So, you’re currently a Business Relationship Manager (BRM) or Business Partner (BP) and you’re either considering your future, or are currently looking to move up the corporate ladder. Where should you set your sights? While your role is varied, and your skills can be applied across a pretty broad spectrum of positions, there are specific roles which will appeal to someone in your position.
As a natural progression, someone who is a BRM/BP may first seek to become the head of their team – moving into a Senior or Head BRM role. This role would oversee and manage a team of BRMs and be responsible for the overall strategy and performance of the BRM function. It’s a big change, since it’s more of a leadership role, setting the vision and direction for the BRM team; defining and monitoring objectives, and demonstrating overall value of the function.
If you’re more naturally end-customer orientated, the Client Success Director/Manager role focusses on ensuring that clients derive maximum value from your company’s products or services. It often involves upselling, cross-selling, and renewing contracts – which means remuneration could include bonuses or commissions.
If you enjoy the sales aspect of your role, consider transitioning into business development. As a Business Development Manager, you’ll be responsible for identifying and pursuing new business opportunities, which would involve market research, lead generation, strategic partnerships and maybe even product development.
With a wealth of both business and IT/HR/Finance experience, you may also consider becoming a Strategic Planner (in the Strategic Planning team). Here you’d need to analyse your organisations current situation, industry trends, and competitive landscape to develop and recommend strategies that align with their goals – all of which would be familiar ground.
Similarly, BRMs and senior BAs can move into the operational business units as a transformation leader and change agent. In the IT and digital world this is a growing trend.
We also know several IT organisations that have split operations from new initiatives and created business enablement teams. This could be a stepping stone for BRMs to develop further their relationship and value generation skills.
Many BRMs see their ultimate goal as moving into a CIO/CPO/CFO position, as it could be argued this is the ultimate BRM role – CxOs are tasked with leveraging their resources to achieve the strategic objectives of the business, while improving operations, and adapting to the rapidly evolving landscape. In reality, a CIO/CPO/CFO etc is an internal and external strategic relationship executive.
In our view, the goal of a successful BRM should be to render themselves obsolete. (Wait, what??). Doing so would remove a function often seen, sadly, as another silo. Ultimately, BRM should be an organisational capability, not a role or a function. Everyone in an organisation should have a responsibility to forge strong empathetic relationships with their colleagues, ensure what they’re doing is aligned with the organisations strategy, understand the needs of their colleagues – across all functions, foster open and honest communication and be laser focussed on shared business value objectives.
In many organisations, this may involve a significant culture shift, removing traditional hierarchies. BRMs are not the catalyst of this change, but they are perfectly positioned to support the transition.
There are so many possibilities! So whatever you decide to do next, you have the opportunity now to make a real difference. Make that your legacy.