Interview with Forrest Dombrow – Sales and Lead Generation Go Hand-in-Hand – Episode #58

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Forrest Dombrow is a sales consultant at Solve Sales, a marketing and sales consultancy firm helping agencies get new leads and more clients. What makes them different is that they’ve walked the walk and have been contracted by brands like Amazon and Costco.

Forrest was also named one of the Online Marketing Institute’s Top 40 Digital Strategists in Marketing and has over 17 years of experience as a sales consultant in this space.

Questions we covered:

  • How would he describe lean generation to a 10-year-old?
  • Why inbound strategies and tactics work better than outbound (e.g. cold emails)?
  • Does someone need to be an extrovert to be successful at sales?
  • What are some changes that have occurred in the world of lead gen this year?
  • What are some pitfalls businesses make when trying to coordinate a sales team and marketing team to work together?
  • Why should B2B marketers attend sales calls?
  • How does someone scale their agency from their 1st client to their 20th?

Full Episode Transcript:

 

Kenny Soto  0:00  

purposes. We are now recording in 543. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the people of digital marketing with your host Kenny Soto. Today’s guest is Forest Dumbo. Hi forest. How are you?

 

Forrest Dombrow  0:17  

I’m doing great Kenny.

 

Kenny Soto  0:18  

Now just to make sure I didn’t butcher your last name, is that how you pronounce it?

 

Forrest Dombrow  0:23  

will close its DOM brow like Dominic and eyebrow.

 

Kenny Soto  0:27  

So forest DOM brow?

 

Forrest Dombrow  0:29  

Correct.

 

Kenny Soto  0:30  

Very cool. So, forest, I like to start every single episode off with getting more context about who you are as a professional. And that way the listeners know who is going to be speaking today. And usually that question is what got you into digital marketing. But in this case, my question for you is what got you into sales?

 

Forrest Dombrow  0:54  

That’s a great question and actually started with digital marketing. Let’s see, my father was a salesperson growing up. And if I knew anything, it’s that I did not want to be in sales. I have a great relationship with my dad, and he’s a great salesperson. 

 

But when I was younger, I just saw what he did. I was kind of introverted. And I just thought sales was sort of the worst career for me. And as I went through my entrepreneurial journey, going to a bunch of different businesses, I dabbled in sales sort of out of necessity. 

 

And I eventually got into digital marketing as a digital marketing as a marketing manager. I had my hands on a lot of day to day paid search, SEO, etc. And at some point, I think around 2007, we started our own agencies and co workers and I and we didn’t have a salesperson. And so I said, Well, I’ll give it a shot because I was really passionate about what we were doing. 

 

And it was so as a sort of out of necessity, because I just really didn’t want to go back and, and have to get a job. And so I read books, I pounded the pavement, I watched webinars. And the interesting thing was I grew to really love sales, actually more than even doing the marketing with the clients. And so it was kind of a journey unexpected, quite frankly, but ended up with a sales focus that I’m really, really enjoying.

 

Kenny Soto  2:20  

How would you describe your current job?

 

Forrest Dombrow  2:24  

Yeah, so my current job as founding partner of solve sales, we are a sales consultancy. We specifically focus on helping digital marketing agencies with their own marketing and sales.

 

 So as we’re consulting coaching, we teach workshops, and it’s all around creating scalability, repeatability consistency, and of course, increased sales conversions for digital agencies, and that includes software companies and web designers, and things of that nature.

 

Kenny Soto  2:59  

How would you describe lead generation to a 10 year old

 

Forrest Dombrow  3:06  

lead generation to a 10 year old, I’ve actually thought about that. Basically, it’s about problem solving. So looking for a group of people that have a problem that you can solve. For example, if somebody has a driveway that’s got a lot of snow on it, you can contact them to try and help them with that problem. 

 

So it’s all about problems and solutions. And when you match or find a good problem to solve and have a unique solution, you can get out and talk to people whether you know, just verbally through flyers, whatever the case may be, and let them know you have a unique solution. And that’s kind of how I think about lead generation.

 

Kenny Soto  3:47  

Now, taking a step back and making this more high level, would you say that most lead generation strategies that are inbound focused, tend to convert more clients than outbound? Or would you say vice versa?

 

Forrest Dombrow  4:08  

Definitely the inbound for sure. You know, one of the things I did to generate leads for our own digital marketing agency when I owned one, I’ve since sold my share, and that was to get out and speak. So I spoke at a lot of conferences, and I really tried to focus on sharing usable information so that people can leave those, those conferences with actionable tactics they can use to improve their own business. 

