When you look at your government relations team, what do you see? At most companies, the answer will be a group of professionals who are hand-picked for their expertise, all working hard to represent the company before regulators and lawmakers.
Now ask this: what kind of tools are they using to get the job done? If they are not using modern, professional government relations tools, then you likely have work ahead.
It is always surprising when companies that work hard to hire top talent encumber those professionals with dated legacy systems or clunky free tools. If your team is not using professional solutions to track legislation, manage relationships with public officials and activate your grassroots supporters, there are improvements to be made.
If you want to see your team increase its metrics and ultimately add to the win column, start thinking about upgrades.
Every department at a company has professional software. Sales might use Salesforce. Marketing might use Marketo or HubSpot. They use these solutions because they improve performance.
For example, a marketing team using Marketo to automate nurture campaigns is likely to produce more leads. A sales rep using Salesforce to track her pipeline and prospect regularly is likely to convert more of those leads to opportunities and ultimately close more deals.
The government affairs team should also have professional solutions, and for similar reasons. It will improve their relationships with lawmakers and regulators; better engage employees and other supporters with text messaging and email; and ultimately result in more policy wins. The team’s metrics often improve along the way.
For example, at a time when the average advocacy email program has a 16 percent open rate, according to the M&R 2020 Benchmarks report, Expedia’s average was a whopping 52 percent last year. It’s click and conversion rates were far above average, too. Expedia uses professional tools and works to constantly improve its email program.
Serious organizations spend time choosing, testing and optimizing their technology, and some go even farther. For example, the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, goes beyond the role of user to provide its vendor companies with detailed feedback, product ideas and other input that helps technology products evolve.
“I tend to get engaged with companies and products in the beta phase,” Brad Viator, the executive director of external affairs at EEI, said. “In a lot of ways, I’m helping companies develop their products in real time.”
‘One Powerful System’
One major goal for the industry is consolidating the best tools under a single, end-to-end system. For years, companies have purchased systems separately. One solution for legislative tracking. Another for grassroots advocacy. Viator says his team might be using five different systems at any given time.
When Phone2Action acquired GovPredict and KnowWho, it began work toward a single system of record for government relations offering legislative tracking, stakeholder management, political intelligence and best-in-class advocacy tools—all in one place.
“The goal is one vendor, one invoice and one powerful system,” said Jeb Ory, CEO of Phone2Action. “Companies and their associations want a single solution that enhances the capabilities of their team, and that’s exactly what we’re building.”
As Viator put it, “this is the beginning of the consolidation that’s necessary in this space for people like me to be successful.”
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