Imagine who a few of the biggest brands are in your industry. Got a few companies in mind?
Now imagine you’re responsible for working with them on partnerships that measure revenue in the millions of dollars.
Where do you start? How do you keep on top of it all?
That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.
Welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, and relationship building… oh, and you get to learn too! Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy – with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry.
Back in our very first episode with Dr. Mark Brigman, we talked about how there are many different kinds of partnerships, and that has set the premise for this entire show. Sometimes we’re talking about influencers and affiliates, other times, clients or employees.
Today, we’re talking about brand partnerships – a very specific kind of brand partnership where there is tremendous amounts of revenue involved, and incredible pressure to succeed.
Are you interested in sourcing seven figure deals with partners? Do you want help navigating how to forge relationships and proactively communicate to all stakeholders?
That’s exactly what our guest today, Kevin Kim, is going to talk to us about.
He spent years working for big brands like Google, AdWeek, and Bizzabo, forging partnerships – with both internal and external stakeholders. Kevin’s passion for adtech, advertising, people and community led to him managing over $65M in revenue at Google, and I want to know how he did it and what he learned.
Partnership Unpacked host Mike Allton talked to Kevin about:
♉️ Tactics to drive and achieve high performance revenue goals
♉️ How to manage external C-Suite and internal stakeholders with ease
♉️ The kinds of partnerships and relationships you should focus on
Subscribe to the show calendar: agorapulse.com/calendar
Learn more about Kevin Kim
Resources & Brands mentioned in this episode
Full Notes & Transcript:
How This Strategic Partnership Leader Managed $65M In Revenue At Google with Kevin Kim
[00:00:00] Mike Allton: Imagine who a few of the biggest brands in your industry are. Got a few companies of mine. Now imagine you are responsible for working with them on partnerships that measure revenue in the millions of dollars. Where do you start? How do you keep on top of it all? That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.
This is partnership unpacked your go-to guide to growing your business. Through partnerships quickly. I’m your host, Mike Alton, and each episode unpacks the winning strategies and latest trends from influencer marketing to brand partnerships and ideas that you can apply your own this as to grow exponentially and now, The rest of today’s episode, welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, relationship building.
Oh, you get to learn too. Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry. Now back in our very first episode with Dr. Mark Brigman, we talked about how there are many different kinds of partnerships and that has set the premise for this entire show.
Sometimes we’re talking about influencers and affiliates, other times clients or employees. Today we’re talking about brand partnerships, a very specific kind of brand partnership where there’s a tremendous amount of revenue involved and incredible pressure succeed. Are you interested in sourcing seven figure deals with partners?
Do you want help navigating how to forge relationships and proactively communicate to all stakeholders? That’s exactly what our guest today, Kevin Kim, is gonna talk to us about. He spent. Years working for big brands like Google, Adweek, and Visibo. Forging partnerships with both internal and external stakeholders.
Kevin’s passion for adtech advertising people and community led to him managing over 65 million in revenue to Google. And I wanna know how we did it. And what he learned. Let’s bring him on now. Kevin, welcome to the show.
[00:02:17] Kevin Kim: Thanks so much, Mike. I’m so excited to be here and certainly grateful for this opportunity to share and hopefully anything that I say could be helpful to anyone else looking to increase their partnership strategies and, and develop their partners in, in meaningful ways. [00:02:33] Mike Allton: I know this is gonna be great. So talk to us first about the work that you did at Google, or maybe before that, even at Adweek. What kind of partnerships did you forge and what were some of your accomplishments? [00:02:43] Kevin Kim: Sure. So I think, you know, first and foremost, I’m happy to talk about Adweek just in chronological order.
I was there sort of first partner hire focused on. Building out their corporate subscription programs. So it was certainly a new revenue stream for the company, something that was very consistent and stable for their business, and now has really taken over to be a, a sizable revenue stream for their company.
I essentially work with brands and agencies, ad to providers who wanted to capture a week senior marketing and advertising executives for things like brand awareness through traditional app placements, thought leadership. On different op-eds or different content creation and then lead generation with things like webinars and events.
