The Ultimate Differentiator: Why BRM Matters
If you’ve been in the BRM world for any amount of time, you’ll recognize Jeff Warren, a passionate supporter of the BRM capability, role, and theorem. You won’t want to miss Jeff’s keynote address on Day 2 of the 2021 BRMConnect, where he will talk about “The High-Performing BRM.”
With just a taste of what you can expect from Jeff and his pragmatic expertise, here he is now dissecting an outdated myth from a bygone corporate era in his excellent article titled, “The Ultimate Differentiator: Why BRM Matters.”
Without further ado, we offer you his take on this relevant issue.
The Ultimate Differentiator: Why BRM Matters
An organizational myth suggests that any area that does not produce a tangible product is simply “overhead.” Organizations subscribing to that theory are usually focused on winning the battle and not the war, and they ultimately pay the price for that thinking. In reality, these “overhead” areas are the differentiators, the ones that drive forward-thinking strategies, innovation, and growth. They are the fuel that helps organizations succeed in their mission.
One area that is constantly questioned, and poorly understood, is the Business Relationship Management capability, or BRM.
It is true that an organization does not “need” BRM to survive. For that matter, nor do they need a strategy group, a communications team, or a business development area. All an organization needs to survive are the basics. But is mere survival the ultimate mission for your organization? Is the status quo your goal?
The world is littered with stories about organizations whose leaders thought that just “running” the business was what mattered. They met their metrics and kept the organization operating just fine. Everything was right in the world because employees were getting paid, products and services were being produced, and financial goals were met.
But then something interesting happened: they were outpaced by a world they didn’t see coming. New competitors entered the market, industry innovations changed their relationship with customers, and business operations became immensely faster and cheaper, to name a few things. The world changed, and they didn’t see it until it was too late. They were so stuck in their traditional ways that they failed to see that the world in which they operated was now completely different.
They didn’t have the differentiators to help them recognize, and navigate, their own future
BRM is that differentiator. BRM sees things through many different lenses, finding the gaps between capability and need, and the connection between opportunity and strategy. BRM helps challenge the status quo to drive organizational growth. BRM finds ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness in an organization in a way that other areas cannot.
So, if you are in a position of influence, wouldn't you want a group that:
- Helps ensure that investments and actions align with organizational goals and needs?
- Identifies opportunities for efficiency and growth that would be otherwise missed?
- Empowers decisionmakers with information on industry trends and competitive activity that can be used to drive organizational strategy?
- Creates a level of collaboration and transparency that breaks down siloes and increases synergies across the organization?
- Always seeks new and better ways of doing things, using empathy and creativity to drive new ideas?
Perhaps the better question is: “Why wouldn’t you want that?“
Successful BRM teams become part of the fabric of an organization and can be a driving force for positive change. They see things from so many vantage points that they become an indispensable resource for growth and innovation.
High-performing BRMs have such depth and breadth within an organization that they become key advisors to management, and many end up eventually moving into management roles themselves.
And yet, for some reason, BRM teams continually have to justify their existence because traditional thinkers are too focused on individual metrics related to hard deliverables. That makes complete sense for operational teams, but little sense for the strategic ones. Performance must indeed be measured, but by weighing how it has impacted and influenced, and not on how many widgets have been produced.
It is the intangible benefits—the differentiators—that BRM provides. While these may be harder to measure directly, there is no mistaking their intrinsic value to an organization.
Hone your BRM skills and participate in the single global BRM community at BRMConnect 2021, where Jeff will present his keynote address, “The High-Performing BRM Team.”
We live in a world of change. Maintaining the status quo simply does not work. Successful organizations are always looking forward and not back. They always seek better ways of doing things, new ways to attract and retain customers, and opportunities to lead their industry. Successful organizations invest in the areas of the organization that can help lead them down this path. They invest in the differentiators.
So, if you are an executive and your goal is to simply maintain your organization’s status quo, then carry on as you are. But be prepared for what is coming. History shows what happens to organizations with that thinking, regardless of industry.
But if your goal is to always be better than you are today, to stay a day ahead of your competition, and to constantly seek new opportunities, then invest in those areas that can help you get there.
There is no more impactful area than BRM to do that. BRM is the ultimate differentiator.
About the Author
Jeff Warren is president of Barkley Consulting Group, a consulting firm specializing in helping organizations build, execute, and evolve BRM organizations and develop BRM professionals. He has spent more than 15 years building and leading BRM teams that deliver real value and lasting success to his clients. Jeff is a frequent coach, guest lecturer, and speaker at industry workshops and conferences.
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