#51 Rana Kahl: 5 Ways to Turn Relationships Into Revenue
Director of Global Alliances at Appirio, Rana came on the Alliance Aces podcast to talk about turning relationships into revenue. She shared some key takeaways she’s gained by being immersed in new and challenging experiences throughout her career.
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Imagine you're sitting down with a potential alliance in Tokyo.
This is a time when someone like Rana Kahl shines.
Rana is multilingual and multicultural. She's lived abroad in Europe and in the Middle East.
Just to give you a glimpse of what her life has been like, Rana went to five different high schools and lived in seven different countries.
These experiences give Rana a very unique perspective that she leverages when building alliances. Currently the Director of Global Alliances at Appirio, Rana came on the Alliance Aces podcast to talk about turning relationships into revenue. She shared some key takeaways she’s gained by being immersed in new and challenging experiences throughout her career.
Here's what she had to say.
1: Truly Understand Who You’re Working With
Usually, when you sit down with a global alliance, especially if it's a regional or local team, the first thing they might say is something like, “We know you might not be familiar with how things work here.”
Because of her experience, Rana is able to say, “But I am.”
She already knows where the partnership will face cultural barriers. She knows where they need to localize, where they can scale to regionalize, and how they can optimize those efforts. Not only can she understand, but she can help to evolve everyone's thinking, to push the alliance forward. One of Rana's mottos is converting relationships to revenue. She loves taking an idea or concept and being able to tie it to revenue for the company.
By being able to connect with the partner and help to lead the alliance, even in a foreign scenario, Rana is able to start converting that relationship into revenue.
One more thing — Not only does her experience give her the expertise necessary to understand her partner's perspective and help drive the relationship forward, but she's also naturally more adaptable in any new situation. Simply because she's already conquered so many new challenges.
2: Communication Is Key — But There's No One Right Way to Do It
One of the key lessons Rana learned from her early experiences is that she can always find a way to communicate with people.
Obviously, this is critical when you're trying to build relationships that lead to revenue.
Along these lines, another takeaway is that there's no one right way to do things.
When you speak multiple languages, you recognize there might be several different ways to say something, and each way is just as valid as the others. It's just a matter of When is it most appropriate? Or where is it most effective?
3: You Need Relevance to Connect With People
In order to connect with someone, or to find a place where you want to continue investing in each other, you need to find relevance.
It comes back to that communication piece — how do you create relevance?
You need to understand what drives that person. What matters to them?
More holistically, what matters to their organization? What's driving the initiative that they're representing? How can you contribute to that?
Having that understanding is where you drive that relationship to revenue.
When there's relevance, people connect with you. They start to look forward to meeting with you, and they stop dreading the meetings.
4: Alliances Are 80% Physics, 20% Magic
It's a very simple principle.
The "physics" is the infrastructure. It's all of the systems that we have in place to drive things so that we don't have to worry about where to register our deals or our leads, or how to get our MDF. Whatever is relevant in your scenario. The infrastructure takes care of the tactical issues that need to happen.
Structure and planning are critical. Structure creates the opportunity for the magic to happen.
The magic happens in those side conversations. It's those moments where you dream, where you ask, "what if...?" It's when new ideas start to come to life.
And that's what drives you to revenue.
5: Leverage Technology to Create an Outstanding Alliance Experience
So, we know communication is key.
But technology is key, too. Why? Because technology is what allows communication to be effective.
Not only does technology bridge gaps, but it creates possibility and opportunity. When you're trying to develop partnerships and alliances, you have to live in that world of possibility and opportunity.
The technology eliminates the meticulous, time-consuming, and burdensome activities, giving you the opportunity to have those meaningful, strategic discussions. You know, the ones that lead to revenue.
Here's something else to think about: Your alliances have other alliances. So you need to create an outstanding partner experience. You want your alliances to feel that working with you is easy. You want them to notice that the transactional activities, which can be so burdensome, are just easy. That keeps the focus on the bigger issue.
So, leverage technology to create this seamless alliance experience.