Travels from San Jose, California, USA
Bill McDermott's speaking fee falls
within range: $50,000 to $75,000
One of the world’s most recognized authorities at putting the customer front and center, Bill McDermott is widely credited for turning around tech giant SAP’s American unit and is currently CEO ServiceNow. As the former CEO of one of the world’s largest business software companies, McDermott started his career as a teenager balancing three hourly-wage jobs in order to save up money to buy a small delicatessen in his community, a working class neighborhood in Long Island.
Even at a young age, McDermott displayed a gift for filling needs that no one else was addressing. His unique credit program, delivery service, video game room, and respectful attitude propelled his tiny deli ahead of the giant franchises that surrounded him. He applied everything he learned from the corner store to his post college career at Xerox where he worked his way from sales to becoming the youngest division president in company history.
As former CEO of SAP, his down-to-earth attitude and concern for employee life-work balance make him one of the most popular bosses in the world. He’s been ranked as the #2 CEO on glassdoor.com with a 99% approval rating. His memoir, Winners Dream, is an enjoyable and inspiring read due to his relatable attitude and underdog tale.
In 2015, McDermott almost died after falling down a staircase in his brother’s home while carrying a glass of water. The glass smashed into his face, causing him to lose an eye and nearly bleed to death. McDermott quickly recovered, and the incident inspired him to make digitalizing health records a new focus at SAP.
McDermott is currently working on a second book about overcoming adversity.
SAP CEO Bill McDermott shares the most important lesson that he learned from his first business: “the customer is everything.” When McDermott opened up a small deli in the middle of several well-established franchises, he knew that in order to do well, he would have to offer something different from his competitors – meaning he would have to do something of value that no one else was doing.
McDermott carefully analyzed each of his target market groups to figure out what unique service he could implement to improve their lives. He won over senior citizens with a delivery service, secured the blue-collar worker market by creating a credit program, and became the preferred choice of teens due to his video game room and trusting rapport. “To underscore why I know I’m right on the customer being the most important thing,” he adds, “ one day a kid said to me, ‘Bill, when we want to have good food, play video games, and be treated with respect, we come to your store. And when we want to steal stuff, we go to 7-Eleven.’”
From the corner store to the corporate world, Bill McDermott shares the lessons he’s learned on building your business around your customer, differentiating your brand, and mobilizing teams both big and small to make things happen. The CEO, who is widely admired for turning around SAP’s withering performance and low morale in the U.S., discusses how you can develop and implement strategies across your organization that engage consumers, spur competitive advantage, and set your brand apart. A true rags-to-riches story, McDermott demonstrates the value of optimism, hard work, and never forgetting your roots.
HP Discover NOW
Hear Bill McDermott talk about how SAP and HP are accelerating innovation together around three megatrends: mobile, big data, and the cloud. Discover how companies need to bring their business in the moment by digitizing end to end to get closer to the customer.
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A leadership and career manifesto told through the narrative of one of today’s most inspiring, admired, and successful global leaders.
In Winners Dream, Bill McDermott—the CEO of the world’s largest business software company, SAP—chronicles how relentless optimism, hard work, and disciplined execution embolden people and equip organizations to achieve audacious goals.
Growing up in working-class Long Island, a sixteen-year-old Bill traded three hourly wage jobs to buy a small deli, which he ran by instinctively applying ideas that would be the seeds for his future success. After paying for and graduating college, Bill talked his way into a job selling copiers door-to-door for Xerox, where he went on to rank number one in every sales position he held and eventually became the company’s youngest-ever corporate officer. Eventually, Bill left Xerox and in 2002 became the unlikely president of SAP’s flailing American business unit. There, he injected enthusiasm and accountability into the demoralized culture by scaling his deli, sales, and management strategies. In 2010, Bill was named co-CEO, and in May 2014 became SAP’s sole, and first non-European, CEO.
Colorful and fast-paced, Bill’s anecdotes contain effective takeaways: gutsy career moves; empathetic sales strategies; incentives that yield exceptional team performance; and proof of the competitive advantages of optimism and hard work. At the heart of Bill’s story is a blueprint for success and the knowledge that the real dream is the journey, not a preconceived destination.
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