Kelly Lang, Vice President of Corporate Communications, recently talked with Sprinklr’s newest board member on his thoughts about Sprinklr’s future and growth, his start in software and industry trends, and a few fun topics like what he’s currently binging. Enjoy getting to know Kevin.
Q) How were you first introduced to Sprinklr?
Kevin Haverty: I personally know one of Sprinklr’s existing board members. He happened to mention that Sprinklr was interested in adding a new board member with go-to-market expertise, and he offered to introduce me to Ragy. So that's how it all started.
Q) After meeting Ragy, what influenced you to join Sprinklr’s board?
Kevin Haverty: First off, Ragy’s enthusiasm is contagious. I picked up on that immediately. I was also very impressed with where Sprinklr is- being on the front end of a trend. I love being involved in things that are kind of the next thing as opposed to just running something that's status quo. I saw a lot of those elements in Sprinklr, and I thought that joining Sprinklr’s board would be a great use of my time.
Q) What do you think Sprinklr’s greatest growth opportunity is?
Kevin Haverty: Well, I think it's really early innings for Sprinklr. Many know Sprinklr from their start in social, but they've expanded into many different areas and are approaching the market with a comprehensive customer experience management platform. So I see a lot of upside for their existing customers. Even though their current install base is quite impressive and large, there are so many more customers who haven't even started their Sprinklr journey yet, and that’s pretty exciting.
Q) You’ve held multiple leadership positions with ServiceNow, including Chief Revenue Officer and Advisor to the CEO. What have those experiences taught you, and how might they benefit Sprinklr?
Kevin Haverty: The ServiceNow story is an amazing growth story. When I started 11 years ago, we were about a hundred million in annual sales. And today, we're on a $7.5 billion dollar annual run rate. Across those 11 years, we experienced all different phases of growth. Some of the most fun and exciting years are when you're in that phase of trying to go from about a half billion to a billion dollars and break through, and that's kind of right where Sprinklr sits today. For a number of years at ServiceNow, our internal mantra was to break a billion, and we worked hard to get there. Then of course just as we were about to get there, our CEO at the time moved the goal post and said, “You know, we're now onto four billion.” So it's always about trying to solve for where you want to get to. I feel like my experiences at ServiceNow and prior companies put me in a position where I could help guide Sprinklr with lessons learned to accelerate that path to a billion and beyond.
Q) How did you get your start in SaaS?
Kevin Haverty: I started in SaaS in 2011 when I went to ServiceNow. I had started using SaaS applications in my job as a senior sales leader at EMC, and I just realized - this is the future. The on-premise client server was clunky. I didn't know how to use it without going to a training class or opening a manual, and I saw ServiceNow as a company that was going to take that dynamic and bring it to service management and then beyond. I feel very strongly that technology trends don't skip markets. Once they're on a certain path, the momentum just takes off, and our jobs are to affect it and try to make it happen sooner than it would normally. So that's how I got exposed to SaaS as a user. Then once I saw a good opportunity to get to a company and help them reach their full potential, I jumped on it.
Q) How have you seen the SaaS space evolve over the last 10 years? What have those big transitions been?
Kevin Haverty: Believe it or not, it was only 11 years ago when I started at ServiceNow, and there were prospects who would say things like, “We'll never have SaaS applications here.” These were organizations like big banks and government agencies that had proprietary information. We went from “a lot of this will never happen” to “yeah, we need to explore this” to today where it's the standard. So, it's a matter of hanging in there, acknowledging people's objections, trying to address them, and then getting them to see that the benefits outweigh the risks and potential downfalls. It’s important to make the case to help people see the benefits, and whatever the solution is, to provide it.
Q) What trends do you see emerging across the broader tech and enterprise landscape for 2023?
Kevin Haverty: The trends around automation and digital transformation - they’re not just buzzwords. It's gone from a nice to have to a have to have. It has to do with what you need to leverage automation. You need to leverage digital technology to be able to serve your customers, because you can't just keep throwing people at it. It's inefficient to do things manually. I'm not talking about displacing human labor. I'm talking about making human labor more effective by giving them the technology that they need to get their jobs done in an efficient way for the benefit of their customers.
Q)If you think about all your experiences across SaaS, what are your biggest lessons learned in your career?
Kevin Haverty: The biggest lesson learned is to keep your eye on the customer success portion of it. If you close a sale in SaaS and then the customer doesn’t use what you sold them, that’s a real fast path to an upset customer and ultimately a failed mission. It's really about getting the customer to value as quickly as possible, setting an expectation, and then exceeding those expectations. I would love to make sure that every customer that buys SaaS gets it to value quickly and gets a bigger return from it. That’s the kind of righteous circle of goodness where the customers are getting more than they expected, and they're going to come back to whoever provided that solution to solve other problems for them. Then you keep rolling with positive momentum from there.
Q)Let's transition and have a little fun. Are you binging anything good on TV right now?
Kevin Haverty: I'm a little behind, but I'm watching The Morning Show right now, and I don't know how that one escaped me when it first came out. I keep thinking, “Wow, this is really good.” Jennifer Aniston is an amazing actress, and it's got a great cast and a lot of drama. I'm having fun watching that.
Q)What book is currently on your bedside table that you're reading?
Kevin Haverty: I just finished Quiet. I loved it. I knew of that book for a while, and it was always on my list. I finally got to it, finished it and loved it. Now, I am just cracking open Swagger by Jimmy Johnson, former coach of the Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes and Dallas Cowboys.
Q)Do you have a happy place? Where is it, and why is it special?
Kevin Haverty: I'm actually at one of my happy places right now on Lake Winnisquam in New Hampshire. My family has a lake house here and what I love about it is– It’s just you in the country. I'm looking at a beautiful lake and it's super rural, but I’m also only 10 minutes from I-93 and an hour and a half from being right back in downtown Boston. It's a great way to get away without being too far from civilization.
Q) You’re one of five kids! Anything you’d like to share about growing up in a large family that shaped your leadership?
Kevin Haverty: Totally. Whenever I'm negotiating with a tough client, it reminds me of all my arguments with my brothers and sister. Growing up with a big family set me up to handle the toughest people and challenges. It's like, “Give me whatever you got, I'm ready.”