At the time, Adweek was also scaling their events business and launched their first ever brand week, which you may be familiar with, which was a huge success. And I was part of their sort of audience development team where I helped generate over a million dollars in ticket sales through things like email marketing campaigns.
I will say. A lot of it was sort of bootstrapped in a sense. I mean, we didn’t really have a ton of resources to do all those marketing campaigns, so a lot of it was mail emerges from my personal emails, Excel sheets, and follow ups in that way to sort of secure some of those ticket revenue and of course working towards securing event sponsors.
So it really ran the gamut of the type of partners we work with. So brands, agencies, and ad tech providers, and really helping them navigate their brand awareness, thought leadership, and, and lead generation campaigns. Moving on from there. Google, first and foremost, incredibly grateful for that opportunity to, to work with them and it has done wonders for my career and, and the things that I’ve been able to learn from them.
I was the main point of contact for our most strategic partners in the publishing and reference verticals. Essentially, I was uniquely situated to help shape how companies grow their businesses in the digital age and really think through how to future-proof their businesses through things like the deprecation of third party cookies in Chrome.
If you guys are familiar with the space, I’m sure you know, and things like privacy readiness. I also advise our clients on Google broad range of products and services across web properties, search, video, mobile, to really help them connect instantly and seamlessly with their audiences, sell their digital real estate, optimize their operations to maximize revenue and cut costs.
So it was a multifaceted role and certainly learned a lot and and wore many hats at both companies.
[00:05:06] Mike Allton: That’s awesome and we’re definitely gonna dig into this, but just to clarify for myself and probably some of our listeners, it sounds like there was definitely a sales element to this role, but more than just pure sales, you were doing consulting, it sounds like you were doing marketing and co-marketing.
Am I hearing that correctly?
[00:05:22] Kevin Kim: Yeah, absolutely. So we certainly had a quota that we wanted to make sure that we’re meeting and exceeding. And so yes, we had a net new a r r goal. That new sort of annual recurring revenue goal that we had. And anything on top of that would be incremental revenue for the company, so, so we had a specific goal that we had to get there, and then we had strategic opportunities that were very closely attuned to our KPIs.
So things like helping our partners with privacy readiness. First party cookie strategies and products, things around subscriptions, and how do we increase subscriptions and increase foot traffic, connecting different teams to various products that Google offers, whether it’s around YouTube, cloud, Looker, you name it, Google Analytics, et cetera.
And so it was a multifaceted role and I think. Part of how I was measured at Google was there was a portion of my goal that was obviously measured around those very specific KPIs, but a lot of that also had to do with how I showed up to work. What are the different side projects that I was sort of aligning to?
How was I collaborating with others? And that really was a unique experience for me. It’s not, it’s something that, you know, you sort of go to work and you’re at a company, and of course culture and contribution is so important, but the fact that. A large portion of how I was measured in my performance was baked around.
The very specifics of how I showed up was really a really cool way that Google sort of baked their cultures and values into how I was measured specifically. So definitely a proof in the pudding there with Google. But yes, so to answer your question that we did have a a solid figure that we had to make sure that we met or exceeded as well as strategic KPIs and then everything else around the different side projects that we had to sort of align to.
[00:07:02] Mike Allton: And I love that you’ve gotten into that level of detail because a lot of the people that I’m talking to, they’re asking me, you know, how can I. Be a real partner with my clients. It’s something we’ve talked about in some previous episodes, in fact, with Rachel Shap, Newman and Robin Diamond, because these are more than just pure sales roles and in, in your case, right, you’re actually walking alongside those customers and you’re inviting them and consulting with them, showing them this.
These are the ways that you can succeed. These are the things you need to be concerned about, right? With this new cookie list world and so on, right? So that’s fantastic. I appreciate that you shared that because that is in stark contrast to the daily LinkedIn inbox messages I receive from people who want to quote unquote partner with me and all they want to do is sell me ad space on their.
Property. That’s, that’s not a partnership. That’s just sales. Right. And that’s okay. Nothing wrong with sales, but let’s call it what it is. Right? This is partnerships.
[00:08:00] Kevin Kim: So it is, thank you for, for doing that. Yeah, absolutely. And the only thing that I’ll add is because I’m working with some of the most strategic customers that we’ve had, it really is the incremental revenue that I was quoted on and and needed to exceed was revenue that was helping our partners grow their business.
