Before we get there, a better question might be how do these two relate? Well the truth is, in any discussion about BRM, you also have to discuss Customer Relationship Management (CRM), as the two work hand-in-hand towards effective BRM.
The relationship between the two is simple. BRM revolves around business units successfully meeting the needs of internal business partners and the external service providers. CRM, in general, helps to manage new, existing, and future customer relationships. However, the core link between these two is the customer intelligence that is captured and maintained by CRM systems.
A BRM Takeaway: Customer Intelligence
In order for Business Relationship Management to be effective it must serve a variety of purposes. For example, BRM must be able to:
- Capture demand from both a business and service perspective
- Identify customer needs and demands
- Ensure opportunities for continual improvement
Usually when a company has moved on from say, a contact management software, and is instead using a well-implemented CRM system like Infor CRM, while also maximizing its capabilities, what is found is that CRM will already be deeply embedded in their marketing, sales, human resources, IT, and all other internal business units relevant to their industry.
This means that the customer intelligence derived from CRM through any number or variety of users, can be sourced by each of the business unit as they set out to fulfill their respective BRM responsibilities of stimulating and shaping demand for the company’s products and services. Think of this customer intelligence as a driver towards more effective BRM.
In short, external customer intelligence within Infor CRM can be sources as business intelligence from advanced analytics available on the system. These analytics provide vital insights that go into BRM. Insights such as,
- Make informed business decisions and shape strategic priorities based on actionable analysis.
- Extend their competitive advantage by focusing attention and resources on the most profitable business activities.
- Enable users at every level to gain the insights they need to identify drivers of and barriers to success.
- Increase organizational and customer intelligence by analyzing CRM-related data from across their business.
The Business Relationship Manager
For example, a business relationship manager of an IT department receives customer intelligence in the form of product or service complaints, service requests, customer preferences and suggestions, reoccurring problems amongst other things. This kind of customer intelligence realized through CRM on the most basic level offers becomes useable data that offers insights into how customers are being serviced.
Informed by customer insights and guided by established business strategies, the role of a business relationship manager with the processes that support overall BRM efforts should be effective in determining business value (and by extension demand), identifying trends, coordinating resources, setting and managing expectations, and tracking and reviewing performance.
In the case of the business relationship manager of the example IT department just discussed and the customer intelligence gained through CRM, effective BRM would require that they do the following with the business data the system offers:
- Evaluate whether the company has the appropriate mix or portfolio of products and services to meet the needs of the customers
- If not, ensure that the company does by developing the appropriate products/services that current or perspective customers’ needs
- In that development, maintain the current business relationships with vendors, suppliers, and other internal business units
- Identify whether customer insights require a change in business strategy and objectives
- Assign and equip individuals with the task of managing certain aspects of the business relationships
- Act as an advisor and advocate to internal business units or external service providers
- Facilitate two-way communication between the customer and the business unit and between the business unit and any suppliers
When Business Relationship Management leverages the intelligence provided by a quality CRM system, and uses it to optimize the business value derived from a company’s products and services, customer relationships are deepened and customer loyalty becomes the byproduct. The reward for the company is the very purpose of BRM, further stimulation and shaping of business demand for their products and services.
It is easy now to see how CRM and BRM go hand-in-hand.