Should You Outsource Your Business Relationship Management?

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This is a question that needs careful consideration for any business owner. Outsourcing is used in many areas these days, and the main reason for this is to save on overheads. For example, you may outsource the accounting section of your company. This is a relatively straight forward procedure. All you have to do is make sure you choose a company that has properly qualified accountants working for them has a good reputation, and delivers what they promise on time.

However, BRM is a completely different story.  The IT side to your business can be complicated, and that’s probably why many businesses decide it would be a good idea to outsource. But, you must think about the risks involved. Any well qualified business relationship manager will come at a price, but they can be invaluable in terms of the technological strategy within your company.

When you outsource BRM there are two main points to consider. What will the relationship be like between you and your chosen firm and how will they implement a structure that will effectively keep your customers happy? Here are some statistics found during a study by two experts in this field named Leslie Willcocks and Thomas Kern (authors of the book The Relationship Advantage: Information Technologies, Sourcing, and Management) which takes a look at some of the issues you can come across:

  • 37% of businesses that outsourced BRM realised their chosen company didn’t understand their business.
  • 35% of business owners found that their IT and corporate strategy were no longer in tune with each other.
  • 38% were not happy with the rise in costs, and 31% saw a rise in costs due to loopholes in the contract.

This is just a selection of these experts’ findings, not to mention the problems that can arise due to poor response times and lack of customer care. Plus, you have to think about how your current in-house employees are going to react to a change in your current BRM structure. Outsourcing BRM can work, but it won’t necessarily save money, nor is it a guarantee you will have happier customers as a result.

Grow Your Company From the Inside

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If you’re a business person you may be somewhat confused by the title to this article. After all traditionally, growing your business is all about gaining more customers. You might attempt to do this by marketing your company, or use telesales staff and even account managers to help grow you client base.

All of these things are important, but there is one thing any business on the “up” should never forget, and that’s strategic business management relationships. Everyone knows the saying “friends in high places” and there is a good deal of truth in this. At this point you might be thinking about days on the golf course, and a social dinner party or two which doesn’t hurt, but social engagements tend to end up with throw away conversations that amount to nothing. This is something you should think about further down the line once you have a relationship in place.

How to go about achieving this isn’t an easy one.  As the owner of a business, you have many balls to juggle and keeping them all afloat can be pretty stressful. However, there are professionals out there who have made the career choice to become business relationship managers and they can be an invaluable asset to your company.

These people are highly trained especially when dealing with business people at a highly senior level. They know how to judge a character, and what it takes to build a strategic business relationship between your company and theirs. Their people skills are second to none, and they also have the ability to quickly understand what it is you’re trying to achieve. It doesn’t matter if you offer a product or service, top level business relationship managers have the experience to know which people you should be connected with.

You may think of this as a form of networking, and it is but on a much higher level. Having a business relationship manager by your side will help bring skills within your business that are not already there, and they can truly help you grow your business from within. Just remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!

Click here for more tips on business growth.

What Happens After Strategic Relationship Management?

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During the Strategic Relationship Management process, you, as a business owner, may come across several business ideas and practices that were previously foreign to you. Deciding to continue with these new ideas will usually mean continued positive progress and growth for your company or organisation. One example of something that an SRM professional will normally attempt to implement is efficient use of feedback. This can be done either through an honest and open discussion or through the use of feedback forms.

Acquiring feedback is a systematic approach that enables businesses to fully engage with anyone they are working with and work to improve their service. It also opens the floor to discussions which can lead to new ideas which can be implemented at an operational level. Any issues that are relative to the service that has either occurred or been provided can be addressed, leading to higher quality across the board. That is not to say that feedback is only useful when there are problems to address. When a transaction has been completed successfully or a service provided to the highest standard, it is still useful for a company to be able to know this. Being aware of when a good job has been done will lead to the same standards being upheld in the future.

Although a Strategic Relationship Management advisor will more than likely suggest that feedback is something you ask for on a regular basis, there is no reason why you can’t conduct your own annual analysis anyway. Getting information from everyone you have had a professional working interaction with will enable you to understand what is working and what is not. With this information you can make assumptions about your business and also about those you who deal with. It may also provide you with valuable insight about things that have gone wrong in the past and why you perhaps lost certain clients and contracts.

Effective implementation of Strategic Relationship Management will require that you invest a serious commitment in terms of time and resources. However, it will soon become apparent that these investments were worthwhile and the increased revenue and reputation of your business will speak for itself.