The more I helped our partners grow their revenue through Google, the more, you know, obviously it was beneficial for Google, so it truly was a win-win scenario. Like I wasn’t going to them about some product that they didn’t even think about bringing into their fold and saying, Hey, you really need this because of X, Y, Z, which we could do, but a lot of it was very synergistic.
You know, a lot of it was, hey, Let’s take a look at your business. What are your goals? What are you using today? What are the different ways you’re partnering with Google? And how do we expand that partnership so that yes, you can grow your revenue, but also future-proof your business across the universe that Google provides, which is, you know, such a behemoth.
So I think that’s where there’s some unique attributes to, to Google specifically in this partnership world and really, Any sort of large company like a Google and sort of that partnership world, I’m sure encapsulates some of those wide verticals and, and ways that you can collaborate cross-functionally to really help generate revenue for your partners.
[00:09:15] Mike Allton: Absolutely. That’s so important to have that win-win mindset as you go into every single partnership. And now, speaking of goals and revenues, I, I did see at one point that you exceeded revenue goals by driving 11 million in a r r. What were the tactics you employed to accomplish that and and what were some of the results? [00:09:34] Kevin Kim: Great question. It’s important to establish that. None of that would’ve happened without building the relationship first, right? You have to build trust so that way when you’re. Partners can trust that, hey, you’re actually doing and really working towards building their business and, and being as authentic and transparent as possible.
Anything that you say after that, they’re gonna take and say, okay, and they’re gonna run with it, right? So relationship first, then execution. And it looked different for everyone in our organization, but. A large part of our role was really bringing in cross-functional experts at Google to chat through various initiatives.
So I think when I initially joined on board, it was very much sort of that matchmaking process. In a lot of ways. I could have been seen as a generalist where I’m owning the entire relationship with our partners, but I’m not meant to be an expert in YouTube or cloud. There are specific initiatives that.
I certainly anchored towards, but because I was managing a relationship and making sure that, that their relationship with Google was the best it could possibly be, a lot of that trust building initially came from, again, bringing some of those cross-functional experts to the table so that they could have those conversations where, you know, maybe they didn’t have that in the past.
And so I remember one of the first projects, I think I was, I must have been, I think within my 60 days, I launched an executive summit with a partner that was incredibly sensitive. And I won’t go into the details of, of why they were sensitive, but they were certainly a partner that we had to make sure were happy, enjoyed our partnership, and really got a lot of of value from the relationship.
And so hosting this executive summit was really bringing the Masterminds together, bringing their entire executive team on board. I flew out to. They’re headquarters and I brought in some of the members from different, various teams, whether it’s virtual or in person, and they knew that I was serious, right?
They knew that I was here to help really generate their business in a way that they hadn’t been for. And so that built immediate trust. There are many ways to build trust, but. Definitely in those types of scenarios, the executive summits that I sort of established were really helpful. And then of course you have tactical items like, you know, running different quarterly business reviews, you know, and having touchpoints there.
And also creating things like joint business plan. So you know, you have a partner and, and they have these goals coming out of a QBR or an executive summit, which. Is what happened with, with this partner that I had. We established, you know, the pillars that were needed to drive this partnership forward through a joint business plan that helped us stay accountable, who the owners were, where the pitfalls were, some timelines and when, when we wanted to talk through some of these things.
I think when you think about a company like Google, there’s so much. That a partner can really leverage Google to launch their businesses in a way that they haven’t before and evolve their businesses that a lot of times you can get stuck with doing everything all at once, but I think it’s really important with these joint business plans to slate out the most important priorities and attack them first, and you eat an elephant, one bite at a time.
Those are some tactical items. Again, QBR R joint business plans, and always running discovery conversations. I think. It’s really important to stay curious and, and make sure that you’re constantly reevaluating what these partners care about. And then lastly, I’ll say there’s a great book called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which talks about, I think it’s the Seventh Habit, which talks about sharpening your saw.
