Personalization is a human skill. When we focus first on others, we do better ourselves.

Few individuals demonstrate this principle in such a compelling way as Kimberly Moore, Co-founder, and CEO of Go Together. She has had great success as a line sales producer, sales leader, non-profit entrepreneur, and as start-up CEO by serving others first.

Across all of these roles, she has consistently applied three principles:

  • Start with a focus on relationships and service to others
  • Anchor on the problem the other person is trying to solve
  • Create a network of relationships with overlapping value

I had a chance to talk to Kimberly recently about how this “relationship-first” approach has helped her be so successful across the arc of her career. 

Personalization as an Individual Producer 🥰

Kimberly shared a fantastic story about her approach to launching Verizon Wireless Federal two decades ago, a Verizon division focused on serving agencies within the federal government.

After her significant success as an account manager in the federal government space and a leader on the team; she was selected to move the new division forward. Kimberly explains: “I really focused on the relationships with the agencies so that I could understand better the problems we were going to be solving.”

In the government space, the sales cycle can be much longer than in the private sector – in some cases taking up to a year to close. She remained committed to building a network of deep relationships in various agencies even though it was often time-consuming and sometimes meant sacrificing hitting her sales quota immediately. 

While her superiors expressed some concern at certain points, Kimberly assured them that she was “building a pipeline that’s going to blow your mind.”

“I went from averaging around 85% of quota during the year to being 1600% of quota at the end of the fiscal year, and I was well over plan every year thereafter.” 

Personalization as a Leadership Skill 🙏🏾

Her success as an individual producer set the groundwork for her becoming the leader of 20 people working within the Verizon Wireless Federal Group.

Her relationship-first approach helped Kimberly negotiate the first-ever government-wide wireless contract issued by GSA in the first 12 months of the new company, Verizon Wireless. 

“Customers always think you are going to sell them,” Kimberly explains. While many of her colleagues were focused on what is going to close faster, acting in more of a transactional way, Kimberly’s approach for her team was to develop and invest in relationships across agencies, which got her team a lot of admirers within various agencies. 

This inaugural federal sales team was very successful, and many have gone on to be high-level sales leaders within Verizon Wireless and other industry leaders.

“When people see that you are successful, they start to copy,” she says. 

Some of the keys to her success as a leader include:

  1. Starting with a buyer-first approach and building a network of relationships.
  2. Being open to new ideas and new ways to apply their wireless technology and modeling across agencies. 
  3. Taking a team-based approach to learning, fostering shared success stories among sales and account executives.  

Building on these “existing relationships, we went on in our first year of being a team nationwide to a distributed sales network doing $55 million in revenue.” The Federal Wireless division is still wildly successful today.

Personalization as Non-Profit Leader  🗝️

Following her success with Verizon Wireless, Kimberly “took a sharp right turn” in her career. “Out of my desire to really see kids become all that they could become, uniquely, in a situation where the bets are all against them,” she started a faith based nonprofit focused on young people who were court-involved and detained in a maximum security juvenile detention center.  

She focused not on the “product,” or the programs the organization was going to deliver, but focusing on “customer” personalization. Kimberly did this by working with and listening to key stakeholders to determine what would make the most difference for the kids they were serving. 

She found the pathway to the heart of the girls in the program was brownies, which she brought to her conversations with the young people. This small gesture helped establish trust with the kids, which also helped them open and honest about any issues they were having or programs they thought were important. 

Kimberly explains that this also helped facilitate teaching them how to advocate for themselves from a place of information and confidence. And they were in turn able to add programs as they understood what the needs were. 

In Kimberly’s most recent role as Co-founder and CEO of Go Together, she is keenly focused on why someone is going to choose their solution to add capacity to their existing systems and really building relationships with customers so they can understand this is a partnership.

“We’re trying to create a partnership as opposed to a traditional adversarial kind of relationship that can occur with salespeople and customers when it’s just a transaction.”

Kimberly’s successful career journey is one we can all learn from. Focusing on personalization and relationships can make you a better individual producer and make you a better leader. And it may even make you a better human being!