The Long View

Follow the Workflow: Go-to-Market at ServiceNow

In the second interview of our Follow the Workflow case study, Dave Yuan and Avanish Sahai sit down with Kevin Haverty, former CRO and current Vice Chairman of the Public Sector at ServiceNow, to discuss how ServiceNow navigated GTM when going multi-product.

As you go multi-product and expand throughout an organization, there is an existential question you must answer: when (or should) you verticalize your GTM org? Do you split the team around functions they sell to? Around industries? Around customer size? ServiceNow went with a radical choice: expanding from one GTM team to five in the span of a month. We interviewed Kevin Haverty, the former CRO and current Vice Chairman of the Public Sector at ServiceNow, about the journey. 

The TL;DR from ServiceNow’s GTM strategy: 

  1. Reputation is how you’ll get started: Having advocates to help you win business based on your reputation early on can be a big lift—but it’s also important to understand the persona you’re selling to and how to speak their language!
  2. Build specialist teams to target new personas that your core team cannot reach: Your team will do their best, but solution sales will be necessary for the first push. This is especially true before you specialize your sales team by customer type. 
  3. You’ll have to simultaneously push your core product and your new products: If your sales team neglects the core product in favor of the new product, your revenue might suffer while the new product gets started. Finding a balance is crucial to creating excitement about new products and keeping your sales team meeting quotas. Look for adjacencies where a new product will make an easy cross-sell.
  4. Keep sales teams focused with guardrails: The temptation with new launches is to go too cheap or too wide. ServiceNow avoided this trap by setting a minimum contract value with pricing floors.
  5. Don’t over/under-index too quickly: These things take time beyond the one or two quarters that Wall Street will push you to have. Gather as much data as you can in order to learn what’s working over the long term. As Kevin says, “It’s not just about whether we could build this great product. Should we build this great product?”

We hope you enjoy this interview with Kevin.

Avanish: We are here with a dear friend and former boss, Kevin Haverty. Kevin has had a stellar career at ServiceNow: he has run American Sales, then was CRO, and has been advisor to the CEO. We’re going to talk a bit about this notion of “platforms of compounding greatness.” ServiceNow certainly is the best example, given how the company has grown. Welcome, Kevin, and thanks for taking the time.

Kevin: Happy to be here, and thanks for having me.

Avanish: With that, let me turn it over to Dave. Dave, take it away.

Dave: When you say platforms of compounding greatness, Avanish, it sounds so much better than when I say it! The thesis that we’re working on is a strategy framework around how single-product companies can become multi-product and, therein, become platforms of compounding greatness. Ultimately, that’s what drives toward sustainable growth and expanding markets, which is the goal of all this. ServiceNow is an amazing case study for this strategy framework in particular. 

There’s a type of expansion we’re coining “follow the workflow.” ServiceNow has gone from primarily, you could argue, an IT niche, to selling multiple applications to multiple constituents in IT, and then moving outside of IT to operations, HR, and even developers. 

One thing we wanted to unpack was not only the product strategy in this, but the go-to-market and how to get this done. I can’t think of a better guy than Kevin to talk it through. Kevin, do you mind sharing more about your personal background, both prior to and with ServiceNow?

Kevin: I don’t know how far back you want me to go, but I’ll give you the basics on me. I’m a career salesperson. My very first job was as a quota-carrying sales rep. I don’t know anything else—I’ve never not had a number. I like to say my life starts and stops in 13-week increments. I feel like I’m born on the first day of the quarter, I die on the last day of the quarter, and then I just do it over again. I’ve grown to love it over time, and I’ve had a very blessed career. 

I know how to pick them. I think that’s been the key to my success. I kissed a couple frogs; I don’t talk about them a lot, though I learned a bit. Mostly I’ve worked for really high-quality companies: EMC, Brocade, Data Domain, which got acquired by EMC, and then ServiceNow. Those are really successful companies that had very valuable products and solutions. They took care of customers and grew a lot. 

