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What is a 'Relationship Manager'

A relationship manager is a professional who works to improve a firm's relationships with both partner firms and customers. Relationship management is generally divided into two fields: customer relationship management (CRM) and business relationship management (BRM). Both fields share the common goal of facilitating good relationships so that the business maximizes the value of its relationships and maintains a good reputation overall.

BREAKING DOWN 'Relationship Manager'

A client relationship manager is a key member of a sales management team. The manager becomes a trusted client adviser, maximizing long-term revenue opportunities for the company.

Client Relationship Manager Education

A client relationship manager typically has a bachelor’s degree in business, management or marketing. The manager also possesses extensive experience in sales and customer service, as well as technical knowledge relevant to the industry.

Skills and Responsibilities

A manager possesses strong planning and analytical skills. He develops a deep understanding of the technical and business challenges that clients face, then identifies opportunities to increase sales of related products and services. The manager also monitors and analyzes competitor activities to assess threats to important clients. He uses his account knowledge for setting revenue targets and identifying resources needed to meet them. In addition, a manger identifies and organizes training, planned maintenance and other services, helping clients use the company’s products more productively. He helps set up online ordering, payment systems and other processes that simplify the commercial arrangements with clients.

Business Relationships

A client relationship manager needs strong internal communication and coordination skills. He presents account plans to senior management for approval and commitment. He works closely with customer-facing staff when explaining clients’ needs and motivating them to provide the highest service standards. When a manager identifies opportunities for selling new products to companies, he briefs the product development team on the essential features to meet client needs. A manager also builds relationships with senior executives, purchasing managers, technical managers, finance directors and other members of the client team who make or influence purchasing decisions. The manager builds relationships with clients, based on trust and value, for overcoming issues of price and creating strong barriers to competition.

Business Relationship Manager

A business relationship manger oversees the internal interfacing and communication of business units within a larger corporation or with suppliers and other outside entities. A manager oversees teams that monitor purchases, budgeting and cost factors. He also provides valuable information across business units to efficiently use resources and execute company standards.

Required Education

A business relationship manager typically has a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field and a master’s degree in management, logistics or a related field.


A business relationship manager tracks data related to how the business interacts with service suppliers, raw material providers and other partners. A manager looks for trends, handles problems and analyzes communications, contracts and negotiations. He uses the information to refine the company’s practices. A manager may recommend dropping specific partners detrimental to operations and adjusting communication to build and strengthen relationships with partners for more profitability.

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