Hiring Market Trends : Digital Procurement & Supply Chains Solutions – Moves, Trends & Predictions

This article is an excerpt from the Digital Procurement & Spend Management Insider report published in May 2022 which is available to download here. 

We have seen a large number of career moves within the sector in the past six months. Following is a summary of some of the most notable along with a number that illustrate the overall trends in the market. Whilst Coupa may recently have lost long-standing and well respected senior sales leader Mark McCarthy to Accel-KKR, it has been very active in the hiring market for salespeople, in particular in the UK, Germany and other key European markets.

In addition to its well respected enterprise sales team led by the likes of Will Goodall and Andy Lightfoot, its UK mid-market  sales team has ten people — quite large by sector standards. It includes recent hires like Joe Catling, formerly of Proactis, and Sarah Kingdom-Evans, who joined from BravoSolution, now Jaggaer.

The addition of Carl Thompson (ex-Medius) and Tomas Berry, formerly of Basware, into their pre-sales teams demonstrates just how active Coupa has been in recent months in hiring from other established vendors in the sector. The situation is similar in other European countries, most notably Germany.

Not to be outdone, Jaggaer has also been very active in strengthening its sales teams across the continent. Justin Sadler-Smith has been rewarded for his performance in leading Northern Europe with a promotion to Senior Vice President of Sales for Europe. Having recruited Simon Thompson (UK) last year, he has further strengthened his leadership team with another hire from SAP Ariba in Fabrizio Fassone, who joined as Regional VP for Italy in February.

Paul Rutten joined late in 2021 from Ivalua to lead the Benelux region and Jaggaer also made some new additions to the DACH team along with the vast experience of Alun Moore (ex-Basware) in the UK who joined in January.

Claire Coupar has also joined Jaggaer from Proactis in a Value Engineering role, and with Martin Hayles promoted into the Global Alliances leadership role it really has been a busy period of progress at Jaggaer.

Basware in the UK has also seen significant change with Paul Taylor leaving the sector entirely, Lisa Pace joining Coupa and pre-sales specialist Kelly Lambert joining Medius. However, Basware has added the experience of Mark Fleming (ex GEP, Emptoris & SAP Ariba) and is actively hiring into what will be exciting roles with the new ownership likely to be in place soon.

On that subject, the acquisition by the Accel-KKR-led consortium is viewed by many as a good move for Basware given the history of the investors in the sector. If you also factor in the recent recruitment of sector expert Mark McCarthy by Accel-KKR — with his impressive track record, including over six years with both SAP Ariba and more recently Coupa where he played a key role in their success story — you can understand the optimism.

With significant investment, its strong offering in networked P2P provision should be increasingly competitive and we expect to see the firm actively hiring in the coming months. GEP has made a series of hires across Europe, the highest profile of which is Arthur Dobma as Head of EMEA. He joins after thirteen successful years at SAP including leading sales across Northern Europe for the SAP Ariba line of business. His team includes Karen Merrill, formerly of IBM Emptoris and Chain IQ.

Proactis has a new Sales Director in John Joyce, who takes over from Alex Ashley-Roberts who has moved into a Group Marketing leadership role. Exciting news in the best-of-breed world includes the return of Richard Hogg to the sector in a new role at Scoutbee where he will be General Manager for EMEA leading the company’s sales growth across the region.

Richard has previously held various leadership roles during a lengthy stint at BravoSolution before leading sales across Northern Europe for Jaggaer.

Mark Masterson has left his position as RVP of EMEA Sales at TealBook, which has since promoted Mo Ahmad into an interim General Manager role for EMEA. He will continue to lead alliances in the region.

In specialist contract management solutions, both Icertis and SirionLabs have been very active in the market across Europe. Piers Bishop made the move from Icertis to SirionLabs late last year where he is now AVP Sales UK, Ireland & Nordics, and Icertis has built on the growing Germany operation and now has approximately 35 people in the UK.

SirionLabs also added Andy Mellors from Jaggaer but has lost Carina Hoogeveen (formerly of Coupa and Icertis) who is now working as consultant-cum-CMO for several organisations including Rosslyn Data Technologies. Rosslyn has itself been through a period of change with Paul Cook and Nadia Law the latest to leave. Paul has followed some former colleagues to Simfoni.

In the world of Supply Chain Finance (SCF) we’ve seen some interesting developments. One big move has been that of Mirco Roeben who joins C2FO as their Managing Director for the German market. Mirco is ex-Taulia and has a strong track record in the SCF sector.

On the subject of Taulia, following the acquisition by SAP it will be interesting to observe how it incorporates its offering into the wider SAP portfolio, and specifically how closely aligned it will be with the SAP Ariba line of business.

Clearly, companies like Jaggaer, GEP and Coupa have big ambitions for further growth. The trends they illustrate of hiring proven performers in the procurement and supply chain solutions market, who are already comfortable in front of a relevant senior audience, is widespread across the sector. They have been successful for a number of reasons: their ambition, products, leadership, great investment and the career opportunities they are able to offer — but not everyone can compete with that.

In client-facing roles of all types, whether they be sales, presales, account management, customer success or professional services, almost every hiring manager we speak to wants to hire someone with the aforementioned sector expertise. Companies need people who can have an impact almost immediately, so the thought of hiring people who need to be developed over time is not one that appeals to hiring managers under pressure to deliver results for expectant owners and investors.

With the increasing headcount that we are seeing across the overall market, these trends are causing the skills shortage that exists in the sector.  Similar trends are visible in other high-growth SaaS markets like Security, Data, Infrastructure and CRM.

In the longer term, the sector will need to address this problem, because demand continues to grow at a faster rate than anyone can increase the supply through the long-term nurturing of talent. Outlined below is evidence that the consultancies invested in this market understand this, but the ‘Big 4’ in particular have always been great advocates of hiring and developing graduate talent. Start-up and scale-up SaaS businesses don’t necessarily have the infrastructure or resources to follow their lead.