Most of my time has been spent in high-growth technology. It’s not easy, but it helps when you’re in a place that’s executing. That’s who I am, and that’s my background.

Dave: That’s a heck of a run, and a heck of a span of execution. If I have it right, you joined ServiceNow when they were doing roughly 100M, is that right?

Kevin: Yep. I joined in December 2011, and we were just breaking 100M in sales at that point.

Avanish: I joined in late 2016. In six years, you’ve gone from less than a billion to over eight billion. I can say, having worked for Kevin and had 6 a.m. Monday morning calls with him for many years, he is a person you want on your side in that growth.

Dave: That might be one of those mic-drop moments. A hundred million to eight billion… We’re done! That’s pretty amazing. [Laughter] Let’s jump into the multiproduct nuances. You can start with the basic context of how you guys are organized, as a company and as a go-to-market team.

Kevin: We talked about phases of the company. Phase 1 was zero to one hundred million. I missed that phase. Fred Luddy, our founder, was CEO. We were taking a product to market and doing what was really hard to do: going from zero to one hundred million in sales. Hats off to the crew who pulled that off, because that’s tough sledding, as we say here in New England (you know that, Dave!). Just before one hundred million, the board and Fred—who was a member of the board—decided that they wanted to bring in a “professional CEO.” 

They got Frank Slootman, who I think is the best of the best for a scale-up CEO in enterprise technology. Frank took us onto Phase 2, one hundred million to a billion. The IPO happened in the early part of Phase 2. That’s also when I started, just a few months after Frank. In the early days, Frank’s executive staff included his CFO, Mike Scarpelli, who was more than just a CFO. He’s a really, really sharp guy. He understands the business beyond just finance. He’s with Frank now at Snowflake, and they’re doing incredible things over there. You also had David Schneider, who was my boss, running worldwide sales—another world-class leader, all about growth. Then you had Beth White on marketing, and Dan McGee on product—or I think, officially, engineering. Dan owned the product, the service, everything that was supporting the product to go.

It was very straightforward go-to-market in those days. I like to say we had one SKU: it was an IT service management fulfiller. “It’s a hundred dollars a month per fulfiller. How many do you have? Okay, here we go.” That served us well for a good long time. Then we extended a little bit beyond IT service management, though still in IT. We started doing some IT operations management (ITOM). Revenue was mostly IT service management with a little bit of IT operations management, and we just started to scale. 

When we hit about a billion, we needed more products to continue the growth. There was still plenty more to get inside IT, but to get to the big numbers, you really need to be in multiple domains. That’s when the corporate structure shifted. Frank, along with Dan McGee, decided that they were going to create a general manager structure. Inside the product organization, reporting directly to Dan, they created GMs of four or five different business units. One for ITSM. One for ITOM. Then we carved out HR as its own domain—today we call it Employee Workflows; in those days we called it the HR product suite. Then we opened up a security domain, a customer service management one, and then platform as a service. Today we call it Creative Workflows. That’s a no-code, low-code part of the platform.

Frank made a decision that we were going with that structure, and within, like, a week, it was there. In one release—we do two releases per year—we introduced all these products to these new parts of the enterprise. I’d consider it a “big bang” approach to multiproduct. It really was like, shock and awe inside of the sales organization because all of a sudden you got your wish of having more products to sell. But be careful what you wish for, because now you’ve got more buying personas to sell to, more domains to master, more conversations to have, and more value propositions to define. It was a little chaotic, but it was a brilliant move. Even though it was hard for us to figure it out, we didn’t wait. Once we knew it was the right idea, we said “Let’s do it,” and we learned as we went. Thankfully, the revenue started to track right along with that.

That was Phase 3, from a billion plus. We were a multiproduct, multichannel company. That’s when the organizational structure started to change. In the go-to-market organization—my part of the business—David Schneider stood up a solution sales organization. We started very small. We took an existing sales leader, Craig Pratt, and asked him to build this team. In the early days we called it Product Line Sales; today it’s called Solution Sales. 

