23 things to look for in stakeholder software
Planning to invest in stakeholder software? The right software can help you more effectively manage and engage your stakeholders, work as a team, and make the most of limited resources (like time).
So what’s the “right” software?
It all depends on what you need it for.
Every stakeholder management system offers different features – some are more lightweight and best for smaller teams and projects (like Simply Stakeholders), while others are richly featured and designed for bigger projects and organizations, like Darzin.
We’ve listed 23 of the most popular stakeholder software features to help you understand your options, and then decide what you need.
1. Dashboard overview
Your stakeholder software should offer a dashboard view when users log in. This provides a central place to access information at a glance and check performance, outstanding tasks and other issues. Darzin’s dashboard also includes issue trends and charts, grievances that need attention, a recent interactions feed, stakeholder mapping and a calendar with upcoming events. It means your users can get their finger on the pulse within seconds of logging in.
2. Responsive design or app
Stakeholder management doesn’t just happen when your team sits down at their computer. With a mobile app, they can add and update details easily on-the-go, whether out at events, visiting stakeholders or at a meeting. Even better than an app – look for a stakeholder management system with a fully responsive design that automatically adjusts to any screen size. Darzin’s responsive design allows your team to log in as normal, on any device, with all the features ready to use at their fingertips.
3. Contact management
Stakeholder software must be equipped to record contact details, manage them and update them as needed. This stakeholder data will form the basis for nearly all the functions within your stakeholder software, so it’s critical that your team can easily add and update contacts.
4. Custom fields
Every organization, project and stakeholder group is different, and there’s a good chance you’ll need to collect information about your stakeholders beyond the default “name, email, address, phone” fields. Custom fields give you the flexibility you need to record specific data and organize stakeholders to suit your project.
5. All stakeholder interactions recorded
Recording stakeholder contact information is just the start. Beyond that, your stakeholder software should serve as a single source of truth for your team on each individual contact. Recording stakeholder interactions is an essential feature because your team can see what conversations stakeholders have had, any issues they’ve had and more. This avoids data silos – which means you don’t have to repeat yourself with stakeholders, you know what information they have, and you can see what info they’ve already shared. With Darzin, you can record social media interactions, media, emails, meetings, submissions and more.
6. Up-to-date lists for your whole team
With stakeholder software, you can stop worrying about version control (like when you relied on spreadsheets). Your software should be built for easy collaboration so your entire team can access the stakeholder lists they need and easily share and update contact information.
7. Team motivation system
One of the biggest challenges with stakeholder software is getting your team to actually learn it and integrate it into their workflow. Darzin uses an innovative points and skill tracking system to gamify the process and help motivate your team to use the software. Plus, it includes a leader board to help you track how they’re doing and tap into a little friendly competitive spirit within the team.
8. Stakeholder mapping
Built-in stakeholder mapping tools allow you to see the power, influence and interest of your key stakeholders at a glance. That way, you can easily prioritize the stakeholders and issues you need to focus on most.
9. Embeddable forms
Make it easier to collect feedback from your stakeholders when your stakeholder software generates forms you can embed on your website. This means you can make it easier for stakeholder to give you feedback right from your website, while ensuring any new data collected merges with existing data in your system.
10. Task management
Get more done and put your stakeholder management plan into action with built-in task management. In Darzin, you can create tasks and assign them to team members. It’s easy to track tasks until they’re completed and associate tasks with the relevant stakeholders, property, grievance or interaction so all the information and data stays in one place.
11. Email and SMS notifications
Never miss a thing when your stakeholder software includes automatic email notifications. Get updates about important tasks and milestones, plus send SMS reminders to increase event attendance rates.
12. Select your stakeholders on a map
When your stakeholders are geographically bound, you’ll appreciate having stakeholder software that includes map features. In Darzin, you can just click on a location or a property on a map and select them to automatically add them as properties in your database. That way, you can easily set up bulk mail campaigns to reach people in a specific local area or community. And any interactions you have with stakeholders linked to that property will automatically be flagged to that point on the map.