And I see that in relationships too. You have to continue to nurture the relationships and find new opportunities to maintain and strengthen the relationship. And this can come through being all in that sort of all in mentality where they know that you’re gonna be there for them, making sure that you create a safe space to help your point of contacts.
Business goals. But more importantly, their personal goals. Are they up for promotion? Are they going through internal political challenges where they need to get to X? And really having challenges maybe with their engineers or their different cross-functional members to really bring this project forward.
And because you know that. You know, you’re then able to perhaps bring in some additional technical folks or, or consultants from the team to help those initiatives forward. So I think there’s a lot more than just, Hey, we need to get this across, but you know, how do we look at the multifacet and building that trust comes from again?
Figuring out what, what people’s personal goals are. And then, you know, of course you have the other common sense items where you’re thinking about building a relationship of, you know, whether it’s handwritten letters, which I know sort of is, you know, in this digital age, who writes handwritten letter as well.
I mean, that’s a great opportunity, right? I mean, if people aren’t doing it, anytime I get a handwritten letter, I think, man, this person really went the extra mile to sort of think about me in a way that I haven’t been in things like personalized gifts for Christmas and, and holidays and someone had a baby.
You know, all these things happen. Life happens. And as a partner and someone that you’re trying to build trust with, you know, you wanna be mindful of these things. And you know, some might say, oh well Google probably sponsor a lot of that. Well, there certainly were, but more times than not, I took cash outta my own wallet, whether it’s going into, you know, celebrate partners or buying them gifts, sometimes I just didn’t wanna have to deal with the expensing.
So, you know, I would buy these gifts myself. And just get it across the door. And I think those things make all the difference in the world to sort of building that trust and, and, and then being able to execute with the tactical items, like I mentioned, the quarterly business reviews or joint business plans or executive summits to really bring meaning to sort of the revenue that you’re trying to build.
[00:14:53] Mike Allton: What an amazing answer, Kevin. Thank you. And I just wanna underline one thing that you said that I’m gonna build this into a quote, graphic and everything. Relationships first, then execution. I love that mindset. And so now I want to talk about the internal folks that you were dealing with at Google. You mentioned the teams, you know, other team members perhaps.
How did you manage those internal stakeholders throughout all these activities, and what were some of the challenges that you faced?
[00:15:21] Kevin Kim: Another great question. I think. You know, as I’m sure you know, Mike, and, and sort of the partnership world where you’re trying to work cross-functionally across various departments, and that could include marketing, engineering, product sales, sales support, operations, finance with contracts and everything else, the relationships you build internally.
Are so important. And so the culture at Google is really amazing. I think, and again, every team is so different at a, at a big company, but what I’ve been so impressed with with Google specifically is how consistently everyone wants to help each other, right? I mean, various organizations, various roles, everyone seems to wanna help each other.
And I think when I first initially joined Google, I thought, oh man. Well, I think there might be a lot of. Ego and, and people who are, you know, oh, I’m like Google. I’m like, I don’t got time for anyone else. But that certainly wasn’t the case. However, people get busy and you have to prioritize, right? So even from my perspective, I mean, I’ve always wanted to help other people, but sometimes you just don’t have the bandwidth and that’s okay.
And because everyone’s busy and everyone’s running on a thousand plates at the same time, You’re incredibly reliant on cross-functional organizations providing that type of support. So we certainly had support models baked in to the role where we had teams that would be very specifically come on calls and do some different type consultations.
But building these relationships, you, you start to be top of mind for very, very specific things like, Invites for specific events and top tier events that your marketing teams are working on. And a lot of times because they’re, they’re so specific and could be fufu special and reserved, you really have to be top of mind to these marketing teams to make sure that you get those invites right.
So it’s making sure you’re building relationships with them. All these different types of projects with budgets that can be allocated. Potentially to partners and things like that that you wouldn’t have gotten had you not built those relationships? You know, I had worked cross-functionally to, to host an in Argo event.
I think if I hadn’t built a good relationship with some of the cross-functional members, I would’ve never gotten that across the board. So building relationships and, and, and getting faster service times from your technical support teams and getting dedicated consultations and again, hosting internal meetings and leading different things, like all hands like.