We started hiring salespeople who had expertise in those domains: HR specialists, ITOM specialists, security specialists, customer service specialists. These were people who spoke the language of those parts of the enterprise, knew who to call and what kind of conversations to have, and what type of value that part of the enterprise was interested in defining. That became our motto. The core seller focused predominantly on IT, and when they were outside of IT—which was maybe an away game for them—they called on the specialists to help them articulate the message and be successful there. That is still our structure today, just on a much bigger scale. At the time, we just did it organically. It was more or less David Schneider brainstorming and going with what felt right. 

A few years later, we hired Bain to come in, look at our go-to-market, and assess it against the market. We worked collaboratively with them to determine the right model for ServiceNow. We looked at all the big players in the industry and went to school on their go-to-market models. We didn’t say we were going to copy Company A, B, or C; we were going to be informed by what they’re doing, then do what works for us. That kind of validated our approach and helped give us a roadmap of what we want to look like in five years. What’s the path to get there? Where should we hire, and what types of roles? What’s our expense envelope? It was a pretty intense exercise, but I think it was good. It validated that we made a lot of good decisions, and it also helped guide what we needed to do to continue the growth.

Dave: You covered a whole lot there. That is an impressive amount of organizational work, and candidly, I think very few organizations and go-to-markets have achieved what you have. Maybe we can break it down into those phases you described.

You go from Phase 1 to Phase 2, which is single product to multiproduct. I think most small, limited cap software companies end there. We’ve done a study of public market companies—I believe only 25% of public market software companies actually make it to significant multi-product. You’re already very much in the win column there. Most of the time, it’s a progression from single product to maybe two products, then incrementally from two products to maybe a portfolio of small experiment scaling. I’m really curious as to how you go from one to five, from a functional organization to a GM organization, all at once. As you think about how you would counsel a more traditional company, do you [recommend going] from one to five? Or would you think about phasing in that second and third product more incrementally over time?

Kevin: In hindsight, I think the better approach would have been to get to multiproduct sooner and then phase it in a little bit at a time. Maybe introduce HR aggressively, then six months later introduce security, then six months later… You know what I mean?

What led us to these markets, by the way, was customers taking us there automatically. The great thing about the ServiceNow product is that workflow is really how employees interact with each other to get their work done. We had a lot of customers dropping the ServiceNow IT service management app into HR and using it for HR functions. The thing was, it was an IT product with IT lingo, and HR people kind of wanted an HR product. Right? We weren’t branded as an HR company. 

In IT, you have something called an incident. When an employee needs help from IT, they submit an incident request, and they get an incident number. Well, in HR, that same exact process exists, but they call it a case. When you use incident management to do case management, your lingo is just off. You look like an IT product being used by HR people. From a packaging standpoint, you’ve got to get the right nomenclature for the base functionality. Then you build it out to be more robust and do all the things that HR does. Entering those markets was based on an educated guess that we’ve got a high chance to win, because customers were already doing it with our IT product. If they can make that work, then if we put focus on it—that was the whole reason for hiring GMs who really understood those markets—we could really go.

You have to make sure that you have a product that’s as robust as the ServiceNow platform, that’s malleable enough to solve multiple problems across the enterprise. We had those things, but [given a do-over], I would plan for it in advance and do it more serially. I would give the company time to absorb it. But you can’t argue with what worked, either. So, what can you say?

Dave: It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to work—and it seems like this worked in big scale. If you think about doing this again—for example, counseling a company that’s going from a hundred to 300, 400, and doing it sequentially—one big piece where we find a lot of friction is in what you described around the customer demand. A sales team knows how to sell their core product. That’s how they’re making their quota. Oftentimes, that’s where they’re able to charge the highest deal size, because it’s a mature product, it’s more understood, and/or it’s aligned to their ICP. There's great product-market fit. Product number two, obviously, is totally different—it probably isn’t nearly as mature, and addresses either slightly different customers, or completely different customers. 

