Is it a good idea to use generic relationship management software to manage information related to consultation projects, rights-holder engagement initiatives, and stakeholder engagement campaigns?

Does one size fit all when it comes to stakeholder information management software?

The short answer is…no.

Customer relationship management software is designed for use in a sales and marketing setting. Using these tools to manage information for stakeholder or rights-holder consultation initiatives tends to be ineffective because of the complex nature of the data and relationships.

The value of information, and how it’s tracked and reported, is of paramount importance during the consultation process. Missteps with respect to stakeholder information management can put the success of your project in jeopardy.

The differences between Customer Relationship Management and Stakeholder Information Management software:

Stakeholder Information Management (SIM) software like StakeTracker has evolved because Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software struggled to meet the complex needs of stakeholder management and consultation professionals.

Indeed, SIM and CRM are designed for two different processes and the underlying model of each is different.

CRM is a sales-based process – Developed to automate sales, marketing, and customer service, it is based on a one-to-one relationship with a customer or prospect.

SIM is a communications-centric data model – Communications and relationships are at the heart of the consultation process, and in reality you don’t have a stakeholder/rights-holder until you start to communicate, discover, and uncover in a consultation. It’s not about making a deal – but a focus on generating and tracking a dialogue, obtaining feedback and resolving issues.

Stakeholder Information Management is focused on a “many to many” relationship model, managing the interactions, topics, issues, tasks and commitments related to your stakeholder/rights-holder engagement initiative.

The true value of SIM is the ability to extract robust reporting in a way that is meaningful to data consumers (internal managers, regulators, stakeholders, courts, etc.), to demonstrate process transparency and accountability, and to effectively measure results.

Some key functions of Stakeholder Information Management are:

  1. Stakeholder/Rights-holder profile management
  2. Interactions management
  3. Topics and issues management
  4. Tracking and assigning tasks and commitments
  5. Community investments
  6. Complaints and grievances

The benefits of Stakeholder Information Management software during your public consultation initiatives:

Land Component – There can be a land component with SIM, when a property located near a mine, pipeline or airport for example IS the stakeholder. It is important to track communications with the people that have an interest in the property. People may change in this case, but the stakeholder (the property) stays that same. SIM maintains the communication record connected with a property, even when contacts change over time.

Anonymous Contributions – There may be the need for consultations with stakeholders/rights-holders who chose to be anonymous in order to participate, or who just don’t want further contact after an initial consultation. SIM enables you to index communications properly, even when you don’t have a stakeholder name to connect it to.

Complex Relationships – Stakeholders and rights-holders can wear many hats during a consultation, or hold many roles in an organization. For example there might be familial relationships amongst stakeholders/rights-holders that must be accounted for. Or a person might have personal interests in a project in addition to interest held when representing a stakeholder group. SIM tracks relationships between groups that are highly relevant to consultation outcomes, as these relationships can drive the dynamics between communities and affect outcomes.

Reporting – A key SIM feature is robust reporting capabilities. It’s important for software to enable you to report the communication history of a project but also to showcase the transparency of the events that occur. Reports should summarize stakeholder engagement campaigns but also have the ability to go into great detail and be supported by original records such as emails, letters, meeting minutes etc. If misunderstandings occur, the ability to dig into a report to review original messages and interpretations can go a long way towards resolving an issue.

Supplier Expertise – Companies like SustaiNet are immersed in the SIM space and are uniquely positioned to offer industry expertise that may be missing with CRM suppliers. The right vendor can help you benchmark your project consultations against industry best practices, and stay with you for the life of your software subscription.


Find out how our stakeholder management software can help your organization effectively connect and communicate with important audiences across the communities in which you operate. Contact us to find out more about how StakeTracker can make the engagement process easier for your organization and team members.

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