Women in Industry – Natalie Gundrum
November 3, 2021
COMPANY: Steele Solutions, Inc.
TITLE: Director of Sales
YEARS AT THE COMPANY: Four
Working in the material handling industry, for Steele Solutions Inc., is an extraordinarily fast-paced, action-packed experience. Each day brings new opportunities and revenue generating possibilities, requiring constant communication with internal and external customers and stakeholders. Strategically focusing on expanding key accounts and collaborating to build new partnerships with customers, integrators, and general contractors is imperative to foster trust, while driving business results and achieving exceptional year over year company growth.
As a successful business woman in the material handling industry, creating opportunity is key. Success is where preparation and opportunity meet; I continually create opportunities to connect and expand my professional network. During unprecedented times, devising and implementing ideas to engage with customers, cultivating relationships in new markets, and meeting general contractors and construction crew contacts at distribution center project sites has elevated my brand, recognition, and respect across multiple levels within organizations among the industry.
Another crucial aspect is building confidence and trust. I approach challenges as opportunities to solve customer and project site issues intelligently and expeditiously. By demonstrating an unparalleled sense of urgency, passion, and commitment among customers and projects, I have distinguished my personal brand in the industry. I proactively collaborate with general contractors and integrators, creating and communicating project plans and objectives, and setting clear expectations. General contractors and integrators take on multi-million-dollar projects and manage a number of obstacles on a daily basis. As a trusted and reliable resource, who asks questions and devises multiple ideas and solutions to overcome challenges, I have established a solid business partner network within the industry which has greatly contributed to Steele Solutions Inc.’s spectacular growth.
While the material handling industry is constantly changing, it remains a close-knit community. With that being said, leaders and key individuals may move around to new organizations or take on different roles in their existing company. This requires a proactive approach toward networking and maintaining relationships. By fostering these relationships and striving to grow and maintain my network, I continue to generate new partnership opportunities. Contacts remember the value, benefits, and reliability that I and Steele Solutions Inc. bring to the project process, and they embrace past partnerships to create future opportunities within their new organization or position.
The material handling industry has truly accelerated itself to a new level of intensity and urgency. Exceeding the pace and expectation is a necessity to showcase heightened excellence and set myself and Steele Solutions Inc. apart from the competition. Utilizing Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) software, Microsoft Teams, and various iPhone tools allows me to stay several steps ahead of the customer, which helps my customers focus on success. Utilizing technology is an essential way to create intentional, strategic touch points to follow up on customer project proposals or remind customers of an upcoming deadline, allowing me to create even more value in my customers’ overall project process. As more and more customers rely on my expert organizational and multitasking skills, and well-structured approach to business, I essentially become an embedded part of their process to ensure success.
With hundreds of active projects in various stages of completion each day at Steele Solutions Inc., and with new projects constantly coming in, understanding which method of communication works most efficiently for my internal and external partners enables me to be a multitasking wonder at all hours of the day. Tailoring my communication approach to fit the needs and style of my business contacts creates ease and simplicity among those with whom I work. It provides a sense of individualized, unique communication and attention, which adds a superior level of personal touch to the process. In an industry where accurate and immediate information is a necessity to meet project demands, knowing how and when to communicate with critical business partners to meet their needs is essential.
As Former CEO, General Electric, Jack Welsh said, “Change, before you have to.”
The material handling industry is ever-evolving. Asking questions regarding business procedures, understanding the value proposition behind current processes and product flows, and learning why things are done a certain way builds a case to challenge the norms and integrate change to increase my team’s and Steele Solutions Inc.’s overall business effectiveness and efficiency. By refining processes and driving change among teams at Steele Solutions Inc., together, we have been able to increase productivity, efficiently utilize resources, bring on more customers, win more projects, and grow the company exponentially. Knowing change is needed to improve, and by putting changes into practice, we have been able to gain more market share and continue to lead the industry.
What’s more, with my results-focused personality and determination to exceed expectations, I challenge myself to regularly learn new concepts and be the change I want to see. Collaborating with colleagues who have been in industry for 20, 30, 40+ years presents many opportunities to listen, learn, and understand how past methodologies evolved into current day processes. It inspires me to challenge myself and my team so we can continue to elevate our skills and abilities. Flexibility and adaptability to change opens doors to discover new resources, designs, and ideas which drives Steele Solutions Inc. forward and sets us apart in the industry.
As a genuinely passionate person, with a relentless ambition to achieve more, I purposefully delve into uncharted assignments and projects to exponentially expand my business acumen and agility. Pushing myself to persevere through demanding, stressful moments not only progresses my business capabilities, but also drives my personal brand to a heightened level of respect, confidence, and trust among my business colleagues and network.