Let’s start with slightly different customers here. In that scenario, there are two boundary conditions that are challenging. One is your sales team saying, “Oh, that product looks great,” but they don’t sell it because they’re trying to hit their quota. The other boundary is that maybe they get so fixated on the new product that they miss their quota because they aren’t selling the big deal stuff. As the sales leader, as an organizational leader, when do you know that this second product is going to hunt?

Kevin: Most of this I can tell you from lessons that we learned about what went well and what was challenging. The first thing that was challenging for us, in that first year when we had multiple products—even if it was just a second product, I think it would be the same thing—was that we had a tendency to try to sell the new product to our existing users or champions. That’s who we knew, that’s who we had relationships with, and that’s where we were comfortable. 

We wasted a lot of time trying to sell customer service management to the person who runs IT. Not that the person who runs IT is not involved in customer service management, but they’re not usually the driver for a new customer service management application. It’s the person running customer service, right? That’s where that persona lingo that I was throwing around earlier comes to play. You really need to be selling to the business unit owner to land and get something going. 

If somebody wanted to sell a sales app into my organization and they were talking to somebody in IT, I don’t know how much traction they would get. If somebody from IT picked up the phone and said, “Hey, Kevin, you should do this or that in your sales org,” I don’t know… Maybe they would hit, but more likely I would be saying, “Look, I’ve got a number to make. I’ve got other challenges.” I might just push them back, right? But if I have a need, and somebody understands what my challenge is and can provide a solution, I’m more likely to go to IT and say, “Hey, I really like this solution. Can you help me vet it, make sure it’s appropriate for the enterprise? Help us do a pilot, I think we want to go here.” We kind of did the opposite for a while. 

We were selling to the people who were involved but not necessarily driving, but we learned over time to inverse that. It’s not like divide and conquer; it’s more like you sell to both, but you’ve got to get to that business unit leader and really understand their business issue, and then do the rest of it. Know who the buying persona is and be able to get to them. Then, when you get to them, know how to speak their language. That’s why we built out the solution sales organization. 

We also learned that to do it right, you have to have all the supporting functions in line. Marketing needs to be creating collateral that aligns. If you’re a company that had its legacy selling to IT, and now you want to sell to HR but you still look like a company who sells to IT, that might be a turn-off to somebody in HR. They’re going to say, “Oh, I don’t want to buy from XYZ Company. They’re an IT provider. We’re HR.” You have to look like the player in that industry. 

There are definitely benefits to one vendor providing multiple things across the enterprise, but not everybody cares. If you’re running HR, do you care who IT is using? You’ve got a job to do. You’ve got business issues to solve. I think it’s good—you get cooperation, and you do get synergies by using the same platform—but it’s not going to win the day. You have to really be good in that domain. Good doesn’t just mean the product’s good. It means everything’s good: the whole 360-degree customer experience.

In the early innings, you’re going to win some business based on your reputation, assuming it’s a good reputation and your customers love you. Your advocates will go and help you on your behalf, but that’s only going to get you so far. That’s kind of how we kept it going. In the early days of multiple products, we were winning by having our advocates help us. Then, as we were getting through that first year, those first 18 months, we were able to add the other functions and good marketing collateral, and start to brand ourselves that way. It was kind of happening in-flight, but we were doing it just in time to continue to get the growth that we were looking for.

Dave: Kevin, this is a really critical stage for a lot of companies that we speak to, so I’d love to linger on this a little bit, if that’s okay.

Kevin: Sure.

Dave: The first thing you raised, which I think is a really astute point, is that you might have a great product but if you’re not used to selling to a certain persona, you may have a lack of success selling to this new persona. How do you know that you’re not getting a false negative, when you’re trying to sell to a new persona and you’re struggling a little bit? That the product and the value proposition actually are good, you just need to learn how to sell to this new constituent that historically your team has less experience with?

