A growing organisation

This year, Smart Profile celebrates its 25th anniversary in the Benelux. Of course, we want to take a moment to celebrate this milestone. Since I have been with Smart Profile for 23 years (yup) and am the second employee, I would like to share my experience between the years 2001 to 2006 and beyond.

Michiel (director), Harry (former director), and I know each other from our former employer: Directview, also a data supplier.
Harry and Michiel were salesmen for the ICT market. I worked in the logistics department, took care of delivering the data to customers, and supported the sales teams in the administration. So we worked together a lot and also worked with data.

Michiel was approached by Pierre, the owner of Computer Profile Belgium (Computer Profile is Smart Profile as of 2019), to set up Computer Profile in the Netherlands and start selling ICT data in the Dutch market. After a few months, Harry joined the organisation, and that was the start of the team.

1998

When I returned from winter sports with my partner in 1998, the house phone rang. Sighing, we put the suitcases down, and my partner picked up the phone: ”With Michiel, does Margje live here?” I was handed the phone, and Michiel asked me if we could talk. Of course, we could.

Michiel explained the added value of Computer Profile and asked if I didn’t feel like working together again. I had said to Michiel, ”I’ll come work for you, but on one condition, I don’t do the dishes.” So those two gentlemen stood every lunch break with their ties over their shoulders doing the dishes; since there wasn’t a dishwasher.

For the first few years, we operated from the business centre in Oudenbosch. Michiel and Harry took care of sales, and I took care of delivery and support to deploy the data. Nowadays, this is called data consumption and activation. The birth of the logistics department, later Support and now Customer Service. That support and explanation took place at customers’ locations. So I went to the customers in my little car to install and explain things. Yes, you read that correctly: installation of software and our data. The software required five different installation diskettes (what a waste of time!) and then a number of diskettes for the actual address data. Updates were sent quarterly on floppy disks through the mail.

2001-2006

Eventually, we were ready for team expansion. Two new sales colleagues were hired and with that, we no longer fitted into the Business Centre in Oudenbosch, so we moved to Breda, to the building on the Saksen Weimarplein. We first rented one floor, and eventually, through further expansion in personnel, we started to occupy more and more floors within this building.

Meanwhile, we also had a team for logistics. In the beginning, I was responsible for the logistics team in the Netherlands, which later expanded to the Benelux Support team, and I was regularly in the office in Brussels.

Typical for the period 2001 to 2006 is that we experienced a complete growth with great and friendly colleagues. We started doing our telemarketing. That was a turning point, and the growth of the workforce was enormous. For me, 2006 was also a special year because Joep, our son, was born.

My best memory?

Since I have been working at Smart Profile for some time now, I have more than one. Especially when there were three of us working in the office, you work a lot together. Harry and Michiel were very complementary to each other, running the company and in their personalities. Where Michiel was always very clean and neatly dressed, Harry was the opposite. This led to the following anecdote: Michiel was sitting behind his desk opposite Harry and looked under Harry’s desk against his toes. The sole of Harry’s shoe was completely open. The reaction of Michiel! WHAT? Your shoe is talking to me. This can’t be happening! Really bizarre!” An example where you can sweep me up.

Or the wedding of our sales colleague in Spain. He married a Spanish beauty, so we travelled to Spain with almost all our colleagues for the wedding. Super cool!

And finally, the tenth anniversary that we celebrated in Breda in 2006. This was a party for all colleagues and their spouses. On the day itself, the couples were split up. All partners made and sang a song that day, and the staff recorded various scenes for a film. Pictures and sound were strung together at the end of the afternoon while we got ready for the gala dinner. You were transported in a limousine as an actual film star/celebrity. Groupies and fans were waiting for us along the red carpet. That evening, the film and music, our final product, were shown on a large screen during a gigantic gala dinner in the Grote Kerk in Breda. What a great experience that was!

Smart Profile in 25 years

How do I see Smart Profile and our business in 25 years? The world and we will be much more digital than we are today. Internally with our processes, but also our database, the MarketBase, will be even more filled. We have expanded other, additional services or cooperation with partners. The distribution and consumption of our data will perhaps take place visually, data visualised in virtual reality that you see, for example, a company as a hologram with employees with functions and networks between these people and other companies. That looks pretty cool to me.

Margje has had several roles in her career at Smart Profile: Benelux support, project coordination, planning, recruitment, marketing, products & services and Kickstarter of client teams. A load of experience. Would you like to get in touch with Margje? Check out her LinkedIn here.

In the next blog, we will cover the years 2006 to 2010 with Hilly.

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