 

And by being up in front of the entire, you know, event, I basically networked with everybody at once I built my credibility. And when they called me they were already warm, you know, they saw me speak, they liked what I had to say. 

 

And they were halfway, you know, to buying something at that point as opposed to, you know, cold calling or cold emailing, that stuff has its place but if you just get lucky and someone’s like, you know, I just happened to be looking Going for this, it’s still going to be cold, they don’t really know you. So, you know, for me, it’s all about Inbound and more of an attraction model rather than cold calling and things of that nature.

 

Kenny Soto  5:11  

I would consider myself an introvert. And you mentioned that word earlier in the episode. So my next question for you is, is being an introvert, a crutch or an excuse not to do sales? Like do you need to be an extrovert to be successful?

 

Forrest Dombrow  5:33  

You know, I’m not sure you know, because those, you know, introvert extrovert sometimes, you know, I’ve read people can be sort of predominantly introverts, but maybe in certain areas of their lives. They’re extroverts. So I’m not exactly sure where the lines are, what I can tell you is I’ve always saw myself as an introvert, I saw myself as a guy that would rather sit at his computer and do work, then be out at networking events and things of that nature. 

 

But once I got out in the field, so to speak, I really enjoyed talking to people, maybe not because I was necessarily an extrovert, but because I loved what we’re up to, we had a really unique approach to marketing. And so just the excitement and passion I had kind of overcame whatever maybe fears I had at the beginning. And over time it grew because it was fun talking meeting with people.

 

Kenny Soto  6:27  

Tying back to lead generation, what are some key changes that you’ve seen occur in the lead generation space during 2021?

 

Forrest Dombrow  6:39  

That’s a good question. I think what you’re seeing is not that this is super new, but it seems to have even more and more of a focus is the importance of, of niching yourself or having the focus. Nowadays, just to go out and say we do digital marketing, and of sentence is just not good enough. 

 

So I do see a trend for people paying more and more attention to their own positioning and messaging, and going out to market, whatever they’re doing for lead gen, whether they’re doing their own paid search or speaking or content, marketing, whatever the case may be, to go out with a more focused message to say, hey, we don’t just do digital marketing for everybody, anybody, we do it this way for these specific people have something unique. 

 

So I just see more of a focus on niching. And then carrying that message of unique value or specialization out into the marketing tactics. Again, that’s not necessarily new, new, but it just seems to be more and more important over the last year to

 

Kenny Soto  7:42  

every marketing expert that I’ve talked to, has a different answer to the next question. So I’d love to know what your answer is. And that question is, what are some of the pitfalls or mistakes businesses make when trying to coordinate a sales team, any marketing team to work effectively?

 

Forrest Dombrow  8:04  

That’s a great question. I think the first thing is just not getting them in the same room, right? And also not promoting the idea that, hey, we’re on the same team here. And so I think communication or lack of communication is one of the biggest pitfalls I see. 

 

And then coming out of that lack of communication is sort of disjointed efforts, right? The marketing team may be doing certain messaging, and then the sales team is using different messaging. So it’s really I mean, it sounds pretty basic, but you know, coordination, communication, is really critical. And that’s something that I see missing, people just get really, really busy. 

 

And they’re cranking out, you know, the marketing teams cranking stuff out doing their job, quote, unquote, and the sales teams fielding whatever leads are coming through. And there’s just either not the time or the effort to get on the same page by having, let’s say, regular meetings and giving feedback and making adjustments together as a team.

 

Kenny Soto  9:05  

I’ve often wondered, and I’d love your opinion on this, would it be a good idea for sales professionals to contribute to the content creation the marketing team is doing? And would it be a good idea for the marketing team to attend some of those sales calls slash pitches

 

Forrest Dombrow  9:24  

100%. In fact, I think one of the most important tools any business should be using to help with sales and or marketing is to hear the voice of the customer. And there’s no better place to hear that than on a real sales call with a real person that’s actually considering buying the types of products or services that you sell. 

 

So whenever I work with clients, that’s one of the first things I want to do is listen in on sales calls, what are the key questions the prospects are asking? How do they phrase those questions? What words they use, because that’s sort of real life information should be used in marketing. So if if prospects tend to say red shoes, then in your marketing, you’re gonna say red shoes, not blue shoes. And you can only know how they talk and how they express their needs. By listening in on those sales calls, I think that’s really, really critical.

 

Kenny Soto  10:23  

Before asking my next question, I do want to just throw out a nice tip or tactic that anyone can probably leverage today, there is a app called otter.ai, that helps you do audio transcriptions, great tool to use, I recommend using that during your next sales call. 