Kevin: I think you need to be self-aware and have a good understanding of, when you’re losing, why you’re losing. If the feedback you’re getting is that they picked this other vendor for nonmaterial reasons, then stay at it. If we only had this other thing rounded out, I’m sure we would have done better, right? It’s learn, learn, learn as you’re going. Try to get a lot of at-bats, so you have a lot of data to inform you on why it works, when it’s working, and when it’s not, why? If they’re solvable things, then stay at it. But if the experience is telling you, hmm, the market just doesn’t need you here, that’s important to know too.

I’ll tell you, we made a conscious decision not to go into the sales domain even though, from a product standpoint, we definitely could have. The ServiceNow platform could be a great CRM. It’s about workflow, and in fact, in those days, we used it as our own CRM internally. But the market was dominated by another player, whose name shall not be mentioned. We decided not to build a product and try to beat an entrenched competitor with modern technology that already had a big lead. 

We were also making decisions on whether we have a differentiated product. Would the market benefit from us being there? Can we articulate the difference and the value? It’s not just about whether we could build this great product. Should we build this great product?  I think everything requires you to consider that big-picture look before you go. When you do take a product to market, you’re going to want to win, and it’s a lot of effort. You should have conviction that it’s a market where you have fit and differentiation, because if you don’t have differentiation, you’re going to be competing on price—and then you’re in the commodity business, which is not a great place to be when you’re in an enterprise software, high-growth part of the market.

Dave: Absolutely. So, the effort required to get up to speed on a new persona—or even a new product—that’s time spent where you aren’t hitting your quota with your current product. It sounds like, in your evolution, you guys went from a functional organization to a GM organization very quickly in order to have sales assets focused on these new products and personas. Is that the only way you can do it?

Kevin: It’s a great question. You were alluding to this earlier, David. If you’re all about the new product or market and you get your whole sales team over there, your core product starts to slow down and it’s really hard, with the law of numbers, to get the new product to make up for the revenue that you’re not growing in the core product.


The trick is to do both. Continue to grow your core product as you’re getting the new product revenue going. That’s where adjacencies, or similar types of products, are important. I’ll give you an example. We came out with software asset management a few years ago. Our sales team just ate that up, because they could understand the value proposition. It was being sold inside the organization that they already knew. And it was really compelling. It was like, “If you use our software asset management, analysts say that you’re going to reduce your spend on software in total by 15%. We estimate that you spend X amount of dollars on software every year. That means you’re going to get this much of a return, and it only costs this much.” I don’t want to say it was an easy cross-sell, but it was a really logical cross-sell for us. It wasn’t a lot of calories for our sales team to get these meetings. Then there was a time where we brought a product to market that was sold to Treasury, and that was harder for us, because our sales people didn’t know how to talk to treasurers. It was a different language, it was a lot of calories, and the dollar amounts weren’t huge. It just didn’t get the traction.

When you’re leading the sales organization, you can't be telling them that everything is the biggest priority when you have a broad platform and a lot of different places to sell. But these aren’t super hard decisions—I think a group of executives at any company are sharp enough to think it through. Can our team execute here? How much more complex is this message? How much harder is it to talk to this buying persona? And how much of a solution sales organization, if any, would we need to be successful here?

You know, I’ve had some conversations with CROs who might use me as a sounding board in smaller companies. One of them asked me once, “When should I build a solution sales organization?” My advice was, only when you have to. Don’t be in a hurry to build that, because it’s a necessary evil. Number one, it’s expensive. Number two, there are challenges with it—there are [account] control challenges, there is sometimes conflict between the core team and the specialty team, and all these different things that it introduces. If you can avoid it, you should, and keep it simple for your sellers. But if it’s the only way you’re going to open up that second market, then do it, but I would say do it gradually, learn, and then scale it. 

You also need to hire a seller who is appropriate for that type of role. There are some sellers who need to be the quarterback, and there are other sellers who are okay playing an assist role and working more collaboratively. You really need to define what you want this team to do. What’s the profile of the person we’re going to hire to do it? How are we going to manage it? It definitely introduces challenges, but it’s also sometimes the breakthrough you need to get you going with that second revenue stream.

