How to improve your Stakeholder Lists – 5 things you can do right now
Not sure about the quality and accuracy of your stakeholder list? Perhaps you’re dealing with multiple lists that have been created by different team members, and not sure where to start to try and get them in better shape? Here are three simple things you could start today that will not only see a dramatic improvement in your lists, but they will set you up for better stakeholder lists and engagement well into the future.
1. Identify your objectives – what is the “job to be done” for your stakeholder list? Keep it simple – what are the top three things you want to do with your stakeholder lists – why are you keeping them? Starting with the objectives in mind will allow you to identify the gaps in your list, as well as the “noise” in the list. It’s easy for really important stakeholders to get ‘lost’ in a list that is cluttered with stakeholders who should not be there – either because there is no clear objective for working with them, or more commonly, because the information is hopelessly out of date.
2. Segment your lists – who is missing? Segment by function and by interest.
Now you have your list of objectives, set up a matrix to list the various stakeholder groups you need for each objective. Segment the stakeholder groups by various categories such as function (for example: government, business, community), and interest (for example: environment, health, policy). Some stakeholders might fit into multiple segments or groups, this is fine. The more granular and specific you can make those segments, the more useful the list will be for you in future. It will allow you to drill down to a specific segment of stakeholders so your outreach to them can be very specific and personalised.
3. Consider Stakeholder Mapping – so you know who is important to engage. Consider using one of the Stakeholder Mapping frameworks so you can further segment your stakeholders and understand who you should be engaging and when. Try the industry standard approach of mapping based on level of Influence, Interest and Impact, on a scale from low to high. Stakeholder Mapping can help identify gaps in your stakeholder lists and provide some strategic direction and tracking for your engagement efforts.
4. Consolidate lists – try and get one master list. If it’s well segmented, it should be easy to filter and see segments relevant to each user (rather than each user maintaining separate lists which will then see you back in the spreadsheet chaos zone with duplicates, out of date contacts, etc). Hint: you could use Simply Stakeholders import function to clean up duplicates, segment, map and consolidate all in one go! Sign up for a free account, or pay for a month if you need more records than the free plan allows. Clean up, organise your lists and then export them to excel. Of course we hope that you would see value in continuing to use Simply Stakeholders, but we’re also happy to help get you started with at least sorting out your lists.
5. Update – depending on where you live you might have to ask people to opt into your list. You need to have a clear and reasonable reason for retaining personal information of your stakeholders, and be able to offer them the opportunity to unsubscribe from your lists. Some countries require stakeholders to actively opt into your list and you cannot assume permission or rely on an opt-out option to be compliant with legislation. Consider sending your stakeholders an email asking if they’d still like to be on your list. Since you have a clear set of objectives that you’ve identified at step 1, you should also be able to easily explain how you will use the list and the potential benefit for the stakeholder to be part of the list. This is also a good opportunity to refresh and clean out some out of date contacts from your list.
Implementing these five steps will take you a long way towards improving and streamlining your stakeholder engagement processes – you will save time, be more strategic and targeted with your stakeholder engagement and no doubt see a big improvement in outcomes.
If you liked these tips please share them with your team and network. And if you have any suggestions for other topics you’d like to see us cover in future blog posts, please do get in touch.
If you’d like to try out the import function in Simply Stakeholders to see how it can help update and improve your stakeholder lists and stakeholder management sign up here for a free account