Mariska Roersen: Acceleration through collaboration
Mariska Roersen is the Chief Commercial Officer at SmartTrackers. SmartTrackers creates software that enables companies to sketch and implement their sustainability policy. With a background in business administration, Mariska previously worked at a healthcare analytics company and contributed to their growth from 20 to 400 employees within seven years. She joined SmartTrackers in late 2021, just in time for the company becoming a part of the Visma family in 2022.
Wearing different hats
“My work covers the intersection of business development, internationalisation, commerce, and marketing,” Mariska says. “In a scale-up, those disciplines flow into each other. That’s why it’s useful to wear different hats. Also, I believe in acceleration through collaboration – especially in product or market development. Creating an ecosystem is very important if you have an innovative product that challenges the status quo. For example, in my previous position, I was one of the drafters of a first-of-its-kind health care deal. Within three months, fifteen parties within healthcare had signed the agreement. This contributed to fundamental discussions on how the healthcare system could include decision-support data technology within oncology in the best way. I was quite proud of that.”
When Mariska started at SmartTackers, the company faced the decision of whether to join a larger organisation to grow. This led to them joining the Visma family in May of 2022.
“Joining Visma allowed us to bridge the gap between sustainability goals and financial management while leading the way together with other software companies.”Mariska Roersen
More than CO2 reduction
Thanks to the cooperative attitude of the SmartTrackers team, dozens of Visma companies have adjusted and implemented their sustainability policy through SmartTrackers’ software.
“Once we joined Visma, we had doubts about the topicality of our story,” Mariska says. “We’re known as a software company that works to reduce CO2 emissions. But, we’re more than that. We help companies draw up and comply with their full CSR objectives and sustainability policy. Our story has developed itself together with people inside and outside of Visma. This was our next phase towards growth.”
5 tips for generalists
Mariska considers herself a generalist with a varied skill set from different experiences. Here are some of her tips for generalists who work at innovative scale-ups ready for their next step to grow:
- Make sure that your product or service fills an actual gap in the market.
- Don’t shy away from collaborating. A good ecosystem accelerates and improves your proposition.
- Be pragmatic. A clear vision is important, but so is making adjustments along the way.
- Dare to try things.
- Live by the 80/20 rule; if you strive to do everything perfectly in a fast-growing market, you’ll just miss the boat.
Wietske van Hees: Customer-centric thinking to build long-term relationships
Wietske van Hees joined Raet in 2006, before Visma acquired the company in 2018. She then became the Customer Success Director of Visma Raet. During this time, she’s grown into a thought leader in customer-centric thinking.
Before Visma acquired Raet, Wietske went on maternity leave in 2018 and told the director at the time that she didn’t wish to return to her position afterwards. “I missed new incentives and challenges,” she explains. “However, during my maternity leave, Raet was acquired by Visma. The director called to ask if I wanted to start as a Customer Success Director in the management team. That sounded interesting and I found a new motivation.”
Boosting personal development
In the years that followed, Wietske has worked extensively with her new colleagues to improve Visma Raet’s customer success method. She read books and attended seminars to further educate herself on the subject of customer success – putting theory into practice, to learn from it and hone it. This gave her personal development at work an enormous boost.
“I’ve shared my knowledge and experience of customer success with other Visma companies. As a result, we’ve built up a great network. Last year, I also organised a CX event for customer success colleagues in the Benelux to exchange knowledge and experiences. That definitely gave me an energy boost.”Wietske van Hees
You could say that Wietske experienced a baptism by fire during her first year as Customer Success Director. She describes it as the most difficult year of her career thus far, as she still had to develop her leadership style while managing a team of 25 colleagues for the first time. “I wanted to stay true to myself while jumping into a completely new role. Fortunately, after the first year, I enjoyed my work more and more, by standing next to my colleagues, not above them,” Wietske says. She had a natural ability to excite colleagues about new ideas and initiatives, which landed her many challenging, yet exciting opportunities.
Make up your mind
Wietske describes herself as a coaching leader. She trusts the expertise of her colleagues and always assumes positive outcomes. She carefully listens to people’s insights and takes them into consideration. But, when necessary, Wietske knows how to make a decision.
“There have definitely been times when it’s been necessary to make tough decisions,” she says. “And that’s just a part of what I do. But, before those decisions happen, dialogues precede them.”
Her leadership style hasn’t gone unnoticed. When the previous Managing Director of Appical, another Visma company, indicated that he’d be stepping down, Wietske got the opportunity to take over his role. Once again, she discovered a new source of motivation and inspiration through new challenges – this time as a Managing Director.
“Over the years, I’ve experienced that people appreciate my leadership style, feel safe and have room to develop their leadership styles. That’s a dynamic I really appreciate.”Wietske van Hees
With her leadership style and expertise in customer-centric thinking, she had what it took to bring the HR tech company into the next phase. “I’m happy to share my experience and network from my time at Visma Raet, and utilise this to help Appical in their next steps as part of the Visma family,” Wietske says.