Dave: I’m going to take you down even one level further, Kevin, because there are very few people who have done this with the scale and success that you have. As we think about rolling this out within an existing org, I’ve heard thoughts around picking a smaller group to show success initially and build the social proof internally. I’ve heard about different comp models, SPIFs versus quotas, so on and so forth. Are there key tactics you can share?

Kevin: Let’s talk about SPIFs. SPIFs are not a good long-term solution. I think of SPIFs as a Band-Aid to another problem. You wouldn’t need a SPIF if your team was getting it done with that new product, right? Sometimes they’re good to get a seller’s attention, like, “Ooh, if I do that, I can make 20% more money than if I do this, or 50% more money than if I do that.” But if it’s still too hard to sell that product—because the value proposition isn’t there, or it’s too complex, or whatever—you can SPIF them all day long and they’re not going to do it because it’s too hard. 

This is where I lean on my former experience as a salesperson and how this would land with me. Some people think salespeople are greedy: “they’re salespeople. They just want to make money.” I think salespeople are more nervous or afraid. They’re like, “I’m not going to make my number. I’m going to lose my job. I’m going to lose my house.” They’re selling to stay ahead of the game. It’s fear. If, all of a sudden, you have this thing that’s risky for them, or it’s too hard and they’re not set up for success, it doesn’t matter if you SPIF them. Throughout the years I’ve had a lot of people say, “Let’s just SPIF them.” Everybody wants a SPIF on their product.

You know, reps can also get SPIF fatigue. If you’re SPIF’ing all the time, and you’re SPIF’ing everything, then it’s not really a SPIF anymore—it’s just the comp plan. Use them sparingly. Use them to change and incent behavior, and then make sure that they go away. If they become the norm, they lose their effectiveness. That’s why I call it a Band-Aid. It’s a short-term action to get some people to try something new, but if the whole thing isn’t rounded out and they can’t be successful, it’s not going to do much for you long-term.

Dave: Wise counsel. Just to follow-up on your prior comment around enablement, both challenge yourself today and also challenge yourself when you’re directly carrying a bag. In today’s market, where budgets are tight whether you’re public or private, if you had one enablement tool that you could invest in to make this newfangled second product work and be easier on the team to sell, what would it be? Would it be, as Avanish mentioned, product marketing? Would it be brand marketing? Would you view overlay or specialist solution selling as a resource? Where would you put your money?

Kevin: You know, there’s something to be said for enabling the core team with a good sales enablement platform or solution, where it’s easy for a rep to find information. Get them up to base level [on a product]: being able to explain it, defend it, and understand why it’s important for the customer. Your core team is generally going to be a lot bigger than any of your specialty teams, and the core person being able to have that conversation and describe the product the way you want them to, the way that it’s going to land with the customer— I think that’s an important thing to get.

You also have to be careful with enablement, because when you’re in a multiproduct company, there’s a push to enable salespeople on a lot of stuff. I know enablement professionals have rules of thumb on how many hours per quarter a rep can consume. You do have to respect those, because if we enable the salespeople as much as we all want to, they’ll be doing enablement 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They won't have time to go on sales calls, eat, or sleep. You’ve got to be judicious about it. 

It also needs to be consumable. This was something that we struggled with in the early days. We would ask for enablement training, and say we want a 30-minute video on the benefits of this product. Then you get back the video and it’s an hour and 15 minutes because it’s so good and it’s so packed with information. But that’s competing with five others, and the reps can’t pay attention for an hour and a half. Nobody can. Multiply that by all the other enablement they need to do… We need clarity of thought in enablement. We need it to be in bite-size pieces. It needs to be consumable, and it needs to be delivered through technology that’s easy to get access to. The more you can do to make it understandable for the customers and the reps, to make your value proposition consumable and easy to translate, the more it’s going to go. It’s not exactly product-led growth, but if it has some of the elements of product-led growth, then you know that your sellers can get on board with it—and your customers will understand it better, too.

