Interview: Surviving War and Pandemic: How Addlium Pivoted to Success in the Face of Adversity

Despite the dual challenges of a devastating invasion and a global health crisis, Ukrainian company Addlium managed to pivot its operations, secure international partnerships, and maintain high service levels. Discover their remarkable journey from crisis to success.

In the face of unprecedented turmoil, businesses worldwide have been compelled to adapt, pivot, and show an extraordinary level of resilience. Few tales, however, can rival the journey of Addlium, a Ukrainian BPO and lead generation company that faced not only the global COVID-19 pandemic, but also the turmoil of a full-scale war. This article delves into the company’s remarkable survival story, revealing how Addlium has managed to maintain service levels, retain its team, and even scale up amidst the Russian invasion and a crippling economic crisis.

With its focus on client satisfaction, innovative solutions, and a commitment to both immediate and long-term goals, Addlium’s tale is one of resilience, adaptability, and relentless pursuit of value creation, despite the harshest of conditions.

  1. Can you tell us about the challenges you faced while operating Addlium during the Russian invasion and how you managed to maintain the service levels despite such adverse conditions?

During the first days of invasion everyone was shocked. Nobody could believe that this was actually happening. The most important thing at that time was to find relatively safe places. Of course, our team members were with their families, so we all ended up in different locations in Ukraine and abroad. 

We lost almost all our clients from the domestic market because, firstly, everyone in the country was preoccupied with the same things – searching for safe places and relocating families and businesses. Secondly, marketing costs are typically reduced first in crisis situations. Our next challenge was to find projects from abroad. Despite the fact that Western countries have been providing significant support to Ukraine, in fact, businesses do not want to risk their money. However, we managed to establish a few new partnerships with UK companies on that wave of support, which allowed us to survive as a company.

Keeping the level of services we provided was relatively easy compared to offline businesses. All we needed were laptops and an internet connection. The COVID-19 pandemic was good training for remote work.

  1. How did the flexible working culture at Addlium help in retaining your team and scaling up during the economic crisis in Ukraine?

I am delighted to work with people who have a strong sense of responsibility and excellent self-organisational skills. We reviewed and divided responsibilities among teams, each of which received its own autonomy. Everyone knows their role and perform it exceptionally well. Additionally, we got rid of some complex internal processes to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, which helped us focus on sales and service delivery.

At the beginning of 2022, just before the full-scale war, we were preparing the new service packages that included branding, lead generation and content management on LinkedIn. However, over time, we decided to focus solely on lead generation and social selling services for companies. We found our niche in which we continuously develop and share our expertise with our clients.

  1. What sets Addlium apart from other BPO and lead generation companies in the market?
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We have clear values that underpin our services. We ADD value and sense by implementing the proper communication strategy, showcasing your brand’s values and expertise. We also “ADD profit” by connecting the right people between businesses. Our core team members share the same vision, which helps us deliver results, undoubtedly affecting the quality of our provided services and scalability.

  1. Can you discuss the industries that Addlium primarily caters to and the types of services your clients most commonly approach you for?

Our most popular service is the comprehensive Social Selling package, which includes Brand Packaging, Lead Generation, and Content Management. While we mainly focus on IT and Manufacturing industries, we have worked with a variety of businesses in our portfolio. Our Social Selling framework is adaptable and can be tailored to fit any B2B company, for example to companies providing Professional Services.

  1. How do you ensure customer satisfaction at Addlium and what measures do you take to continuously improve your processes?

During our cooperation, we usually ask our clients for feedback, and the overall score we receive is 9 out of 10. I believe this is a good score, and I prefer to rate it the same way, leaving room for improvement and striving for better. We continuously improve our processes in all directions and build them based on a “from the client” approach. We have written standards for Content Management, Lead Generation, Accounting, and other areas, which are our internal rules and instructions defining the requirements for service delivery. Each of us adheres to these standards.

  1. What kind of support system does Addlium provide for its clients when they have queries or issues?

As we don’t offer any technical services, we don’t have a conventional support team. Instead, clients usually send their queries to us through group chats, where a dedicated account receives and handles them.

