Cox Communications won our 2011 MSO Sales Team of the Year in this summers Top Ops issue of CableFAX The Magazine. They will be honored at the Program & Top Ops Awards on Tues Oct 18 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa. Register to attend here.

In December 2010, Cox Business hit the $1 billion mark in annual revenue. The next milestone, if the company’s current trajectory of growth continues, could be $2 billion in six years. And they’re not the only MSO out there. So how does the sales team do it?

 
One of the key components to their successful approach—whether selling ad, residential or commercial services—is a focus on taking a consultative and advisory role. Take the core market for Cox Business: small and medium-size businesses. Says SVP Phil Meeks, as products become more complex, smaller companies—many of whom have limited or no IT departments—require more education than in the past. And about 80 percent of these companies have 20 or fewer employees. Like the rest of us, they’re doing more, with less. Which leaves sales teams with a lot of consulting to do. “Our strategy is to equip ourselves to fill the gap—to demystify technology, and make that complex technology simple for the customer.”
 
But that takes keeping your sales team motivated and armed with the right tools—and possibly a different skill set. That’s where the training comes in. And it’s training employees, but it’s also training businesses, so sales people can then transfer that training and education to customers. Curriculums are implemented, the sales team’s core competencies are evaluated, and in the not-too-distant future, says Meeks, the MSO will be certifying employees.
 
So how do they stay motivated? Their focused approach, “on marketing skills, expertise and client relationships,” says Billy Farina, SVP, Cox Media, “creates a collaborative and confident environment.” And that makes for happy employees. His team participates in the company’s vision, he explains, because they have the right tools. In ad sales, it’s no longer the world of 30-second spots—social media, mobile applications and the move toward interactive everything have certainly changed that. The reality is that opportunities for advertising are more fragmented than ever, so sales people have to customize—and embrace every opportunity for ad dollars along the purchase process.
 
Fragmentation could be detrimental to your business—unless you embrace it, as Cox has. Cox got onboard with EBIF, for instance, in May of this year, with a platform launch in Tulsa, OK. “Our vast array of multi-screen products can be customized and combined, along all points of the purchase funnel,” says Farina, which allows the sales team to adapt and reach more audiences, “no matter the business challenge.”
 
Next up on the sales front, says Meeks, is a continued move away from a more traditional, replacement-selling scenario. More specifically, that means managed services—commercial email, security, online storage, etc. Over the next several years, the company aims to be a player in managed applications, cloud computing and infrastructure services.
 
FAST FACTS:
 
  • Cox Media delivers customized local ad solutions reaching approximately 5.5 million households across 23 primary DMAs.
  • Cox Business provides voice, data and video services for more than 260,000 small and regional businesses.
  • Cox is currently the seventh largest voice service provider in the U.S. and supports more than 800,000 business phone lines. 

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