How Fast Can You Pivot?
This year was the year of being nimble, and it’s not been easy.
Being nimble is not the same as being fast. It’s certainly not about being powerful. In fact, of all the metaphorical traits a business must have, being light on your feet is rarely noticed.
For Metal Toad, being nimble has meant an exceptional ability to react quickly to external stimuli; moving your organization without losing “balance.” With 2020 causing the entire board to shift — with some players (hospitality, airlines, etc.) falling off entirely — having agility isn’t just nice to have anymore. It’s now an operational requirement.
As a sales and account leader here at Metal Toad, I was looking forward to 2020; a year filled with active travel to key conferences, meeting new clients, mingling with peers, and engaging in activities that make up a “typical” sales effort. I had high hopes for our strategic vision, our blossoming relationship with AWS, and Metal Toad’s ability to execute across a variety of business sectors. But in February, I started tracking a viral outbreak in China. I started wearing surgical gloves in airports and then...well you know what happened.
But Metal Toad has been profitable for the last four quarters! How did this happen?
Well, a lot of credit must be given to our finance team who took swift action to curb our capital expenses and our production team became more productive. But an equal amount of credit goes to our sales team and, most importantly, our CEO who understood that the most important move we could make was to throw out the plan and bust out a (digital) whiteboard.
What did we pivot to?
Without physical, in-person meetings, our business development efforts had to become entirely digital, much like other businesses. However, Metal Toad is an inherently digital company. Our workloads happen in the cloud, our clients are all over the world, and our engineers are scattered across the nation! Adding additional support was our move to remote work which happened in Q4/2019! This gave us a bit of a head start using the ubiquitous tools that the world has now adopted like Zoom.
All of this meant our team was ready to pursue online sales efforts. But how? Where?
Well, it turns out there is one platform that has proven incredibly important for our business, and I’m sure you’re very familiar with it. www.linkedIn.com This channel allowed our team to engage in an outreach and connection effort that has been anchored by content, which has been our core offering. Metal Toad isn’t interested in selling “things”, our orientation is helping other businesses succeed as a service provider. We build products, support teams, and generally address challenges that can’t otherwise be solved with a SaaS type of product.
What am I talking about? Here are some links to check out.
In 2020, it was the pivot towards this content orientation in a channel that embraces quality output that that has allowed us to build our case as a small business. We’re not monolithic. We’re right sized, and that size allows us to be — yes — NIMBLE, and technology is mission critical to modern businesses. Data engineering, cloud adoption, telematics platforms, UX design...Metal Toad’s work has been incredibly diverse. While everyone else was retracting and digging in, we were expanding with a new office in Brazil!
This expansionist mentality and a commitment from leadership to lead with our values, means our clients have had an exceptional experience during the pandemic. It is positioning Metal Toad as a media and entertainment specialist going into 2021, the year of the vaccine.
For my part, I look forward to being a bit less nimble and covering more distance in a straight line. I’ll see you there.