Kubus builds powerful engine for sustained growth with Salesforce
As businesses the world over have been scrambling to enable their people to work in a COVID-safe environment, whether at home or socially-distanced in the workplace, just imagine the impact on suppliers of IT products and services. Suddenly, every single one of your customers needs assistance - and right now!
That’s been a challenge that Kubus, a UK-based, multi award-winning IT solutions and services business, has embraced with style, providing unprecedented opportunities to further cement the close relationships it enjoys with its customers.
Kubus’s remarkable success is rooted as much in its people skills and its culture of collaboration, as its undoubted technical expertise. It’s renowned for its ability to build strong, long-term partnerships, to ensure that technology produces a great user experience and that customers in diverse sectors, like Carmarthenshire County Council, Wavenet, and RM Education, maximise the value of their investments.
It celebrates the successes of its customers and partners as much as its own. Ask Andrew Humphrey, Chief Operating Officer, about recent achievements that make him most proud, and he points to the company’s Juniper Networks EMEA Elite Partner of the Year 2020 award and achieving Cisco Premier Partner status in just 12 months. Over the same period Kubus also decided to partner with Salesforce.
In its citation, Juniper Networks states that Kubus’s award was ‘for its ability to demonstrate innovation, during a period of huge business transformation, whilst delivering over 20% year-on-year growth’. Sander Groot, Juniper Network’s Senior Director of Partner Sales for EMEA added: “Juniper Networks is thrilled to recognise Kubus. It embraces bold standards of superior business agility and ingenuity, and consistently delivers excellent customer outcomes. It is a privilege to partner with Kubus which continues to set the bar high in delivering market-leading growth.”
“It’s great to be recognised like this, because if we’re delivering success for our customers and partners, then success will naturally follow for us too,” said Humphrey. “And it has – typically, we grow at between 20-30% each year.”
Kubus’s key strengths are its speed and agility. It has a very can-do attitude and a good mix of talented and experienced people, across technology, sales, and customer service, that Kubus empowers to be as innovative and proactive as possible.
Operating with speed and confidence
“Kubus can make things happen for its customers when they need it most, in a way that many of our competitors simply cannot. As a result, some of our customers have been with the company for ten years or more. But to be able to operate at speed, with agility and confidence, businesses like ours also need great technology, systems, and information of our own, that we know we can rely on, and this is where Salesforce plays such an important role for us,” Humphrey added.
As well as providing equipment for employees and ensuring reliable, secure connectivity, as the pandemic gradually became more manageable and returns to work began, Kubus supported customers to enable teams to return safely and with confidence. “There’s been a paradigm shift in the way organisations have had to extend their networks and secure their endpoints,” explained Greg Bennett, Head of Infrastructure at Kubus.
Despite years of success, when Humphrey and Bennett joined Kubus they inherited a number of antiquated systems, including an inadequate customer relationship management (CRM) system. Sales and marketing activities were disconnected, bulk emailing to customers and prospects was impossible, and, with no synching of business-critical data, sales forecasting was time-consuming to prepare, with the content unreliable and often days or weeks old.
“We both concluded that we needed a fresh, modern, agile CRM platform that people understand, that’s well supported and highly rated in our marketplace, one that we could integrate with other systems and with customers and partners. Salesforce met all of these criteria and so it was a natural fit for us.
“Salesforce delivers a sense of transparency from a technical perspective, it’s easy to use and understand. Our engineers say that, compared with many systems, the Salesforce technology is market leading and that its associated documentation is clear and easy to action,” said Bennett.
Getting the right data to the right people
As well as selecting and deploying Salesforce, Kubus had also decided to move to a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, with the two fully integrated to maximise business value. “We understood the risks of running two substantial projects like this concurrently, but we had multiple engagements with Salesforce, it quickly earned our confidence, and it was a smooth process throughout,” explained Bennett.
“We used Salesforce Platinum Partner 4C for the implementation and, incredibly, we had the first version out in just four weeks which is one of the quickest times to value for a project of this scale that I’ve ever worked on in my career.
“It’s a tribute to the Salesforce technology that we needed much less support than I anticipated by a mile. Our developers have raised just a few tickets throughout our time with Salesforce, the technology is that good.
