35
We teach it organically? Yeah, we teach how to use LinkedIn polls to increase your opportunities.
Phil Gerbyshak 22:41
Yep. So think about that from a marketing perspective. And here’s the key again, let your sales team know when you’re running a LinkedIn ad. What are you advertising? Like, let them know, because I’m serious. If your salespeople don’t know, all the luck in the world…
Brynne Tillman 22:57
A disconnect, it’s a disconnect. Yeah.
Not going to happen. But if you let them know, they can close business.
Bill McCormick 23:02
Right, well, this has been so good. And I think we probably just scratched the surface on LinkedIn Ads. I know we had AJ Wilcox in a masterclass for our community that still people ask questions about, so, so much great stuff, Phil. So thanks for being with us. Tell everyone how they can connect with you and find out more about you and what you’re doing.
Phil Gerbyshak 23:22
Sure. So if you want my book, you go to socialsellingessentials.com and you get the book, right? That’s super simple. And if you want to talk about LinkedIn ads more, just email me, Phil@b2linked.com That’s the letter B, the number two linked.com. Happy to talk to you about that. Any of that stuff, answer questions, jump on the phone, get a Zoom call, whatever that works. And if you still like old-fashioned telephone, you call me 414-640-7445. My number is (Brynne: I love it.) on my LinkedIn profile. Call me, talk to me, let’s go. (Brynne: Thank you, my friend.)
Bill McCormick 23:54
Well, we will put all those links in the show notes. So once again, Phil, thanks so much for being with us. And to our listeners and watchers, thanks so much for being with us on another week. And don’t forget this week, as you’re out and about to make your sales social. We’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.
Bob Woods 24:11
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.