Relationship managers play a crucial role in how businesses maintain their reputation with clients and partners. This role is ideal for people with outstanding interpersonal skills, as you’ll spend considerable time forging positive connections with stakeholders across various sectors.
Although you might be familiar with relationship managers in a banking context, this role is prominent across several industries. From government and information technology to healthcare and recruitment, this diverse career means you can find a rewarding job in your ideal sector.
What are a relationship manager’s responsibilities?
The duties of a relationship manager change daily. If your latest collaboration has hit a speed bump that results in delays for your client, it’s your job to smooth over this hiccup to keep the relationship on solid footing.
You’ll also communicate fresh opportunities to the sales team to win the business additional revenue streams. This means sitting down for conversations with your clients to learn about their needs and how your employer can help.
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If you have a product that addresses their concerns, you’ll play a key role in presenting this solution to ensure they understand the benefits. Plus, you’ll listen to and address concerns to achieve the best outcomes.
You’ll also have to keep a close eye on competitors to understand how they’re achieving success with their target market. It’s critical that relationship managers identify potential clients and research the right stakeholders within them to start conversations that benefit your employer.
What are the types of relationship managers?
There are two types of relationship managers that approach their role from slightly different perspectives: the client relationship manager and the business relationship manager. However, the role of relationship managers at smaller organisations may encompass both tasks.
Client relationship manager
Businesses must keep their clients happy to generate revenue and expand. Relationship managers develop a positive atmosphere between a business and its clients to establish trust and mutual understanding.
This can deliver years of commitment that help a company enhance its operations.
But with hurdles bound to occur eventually, there’ll be times when you have to deliver bad news without causing the relationship to break down. Meanwhile, relationship managers must also know how their employer’s latest products will benefit a client and their specific objectives.
Business relationship manager
A business relationship manager focuses on internal operations. This role often streamlines communication between the IT department and others, like HR and finance, to enable close collaboration.
By identifying specific business needs, you’ll develop strategic roadmaps that foster greater cooperation and engagement between distinct departments.
Alternatively, business relationship managers also deal with external suppliers and partners. Alongside effective communication channels, it’s possible to communicate your company’s needs to vendors and generate a favourable outcome.
You’ll also pay attention to other opportunities that may present a better solution or a chance to renegotiate terms with existing stakeholders.
The must-have relationship manager skills
Whether you’re on the client or business side of the equation, becoming a successful relationship manager requires outstanding soft skills. Below, we highlight the areas where you need to develop your talent.
Relationship managers must have high confidence in their communication skills. As you’ll work daily with numerous stakeholders, knowing how to communicate your message effectively is crucial to success.
From negotiating lucrative sales with prospective clients to delivering unwanted news, effective verbal and written communication helps you provide the right message. Meanwhile, communicating efficiently with colleagues and management assures the ideal outcomes.
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2. Interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills are another soft skill essential to relationship managers. By getting to know pivotal internal and external stakeholders, carrying out your team’s objectives to achieve an outstanding result becomes much smoother.
For example, interpersonal skills help get honest answers from clients about their problems. This way, you resolve their issues and become a vital partner in their success. Plus, reliable interpersonal skills ensure you build beneficial relationships with internal departments.
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Relationship managers are often required to juggle numerous tasks. Excellent organisation skills ensure you prioritise critical tasks and take action where it matters most. For successful relationship managers, letting down a client simply isn’t an option.
Across any day, you might be required to have in-person meetings with clients, liaise with the sales team to discuss opportunities, respond to stakeholder queries and negotiate a new supplier contract. Superb organisational skills ensure you stay on top of it all.
Do you have what it takes to explore a career in relationship management? Here’s how you can make a lasting impression at your next interview and land the job you’re vying for. Learn some tips for negotiating your salary too.