As part of our ongoing series highlighting the talented members who make up our Comtel and Simplicity VoIP family, we sat down with Denis O’Donovan as he celebrated his 20th anniversary with our company.

Based out of the Maryland/DC region, Denis has the longest relationship as a sub and has played an essential role in the of company’s success over the years. We are blessed by his professionalism and work ethic, and our team genuinely enjoys working with Denis to support his business’s growth.

Q: How long have you been a sub with Comtel Communications?
A: I have been with Comtel for twenty years now.

Q: Why have you chosen to work so long with this master agency?
A: I have worked with Comtel for so long because of the environment - Ben has formed a very friendly group. The excellence of the customer service that he has established impacts the quality of every facet of the organization. Because of what they do on the back end, it allows me the freedom to go out, find new customers and build the relationships. Ben is the reason we have the culture that we do. 

Q: What made you want to be in sales?

A: I came from sales. I was with Qwest as a direct rep where we were not incentivized to build relationships – just make the sale and move on. Part of what attracted me to the agent community is the ability to establish relationships and to cultivate them. That’s what led me to Ben and Comtel the ability to foster relationships with my clients. I was in sales for about 6 years before I came to Comtel.

Q: How long have you been in telecom overall?

A: I have been in telecom for about 25 or 26 years.

Q: Where was your first job?
A: My first job was telemarketing long distance at MCI, right after college. We were in a call center with about 400 people.

Q: What is your favorite part about sales?
A: The relationships. I truly enjoy building relationships and solving customer problems. It’s rewarding to be able to look at a scenario for a customer, offer options, and help streamline the process. Just being able to go in and create solutions for a customer, that’s what I love.

Q: What is your least favorite part about sales?
A: Cold calling is probably my least favorite part of sales. To counter that, I do a lot of relationship driving exercises to try and partially augment the amount of cold calling that I have to do. Baltimore is very much who you know, so I try and cultivate my relationships.

Provider acquisitions have been a challenge too. There are a lot of mergers and acquisitions in our business lately which forces us to work much harder for our customers. Some of the vendors seem more focused on shareholders than on their customers’ experiences, so at times it requires more of a boxing glove vs. white glove approach to get things done. Luckily, our model and team approach allow us to be an advocate for our customers. Truthfully, the service the vendor provides is usually not the problem. It’s the vendor process that doesn’t allow their people to go off script and solve customer problems. While this is a big challenge, it is also one of the main reasons we are relevant to our customers.

Q: What do you think is the most important thing about customer service?
A: Accountability is key. I think that is one of the value adds that differentiates me and my team. Customer service is an important role that we play. Our client services team is so good at what they do, they definitely help us standout with our customers.

Q: What has changed since you started out in the telecom industry?
A: Quite a bit has changed. Long distance was a $160 billion-dollar business, now it’s a free app. What is cutting edge today is pretty much obsolete tomorrow, so we have to stay up to date with all the latest and greatest solutions, so we can best advise customers. We have to stay ahead of the curve.

Q: Any recommendations for anyone starting out in the sales business?
A: With sales, just be committed. You have to be willing to put the work in - it’s all about effort. The other thing to do is to look at things from the customer’s point of view - you have to sell a value not a product. People can do their homework ahead of time. You have to bring more to the table than just a spec sheet on solutions.

Q: Over the years, what has been your favorite Comtel tradition? 
A: I have two favorites, the annual crab cakes lunch where we bring Maryland crab cakes to the Comtel office for the entire company to enjoy - that has been a really fun thing that we have been doing for 10+ years.

I also really like the President’s Club cruises. Both of these gatherings represent the family feel that we have from sales, to client services, to admin. Everyone is part of the same team and that’s why it’s been successful.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

A: It’s been a fun 20 years - hopefully we do 20 more! There is a lot of places I could have gone to start my company, but I am thankful every day that I came to Ben Humphreys and Comtel. Best career decision I’ve ever made!

Thank you, Denis, for all of your hard work and loyalty over the years! We have enjoyed growing a prosperous business together.

About Comtel

Comtel Communications, a telecom/technology consulting agency based in Richmond, Virginia since 1991, provides best-in-class solutions and unbiased counsel to a diverse group of small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses, totaling more than $18.2M in annual billings. Leveraging unique access to 350+ national and international providers, Comtel benefits its clients through competitive quotes from multiple sources, to ensure their business goals are met with current and dynamic telecom and technology services. Acting as a partner, long after contracts are signed and services are deployed, Comtel offers superb back-office support to manage upgrades, track orders, and provide training to clients.

Author: Abbey Twining

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