All of these pieces are so integrated into how you can show up for yourself, for your partners, and I think it’s just that willingness to, to want to help and tackle these types of projects. Cause we still had our core responsibilities. Mm-hmm. But because a lot of how we were measured at the company being that.
You know, a large portion of our KPIs was how we show up. I think that in and of itself was really important for us to be really mindful about how we’re being to our colleagues and and whatnot. I think some of the challenges though, that I initially had was a join, you know, wanted to crush it of course, and, and we’ll always wanna do that, but you can’t tackle everything.
And so I think when I initially joined Don, I was like, because there was so much to do and so many things that you can. Go after for I said yes too quickly to too many things. I didn’t really know what I didn’t know and how to prioritize the different initiatives. So that was definitely a challenge.
Anywhere you go there are politics, right? And, and that just takes time to understand. Hopefully that answered some of those questions.
[00:18:33] Mike Allton: Yeah, that’s terrific advice, particularly the part about being mindful of your time and your capabilities and your team’s capabilities and not saying yes to absolutely everything.
That’s, that’s something I, I deal with and, and struggle with, and, and we all do, whether it’s, you know, teams, personal projects, whatever the case might be. So thanks for sharing that. You were talking about team members, internal stakeholders and so on, but I saw you mentioned something on LinkedIn, I believe, about C-Suite relationship management.
Talk to me about that. What does, what does that entail? Were you talking about internal or external, or both?
[00:19:08] Kevin Kim: Both. Yeah, again, great question. I think this is so important, especially when you are dealing with major brands, organizations, you’re going to have to involve your C-suite. Oftentimes these are sort of the executive sponsors to different projects you’re working on.
Oftentimes they have sort of the purse strings and hold the sort of the executive buy-in incision, and so it’s really important that you build relationships across the board and, and get as wide as possible. You know, that’s definitely always a strategy that I have is how do I build wide and deep? But specifically for C-Suite management, with our external partners and internal, they all have different goals and objectives, right?
And desires. So with the executive team and the C-Suite, they care more about the bigger picture. So when I was speaking with some of our partners, it was, what’s the top, top line revenue? What are the concerns? How do we get there? What are the bigger initiatives? How is headcount growing? Or are we potentially have to go through some cuts because revenue isn’t there?
And so you have more of those top level sort of conversations to then help you. Prioritize what on that joint business plan you really wanna focus on and what is realistic. So, you know, you might say, oh, well we know we really need to drive this initiative, but having a conversation with the C-Suite stakeholder and saying, Hey, actually, you know, that’s being put on hold because we don’t have enough resources to really launch that project.
And so that helps me prioritize those different things, even if my main point of contact is someone that’s a bit more tactical. The other thing that I’ll mention is, you know, like anyone else, you know, the C-suite, you know, shouldn’t be intimidating. I know sometimes it can be, but you know, they have side projects that they also care about.
So I remember a specific example where I was speaking with an executive at, at one of our partner organizations. And I knew he had a heart for DE and I. So, you know, obviously Google has a lot of initiatives around DE and i, I had remembered that there was a conversation internally about, Hey, how do we engage more of our partners in ways?
And there wasn’t really a, a clear model of how to do that, but I brought that up to one of the partners because. Obviously they’re, you know, sort of leading that internally at their organization and say, Hey, what does it look like for DE and I and how are you trying to enhance those initiatives internally?
Could we do something where you put together a joint event perhaps to sort of help educate what de and I is and how. Sister organizations are really attacking some of these types of things that are really important. And then the other things that you can do to really engage executives is try to have them come to different panels or, I remember having an example where I had a partner come into, I hosted a panel discussion, or it was really more of interview style at one of our company offsites.
And you know, the team got tremendous amount of value from it. I built really close relationships with that executive just because of that, you know, coordination and planning of what we were gonna talk about and, and executing on the day of. And it starts to build those bonds. And so I think it’s really important that, you know, you keep in mind what these C-Suite goals are and, and what they care about and really matching their, their tune.
[00:22:02] Mike Allton: I couldn’t agree more. Having that conversation and ongoing conversations up front. Right. What are you interested in? What are you passionate about? What are you working on today? What are your goals? Is so important, and I love that you mentioned, you know, getting them, those executives to participate in panels and, and live content.
