Administration/Management question

Posted on 2012-09-18
Last Modified: 2012-09-21
Not a technical question, more like a how to manage.
I manage outsourced large hosting data center in US.  The issue I have the business relations manager is not a technical person therefore not a very aggressive to push for certain task.  He communicates with technical team (servers,network,storage techs, etc) So its like more in reactive mode rather than proactive.
So I feel like a relationship manager is a dead weight.  Do you guys have similar issues?
Question by:Tiras25
    LVL 17

    Accepted Solution

    I try to keep these as simple as possible.  What you need to be able to do from your end is show him how certain decisions, while costly in the beginning, will pay off in the long run.  Show him the benefits of doing certain things that you are pushing for, and also show him what could happen if you don't do those things.  Basically, give him a cost benefit analysis of all your decisions and show how they will benefit the company.  If he can see that and still doesn't change his mind, there is probably nothing you can do.
    LVL 19

    Assisted Solution

    I consider one of the core (and often ignored) roles of a competent IT person is communication with the non-technical world.  Unless you only deal with other techies, the ability to "translate" the technical terms and concepts for those that matter in the non-tech world (managers, clients, etc.) is an essential part of our job.

    xB is on the right track with cost-benefit analysis, but make sure it is in terms that he can understand.
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    by:Brad Bouchard
    xB is on the right track with cost-benefit analysis, but make sure it is in terms that he can understand.

    Very good point to add.
    LVL 25

    Assisted Solution

    by:Fred Marshall
    Your question is about *your* business relations manager, right?

    It appears that the role you expect is really what I would call a marketing role with sales coming somewhere down the list of roles.  The question is, does your business relations manager understand marketing?

    By marketing I mean a skill set that includes:
    - an ability to know the customer's business and who the influencers and decision makers within the organization are.
    - an ability to develop relationships with those people.
    - an ability to foresee issues that the customer may have in THEIR marketplace so that your services might be tailored not only to the here an now but to help the customer be proactive in view of their environment and competition and technical/market trends.
    - an ability to determine if the customer can/will afford to do things.
    - a desire and ability to seek out "value propositions" (things you offer that THEY perceive as having value) that are tailored to each customer or customer activity / business unit / etc.
    - good at networking.

    I think it's easy to see how this skill set is core to business relations.  Yes?
    That's why I say that sales comes down the line.
    Do these things and the sales should follow in a more or less natural manner.

    Sometimes it's not so "structured" but rather just a mindset that has these things in the back of one's mind.  Then maybe it gets a bit simpler and things like this matter:
    - above all, don't disrupt the customer's business.
    - above all, get in and get out quickly.
    - above all, make sure they're getting what THEY need and not just what YOU think they should have and not just what you are comfortable providing.  Be willing to stretch .. but not too far that you fail.  Pick your shots.

    Does this describe your business relations manager?  Should it?

    But you asked: Is *A* business relations manager dead weight?  Not specific to one person.  It depends on your business objectives, your environment and how you expect to do business.  It suggests that established relationships have a relatively high degree of importance.  Is that true?  In many businesses it is true.  In some commodity price-sensitive businesses it really isn't as much.  A quick set of questions:
    1)  "Do you stand to get new business more from your existing customers?"  
    2)  "Do you stand to get new business more from new customers?"
    3)  "Do you stand to lose business if you don't continue to thrill your customers?" (how competitive is the field?)

    Really that tells the tale.  If it's more #1 and/or #3 then a business relations specialist could be important to you.  If it's really much more #2 then maybe not.
    LVL 17

    Author Comment

    I am thinking about more of a Technical Account Manager. Now the bus relationship manager that completely non-technical.
    LVL 25

    Expert Comment

    by:Fred Marshall
    I would go back to the questions I asked and ask yourself if those roles can be dealt with by a "bus relationship manager" vs. a "technical account manager".
    The titles don't matter.  The roles do.
    I sense you *do* see value in having a filled position and are struggling with the roles.  But saying that "now the bus relationship manager is completely non-technical" sounds like you are referring to a person and not to a a position.
    You need to define the position and its roles and that will result in the needed skill set.
    In turn, that will determine which people can fill the position.
    LVL 20

    Assisted Solution

    If you are stuck with such kind of guy and seems a barrier in your carrier then you have only few options:
    - The worse one: you wait until somebody else will replace him.
    - Or you do things to be replaced:
                    - You may make a step forward – if necessary additional school, courses.
                    - You find somebody else better and try to present to your superiors – here you need the diplomatic skills, but everything is possible.
    If you want only the strategy of work different and you are happy with him as person, then you can do also something very dummy (for a while at least): you prepare his work, suggestions, new ideas directly to him. If he is successful with your approaches and results then there is a chance that he will be promoted….and you too.
    LVL 25

    Expert Comment

    by:Fred Marshall
    I you need help defining the roles then you might mention that - as I'm sure we at EE can help.

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