Just between us, how important do you think partner relationships are to your business? More important than finding the next hot retailer? Less important than the yearly Christmas party?
Most licensing partnerships fail because of one thing: fractured relationships. So, if partnerships aren't #1 on your list, you might need a new list.
Forgetting your partners isn't just a no-no. It's a decision that can make the difference between launching a globally successful licensing program and creating a forgettable flop.
Okay, now for the good news.
In our industry, the need for clear and actionable communication between licensors, licensees, and agents to build strong programs has become a category all of its own. At Flowhaven, we’ve coined the term Licensing Relationship Management.
LRM is what happens when you put relationships at the center of your business.
So, what is LRM?
Licensing Relationship Management is a modern business strategy designed to boost licensing sales, royalty revenue, and partner service, reduce costs, and increase licensing partner loyalty. You’re also allowed to refer to it as pure magic.
The technology was developed by Kalle Törmä, a young industry titan with a passion for brands. At Flowhaven, we’re lucky to call him our CEO.
LRM leverages Customer Relationship Management (CRM), a system that helps businesses manage and analyze its own interactions with its past, current and potential customers (popularized by Salesforce). As well as licensing specific processes to create a tool that works for every licensing department.
The thinking behind LRM is this: When your team can look at every interaction and transaction through your partner's eyes, you're guaranteed to deliver a better experience. The better the connection, the more likely your partners are to stay loyal and repeat business.
LRM is not a process that can happen on its own.
To work, your need the right set of tools and dedicated leadership. Think of it like a boat. Sure, you can sit on the water and hope that the tide takes you where you want to go. But if you want to steer toward a clear destination and get there quickly, it would probably help to have the right tools and someone who knows the way.
Who needs LRM?
Who needs LRM? *Drumroll* Anyone interested in the health of their brand licensing program!
Today's LRM systems aren’t like the clunky, intimidating machines of the past. Modern technology—like Flowhaven—comes with a range of advanced functions and user-friendly interfaces. They intelligently store and manage partner information. Helping your team find new partnerships and optimize existing ones to drive success.
It can also help you keep your internal teams on task and external teams happy. LRM solutions do all of this all on one platform. So, everyone has access to the same information and updates at all times.
LRM was designed to fit business structures from enterprises to few person teams. It doesn't matter if your licensing team fills up an office floor or single chair – LRM is a tool kit that will help you establish closer connections with your partners.
Get ready to revamp the way you deliver professional licensing service, gain more revenue and grow your business further. If that wasn’t enough, LRM systems boast flexible costs, easy maintenance and stress-free onboarding.
Whether you're working on a high-performing team or struggling to meet deadlines, LRM is the tool you need to make sure every deal is a win.
How is LRM Helping Licensees?
As a licensee, it's your job to create unique products consumers will love, and retailers will want to stock again and again. To do that, you need to ensure that you have an open line of communication with the brand owner, a clear understanding of your agreement terms including the rights that have been granted to you, and a convenient place to communicate with your partner about the creative assets you need to push production.
You know that if you don't have the information you need to create high-quality products that accurately reflect the core brand, you can fracture your relationships with the brand owner. Or, take a hit on your reputation and lose your standing as the go-to person in a particular category.
LRMs make analyzing and reporting on your progress painless. Never worry about sending an email to confirm that you are on schedule to deliver quality product again. Flowhaven, for example, allows users to give their partners a consolidated view of their movement to flag issues immediately, confirm schedules and enhance trust.
The system’s reporting dashboard is customizable. You can report on any metric (sales performance, productivity, delivery dates versus goal, etc.) across your internal teams and external partners. You can pull these detailed reports at any time and share them directly with the team members who need to review them.
With Flowhaven, you can even break data down by quarter, year, or type, including SKU, client, or category, to deliver multi-dimensional reports that show exactly where you triumph.
In the end, you won’t just get to creating impressive products faster. You’ll generate reports so fast your partners will be blown away by your ability to deliver high-quality service that leads to higher revenues and greater exposure for your core brand, with ease.