 

So you can have a transcription that can then be repurposed into tweets, other social media content, and more importantly, you can use it for your SEO, and create a nice blog post from it. So that’s just something I want to throw out there. And it’s a great idea. Yeah. And the next question I have is, how does someone scale their agency from their first client to their 20th?

 

Forrest Dombrow  11:07  

Yeah, so the keys there are, of course, systems and processes. If you’re reinventing the wheel, every time somebody comes to the door, whether that’s on the marketing side, or the sales side, or the work delivery side, you’re just never going to have enough efficiency to scale your agency. 

 

So I think the first step is, is processes and systems, you know, how do you do things here, so that you’re not reinventing the wheel each time. So checklists are your friend templates or your friends, things of that nature. I also think going back to the niching, you know, the more narrowly focused you are doesn’t only help in generating leads and closing deals, but it helps in your efficiency and delivering. 

 

So if you’re doing sort of the same service, over and over, as opposed to every other day, you’re doing something different, that’s going to increase your efficiency. And then the third piece to look at, I think, is pricing and margin. So if you’re not, you know, a lot of clients I talked to, especially on smaller ones are freelancers, they’re just not charging enough. You know, if you’re going to charge 750 bucks a month for a service, or even 1200, there’s just not enough margin in there often to start hiring people and having enough margin to reapply to marketing. 

 

So getting your skills and your confidence up high enough to command fees, you know, that are more starting at, you know, 2500 a month, 3500 a month, 5000 a month, those are the sorts of fees, you need to start collecting to really be able to scale assuming you have that foundation of processes, etc.

 

Kenny Soto  12:42  

So more questions? What are some hard or soft skills that you have leveraged throughout your entire career?

 

Forrest Dombrow  12:50  

Yeah, so I think the biggest one, and to me, it’s the most powerful, and I guess I was just sort of born this way. But I do think people can can cultivate this, which is just simply paying attention. I mean, really looking at stuff listening to people, we are often in a rush, and we’re just waiting to speak, and we’re not really listening. 

 

And so I really try to just keep quiet a lot and pay attention, not just to what someone’s saying, If I’m in a conversation with them, but just paying attention to the market, getting out and networking and talking to people and just really paying attention. Because when you do that, you find gaps, you know, oh, you know, nobody’s talking about that, or everybody’s complaining about those, but nobody seems to have a solution. And you get those sorts of insights through paying attention. 

 

So I think that’s, that’s number one. The other thing that’s been big for me is having cultivating a habit of really a service first mentality paired with really helping people. So like when I used to speak a lot of conferences, I’m went out of my way to really deliver meat and potatoes. Here’s exactly what you can do when you go back to your office type information. And by sharing those sorts of wins with people or tactics, you know, you’re really helping people and then that comes back to when one or the other. So those would be my probably my two go to moves, if you will.

 

Kenny Soto  14:19  

Last question. And this is hypothetical. If you can go back in time using a time machine about 10 years into the past, knowing everything you know right now, how would you accelerate the speed of your career?

 

Forrest Dombrow  14:34  

The number one thing that comes to mind is in spending money investing money, either in myself or others to help me. I think some of the mistakes I made early on can be traced back to trying to sort of bootstrap everything and do everything myself. 

 

Whether that was due to a sort of a scarcity mindset or lack of confidence or whatever it might be. But as I’ve gotten more mature and more experienced First, I really understand the power might sound basic to you know, sophisticated entrepreneurs but to pay people pay, you know, work with a players and get the help that you need. So you’re not trying to do everything yourself that would have accelerated things from me quite a bit.

 

Kenny Soto  15:16  

That’s great advice, especially as I’m starting to consider hiring people for this podcast. So I really appreciate that. And if anyone wanted to say hello to you online, where can they find you?

 

Forrest Dombrow  15:29  

Probably the best place to go is just go to our website which is solve sales.com And solve like solve a problem sales. And you know, there’s there’s lots of great information there that you can get some free chapters of my book, which is called Comey ace. It’s all about my all my sales processes. And of course, you can contact us through there. And if you want to just reach out to me directly, you can email me at Forrest with two R’s at Sol sales.com.

 

Kenny Soto  15:56  

Amazing. You’ve just listened to an another episode of the people of digital marketing with our guest today, Forrest, Dom brow. And thank you so much for your time today, Forrest and thank you to you the listener for listening to another episode and I hope everyone has a great week. Bye.

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