Colleague in the Spotlight: Roel Baars

While you can find our entire team on this website, we think those short biographies don’t do them justice. This month’s colleague in the spotlight: Roel Baars!

What did you do before you joined Aexus?
‘There weren’t a lot of opportunities when I graduated ten years ago, at the height of the financial crisis. I studied commercial economics, so I had several jobs in sales and customer services. I have been working at Aexus for almost 4 years now.’

How did that happen?
‘Marieke was still taking care of recruitment back then, so I got a call from her. I was still in her file, because I had applied for another position two years prior. She offered me a job as a business development manager, which sounded a lot more in my wheelhouse, so I applied – and here we are.’

What do you like about the company?
‘The fact that you’re allowed to do virtually anything, as long as your able to explain why you think it’s a good idea. This really struck a chord, because I came from more traditional businesses. That’s why I took the decision to go work for a young, growing and international company that would allow me to work with several highly innovative partners and increase my commercial skills. Because people were playing football in the hallway, and I could tell right away there was a really loose and relaxed atmosphere.’

And why did you decide to work in tech?
‘I have always liked selling solutions, because of the efficiency they bring and the sustainability they enable. And I have always loved tinkering, building simple but meaningful business solutions during my studies. What’s more, new software, technology and solutions will always be sought after by people and companies, and I wanted to be a part of that.’

Some time ago, you went to the UK to set up Aexus’ English office. What was that like?
‘The English market is very different. There is a lot more competition, and people think, talk and communicate in a different way. The British are less direct compared to us, there is a lot more deliberation, and they usually cannot agree to disagree, whereas in the Netherlands there is much more of that. I worked (and still work) quite a lot with London based iProov (facial recognition). This provided me with insights on a fast-growing, successful tech company. But also experienced successes and challenges of business development in the UK for other companies. I lived in London and it was interesting to see that people are willing to put in extra effort in order to be able to finance their lifestyle. Overall, helping set up our UK business, managing my personal London live and being the first and only person working in a different country was a great experience!’

Why did you come back?
The Aexus management and I discussed to go there for one year at least. I noticed that, being non-British, gaining a foothold over there can be quite hard sometimes on your own. Zacchary Couldrick and his team – who I regularly consulted with – had already successfully started working on behalf of Aexus at that time, so we decided to hand it fully over to him and return to the Netherlands. But I have zero regrets – I learned a lot, about international business and myself.’

What does an average day at Aexus look like?
‘I always try to start by checking my e-mail, drinking a cup of coffee and making a daily or weekly plan with things I like to do, to find the first priorities. However, each day is different, and usually does not go as planned. Let’s say you are trying to close a large deal – if your partner or prospect needs anything, you need to be able to respond quickly and well. Or for example if a meeting is canceled last minute, you need to be able to come up with a plan. It requires a lot of flexibility, creativity and preparations to always think ahead.’

What do you like best about your job?
‘It always brings me a lot of joy when I drop a partner off at the airport, and he or she thanks me for the nice meetings. Helping partners, basically making sure they can expand their business on several European markets, will always be satisfying. As for Aexus as a company, I like to see how it has grown over the years. When I joined four years ago there was a lot less structure than there is now. But some things never change: if you want to do something, you still can, as long as you have a solid plan. That is why I could go to London. Sometimes I am in contact with people from the UK, India, Spain and Israel – all in one day. If I have a good idea for setting up a roadshow in Scandinavia, Aexus allows me to work on that. That makes this job a lot of fun.’

Do you have any plans for the future?
‘I am really enjoying selling highly innovative and futureproof solutions with our partners and colleagues. And while I could see myself going back to selling only one thing, I think I’ll always work in tech and innovation. There will always be companies that can benefit from automation and reach a higher level of efficiency. The possibilities are endless. I’d love to be able to keep introducing interesting new products to the European market.’