We’re doing the same thing at a Gore pulse. Every quarter I’m running virtual event and every quarter I’m getting executives from brand partners to come on board and participate by delivering a workshop, a keynote, a panel discussion. Whatever the case might be. But you’re talking about goals and, and we talked a little bit about revenue, of course, but other than pure revenue, how else are you measuring or were you measuring success?
How did you demonstrate roi?
[00:22:42] Kevin Kim: Yeah, I mean I think that’s, again, in the partnership organizations, a lot of times, you know, those goals aren’t always clear, and I still feel like partnerships in the non-traditional sense of maybe things outside our revenue you have to fight for internally. Luckily for us at Google, you know, a lot of our.
Goals outside of revenue, were very specific. So we had customer satisfaction was a huge measure of success for us. So things like, are you getting the most out of the partnership? You know, how’s the relationship with your account manager or your teams? Do you feel like we’re supporting you in the right ways?
What are the response times? And so I think those are certainly some intangibles outside of pure revenue that can demonstrate your. Sort of ROI or, or the value you bring to the organization in that relationship. And then really just am I able to connect with my partners is such a great piece of ROI for me.
If I can’t feel like I know my partner, know what they care about and really build a relationship with them. I am not doing my job as sort of someone who’s managing and leading partnerships. And so, A big piece of that comes from, right, am I professional? You know, do I have poise? Am I, am I charming? Can I be a thought leader?
How can I learn more about the industry so that when I come to the table and have these conversations that our partners can respect the conversations and respect me in the way that. You know, I’m here to consult them. So being in partnerships, yes, you have a clear focus on revenue, but outside of that, it’s all, it’s, it’s all about relationships and really making sure that they know that you’re there for them.
[00:24:14] Mike Allton: I love that qualitative aspect to it. How am I doing when it comes to the partnerships? How is that impacting the roi? And speaking of roi, did you know that it really is possible to generate and measure ROI from organic? Social media activities here to share a little more with us on that is Agorapulse’s CMO, Darryl Praill..
It’s the Arc de Triumph. Can you imagine if you’re in charge, if you’re the CMO of marketing Paris? What are your main channels? Wow. There’s. The arc of Triumph. There’s the Eiffel Tower, there’s the Louv. Those are your channels you’re gonna use to drive tourism dollars in. Okay, now, but you’re not the cmmo of Paris.
In fact, you’re the CMO of your company product service. So what are your main channels? So I’m gonna guess there are things like pay per click, maybe trade shows, events. Maybe content. Those are all pretty predictable, right? Let me ask you this question. Are you treating social media as a main channel? By the way, only 1.8% of you today measure social media and can prove an ROI in that investment.
HubSpot and Gartner say, social media is the number one channel to invest in this year. Are you doing it? If not, I can tell you why you’re not doing it, because you don’t have the tools. If you don’t have the mentality, and that’s okay. We’ve got you covered. You changed the mentality. We’ll give you the two of four pulse tracks, all the ROI for you.
One place to manage all your social media activity, your number one channel, change your success. Treat social media as a channel one CMO to another. My name is Darryl. I’m with Agorapulse. I’ll talk to you soon.
All right, so we’re back with Kevin Kim. We’re talking about partnerships in Kevin, you come from an interesting perspective where you worked for one of the biggest brands on the planet. So what advice do you have for partnership leaders who want to work with large external brands and maybe what are some of the pitfalls to avoid?
[00:26:12] Kevin Kim: Yeah, so I think if there’s anything that I’m trying to get across today that you take away from this is make sure your partners know that you care about them and genuinely, and that starts with you. You have to care about your partners. You know, sometimes you’re in a role where you might not fully align with growing that partner, but at the end of the day you have to make sure that you care about them.
You know, there’s a quote from Teddy Roosevelt and, and he said, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Show them the care and the rest will thoughtfully execute what you’re trying to do. So I think that’s first and foremost again, and every interaction is an opportunity to show up and show out, whether that’s internal or external.
