The mammoth Concur/SAP marriage marks enormous consolidation in the travel and expenses space, with many Concur customers set to become SAP clients in the near future.
This upcoming transition of the independent market leader has been seen as a cheeky marketing opportunity by relative-to-Concur upstart Expensify.
The startup has announced two significant marketing campaigns targeted at Concur customers.
The first is the most directly combatative, offering complimentary service to any current Concur customer for the duration of that customer's contract. For clients seeking alternatives, the offer eliminates any financial burden for switching providers while also underscoring the reasons for the finger in Concur's eye.
In an open letter to customers and the media, Expensify co-founder David Barrett explains:
Hey there, you might have read the news that our friends at Concur have just sold to SAP, a global enterprise powerhouse.
This is great for nearly everybody: SAP, Concur shareholders, and especially for us. As for Concur customers... well the future just got a bit cloudier (and not in a good way).
They probably feel locked into a long-term contract with a company whose focus has suddenly shifted away from their needs, and I'm sure that doesn't feel great. Expensify exists to help people feel great about their expense reports, so in light of the news we're offering a very special deal:
If you're currently a Concur customer, switch to Expensify now and PAY NOTHING for the duration of your Concur contract.
If that's one year, ten years, or a thousand years -- no problem. There's no need to stick it out to the end: you can switch today without stressing over the sunk cost.
The second announcement is for current Concur customers that are unable to break their contracts and transition fully to Expensify. The company has created a technological solution to allow those customers to export reports to Concur via a direct integration.
The cheeky prompt seen below - "Don't like Concur" - demonstrates just how contentious the marketing can be between the industry leader and all of those T&E startups competing in fray beneath the market leader.
This integration is also appealing to those non-decision making Concur customers - i.e. those employees who are not able to make the decision to switch.
The "export to Concur" feature means that any employee can use the service and still integrate with the company's chosen solution provider - as co-founder Barrett teases, "so whether you're in charge or not, there's no reason to suffer through to the bitter end: you can make the switch...without waiting for the rest of your company."
Of course, like any market leader, Concur's dominance has been increasingly contentious - even amidst the pursuit of the Perfect Trip - and this has led many to already consider transitioning away from the company. The acquisition of the largest T&E company by an even-larger global conglomerate may further alienate some customers - and Expensify is certainly not shying away from a direct confrontation marketing strategy.
In comments to Tnooz, this is how the company thinks the SAP acquisition of Concur will impact the T&E space:
The revenue multiple that Concur was acquired at validates the value of the product and the importance of the T&E space as part of the full enterprise technology stack. Concur’s acquisition likely marks the end of what little innovation they were mustering. (They are just now in 2014 launching features that we had in 2011).
Concur will likely shutter its SMB efforts as their expensive CAC isn’t worth the return. This also opens up a huge opportunity in the midmarket as Concur will likely focus its efforts on cross selling to existing SAP customers. Concur customers using Oracle systems will probably start looking elsewhere.
Time will tell if Expensify is simply leveraging an advantageous marketing opporutnity, or if there's truth to the lack of focus inherent in a large-scale integration between two expansive corporations.
NB: SAP/Concur image courtesy BidnessETC.