Stijn Vangenechten and Joram Timmerman about the journey so far
What started out with two ambitious men and a bold idea on a beer mat, now is a blooming company with over 30 employees. This year, Talent Peaks celebrates its 5-year anniversary. In this interview, founding fathers Stijn Vangenechten and Joram Timmerman talk about their journey so far.
Joram: “I met Stijn for the first time when I worked at Connexys, at the time the Dutch market leader in recruitment systems, now part of Bullhorn. As a sales director, I had closed a deal with a large German Staffing company and since this was a huge project, we involved Stijn as an external partner to manage the implementation project. This is how we two first met.”
Stijn: “The collaboration was very successful and – on top – a lot of fun. This strengthened our belief that we came across a promising gap in the market: a partner with the right knowledge and attitude, who is able to service buyers in their digital transition. We started with improvement projects for Connexys customers and evolved towards an end-to end Salesforce implementation partner over time.”
The two ambitious men felt an instant connection and soon they put their heads together exploring the possibilities of combining their strengths. Stijn: “I already ran my own company, Talent Pigs, and Joram had been toying with the idea of starting his own business for some time as well. And we both preferred teaming up, instead of working solo. So there we were, in a roadside restaurant, scratching our ideas on a beer mat.” February 2, 2016, Talent Peaks was founded.
Soon, the first two consultants – Jort Roelink and Christophe Poleur – were hired, followed by many others. More and more implementation projects with renowned customers came forward and Talent Peaks rapidly grew.
Fascinated by Salesforce
Focus has always been one of Talent Peaks’ success factors. From the start by having deep knowledge of the staffing and recruitment industry. In 2018, another crucial decision was made: to become a dedicated partner on the Salesforce Platform. Salesforce is the #1 CRM platform which allows you to better connect with customers, partners and potential customers.
Stijn: “Already being an expert in Recruitment on Salesforce combined with Sales Cloud, we expanded our expertise to other relevant clouds, like Service Cloud, Community Cloud and CPQ.”
Joram continues: “What absolutely made us stand out from competition is the fact that we hold our customers leading – and not processes or technology. We think along with the customer, we know their business and relevant best practices in the market. Starting with a Prepare phase, we aim not simply to successfully implement technology, but to create the best possible solution to really make an impact for our customers.”
Another important focus point is the fact that Talent Peaks never intended to excel in all lines of business. Joram: “We started building the company based on our expertise in Staffing and Recruitment. From there, we gradually expanded our span of expertise. Now, we have pinpointed three main areas in which we specialize: Staffing and Recruitment (plus the belgian Social Secretaries), Media Services and Consultancy & Technology. For you can’t be an expert in everything.
The fact that this focus is the way forward is reinforced by recent developments in the Salesforce ecosystem. Increasingly, for Salesforce industry expertise of consulting partners is making a crucial difference in the partnership.
Within our focus areas, we deeply understand the business of our customers and know how to challenge them by asking the right questions and offering relevant best practices. This focus pays off. We are a trusted partner for Salesforce and often join in sales and presales meetings. We are able to advise our customers on how technology can help them make the desired impact. As opposed to wanting to handle as many implementation projects as possible.”
Developing impactful apps
Inspired by the needs of our customers who are active in Staffing and Consultancy, we noticed that there was a crucial gap in technology offered in the Salesforce Appexchange. So we founded a separate company and started developing our own App. Byner automates the core of your staffing and consultancy business. It fills the functional gap on Salesforce from contract to invoice and creates synergy between marketing, sales, recruitment and service.
This already is a huge success. Customers discover the value of the app, Talent Peaks consultants love to implement the app and help customers make extra impact. And what is also cool, Byner immediately won the nomination for most innovative Staffing Tooling 2020, issued by the Recruitment Tech jury.
The past 5 years bookmarked a period of continuous growth. 2018 Frank Gielen joined as a Managing Partner, followed in 2019 by CTO and Partner Martijn Brandse. What started as an idea of two driven people, now is a company of over 30 employees. Stijn: “And, despite COVID-19, we are still recruiting talent with a passion for Salesforce and our industries for our organization. It is very rewarding to see that we have been able to build such an amazing team of driven professionals, who love what they do and have fun with each other. Talent Peaks truly feels like a family to all of us.”
What’s on the roadmap for Talent Peaks’ journey for the coming five years? Stijn: “As a boutique Salesforce partner, we are steadily becoming a front runner in our industries in the Benelux region. Key in our approach – and one of our core values as a company – is that we aim to make a significant impact for our customers. Customer Success for us is key, so for customers who want to continue optimizing after go-live, we offer structural support of admins and key-users.
We help our customers grow. So we guide them in using Salesforce in the best possible way and help them optimize business processes even if this means going beyond the Salesforce ecosystem. Based on business standards, we develop new features, finetune current apps and integrate with best of breed solutions. All in a way that the customer can maximally profit from Salesforce technology. This is a promising road we plan to further expand on in the coming years.”
We help people grow
Stijn smiles: “We recently set our mission statement for the coming years: We help people grow. This goes for our customers, their admins and key users, our employees, our partners and everyone we encounter. For we believe that by guiding people towards improvement and growth, we can make a sustainable impact for all of us. That, combined with our other powerful value: having fun in everything we do, is the true secret to Talent Peaks’ success.“
Joram: “Looking back, it has been quite a journey so far. And the best is yet to come! We thank our team of wonderful colleagues for helping bring Talent Peaks to where we are today. Since the effort, commitment, expertise and especially the fun they bring into the company every day makes Talent Peaks the unique company we are today. Also, we want to thank all of our partners, and – of course – we especially acknowledge Salesforce, for the trust and support to make us successful as a top 10 consulting partner in our areas of expertise. We can’t wait to experience what the next five years have in store for us.”