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Stakeholder Management: The Complete Guide

Learn how effective stakeholder management can help you reach your marketing goals.

Managing important business ventures and projects is crucial to getting any job moving forward and staying on task.

However, when managing large-scale projects that impact a wide range of people and working with a team, keeping everything on task can be difficult.

In general, large-scale projects tend to involve many interested people who are directly or indirectly impacted by the outcome. While having interested people is good, they can distract you from your production schedule.

These interested people who are impacted by a project are called stakeholders. They literally have a stake in the progress of your work. Stakeholders aren't always individuals.

Stakeholders can be organizations, groups, other businesses, or individuals who are impacted by your work. Stakeholders are interested in the success of a business deal or project, and they can be employees, customers, or related groups that are external or internal to your business.

Stakeholders can have a negative or positive effect on your project. They influence the work itself from beginning to end and because of this, need to be managed properly.

So, identifying your key stakeholders and crafting an effective stakeholder management plan is a priority. Instead of being distractions, stakeholders can be valuable assets that you can engage with throughout the lifecycle of your project.

What is stakeholder management?

A type of project management, stakeholder management manages the requirements and expectations of everyone who is a stakeholder in your project. Stakeholders can be external or internal, and a good stakeholder management plan will manage both groups effectively and efficiently

This is done by creating and implementing a stakeholder management process, a plan that clearly states how stakeholders will be managed and which strategies are used to accomplish this throughout your entire project lifecycle.

Much of this stakeholder management plan relies on status reports and other feedback from the project manager to facilitate the stakeholder management process.

The term "stakeholder management" can also apply to business administration for any-sized business or non-profit organization. Managing stakeholders is required in any-sized business to keep all of its projects on-task and under budget, while working with stakeholders throughout.

Importance of stakeholder management to hit marketing goals

Stakeholder management is crucial to the success of any project. When stakeholders are ignored, they can jeopardize a project, due to a lack of buying in or by creating obstacles.

When stakeholders' needs are met then they will support your work, but if they're not met, they may stand in your way. Managing stakeholders also engenders good relationships with them during this project and potential future projects.

Identifying and analyzing stakeholders

Stakeholder management is essential for achieving your marketing goals. To effectively manage stakeholders, you need to identify and analyze them carefully.

Internal and external stakeholders

Stakeholders can be broadly categorized into two types: internal and external stakeholders.

Internal stakeholders are people who are interested in your project that are part of your business or directly impacted by your business, the business that's managing the work.

These stakeholders can be investors, sponsors, work teams, and project managers. These people are invested in seeing your work become a success.

External stakeholders, on the other hand, are people who are not directly related to your business, but are impacted indirectly or are important to the success of the work. These can be public groups, creditors, or supply chain entities.

Analyzing internal and external stakeholders' expectations and needs

Before making a stakeholder management plan, you should start by identifying key stakeholders, external and internal, and analyzing their needs and relationships with the project. Ask yourself:

  • What is this stakeholder's role?
  • How will they be involved in this project?
  • What do they want from this project?
  • What is their motivation for being involved?
  • What benefits are gained by engaging stakeholders?

Strategies for effective stakeholder management

Effective stakeholder management is crucial for achieving your business objectives. By identifying and addressing the needs of your stakeholders, you can build strong relationships and promote mutual understanding.

From staying in touch to being transparent, we've got some practical tips to help improve your stakeholder management and drive success for your business.

Communication and transparency

Effective communication will achieve complete transparency with project stakeholders. Your stakeholder management plan should indicate how you will communicate, how often, using which format, and how you will distribute your communication to each stakeholder. You can create a communication plan to help facilitate this so no one is accidentally omitted throughout the stakeholder management process.

Relationship building

If you are communicating effectively with key stakeholders, consulting with them, and working with stakeholders where they will be most effective, you can simultaneously build valuable relationships with them that will carry on after this project is completed.

Conflict management

Depending on your project time schedule and the priority you assign each step, it's likely that you will need to manage conflicts as they occur.

With stakeholders' eagerness to see their part of the project successfully working, they may ignore or not realize why another part has a higher priority. Like with most groups, there may be competing personalities that clash during this project. Nipping conflicts as they begin will help keep your stakeholder management plan on schedule and harmonious.