Always make sure you’re putting your best foot forward, even if it’s. Just giving your undivided attention and, and asking a lot of questions, whether it be the different meetings that you’re involved in internally as sort of a partnership leader and someone who’s in partnerships. You have to continually showcase the value that you bring both internally and externally, because sometimes the relationship isn’t always as quantifiable and people don’t always know everything that it takes to build that relationship.
But obviously it’s important to the company to make sure that that relationship is really. Healthy and important. Make sure that you’re plugged in internally and the more you’re plugged in internally and the more that you can be a comrade and and a confidant, the more resources that you can garner, especially at a company like Google where there are just tons of resources making those inroads, you know, grabbing coffee with her colleagues, making introductions to people that you know, maybe you don’t know, or departments that.
You might not fully align with. I mean, you just never know how people can help you. Because partnerships encompass so many different sort of departments. It’s really important that you build those relationships internally to really make sure you get some of those resources. The other things I’ll say is set clear goals, leverage.
Events and events don’t have to be crazy. It could be a panel discussion, it could be an offsite think creatively. QBR is quarterly business reviews. I treat that as an event. You know, whenever you set something official and you bring data and you bring a presentation, people take that seriously. Use those opportunities to set your goals, to reset goals, and to track.
The goals together. I think open communication, being available and having your partners know that you’re available for them and being flexible. The other thing I’ll mention is stay organized. Every call that I have with our partners, you know, I’ve really come into the habit of, of making sure I have a doc.
For any call that I’m at, whether it’s internal or external, cuz my memory isn’t the best. And you know, I can’t trust to remember all Theis that I agreed to on a call. So every time I’m on a call, internal or external, especially external, I make sure I’m taking notes of the conversation so that I can reference back to it to make sure that they know that I’ve heard them right.
Because again, you wanna make sure that they know that you care. And if you forget things like. That happen, or a lot of times I’ll jump on a call and, and I’ll shoot the shit, right. I’ll talk about what’s going on in their lives and, and people will share, oh, well, things like, oh, I’m pregnant, or, you know, oh, it’s my birthday, or, it’s so easy to pass up on those and not remember that, but.
Having a note note doc, having that organized really helps. And then at the end of every conversation, I make sure that I have a list of action items that I’ll take that I need to address before the next conversation at the very least. And having a cadence, obviously with your partners, whether it’s biweekly, monthly, or, or you know, depending on what your cadence at you have with your partners.
Own the relationship. You set the agenda for the meetings, initiate the goals and the conversations. You drive the partnership, you know, you can’t expect it. It’s a godsend when you have a partner that comes in and says, Hey, and this is obviously the best partnerships, right? Because you, you know, you sort of bring two equal energies, 50, 50 to make hundred or, or rather a hundred hundred and, and you really, you know, sort of meet in the middle.
And, and that’s always the best, but sometimes it’s not always the case. Again, you own the relationship. You have to take the initiative to really drive meaning in the partnership. Even if those roads aren’t clear leverage data. I’ve always, being at Google, we’ve had a ton of data, so I’m grateful for that.
Making sure that you’re consulting in a way that makes a lot of sense. If you don’t have the data, talk about it in a way that makes sense to them, and then always be curious and dig deep. I think that’s so important. You have to remain curious about, you know, what it is that they care about. With anything, whether it’s their business goals, their personal lives.
I think some of the pitfalls as we sort of wrap this up is manage your boundaries. Say no more. And I know I mentioned this earlier, but. It’s okay to say no to your partners and internal folks, right? It’s okay to say, Hey, look, because we created this joint business plan, I don’t think that this makes sense for us to tackle at this point.
Do you agree or disagree? Or whether it’s internal. You know, you could always go to your boss and say, Hey, look, if the boss is asking you to do something, you can say, Hey look, I appreciate this and I’m really excited to work on this. I have all these competing priorities. How should I stack this up against them?
And that provides an opportunity to say, Okay, great. Well, now I know that this is more important to you. I’ll make sure to get that across the line, or it helps me say no, or it helps the team come to an alignment that says, okay, these are the boundaries that we’re setting. Right? Read the room. You always wanna read the room.
