Stakeholder engagement and management is critical for customer retention. Here’s how to plan an effective stakeholder management strategy and track your performance.
How Do You Optimize Stakeholder Engagement?
A well-designed stakeholder engagement and management strategy includes two key components:
- An action plan for promoting stakeholder engagement
- Performance metrics for evaluating and optimizing plan implementation
The first component defines what your plan is designed to achieve. The second enables you to assess whether you’re achieving your goals so that you can make effective adjustments to your plan. Together both elements provide a feedback loop for continuous improvements to stakeholder engagement.
Create a Stakeholder Engagement and Management Plan
You can take a seven-step approach to design a stakeholder engagement and management plan:
- Identify your stakeholders and their roles
- Match communication strategies to stakeholder roles
- Analyze key stakeholder motivation
- Determine how and when you will engage key stakeholders
- Identify stakeholder preferred communication channels
- Personalize automated communication
- Send automated reports to showcase benefits of utilization
These steps chart a path to communicating the value of your product and brand to your stakeholders, promoting higher engagement and retention. For optimal results, use software that allows you to automate best practices for these steps. Here are some of the keys to a successful execution of each step.
1. Identify Who Your Stakeholders Are
The first step is to identify the key stakeholders for a given account and their roles. Key stakeholders aren’t necessarily daily users of your product, but ancillary members of your client’s team who are impacted by your product. This can include:
- Chief information officers
- Chief technology officers
- Procurement managers
- Financial managers
- Sales and marketing managers
- Human resource managers
- Customer service managers
- Legal advisors
In some cases, there may be other categories of stakeholders. Determine who the stakeholders are for specific accounts.
2. Match Communication Strategies to Stakeholder Roles
Once you have a list of the stakeholders for a given account, you can categorize them in order to develop communication strategies that match their roles. Certain stakeholders will have more influence than others on your client’s decision-making process. Others will have higher expectations for what they expect to get out of their interactions with you. Plan on higher direct engagement with stakeholders who have greater influence or higher expectations or both. Those who have more influence but lower expectations need to be kept satisfied through regular engagement for successful account management, while those with both high influence and expectations need to be engaged even more frequently. Conversely, stakeholders with low influence can be engaged on an as-needed basis. You can apply segmentation to group stakeholders into different categories in order to facilitate automated communication processes.
3. Analyze Key Stakeholder Motivation
For each stakeholder you’ve identified as a key to an account, analyzing their motivation forms a foundation for successful engagement. Consider how each key stakeholder would answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” Plan your interactions with them to deliver an experience that meets and exceeds their expectations.
4. Determine How and When You Will Engage Key Stakeholders
Once you’ve defined what type of experience you need to deliver to each key stakeholder, the next step is to plan how you will deliver it. You can plan this in the context of a customer journey map, which lays out the steps in your customer’s lifecycle as they progress from acquisition and onboarding through adoption and renewal. Identify the points in this process when you need to engage with key stakeholders, such as key milestones or recurring events like quarterly business reviews and executive business reviews. Plan procedures for how you will pursue engagement. Totango’s Spark platform helps you automate engagement best practices by providing SuccessBLOC modules featuring out-of-the-box templates and toolkits for immediately implementing optimal procedures.
5. Identify Stakeholder Preferred Communication Channels
Each stakeholder will have their own preferred communication channels. Some will respond more readily to phone calls, others to texting and still others to email or social media. Identify a stakeholder’s preferred communication channel to make sure that your messages are engaging their attention.
6. Personalize Automated Communication
Engagement is more effective when it’s personalized. Personalizing emails is a step in the right direction, but customized communication can go much deeper than this. Spark lets you engage customers based on data about their profiles, activity and behaviors, expanding the scope of personalization to include your entire relationship with the customer. For example, if automated monitoring indicates that a customer is lagging behind in the onboarding process, this can trigger a personalized communication action plan to get the customer back on track.
7. Send Automated Reports to Showcase Benefits of Utilization
Personalized communication can include automated reports which remind customers of the value they get from utilizing your product. Reports highlighting KPIs can be transmitted through user-friendly dashboards providing real-time data as well as through periodic summaries providing data on a selected time frame. Strategic use of reports promotes engagement by showcasing the benefits of actively using your product. It also provides users with a sense of accomplishment, increasing satisfaction.
Track the Right Metrics to Promote Proactive Engagement
In addition to communicating value to customers, KPIs can also be used to make sure your stakeholder engagement strategy is achieving its intended results. Important metrics for tracking stakeholder engagement include:
- Key contacts who engaged over the last 30 days: quantifies how often your most important stakeholders are interacting with you to make sure engagement levels are on target
- Key contacts who did not engage over the last 30 days: alerts you when important stakeholders are becoming disengaged so you can intervene
- Stakeholder engagement by type: lets you zero in on specific categories of stakeholders for customized monitoring and actions
- Stakeholder engagement by flow: ties stakeholder engagement tracking into the flow of your interactions with customers
- Stakeholder engagement by reason: helps you assess whether stakeholders are engaging with you for desired reasons
- Stakeholder engagement by role: lets you focus on priority influencers
- Meeting attendance and responsiveness: tells you if stakeholders are showing up for meetings and whether they’re engaging in desired behaviors when they do
Totango’s Engage Key Stakeholders SuccessBLOC is specifically designed to help you track these vital KPIs and view your data through user-friendly dashboards and reports. You can also set up automated workflows which trigger tasks and actions based on what your data indicates. For example, if your data indicates a stakeholder’s Net Promoter Score is low, you can trigger actions to promote increased engagement.
Improve Stakeholder Engagement and Management to Increase Retention
An effective stakeholder engagement and management strategy should include both an action plan and key performance metrics to guide your plan implementation. A well-designed plan should automate the process of personally connecting with your key stakeholders to raise their awareness of the value they derive from your product and brand. Well-selected KPIs help you make sure your plan is achieving its intended results. Together your plan and metrics serve to increase stakeholder engagement and satisfaction, promoting higher customer retention.
The Totango Spark platform with its Engage Key Stakeholders SuccessBLOC provides all the tools you need to automate stakeholder engagement best practices and monitor your engagement plan’s success. Try it free to start enjoying the benefits of automated stakeholder engagement.