  1. Can you explain Addlium’s payment structure and the price range for the different services you offer?

The cost of our services varies depending on the specific offering. For instance, LinkedIn Brand Packaging can start at $600, while a comprehensive project involving business network expansion, personal brand development, and sales activities would start at $2000.

  1. What is your vision for Addlium in the next 10 years and how do you plan on creating value for your customers?
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The main criterion for our company is to provide useful and valuable services to our customers and to the market in general. While size and turnover are important, they are a consequence of creating value, which is our top priority. Our team is comprised of the best specialists in terms of expertise, approach, motivation, and vision, all working towards the same goal of creating value for our customers. Ultimately, our vision and strong team are the foundation for value creation. We believe that when value is clear, price becomes less important, and when value is NOT clear, price is not important either.

  1. How do you think the current global business landscape has influenced the way Addlium operates and adapts to new challenges?

We have now entered an era of high-level personalisation, and marketing approaches that were popular 5-7 years ago no longer work effectively. The style of networking has also changed, and we have adapted our services to incorporate more account-based marketing (ABM) techniques.

  1. What role does innovation play in Addlium’s growth and success, particularly during times of crisis or uncertainty?

I agree that innovation can bring significant benefits to a business if used correctly. However, it is essential to strike a balance between the use of technology and the human touch. Some processes may be automated, but it is crucial to ensure that the customer experience remains personal and engaging. At Addlium we do use innovative tools to optimise our processes. We have an R&D department where we test new services and AI-based solutions, and then we incorporate the best ones into our work.

Overall, innovation can be a powerful tool for businesses, but it should be approached with caution and used in a way that adds value to the customer experience and does not compromise ethical standards.

  1. Can you share any key lessons or insights you’ve gained from leading a company through challenging times such as war and economic crisis?

Leading a company through challenging times such as war and economic crisis is never easy, but it can also be a great opportunity to learn and grow. One key lesson I’ve learned is the importance of adaptability. In times of crisis, circumstances change rapidly and unpredictably, and you need to be able to adjust your strategy and tactics accordingly. Focus on your strong sides, get rid of complex solutions – simplify what can be simplified. This means being agile, flexible, and open to new ideas and approaches.

Another important insight is the value of communication. During difficult times, it’s essential to keep your team informed and engaged. This means being transparent, honest, and empathetic, and actively seeking feedback and input from others. By maintaining clear and open lines of communication, you can build trust, foster collaboration, and navigate challenges more effectively.

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Finally, I’ve learned that resilience is crucial. Leading a company through challenging times can be stressful and draining, and it’s important to have the mental and emotional fortitude to persevere. This means cultivating a positive and growth-oriented mindset, practicing self-care, and seeking support from others when needed. By staying focused, motivated, and resilient, you can lead your company through even the toughest of times.

  1. How does Addlium maintain a balance between meeting clients’ immediate needs and planning for long-term growth and sustainability?

Our clients understand that social selling is a long-term game. We often compare it to cultivating wheat, where you need to sow the seeds, nurture the crop, and wait patiently for the harvest. We provide our clients with clear services that balance both their immediate needs and long-term growth goals: from LinkedIn brand packaging and appointment setting for offline events for instant results, to more long-term strategies like business network expansion and personal brand development.

Our approach is based on transparency, regular communication, and providing clear reports to our clients. This way, we can work together to achieve both immediate and long-term goals, without sacrificing one for the other. Ultimately, we believe that by providing value and helping our clients grow sustainably, we can also grow and succeed as a company.

  1. What are the most significant trends you’ve observed in the BPO and lead generation industry, and how do you plan to capitalize on these trends for the future growth of Addlium?

As I’ve said before, one of the most significant trends in the BPO and lead generation industry now is high-level personalisation. With the complexity of building B2B relationships today, simple cold email and LinkedIn outreach are no longer effective.  At Addlium we have observed this trend and are capitalising on it by shifting towards an account-based approach for both our commercial and internal projects.

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