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3 Ways to Build Your Stakeholder Networks

by Content Team, FiscalNote

How to find those key relationships that can help with your public policy issues

Unprecedented shifts in policy and power at local, state, and federal levels are posing a challenge to executives and government relations pros tasked with strengthening their company’s stakeholder networks. 

While cultivating relationships with influencers through years of hard work is still fundamental to managing government impact, it’s no longer enough. You need to be able to see and manage how all of your stakeholders – internal team members, the public, governments, or other organizations, intersect. 

To connect the dots, build your network, and manage your issues against rapidly changing political landscapes, partisan lawmakers, or even public perception, you need to implement a stakeholder management system so you can monitor everything from one place.

Read on for the three fundamental reasons modern government relations teams are implementing a stakeholder management strategy to expand their networks of influence:

1. Using Data to Find New Champions

Stakeholder management technology allows you to look at voting records, ideological stances, and the committee’s representatives sit on. By utilizing these data points, your team can begin to create an accurate map of which representatives vote in similar fashions, and more importantly, across party lines from the in the federal government, all the way down to the local level. Stakeholder management is all about building out your network through data-driven decision making. 

With most of the legislative action happening at the state level, finding new sponsors and co-sponsors across the aisle is increasingly more important if you want your agenda to be recognized and prioritized. Modern government and public affairs teams that implement a stakeholder management strategy focus not on the backroom deals but on what the data is saying. By using technology to examine what representatives or lawmakers have done in the past, teams will be able to find new support for their public policy issues down the road. 

Stakeholder management tools such as FiscalNote use technology such as natural language processing, and artificial intelligence which enables teams to see who has the same opinions on regulations as the organization by analyzing the public comments on federal regulations. 

With this insight, you can pinpoint new advocates and build coalitions with key stakeholders to help drive specific goals. Teams can see feedback from competitors, advocates, consumers, and like-minded businesses through regulatory analysis in ways that previously were solely built around face-to-face interactions and relationships. 

2. Collaboration in a Single System of Record

Stakeholder management is completely built around the idea that your notes, information on communications with staff, contacts, and the working relationship networks your team and members have, should not be kept in disparate files or spreadsheets. Instead, teams should put this proprietary information into one place to create a single source of truth. 

Teams should prioritize creating a workspace to centralize their workflow, make knowledge accessible, and get a 360-degree view of any issue affecting your organization.

By creating this single system of record, it enables teams to create multi-directional communication and collaboration with teams outside of government and public affairs.. If all teams are able to view the same dashboard and workspace, communication becomes seamless and the networks of your team are kept in one place. That way, even if a team member leaves or is promoted to another team or organization you don’t lose the working relationships your organization has. Maintaining a shared knowledge system on relationships fosters collaboration across teams and departments. It also lets employees outside of the government affairs department to upload information on outside relationships further expanding your networks. 

That opens the door to allow you begin mapping who is connected to who, how you can leverage them, how to best activate them to advance your goals, and what you’re getting out of that working relationship.

3. Focus and Clarity on the Right Metrics and Investments

Effective advocacy and lobbying have always revolved around the networks that you and your organization are able to rely on and activate. The difficulty sometimes lies in proving to your C-Suite and Board that investments in building your network are worth it. One of the major benefits of implementing a stakeholder management strategy driven by technology is that teams are able to report up and down on the return on investment of their actions. Stakeholder management allows you to focus on what actually matters for your team and organization and prioritize the right metrics in a language your Board understands. 

Teams can determine which networks were most effective, where their advocacy and lobbying campaigns are seeing the most results, who the most influential and productive stakeholders are, and the direct budgetary impact of their advocacy and lobbying efforts. Implementing a stakeholder management strategy allows your organization to begin to measure and quantify the previously immeasurable, and provide accurate and detailed reporting on your efforts to provide value to your organization or company.

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