What is BRM?
Acquire a BRM (Business Relationship Management) to create accountability and commitment.
BRM data makes the invisible visible and connects to CRM data.
BRM (Business Relationship Management) is an entirely new category. Although not necessary, most companies that acquire a BRM tool, have some kind of CRM in place or have centralized data by means of spreadsheets. The function of BRM software can best be explained with the metaphor below. Where CRM data is focused on the ‘results’ of your activities, you can call these data lag measures. BRM data, on the other hand, is built to make your leading measures visible, your objectives and key results (OKR).
Make your partner plan and business plan work
Most commercial organizations make business plans and action plans each year. In the context of indirect selling, these plans are often called partner plans, partner business plans or partner development plans.
The way this usually happens is that senior management asks commercial teams (eg. channel account managers) to set up a plan to achieve a certain goal. Senior management then asks the teams to present to management their next year’s business plan, including a spreadsheet listing a set of selected focus business partners with a target to realize and a presentation with a game plan with high-level initiatives.
Management experiences this planning process as essential providing them a sense of control. From the side of the commercial teams, the business planning process is often considered a cumbersome and theoretical exercise.
Successful business planning is not a theoretical exercise
So from the start, there’s senior management, channel management and business partners experiencing the business planning process in a very different way. It basically comes down to the following mindset.
Senior management: “next year needs to be different, we should know exactly what we’re going to do, at least per quarter. That’s why we need partner business plans”
Commercial teams: “management is just dreaming, they don’t know the reality in the field, Everything changes so quickly and I’m the only one who really knows how things are going. I will figure out along the way how to achieve our objectives. That’s why I don’t really need business partner planning”.
Business Partners: “most of the account managers I know are mainly helping me with administrative commercial tasks, I rarely consider them as true strategic business partners that are helping me to develop my business with a long-term vision. I could use some long-term business planning in this changing environment.”
Of course, business planning is more than a theoretical exercise. It’s one of the most essential processes in a commercial organization to generate new forms of growth, preventing churn and beating the competition. BRM (Business Relationship Management) software has been developed to make the process of partner business planning smooth and useful for all parties. The mission of a great BRM system is to establish a process of joint business planning between senior management, commercial teams and business partners.
Business plans and partner plans just don’t work with spreadsheets and presentations
Channel account managers might consider the partner business planning process as theoretical and cumbersome. On the other side, senior sales management asks for more anticipation. One of the main reasons for this is technology, or better the lack of technology:
- The problem with spreadsheets: spreadsheets are great to make one-time static calculations, but they’re terrible when you want to update them, aggregate different versions between different users and connect to other data sources. So, when channel account managers make you a list of business partners, set an objective next to it. Nice! Sales management will be happy but channel account managers will probably not use it because of the inflexibility and bad UX to update.
- The problem with presentations: again, sales management will be happy listening to all the account managers and thinking they will execute exactly what is shown on each slide. The truth is that the initiatives presented are often way too high level, not measurable and not discussed with the business partners.
A BRM tool creates accountability and commitment between sales management, channel managers and business partners
For any company that is dealing with a process of business planning we recommend considering acquiring a Business Relationship Management (BRM) tool that has the following building blocks:
- PLAN: allowing you to centralize business partner plans and make them dynamically based on a shared toolbox within a commercial team.
- COLLABORATE: the possibility to make a strategic profile of your business partner. Engaging with a business partner in a process of joint business planning. Updates on action plan with a structure based on Objectives & Key Results (OKR), sending requests, polls, etc
- MEASURE: API first platform, connecting with CRM and other data sources to enrich and update partner plans in real-time.
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