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Coupa takes sustainability pitch to the channel

Business spend management specialist puts more emphasis on environmental product features as customers look to measure their green credentials

Business spend management company Coupa is aiming to crank up its activity with the channel and encourage partners to start talking about sustainability with customers.

The firm has seen demand for cloud-based expense systems increase during the pandemic, along with rising interest in the connection between spending and sustainability.

The firm recently introduced more support for environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives in its products, and is building on that theme with partners.

“Companies these days are not just being measured by the amount of profit and revenue. A lot of companies now have published policies on environmental sustainability...that they’re measured by...so it’s on people’s agendas,” said David Wolstencroft, senior vice-president of alliances for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Coupa.

As such, he said it was adding functionality to its products and arming partners with the tools customers were looking for. “A lot of key companies and FTSE 100 companies in the UK are grabbing hold of this with both hands and trying to get ahead. Now is the time companies are really turning to [ESG] to make an impact.”

Wolstencroft pointed out that measuring ESG efforts was growing in importance because firms wanted to show off their sustainability credentials.

He added that Coupa was able to give business leaders an indication of what other players in their industry had done and access to use tools from suppliers that shared high standards in this area.

The pandemic has also seen more customers recognise the benefits of cloud technology, with the firm seeing demand increase as a result.

“The challenge of working from home has made people realise that a solution like Coupa can give you power in a remote environment. We’ve seen an uptick in new customers joining, as well as existing customers going further up the adoption curve,” he said.

The company has not been in a rush to add to its thousand or so global partners and sign up masses of fresh names to get its products out to market, however, preferring to work with experienced and established resellers that have a knowledge of the market and have shown loyalty to the vendor.

“When you look at our website you won’t see thousands of logos. We don’t partner for partnering’s sake – we want to enter into true meaningful and deep relationships with a few [partners],” he said.

“Over the past two years or so we’ve seen our relationships with those partners become much wider and deeper,” added Wolstencroft. “When you look at things like supply chain, payment and treasury, and initiatives like ESG, where traditionally we might have been talking to a finance consultant, we now have supply chain or treasury, and all of these different areas broaden the relationship that we need to have with those partners.”

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