For an established SME with a long track record of success, it can be difficult to change established mindsets, even in an age of massive digital transformation. No one knows this better than Dave Keefer, Business Development Manager for KBAC, one of South Africa’s leading flooring distributors. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, many businesses struggled to find their footing, but not KBAC. The company had started their digital transformation a year earlier, and this would turn out to be surprisingly prescient.

Below, Robin Fisher, Senior AVP for Emerging Markets, engages Keefer in a discourse on how digital transformation has impacted KBAC, especially during a crisis.


Can you share how going digital has transformed KBAC?

Dave Keefer: KBAC has been around for over 50 years, but until last year we were still using roughly the same paper-based system that we started with. Customer centricity, resilience and agility were crucial objectives for us, so we knew that it was time to transform. But we were also concerned that leading a traditional workplace into the digital age would not be an easy task.

Essentially, we turned to Salesforce to make our operations more efficient and connect better with our customers. We used Sales Cloud to monitor our KPIs and qualify leads, and then customised it to automate processes for jobs and orders. None of this was achievable even a year ago.

It’s hard to be agile when your processes are paper-based, so the door to digital that we opened has led us to some pretty remarkable places, especially in the wake of COVID-19.


How did KBAC cope when the crisis hit?

DK: When South Africa locked down and offices around the country had to close, KBAC already had Sales Cloud up and running, so we were able to transition rapidly to remote working. If we hadn’t had Salesforce in place, we wouldn’t have been able to do that – It was a blessing. Once our teams were empowered to work from anywhere, we took some time to refine and improve processes to make sure every employee had a smooth experience.

Collaborating on Chatter has been revolutionary. We’re suddenly communicating a lot better, with teams chatting directly on the opportunity and account pages. When it was time to reach out to customers, access to real-time data helped them coordinate their efforts. And because we integrated Salesforce with our email automation solution, our Sales personnel could promote exclusive offers to their customer pipeline with the click of a button.


How have you managed to get everyone on board this transformation?

DK: The downtime that we experienced gave us the opportunity to up-skill our teams with Trailhead. The sales team are flooring experts and they know their products inside out, but until recently, they weren’t familiar with all of the digital tools at their disposal. We used Trailhead to create learning paths that helped them understand CRM better – and this also led some teams to discover new features and efficiencies that we hadn’t set up in the initial implementation!

As a result of enabling the teams on CRM, our customer journey is also evolving. Previously, a customer might have had to deal with various points of contact to get their flooring done. Now with a single view of customers, products and projects, our salespeople are truly orchestrating the customer journey. In return, we can give our customers a more seamless experience and faster turnaround times. It really separates us from the rest of the competition.


What is next in KBAC’s transformation journey?

DK: We like to think of our brand as forward-thinking and innovative at its core – so this is just the tip of the iceberg! We want to make things even easier for both sales and customers by using CRM for invoicing. And when it comes to products, we are introducing more and more brands with a lower environmental impact to our customers. With responsible flooring options and even raised flooring made from up-cycled tyres, we aim to be a sustainability Trailblazer for the construction industry in South Africa.

To learn more about how SMEs can turbo-charge their business and digitally transform, check out Sales Cloud. And for information and solutions for planning a safe return to the workplace, visit today.