Betty Blocks is actively looking for motivated sales representatives who wish to join our crazy bunch to spread the word of no-code. Read on to see what Maarten, our inside sales director, has to say about working at Holland’s most vibrant tech hub.
In the office, Maarten Hoogland (28) is kind of an enigma. Dark brimmed glasses, blond hair neatly combed, always busy doing something. Never easy getting a hold of this guy. Except for now, when he took the time to sit down with us to tell his story.
“Can we make it quick?” His question doesn’t surprise us. We already knew Maarten, our Inside Sales Manager, has a lot on his plate. “I’m currently setting up our sales teams in the UK and the USA.”
How’s that going? “I haven’t done it before, so it’s new, exciting, and challenging at times,” he tells laughing. “I’m dealing with situations I haven’t dealt with before, but I’m loving the ride so far. In the Netherlands, we’re an established organization operating in a relatively mature market, but in the US we’re not at that level - yet.”
In our US hometown of Atlanta, Maarten started building up a team on a journey of trial and error, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. “The culture is different from ours. I was born and raised in Hoogwoud, which is your typical West-Frisian village. My mindset is that of a typical farmer: direct, rational, and hard-working.”
He continues: “They [the Americans] are sometimes caught off guard by the directness of the Dutch. This is one of the major cultural differences.”
Once a month, Maarten flies off to the States, the land of no-code opportunities. “Many businesses are still unaware of the no-code space, so there are tons of opportunities for us to educate and inform them of the possibilities. Luckily, we have an amazing team of people and we make progress each day.
For 5 years, Maarten has been a Betty Blocks representative. “When I started to work for one of the affiliate companies as a sales advisor, there were only 20 people here. After 10 months of working at marketing agency Woeler, I made the transition to Betty Blocks. It proved to be the right choice.”
Why? “I’ve never experienced a culture like that of BB. It feels like one big group of friends. While we host a lot of epic parties, we also try to motivate one another to get the most out of ourselves. BB trusts its employees to figure things out for themselves. How you solve a certain problem is up to you, as long as you solve it in the end. Go nuts, be creative, whatever works.”
Of course, the people here are of great help. I’ve learned a lot from our CEO, Chris Obdam, with whom I work together closely. Ramses Schenk (Inside Sales Coach) has always been my coach. So in that sense, I’m surrounded by the right people who enable me to get the most out of myself.
The secret of a successful sales representative
“We always say: “You win some, you lose many.” You have to be aware that a lot of sales opportunities will pass you by. So you have to gain strength from those few deals that you do manage to close. This game is so unpredictable, and there are so many other competitive suppliers...”
The important thing is to learn from those losses: “Every opportunity that we miss, we evaluate to see how we can improve our strategy in the future. Was the fault related to specific aspects of the sales process? Obviously, the customers have to make a very important choice, and we have to respect them by guiding them through this process as best we can. You’re not standing in a market stall selling carpet beaters. This is a different ball game. You have to pick your battles.”
According to Maarten, the secret of Betty Blocks’ success lies in the fact that we are smaller than many of our competitors. “Many companies appreciate this aspect because we give them a very personal approach. You always have to keep qualifying yourself, of course. But the personal touch is one of our biggest strengths. To establish a good relationship and nurture that relationship, is essential for any good salesperson.”
Boss or leader?
As they say, leaders inspire people to do their job, and bosses… well, bosses boss them around as their main means of motivation. To which category does Maarten belong?
“You wouldn’t say it when you see me, because I may look pretty confident. But deep down I think it’s very thrilling what we are doing here. Recently, I checked to see how many people work for me. It’s 22 now. Damn, 22! I thought. In a way, it surprised me. Two years ago, that number was 5!”
“What makes me a good leader? I try to teach my crew to aim high and to achieve the best possible result. I lead by example. I’m very output-driven. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you achieve the desired result. As a manager, I’m also pretty informal. I believe it’s important to establish a bond with people.”
He takes a second to further ponder the question: “I have to be strict too. I don’t mind being direct. If people fuck up, I’ll tell them that they’ve fucked up. And ask them what they are going to do about it. By finding the right balance between fairness and strictness, you try to hit that sweet spot where people love working for you, where people really don’t want to let you - as a person - down. Sometimes I’m their friend, at other times I have to be their leader.”
So what do you look for in a good employee? “We’re looking for people with a good work ethic, not necessarily people with tons of sales experience. We aim for those with a good set of brains who are coachable. We try to constantly improve our onboarding program and teach new employees how to present and sell our product. In that way, we had people from the most diverse backgrounds working at our sales department: from someone who studied to become a molecular biologist to someone who used to work in tourism. It’s very diverse.”
Dabbert the office dog
When he’s not working hard, Maarten loves to spend his off time traveling the world. “If I’d win a million bucks today, I’d go travel for a year. I’d visit the remotest places, places that not many people have visited yet.”
And besides his responsibilities at the office, Maarten is also the proud owner of the company dog, Betty Blocks’ official mascotte: Dabbert the Dog. “Have you seen his impressive resume?” Maarten asks. “No?!” It’s hilarious.”
“Dabbert used to have different owners. But they didn’t feel they could take good care of him. When they went on holiday, Dabbert spent a week at Ralph (VP Sales) and a week at our place. My girlfriend instantly fell in love with him. When we asked if he could stay with us permanently, the owners - to our surprise - were glad that we wanted to adopt him.”
“A few weeks later, Dabbert stood at our doorstep. Ever since he’s been our dog. He’s a Chihuahua who used to hump everything he laid eyes on. But after his ‘sabbatical’ (read: castration), he’s been very Zen.”
Betty Blocks is actively looking for motivated sales representatives who wish to help Maarten spread the word of no-code. Feel like the right candidate for the job? Visit our careers page.