Dave: That’s great advice. You’ve covered a lot of different things around how to make it easier to sell, more adjacent to what a rep does day-to-day. As a last question around this phase of growth, what about price point? Is there a price point that’s too low, which you would advise your team not to pursue? Typically what we see is that the core product is pretty expensive, and then the additional products, maybe to facilitate adoption, are lower priced. Is there a price below which it’s just not relevant?

Kevin: You know, it all depends on what kind of company you are and what your average selling price or deal price is. I think a pricing floor is a pretty good way to keep your salesforce pointed where you want them. I’ll give you an example that predates me. I know when David Schneider and Dan McGee—and I’m sure Scarpelli was involved as well—came in to ServiceNow a few months before me, they came up with a minimum $42,000 annual contract value. If it’s below that, it’s not profitable for us and it’s not really going to scale. It’s just not who we’re going to be.

That pointed our sales team up market. The small accounts weren’t going to pay that much, and it just kind of kept them up. We also did some things around maximum discount. Like, we’re not doing deals at more than X percentage off. If it’s below that, that’s not good business for us. We really enforced these [guardrails], too. These weren’t fake things. It was like, we’re not taking the deal if it’s below 42,000. Period. It was a very effective way to make sure that people were focused on the right stuff.

Your question was more about the second product. I don’t necessarily think the second product has to be less than the core product. In fact, in our world, customer service management is more robust, has more functionality, and does more things than our IT service management, so it is a premium-price product. The average selling price is higher, the TAM is bigger—it’s a customer-facing app. We went into bigger markets when we expanded. I think it’s situational on what your second product, your second market, or third, or fourth, is going to be. I wouldn’t necessarily say it should be less than the core product.

Avanish: Kevin, is, as the journey has continued, are there things that you would go back and do differently? You described some of the things about timing and phasing things. Is there anything else that you would have done differently, going back five or six years?

Kevin: You know, Avanish, I usually answer that question two ways. One way, I say I wouldn’t do a thing different, because look at the results, right?

Avanish: Yeah.

Kevin: On the other hand, my current CEO, Bill McDermott, is the “dream big” guy. He always encourages everybody to dream big, and in hindsight, when I thought I was dreaming big, I really wasn’t dreaming as big as I thought. Maybe if I would go back, I would say think bigger, and have confidence that this can happen. You know, all you really need to do is look at the biggest and most successful companies. Whatever they’re doing, you can do that and more because you have the benefit of their learnings. We can all limit ourselves by saying “It’s only us.” No. You should think, “Why not us?” We can do anything and everything any other successful company has done and then some. That’s the thing I would try to do—dream bigger and have more confidence in what’s achievable. It’s wide open on what is. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s possible.

Avanish: I love that.

Dave: That’s as good a piece of advice to end on as anything. Man, what you just described… Dream bigger. That is a great place to end. This was awesome, Kevin. 

Kevin: David, let me throw one thing out there. I get the benefit of telling these stories, but as Avanish knows, it was a team effort, and it was a really good team. I had my place on the team, but this isn’t the Kevin Haverty story. This is the ServiceNow story. I was one player on a really good team over the years. The talent that ServiceNow was attracting as we started getting traction and success was incredible. Every time somebody comes in, you’re just like, wow, look at this! It was a great run. It continues to be a great run, and it’s a privilege for me to play my role in it.

Dave: Avanish warned me that you’d understate your role, so I know you are. [Laughter] I really appreciate you sharing these reflections. There are all these fancy frameworks that you can throw out, but ultimately what you’re describing is something that’s a lot more actionable: asking, “Can we sell this? Can we sell a second product? How much additional resource do we need? Let’s just go do it.” I’m sure there’s a lot of hard work behind that, but in some ways that is very clarifying. 

Avanish: Absolutely. Thank you, Kevin. I always learn new stuff.

Kevin: All right, you’ve got it. Good talking to you guys.

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October 2023

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