Some Routine OTELCO Sales Training Reminds Us All About Value

With a newly retooled sales team, OTELCO Director of Sales, Tracy Peters decided to go back to basics at a recent monthly sales meeting.  The OTELCO marketing team offered to do a message map exercise at that meeting.

Message Maps

What is a message map? It is a tool designed to help businesses develop a unified message that answers, “who we are,” “what we do,” and “whom we do it for.” While everyone at OTELCO can answer those questions, this exercise was intended to fine tune and our message so that each member of the team had the tools to deliver the same ideas in their unique way when talking about the company.

Businesses as big as Apple and Intel have similarly used message maps, and while several different methods are floating around, OTELCO’s message map method centered around threes. We developed three key messages, each supported by three supporting statements, that ultimately encompassed the three most important aspects of OTELCO. Together, these messages and statements can be repurposed into everything from elevator pitches to Facebook posts.

An Unexpected Consensus

The first step in developing our key messages and supporting statements was polling the sales team and company leaders about what they thought the most critical aspects of OTELCO were. Our poll resulted in three clear themes: Local, Technology, and Customer Care.  While those three trends were not surprising, the order in which the sales team prioritized them was.

When we asked the team to prioritize the three main themes, the entire group chose Local. To them, the idea that we offer a local alternative to the larger communication technology providers was the company’s most valuable aspect. As the newest member of the OTELCO sales team, Tom Conley, put it “At Otelco employees live and work in their communities they serve, this means we are engaged and prioritize relationships with our customers.”

While everyone in the company can agree with Tom, further discussion on the topic devised that the first thing people should know about OTELCO was what we do. From there, the group dynamically developed the following message map.

OTELCO’s Message Map

Key Message 1 Key Message 2 Key Message 3
OTELCO Promotes Innovative Communication and IT Solutions OTELCO Provides Locally Based Business Services throughout Alabama, Missouri, and New England OTELCO strives to provide a superior customer experience.
a Customized Business Phone Solutions OTELCO has been providing communication services for more than a century. 24/7/365 Live Local Technical Support
b Reliable Data Connectivity OTELCO employees live and work in the communities they Serve Prioritizes customer relationships
c A suite of Managed Service A personalized customer experience at every level Ongoing Communications solutions to align with your business strategy

In Retrospect

In reflecting on that meeting, it was interesting that the team was so focused on being local and providing a superior customer experience. What OTELCO does is quite clear as evidenced by the message map above.  In the process of doing what we do, we can sometimes lose track of who we are and the value that it brings to what we do.  This exercise reminded all of us about the value our team brings to the communication and IT solutions we provide. While our sales team is the first contact our customers may have, there is a full complement of highly trained professionals that serve the customer every step of the process.  The Sales Engineers, Product Provisioners, Field Technicians, and Implementations Specialists are all critical to the process.  Beyond the actual installation, the sales, customer care, and technical support team take the lead in customer support.

As Bertrand Russell put it in the Conquest of Happiness, “There can be no value in the whole unless there is value in the parts.”

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