Collaboration and cooperation

Consulting with stakeholders is a good way to keep them invested in your whole project, and not just in the part they are interested in. Project stakeholders make excellent resources to help your project achieve fruition.

One area they can help with is learning more about industry competitors. Stakeholders are often excellent resources to tap for information and alternative methods, and to help market your brand.

Leverage stakeholder management to achieve marketing goals

By building strong relationships with your stakeholders, you can create a positive impact on your business and drive success. One of the most critical aspects of stakeholder management is understanding their needs and expectations.

By doing so, you can tailor your marketing strategies to meet their needs, which can lead to increased engagement, loyalty, and ultimately, a stronger bottom line.

From creating an effective stakeholder management plan to measuring success, we'll provide actionable insights to help you create a successful stakeholder management strategy that drives results.

Setting marketing goals

Setting marketing goals for your business venture or project can often improve by leveraging your stakeholder relationships.

Stakeholders can offer experience and expectations that you can add to your marketing plan, and contribute ideas and suggestions your project team may not have already considered.

Aligning marketing goals with stakeholder expectations

By consulting with your stakeholders, you can incorporate their expectations into your marketing goals. Having clear goals helps stakeholders have a realistic understanding of what needs to be done and your timeline for getting it done.

It also gives them an opportunity to market for you. As stakeholders, they have a vested interest in making your project successful and sharing it with other people.

Tips to improve your stakeholder management

Stakeholder management is a critical aspect of any successful business strategy. By building positive relationships with your stakeholders, you can create a strong foundation for your business to thrive.

However, stakeholder management can be challenging, and it requires careful stakeholder mapping, planning, and execution.

Whether you're a small business owner or part of a large corporation, effective stakeholder management can make a significant impact on your business's success.

The key is to understand your stakeholders' needs and expectations and create a strategy that aligns with them.

From clear communication to active engagement, these tips can help you build stronger relationships with your stakeholders and drive success for your business. So, let's dive in and see how you can improve your stakeholder management today.

Regular communication and engagement

Establishing a system to keep stakeholders informed throughout your project timeline will encourage a successful outcome. Your communication strategy will let stakeholders know if there's a schedule change or any other developments that occur to change expectations for completion.

One way of managing communications is by establishing a distinct space or group where people involved in the project can get the latest data, news, public relations, and other information as it becomes available.

You can also create forums in which stakeholders can engage with each other and project team members to develop new ideas, get a feel for the progress, offer assistance, and help foster relationships with each other.

Stakeholder engagement is critical for your project to be successful. Ask stakeholders to join your decision-making sessions, and you will find that this builds trust and you will gain a resource for your current project and potential future ones.

Being responsive to stakeholder needs

Actively responding to stakeholder needs is important for overall project success. Addressing any issues or problems that crop up immediately will cement a good working relationship and improve engagement.

It's easy these days to reach someone quickly with a phone call, email, or text message. Within a few minutes, you can resolve a problem and turn back to working on the next step.

Tracking and measuring stakeholder engagement

The time it takes to track stakeholder engagement is minimal, but having the information will help you improve your relationships with them.

You can contact stakeholders to thank them for their help, and get a hold of them when you see that they aren't engaged as much as they should be for the next phase of the project.

Keep track of how often they are consulted, the best way to reach them, and what types of feedback and reports they would like to receive.

Stakeholder engagement is like a conversation. It goes back and forth between parties and the synergy can result in an unexpected plus that adds value to your project.

Stakeholders often bring experience and understanding that can add depth to your work that you may have passed over or not been aware of. When people do engage, you can measure what type of ways are most effective with each stakeholder, and how to work with them in the future.

Continual improvement of stakeholder management

Your goal with stakeholder management should be focused on improving your relationship with each person or group.

Stakeholders offer valuable insight that you may need for a successful outcome. Identifying and prioritizing each stakeholder will help you communicate effectively and often.

When stakeholders come to you with a concern and you engage with them rapidly to resolve this issue, you create positive experiences with them. This connection will continue to add to your knowledge base as long as you continue to nurture the relationship.

Learning how to work with stakeholders doesn't have to be an individual effort. Mailchimp has many tools that you can use to help build your relationships, and to communicate with stakeholders.

Mailchimp offers extensive advice and information on related topics and has many tips on how to get started. You can learn more about brand consistency and the best ways to implement this. Mailchimp has valuable help articles geared toward improving your sales prospecting and other valuable insights.

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