In the last year, Montreal-based Nubik has both been deepening its relationship with Salesforce, and aggressively expanding into new markets.
Montreal-based Nubik has been growing systematically for much of its 12 year history, and over the last six years has focused entirely on Salesforce. In the last year in particular, leveraging new opportunities generated by the Salesforce platform, the solution provider has embarked on an aggressive expansion strategy. They have been expanding in Ontario and moving into both the northeast U.S. and Maritime provinces. They have also been moving up from the mid-market to pursue more enterprise customers.
“We are 100 per cent focused on Salesforce,” said Brad Wingate, Customer Services Director at Nubik. “We help companies, mainly in Quebec and Ontario, build out their Salesforce practice. We integrate, we train, and we help them with custom apps.”
While Nubik’s original founder set it up with a business model that would apply well to services, the company was less than aggressive in seeking out new business in its early days.
“Originally, we didn’t have sales people,” said Dany Jacques, Nubik’s Vice President of Sales and Strategic Alliances. “We grew organically by word of mouth, assisted because the company had a people-centred model that helped us keep and maintain talent. We were the first official Salesforce partner in Montreal. We know the Salesforce product inside out, but at the end of the day this doesn’t solve the customer’s business challenges. So we can best be described as a 50 employee business consulting firm with geeks in the back that knows everything about technology.”
A much more aggressive growth strategy began after Katie Bussières acquired the company in August 2015. She had earlier directed the rapid growth of Montreal-based Negotium Technologies – a Microsoft shop – as Vice President, and took over Nubik looking to put a similar strategy in place to expand both the company’s market influence and technical capacity.
“Our investment in marketing and building our brand is only a year old,” Bussières said.
The company swiftly launched expansion initiatives into the Ottawa market, followed by the northeastern United States.
“The size of our market in Canada is so small compared to down south,” Jacques said. “That expansion will help significantly in our plans to grow the company.”
In February 2016, the company also announced that it was now targeting the enterprise market.
“We have always been midmarket-focused, more so than SMB,” Jacques said. “The enterprise deal value is much larger though, which complements our expansion strategy.”
July saw Nubik open a new office in Fredericton, New Brunswick, to deepen their penetration in the Maritime provinces.
The company has also development a strong non-profit business.
“It’s now about 20 per cent of our business, even though we don’t market it all and you don’t see it on our website,” Jacques said. “We get this business through word of mouth.”
Nubik has also been deepening their investment in Salesforce. In September 2015, the company achieved Platinum Partner status, which brought with it a closer working relationship with Salesforce.
“Our people now work side by side with Salesforce to sell solutions,” Bussières said. “We are finding there has been in how they sell since last year. Salesforce sells through their vision, but some can’t afford the entire vision. Within the last year they have changed their selling motion to more of a step approach. Last year, they would try and hit the home run. Now the idea is to get the foot in the door.”
Some of the announcements at the show are generating some excitement at Nubik.
Salesforce Lightning, which was introduced at Dreamforce last year, is now being enhanced by Lightning Bolt. Lightning Bolt greatly accelerates the ability to turbocharge the creation of a new portal or customer-facing website that seamlessly integrates with Salesforce CRM, allowing portals to be created in minutes.
“We were part of the original beta group for Lightning, and early on, it wasn’t really ready,” Jacques said. “All the pieces were not really there, and the user experience wasn’t good. Now the missing link is there. They reacted to feedback from last year, and improved both the development and the pricing, possibly as a reaction to Microsoft’s cloud Dynamics.”
“We constantly are looking to make customers understand the tools they have with their Salesforce license, and we sometimes have challenges explaining how functional it is beyond CRM,” Wingate said. “You can make your own objects inside Salesforce and with the communities, you can expose that work to anybody fairly rapidly. I see a lot of customers now going the communities route. We have tens of customers we have built communities for. Now we launch communities inside of a month, which is crazy. The old portal projects took a year.”
This year’s big Salesforce announcement was probably Einstein, Salesforce’s new AI capability, which is built in to all its platforms.
“Much like last year with Lightning, we don’t really know what its impact will be,” Jacques said. “I don’t see a lot of services in there, but Lightning did help us sell deals.”
“Lightning helped us by creating excitement, and we are hoping for the same here,” Bussières said.