13. Email plugin and integration
So much stakeholder communication happens in email, but the problem with this is emails are hard to track and you can end up with data silos. Keep all the information in one place with an email plugin that integrates with your stakeholder software. That way, everything you said, your stakeholder said and their contact information goes into your software and so your whole team can stay in the loop. The new Darzin email plugin allows you to tick a box to let the system know to save all future emails to and from that stakeholder automatically into Darzin.
14. Email distribution
Need to send bulk emails to a large list of stakeholders? Create and manage your distribution lists, and send an email newsletter it all from within your stakeholder software. That means you don’t have to worry about keeping your stakeholder lists up to date in multiple databases – all the information stays within a single, powerful piece of software. With Darzin you can send group emails from your Outlook account seamlessly. You also have the option of connecting to a third party email distribution platform if you’d like additional tracking and reporting for your email campaigns.
15. Built-in surveys and polls
A huge part of stakeholder management and engagement is collecting feedback and data. While some stakeholder software only offers integration with external tools, Darzin also offers native, built-in survey and polling options. That way, you can keep your system simple and streamlined, with all the data collected attached to the relevant stakeholder contact. Darzin is the only survey system that handles qualitative analysis of open text responses.
16. Qualitative, quantitative and spatial analysis
Don’t just collect data for the sake of it – analyze your data and understand what it means. Look for stakeholder software that offers integrated qualitative, quantitative and spatial data analysis. That way, you can make sense of surveys, polls, location data, trends and origins.
17. Social media integration
So much of your stakeholder management and engagement happens on social media, these days. So look for stakeholder software that integrates your social media feeds, analyses them (using qualitative methods) and includes social media data in your reports. That way, you’ll be able to keep information all your stakeholder interactions in one place (via your software), monitor current issues and trends, and keep your finger on the pulse in case of a social media crisis.
18. Tag clouds for automatic analysis
Tag clouds are a useful feature for stakeholder software because it can pick up on commonly used words in your stakeholder interactions (including emails, surveys and social media). This automatic analysis enables you to track issues and trends so you can respond quickly.
19. Automatic reports
Don’t just stop at analysis – look for stakeholder software that offers a range of reporting features. Darzin offers over 80 different types of reports you can choose from, as well as the option to set up automatic scheduled reporting to selected team members. That way, it’s one less thing on your team’s to-do list.
20. Data import
The best stakeholder software will have a smooth setup process so you can get up and running, and onboard your team as quickly as possible. Data import is essential for adding your existing stakeholder lists and information from your current spreadsheet system or another stakeholder management system.
21. Data export
If you ever want to move on to a different stakeholder management system or extract data to use in another reporting system for example, you’ll want data export. That way, you can easily extract the data you need in a useable format and you’re not locked into your stakeholder software if you decide it’s not right for you.
22. Compliant and secure records
Any time you collect data, you need to make sure your collection and storage methods are secure and compliant. Darzin has these features built-in, ensuring organizations comply with Privacy legislation and GDPR. And with 128 bit SSL, ISO 27001, ASIO T4, DMZ dedicated firewall, and top rated data centers (based in Sydney and the UK), your data is as secure as possible. Plus, our software is designed to ensure your record keeping, reporting and grievance management comply with your obligations.
23. Support and training
Last but not least, look for stakeholder software that comes with training and support. You’ll likely need some initial guidance to get your team onboard and make sure your system is set up so you get the most out of the features. And if something goes wrong, you’ll want a software provider that’s available to help with ongoing support when you need it.
Ready to find the best stakeholder engagement software for your organization?
The only software that ticks all the boxes (and has all the features listed above) is Darzin.
And we’re getting better all the time. We update and add to our features regularly based on user feedback to ensure we remain the best, most powerful stakeholder management software on the market.