How does your organization track its relationships with legislators and other constituencies that you communicate with regularly? If you are still tracking in spreadsheets, folders or underpowered freebie applications, there’s work to be done. Those may be digital tools, but your system is essentially analog— too reliant on manual processes with data that ends up in inaccessible silos.
Savvy government relations professionals are starting to take a page from their colleagues in corporate sales and marketing, embracing CRM-like platforms that allow a range of capabilities that allow them to be efficient with data about relationships in one place.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software like Salesforce has been around for decades, allowing companies to create detailed files on their prospects. Marketing automation systems like Marketo and Hubspot are similarly ubiquitous. The business world uses professional systems because managing their stakeholders—in their case, prospects, leads and opportunities—translates into sales and revenue.
Smart government affairs teams take the exact same approach, using collaborative software to help drive the outcomes they need. Modern systems allows an entire team to collect and access data on your stakeholders across the whole organization. Using features like notes, tags, attachments, social and media monitoring, and a fast way to rate the strength of the relationship, organizations can capture every contact and build detailed files filled with actionable information.
No longer are critical advocates hidden in spreadsheets. Now everyone in the organization can see in real-time who the best supporters are on every issue. When it comes time to act, that information becomes a powerful asset.
Harness Your Intelligence
Take, for example, a Government Affairs pro who is tasked with monitoring an issue before Congress, or perhaps interacting with a state delegation, caucus or subcommittee. They will be in regular contact with staffers and, whenever possible, the lawmakers themselves.
But she will not be the only one. Other people in the organization, from fellow government affairs pros to the executives in the C suite, may be in contact with those same staffers and lawmakers for different reasons. Those stakeholders are also likely getting information from her organization, such as press releases, industry reports or invitations to events.
Unless the organization is practicing strong stakeholder mapping and management, she does not have the full picture. She can track her own interactions, but is siloed to much of the rest. In order to be effective, she needs to see the full range of contact. A proper stakeholder management system would give her a clear picture or briefing anytime she needed it.
It also gives her a place to store and share valuable information, such as notes on a meeting; news articles, social posts and press statements; research on an issue; campaign finance information; or anything else that is relevant.
Another example might be a professional association that serves member companies. One member may have dozens of interactions with the association throughout the course of a year, but it will not be with the same people.
Unless the organization has a modern system in place, all of that information will reside in files across five separate departments. Stakeholder mapping is more than a good idea. It is often a key ingredient in reaching organizational goals.
Harness Your Opportunities
Of course, managing stakeholders is more than just an efficient way to stay organized. It provides unique intelligence of its own.
For example, using tags and rankings, an organization can determine which stakeholders are the most active. Those who attend events, answer calls to action, consume content or contact the organization most can be identified and labeled. (That practice also works in reverse when needed, identifying those who are silent and inactive).
Phone2Action’s Stakeholder management tool has a built-in mobile-friendly survey feature called “Who Do You Know?” Organizations can send the survey to their list of advocates and capture and track data about relationships from their entire network. Advocates can rank and describe the closeness of their relationship to the stakeholder so you know whether it would be appropriate to call on them for an introduction when you need to move fast.
That information can then be put to use. For example, the events staff might get an early headcount when they launch an invitation, or the government relations team might have an easier time conducting rapid response. Another example is if the bill you are tracking has moved to committee and you’ve identified the two key swing votes to get it passed. You want to be able to see what relationships you have with these key legislators and mobilize them. If you can see from your stakeholder management system that three of your members know a Senator with a swing vote, and they are willing to call them directly to help advocate on the issue, you can leverage your network to its full potential to win your issue.
Public affairs work has grown more complicated in recent years, as stakeholders grow more sophisticated, communication channels expand and the competition for people’s time increases. A modern management system helps get the job done.
Learn about Phone2Action’s new Stakeholder Management module and schedule a demo to get started.
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