“And when we did need help there was no red tape, no waiting around, we were straight on to a Salesforce expert. An absolute breath of fresh air. The rollout was right up there as one of the easiest, and now my team can focus on more critical tasks.”
Bennett summarised the essence of Salesforce’s value as ‘the ability to get the right data in front of the right people’. Before Salesforce, Kubus had to go searching for data to build reports. “It used to take our finance team half a day to extract data from various sources in order to create reports,” remembered Humphrey. “With Sales Cloud it’s live at my fingertips and our finance team have that time back to be used for other more productive and valuable tasks.
“Just a few months in, our forecasting is now very accurate, several months ahead, the data is clean, activity is being monitored, and I can go into a board meeting and be confident that I’m sharing accurate, up-to-date data with colleagues, rather than last week’s spreadsheet!”
Sales Cloud allows Kubus to understand what each of its customers is buying and where cross-selling opportunities are – and all this information is now on a single click dashboard, very different than before.
Defining the formula for successful sales
Sales Cloud is enabling Kubus to centralise and drive business development activity, choreographing all activity, tracking leads, and automating task follow up.
As a result, sales performance is transparent and processes are full of rich data and valuable insights, shining a spotlight on those activities and formulas that delivered sales success, for colleagues in Kubus’s 20-strong sales team to replicate. Kubus is also an extensive user of Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement, a B2B marketing automation solution, for lead management, with prospects automatically integrated with Sales Cloud as opportunities for the sales team to pursue.
“For the first time I can accurately measure our return on investment on marketing campaigns, to understand what really works and to focus our spend in those markets where we are being successful, that need products and services like ours.
“Our marketing approach is so much more scientific and targeted and, as a result, we’ve picked up some valuable new customers, placing some substantial orders.”
Humphrey also values Marketing Cloud Account Engagement’s automated feedback surveys, with a scoring mechanism and thresholds that deliver a constant flow of customer feedback, both positive messages that highlight what Kubus is doing well, and less positive feedback, that identifies events that need remedial action.
“The positive messages are great of course, but a negative one can be extremely valuable too. Firstly, clearly, there are lessons to be learned that can help us to improve, but secondly, if we respond very quickly and demonstrate a commitment to fix the issue quickly and successfully, that can make a strong impression on a customer.”
Kubus’s survey responses are valuable to the business plan as they point out important factors for other customers, resulting in reliable marketing messages that it can use to communicate with the right individuals within the right target organisations. There’s no doubt that this has improved its new business win rate, giving Kubus the confidence to expand its new business team by investing in a team of graduate apprentices.
Trusting the data
Importantly, Bennett believes that the company now trusts its data, and with everything in one place, teams can focus on the tasks before them each day, marketing, selling, and serving customers.
“Salesforce has been brilliant in that respect, we can create dashboards and the data is in real time, the speed of decisions has improved immeasurably, so Humphrey and the sales team can crack on with their work. You can have the best IT in the world, but the trick is to maximise the value it delivers, and Salesforce enables us to do that.”
“It’s a really radical change, we’ve effectively gone from no CRM to a really good CRM and our salespeople are really enjoying having industry leading tools to work with,” agreed Humphrey.
“They’re more motivated and focused and its helping with their career progression too, they can see how they’re performing and, with our help, how they can take the next step up the ladder.”
Futureproofing business growth
Confidence in the future has been illustrated by Kubus’s decision to invest in talented young people in the Gloucestershire area with the creation of its own sales academy for graduates, utilising Salesforce to provide its next generation of sales staff, within a structured, successful, and streamlined environment.
“We’ve consolidated lots of disparate resources onto one platform, which is our foundation for the future, and integrated it with our ERP system,” said Bennett.
“There are quarterly updates to the technology, so you can always have confidence that Salesforce is going to be around for the long term, and constantly evolving and improving too.
“There’s also a really good support network and the documentation is so good that it promotes and encourages self-sufficiency. Of all the systems I manage, Salesforce is the one I worry about the least!”
“If it’s not in Salesforce it doesn’t exist in our view,” added Humphrey. “It’s delivered simplicity, and it’s futureproofing our business growth. Thanks to Salesforce we have the ability to scale and the benefit of full visibility of our customers’ journey.”