The Knowledge Agenda Builder isn’t the only way to plan your time in Las Vegas for ServiceNow Knowledge.
If you own and are responsible for your company’s ServiceNow relationship, make purchasing decisions, are tasked with negotiating ServiceNow renewals, or rely on ServiceNow’s products for your line of business, it is critical you prepare effectively in order to have meaningful conversations and meetings at Knowledge.
Here, I will outline what you should do to prepare ahead of Knowledge, how to best spend your time at the conference, and how to develop a strategic post-Knowledge strategy to help you unlock more value from ServiceNow.
What to Do Before ServiceNow Knowledge
- Understand What You Want to Accomplish
Most customers will be invited by their ServiceNow account executive to attend sessions, meetings, and dinners. ServiceNow will be focused on getting attendees to hear more about which new products and more robust product editions they should consider adding to their current ServiceNow portfolio.
Before you arrive at Knowledge, determine what your company’s immediate and go-forward requirements are to help you build a plan for the often-overwhelming event. You should know ahead of time the answers to questions such as:
- What products are you currently utilizing (ITSM, ITOM)?
- What additional products or editions may meet a need later?
- Are all the current product features being used, and if not, why?
While these questions may take time to answer, many companies realize after close inspection that they are not utilizing all the features available to them. To address this, attend sessions that demonstrate how other companies have used products and features to their fullest potential. Make sure your ServiceNow account executive or point of contact knows that your focus is on unlocking more value from the products you already have in your portfolio and push for session recommendations based on these goals.
If there are new ServiceNow products or more robust editions that interest you, like learning more about the potential benefits your company would get from using CSM, SPM (formerly ITBM), HRSD, APM, SecOps, or Impact, attending sessions centered around these products could help you determine whether they would be a good fit. Your ServiceNow account executive will likely jump at the opportunity to get you into these sessions since their goal is to get you to add new products.
You should also use the various networking opportunities to get a candid perspective on the value being received from certain products. Afterall, you are surrounded by other ServiceNow customers that may be using similar products to your company or be facing challenges with certain products you may be considering.
- Understand Who is Attending from Your Company
Far too often, I come across situations where those responsible for the ServiceNow relationship did not know that a particular individual at the company was actually attending Knowledge. The larger the company, the more likely this is going to happen, but it is also a result of ServiceNow’s increased ability to build relationships with many people within companies. Reach out to every department that may be tied to any of the ServiceNow products in use and inquire on whether they are attending Knowledge or even being asked to attend.
Once you have the group pulled together, and before you work to build internal alignment, take the time to understand:
- What sessions have been signed up for?
- What meetings or dinners are people planning to attend?
- If someone from your company is speaking at the event, what topic are they speaking on and who are they speaking with?
It is also important to ensure that all attendees are aligned on the company’s overall goals for the go-forward ServiceNow relationship, not just the goals tied to the event itself. It is important to have a shared understanding of what the company wants the supplier relationship to look like and what is needed from ServiceNow.
- Ask Your ServiceNow Point of Contact to:
Provide a Recommended Agenda – Each attendee should be provided a customized agenda with a list of all recommended sessions, events, and dinners to attend. This customized agenda should be accompanied by rationale as to why a particular session or event is worth the limited time you have at Knowledge.
You can learn a lot about how well they understand your company’s challenges from what they suggest and how it compares to your actual needs. You may find that, based on the agenda proposed, they are planning to use Knowledge as an opportunity to execute to their land-and-expand strategy.
In that case, you’ll have to redirect their focus to your actual needs and goals for Knowledge – even if it means helping your company get more value from the products you already pay for.
Introduce You to Other Relevant ServiceNow Customers – Ask to be introduced to customers in your industry who have adopted similar products. If there is interest in new ServiceNow products, have them introduce you to customers who already adopted that solution so you can inquire more about the value they received and any challenges they experienced along the way.
The one thing to remember is that the customers your ServiceNow account executive puts you in front of are likely ones they know are going to say exactly what ServiceNow hopes they will say about the particular product. It will be important to try to seek out additional ServiceNow customers’ perspectives as well. This goes back to the importance of networking while waiting for a particular session or keynote to start.
Introduce You to More ServiceNow People – Unfortunately, many ServiceNow customers primarily or even only have contact with an account executive. To strengthen your relationship, you should ask your account executive to connect you with more senior-level sales executives and individuals from the product side of ServiceNow.
Brokering relationships will be critical if you are looking to evolve and elevate your go-forward relationship into a more strategic partnership. You can also call upon the conversations you have and the newly formed relationships with more senior sales executives and product owners during any upcoming renewal negotiations.
What to Do During ServiceNow Knowledge
- Learn from Similar ServiceNow Customers
Ask the following questions to speakers and attendees from companies like yours or companies that use similar ServiceNow products:
- What is your relationship with ServiceNow like?
- Has the relationship changed over time?
- What type of value are you getting compared to what you were promised?
- If you’re not getting the value you were promised, how has ServiceNow treated the situation?
- Are you considering anything new?
If you determine that there are many companies that seem to have a better relationship with ServiceNow or are getting more value from ServiceNow than your company, you can go back to your account executive and ask why it is different for your company. What is ServiceNow going to do to correct this?
- Notice Common Challenges
While at Knowledge, you and your team should be talking to fellow attendees at all levels and paying attention to common challenges other customers are expressing. Speakers may be biased but talking to others in attendance throughout the conference can show that a challenge of yours is a broader problem for the ServiceNow customer base. This could possibly be leveraged during your next renewal negotiation or value discussions with ServiceNow.
- Question New Products
When learning about new products or more robust editions under consideration, don’t be afraid to ask questions on what happens if certain products don’t deliver on expected benefits.
Asking tough, out in the open questions now sets the stage for the follow-up negotiations. It also shows that you may be reluctant to add certain products to your portfolio if ServiceNow can’t give your company the level of reassurance you need to adopt the product.
What to Do After ServiceNow Knowledge
- Follow Up with Your ServiceNow Account Executive
After the event, reach out to your ServiceNow account executive to get any clarification you or other attendees may need. Perhaps there was something learned that requires further explanation or that you have a follow-up question on.
You should also ask for a summary of the biggest takeaways and announcements from Knowledge that would be relevant to you and your company, including a summary of the sessions attended.
- Apply What You Learned
Knowledge is the perfect opportunity to learn how ServiceNow customers may be able to utilize products more effectively, evaluate which products may be worth adding, build deeper relationships with ServiceNow, and gain valuable insight into where ServiceNow is now and where they are going.
The Bottom Line
There will be many distractions and events to attend while at Knowledge, but having the proper plan in place will help you stay focused to ensure your company gets the most out of Knowledge rather than letting ServiceNow get the most out of your company.
Note on the Author: Adam Mansfield is the ServiceNow Advisory Practice Leader at UpperEdge. He has helped ServiceNow customers save money and improve their relationships for over a decade. today to schedule time with Adam in Las Vegas or outside of Knowledge to discuss any challenges you may be facing with ServiceNow.