LRM gives you a way to hold your team accountable in their roles. A good LRM system helps team members across departments understand their responsibilities to partners throughout the licensing lifecycle. When those responsibilities aren’t met, it’s easy to identify what went wrong, where, who fell short and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Say so long to finger pointing. Teams with access to LRMs like Flowhaven, have all the tools they need to keep a licensing program on schedule. If there are changes or delays your team can easily flag it. You can also confirm that your royalty payments have been made, send reminders and track your team’s recoupment speeds.
What does LRM do for Licensors?
As a licensor, you're proud to be behind a brand that has excited fans so much, they can't wait to get their hands on the products that connect them to it. To preserve your brand integrity, you want to ensure that you match with agents and licensees who can execute your vision flawlessly.
If you cannot communicate clearly and make accurate assessments of your partners, you can undermine your core brand and quickly turn fans into foes in an instant. Processes that support effective communication aren't just right for your bottom line. They can be the difference between a years long product program and an overnight flop.
Each licensing team’s needs are different. They can’t be standardized. Different views for different users is a must-have functionality when deciding if an LRM solution is right for your team.
Since every company is different, few LRM systems will do everything you need out-of-the-box. There will almost always be some degree of modification required for the software to work for your company. Some of these modifications are simple. Some can be more complex.
Most modern LRM systems provide simple graphical tools, so non-technical personnel can make minor adjustments to the system. More advanced customizations are provided for more technical team members.
Flowhaven has helped several customers solve for special language and currency issues. If an organization has international operations, the ability to support local character sets, translate messages and track and report on transactions in different currencies, can be game-changing.
As a brand owner, it helps to have a system that helps you want to identify new open categories quickly. Your LRM system can help you find all available licensed rights in an organized way. You can then sort the known partners that could fill those gaps and begin reaching out to make deals.
The more attractive your business is, the easier it can be for valuable leads to fall through the cracks. Think about when you attend a trade show. Have you ever forgotten to write about your meeting? Improving your efficiency and productivity will bring you closer to your revenue goals. Having a tool to organize the process, ensures its sustainable.
With an LRM, your team will avoid spending hours combing through emails and trying to communicate with other coworkers to find recent updates about partners. For example, Flowhaven, makes it easy to grow your number of contacts and leads in an organized and professional way by reminding you of appointments. Or pointing your team leads at specific points in their licensing journey.
How is LRM helping agents?
As an agent, you act as both a middleman and an overseer, helping teams perfect their strategies and connect with the best licensees and retailers available. At any given time, you might even have multiple brands under your belt. Whether your licensors release a new style guide or are in the market for new partnerships, you can use LRM to let the right people know new resources and opportunities have become available.
LRMs come with state-of-the-art content management features. Flowhaven, for example, gives you the power to create client-specific environments that showcase all assets, including versions of a given artwork, logos, and more. The cloud-based interface eliminates the need for clunky file-sharing or select apps to open files and makes them available anytime, anywhere to everyone, from the graphic designer to the manufacturer.
As an agent, you’re used to travelling to trade shows and other industry events to promote your clients. That means that office files are no longer a practical method for organising and storing partner information that can be useful while you’re on the go.
As mobile adoption continues to grow and organisations become more flexible in work set-ups, young desktop applications, including LRM, are conquering into the mobile space.
Users and customers alike expect information to be updated in real-time and not "when you get back to the office." This means that your team needs access to real-time data no matter where they are. Mobile LRM gives you the ability to work from anywhere in the world. And, update data including contact information about new prospects as you go.
The system also breaks down traditional barriers by providing access to partner, product and sales information. When you’re fully informed, you’re guaranteed to have shorter agreement cycles.
In licensing, invoice management can be cumbersome without a proper LRM that keeps track of inbound and outbound invoice statuses and details. With full automation, the time previously spent on manipulating spreadsheets, calculating commissions, and minimum guarantee open balances and instalments sums is saved.