You wanna see what the temperature is. You wanna match the temperature. Sometimes you want to interject a bit more energy into the room where it’s appropriate, but. Make sure you read the room. And that takes a lot of emotional intelligence. If you, if you don’t have the emotional intelligence, I think that’s a huge pitfall, especially in the partnership world.
There’s tons of resources, online trainings, programs, you know, do your work there. I think that will really help you. And sometimes, you know, accepting help is okay for someone like myself, I’ve, I’ve always grown up and been so independent that asking for help and getting help has never come so easy to me.
But I think in order to. Make the most impact with your partnerships. You can’t do it alone. You need help. You need an army. You need resources to really be there for you. So hopefully those are some things that can help you in, in, in your next journey and, and avoid some of those pitfalls that I certainly need.
[00:32:12] Mike Allton: Guys, stop what you’re doing. Rewind and re-listen to the last five minutes and get a piece of paper out, or your Evernote or your Google keeper, whatever it is that you take notes and write down every single thing that Kevin just said. Every bullet point was gold. Thanks for ke sharing all that. Kevin, I’ve got just one more question for you.
And it’s funny cuz I already know the answer based on everything you’ve just said today, but I, I gotta ask it cause I ask this of all of my guests. How important have relationships been to your success and career?
[00:32:41] Kevin Kim: I. I’ll try and be short cause I know I, I like to talk and can talk a lot Paramount. I mean, life is about relationships.
A mentor of mine, one said, and I agree with this, and he said it this way, is that 90% of your life decisions are influenced by your relationships and your finances. So when you take your relationships to things like who you’ll marry, who you’ll date, you know, who you’ll have fun with, or whatever, who you spend time with, go to events.
I mean, life is really about the meaning of the relationships that you create. So make sure that you’re nurturing them. And then in a professional sense, I mean, It’s been the number one reason why I’m here and where I am today, even as early as going to school for culinary and not knowing that there might be an opportunity to work, but doing the best I possibly could and building that relationship with my instructor who then offered me a job to manage my first restaurant.
And country club when I was 16 or 17, and managing a team of people that were sometimes double my age and more than double my age, right? So that helping me get into sort of the food and beverage space at a really early age. Things like getting in accepted into a mentorship program from Adweek that a friend had reached out to me about, that I had worked with in the past at Adweek.
Had I not built that relationship, that would’ve never come. And I feel that because I got that mentorship program, I got the visibility for then Google to reach out to me. And to find employment there. So your network is so valuable. And also make sure you get along with your coworkers. Make an effort to, to really get along with your team because we spend a lot of time at our, at our desks and our jobs and with our coworkers.
It’ll improve your quality of life, you know, drastically. So hopefully that’s helpful. Yeah. Pass back.
[00:34:19] Mike Allton: Yeah, I, I couldn’t agree more. Your network is your net worth. Yes. And the importance of building solid relationships personally and professionally in every aspect of your career is the underlying theme of this entire show.
So thank you for helping me underscore that. In fact, it is so important to this show. That our next episode is going to be with Jessica Phillips, who is all about relationship marketing, and we’re gonna share and talk about how to just interject relationships into every aspect of building those great partnerships.
But for now, that’s all we’ve got. Kevin, you have been absolutely phenomenal. Can you tell everybody where to connect with you, where to follow you, where to learn more from you?
[00:34:55] Kevin Kim: Yeah, so my name’s so generic. It’s Kevin Kim, but you can find me on LinkedIn if you search Google, I’m sure at this point, or maybe the, you know, I’ll be at a different company at, at, at the time of when this airs.
But my Instagram is Kevin Kim 6 31. Feel free to follow me there. I’m excited to connect anyone with anyone on on LinkedIn. Search me Kevin Kim at Google and, and I’m sure you’ll find me in one of the first ones that come up. So, Mike, thanks so much for this opportunity. I had such a blast and hopefully some of these tips that I shared was helpful to the audience.
[00:35:24] Mike Allton: Awesome. Thank you. We’ll have all of Kevin’s information in the show notes. Definitely connect with him, and this will be out in mid-June. So when you’re listening to this, see if Kevin is still available because if you need a partnership leader, Kevin can help you out. Meanwhile, head over to Apple podcast, subscribe and leave us review.
We’d love to know what you think. Until next time,
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