This year we celebrate our anniversary with 10 years of building brands. A milestone that inspires us to reflect on our past, appreciate our present and take a sneak peek into our future at Vibe Group. In short, here are 5 takeaways on our shared culture by Nick Visscher representing the Netherlands, and Yannick Herssens representing Belgium:
- We always build strong foundations first with ‘a knowing more about less’ mentality
- Our business is ultimately a gigantic puzzle to solve where each piece only fits in one place
- We are no suppliers, but business partners who recognize and help solve problems
- Fun is a key component to our success; our smile energizes our Vibe
- Accept that it takes time to grow business experience, technical expertise and a network
Does this interest you? Then make sure to read every letter and discover the full story of our evergrowing Eswelt tree.
So, Nick, can you tell us more about when, why and how it all started for you at Eswelt?
“I started at Visser & Van Baars Contract as a consultant in June 2015, and in September 2016 I took on my role at Eswelt Contract. Internally, the 5 niches had already been thought out. As you know, at Vibe we build brands with a ‘knowing more about less’ mentality. We therefore always focus on one thing first, to become the best at it. That’s why we first took our time to conquer the data market with Visser & Van Baars. When the time was ripe, also Spilberg was founded and once both brands were built on a solid foundation, it was time for a different niche in 2013: Eswelt with ERP & CRM.
Eswelt started as a small tree that grew bigger and bigger with all kinds of twigs and branches. The Eswelt logo is a full-grown elm tree, symbolizing all the IT processes that are connected to each other in the digital world. Eventually the plan is to grow an entire forest.”
What is the promise Eswelt makes to clients?
“At Eswelt we resource professionals who can set up or implement projects at or for our clients to optimize business operations and achieve strategic goals. What we do is bridging the gap between the implementation partner and the end customer as an independent party. I therefore think we should not be seen as a supplier, but as a business and sparring partner that solves ERP & CRM resource problems. On top of that we share valuable knowledge about the market by organizing high-end meetups and webinars on an international level.”
What is ERP & CRM?
“ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, and it brings all business processes together. Good example is AFAS or My Solutions, which we now use for time registration. Now it's automated, but in the past those notes were simply uploaded manually as an attachment. You can't do that once you grow much bigger, because this requires too much customization and manual work, which you can organize much more efficiently with an ERP system.
CRM is Customer Relationship Management. Uber or Airbnb are perfect examples of CRM-based companies, because they have set up a platform in such a way that the business processes are all automated, making them able to scale up and expand very quickly. Meaning Uber is the largest taxi company, but they don't actually own any cars at all. Airbnb is the largest hotel company, but does not own any hotels. This is the powerful benefit of actually setting up an entire CRM system so well.”
What makes the market of ERP & CRM so interesting?
“The market shows us more and more that ERP & CRM, just like data at Visser & Van Baars, is becoming central to organizations. It becomes much more of their core business than what they primarily do, mostly due to the rising of cloud-based systems, which are easier to implement.
Through ERP & CRM, organizations can handle their processes in a leaner way within such a system. It's a smart way to improve efficiency, reduce costs and thus achieve more profit. That can be in the distribution or supply chain, in an analysis of your financial accounting, manufacturing or human resources/payroll. As a result, also newer companies are entering the market, so the demand has really exploded.”
How does the world of ERP & CRM translate to niches?
“We focus on SAP, Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce in the same order. SAP is the first and largest ERP supplier. MS Dynamics is big and strong in both ERP & CRM. Salesforce is the leading CRM provider globally. We deliberately chose to focus on strengthening the two top markets first. And when everything is set, meaning the tree trunks are strong enough, we start planting the seeds for Salesforce, the next part of the forest. Again, we are following the same principle as when we first started Visser & Van Baars, and not all 5 brands at the same time.”
Did you encounter any obstacles along the way of growing the Eswelt tree?
“The only problem within our field of work is ‘time’, because when you start, you just don't know enough about the system yet, and all its options. You also don't know all the professionals, whether someone is good or not, since there's a difference between functional and technical.
Our work is ultimately a gigantic puzzle that needs solving, because each piece has so many functionalities and only fits in one place. It is actually a combination of the complexity of the matter and a missing network. Every time you think "Ah now I have it", you eventually find out that you have overlooked something. This is not surprising, because the job takes time and experience to grow in. The best sales consultants are those with experience, knowledge and network. It used to take 2-3 years before you knew the matter down to the last detail, and built a network of clients and candidates. Nowadays, we strive for 1.5 years since we paved the way for new sales consultants.
Take for example a module for maintenance of aircraft engines. This is not just any standard module, but one with fields and functionalities to keep track of exactly when a screw needs to be replaced in that aircraft. Can you imagine writing down all the replacement parts on a piece of paper, no right? This means ERP & CRM needs to be specially created, and someone has to be trained or hired for that module. There's only a handful of specialists who are made for the job, and we know them.”
Someone who speaks very highly of you knowing your market and candidates through and through, is Yannick Herssens of Eswelt Belgium. Yannick, can you share what you have learned from Nick?
“Let me start with the fact that I have a lot of respect for men like Nick and Pim, who know their candidates and the market through and through. They have a deep technical understanding and in-depth knowledge of everything the sector entails.
The first time we met, I was impressed by how deeply Nick knew what's going on in the industry, which made me understand why Eswelt is so successfull in the Netherlands. It also helped me to set up everything properly in Belgium, kickstarting a fruitful synergy between the Netherlands and Belgium. Afterwards, I looked at how we can set up systems so that we are much more scalable in the future. Now we know how we can reach and approach the best candidates in a much easier way, and make the system work for us. It really took 14-15 months for us to position us the right way.”
What else have you learned while growing Eswelt Belgium?
“That it's striking when you can talk about your expertise with such passion and enthusiasm. The investment you make to understand your market so well pays off in always being 3 steps ahead of the competition. Knowledge really is power in our industry. This explains why the Netherlands is 1-2 years ahead in the field of consultancy and recruitment, since we already have 3 floors there, and are already playing on volume. Luckily we can use all of the experience to our own advantage in Belgium. We don't have to reinvent the wheel, because we can just learn from all the mistakes that are made, and close the gap in long term.”
Sounds like a vibe! So what will be the biggest success factor for our years to come?
“As Mennold Leijzerzapf (CCO Benelux) likes to say: “We built our company like an unstoppable bus that can fill numerous of new Vibers. This bus will run no matter what and everyone will be able to hop on.” Meaning we have a strong foundation with experienced management and a well thought out L&D procedure. It really doesn't matter whether Talent Acquisition hires 1 or 10 people, it will take about the same amount of effort to get everyone utilizing their full potential. This makes a huge difference for our scale up potential in the ‘War on Talent’.
The market can't stop us as long as we act sharp on our internal processes and our approach. Our success is mostly found in turning more volume with the right people who have a growth mindset and really live our Vibe. Especially once we go back fast to personal business, meeting clients and having lunch with candidates face to face, growing that Eswelt forest is just a matter of time.”