Customers, staff, the board, suppliers, influencers, government, councillors, the public, shareholders, owners, managers. All are stakeholders, all need to be managed by you and your company. But they don’t all require the same service or input, which is why we have HR tools, CRMs – Customer Relationship Management – and SRMs – Stakeholder Relationship Management.
What’s the difference?
Customers, or service users, have a distinct set of needs that you seek to satisfy – and your CRM manages this process from start to finish. Staff, similarly, enter into a specific contract with the company and both sides have expectations of what’s required.
In the comms industry, ‘stakeholders’ covers those external to the business who can influence and affect your activity or strategic ambitions. Influence of this kind can come from a particular position or interest, for example, an MP or local councillor may sit on a committee that can influence the policy underpinning the success of your project.
It can also include support from specific community groups or a charity sector that is essential to create momentum behind a key ambition for change.
It is the link between a stakeholder’s influence and your objectives that makes stakeholder management unique. The landscape never stays still; with a new day, issues can come and go, bringing new stakeholders to the fore and making others redundant, which creates new opportunities for engagement.
The distinctions between customers and other stakeholders are clear, yet many organisations continue to use CRM software to manage their stakeholder relationships. This can create a loss of momentum and, ultimately, a loss of quality ‘memory’ that could support your evolving strategy for many years to come.
SRM software, on the other hand, is designed to focus on the influence an individual or organisation has on your objectives, supporting your chosen method of stakeholder modelling and evolving with your engagement activities.
SRM vs CRM
- CRM is often implemented to provide automation and transparency around key commercial and service driven processes, such as sales pipelines, managing service agreements and linking to finance departments
- SRM is a communications tool at a heart, supporting targeted relationship management including viewing a single stakeholder in multiple ways, depending on the project or issue
- CRM often has a concluding objective: a sale, renewal or delivering a service
- SRM tends not to conclude because managing reputation with stakeholders is continuous, evolving with your organisation
- CRM has a strict activity type, one organisation to one organisation, even when there may be different personnel points in the process the customer is viewed as one.
- SRM can view stakeholders as a group, such as an alliance or committee. One individual can be considered to have several ‘hats’, thus seen as a stakeholder for many different scenarios.
Ready for a market-leading SRM? Find out more about Vuelio.