Go-to-Market with an Effective Stakeholder Engagement Strategy
The race to innovate and introduce cutting-edge solutions is often top of mind for tech companies. The technology sector has resiliently weathered the pandemic, yet, analysts predict that the industry will continue grappling with economic and regulatory issues moving forward, applying more pressure on enterprises to compete.
Over recent years, we’ve witnessed inventive ideas come to life. From mixed reality to biometric to smart home devices, consumers are able to participate in unique product experiences supported by heavily funded initiatives, such as Microsoft’s $10Bn partnership with OpenAI or Qualcomm’s $100M Snapdragon Metaverse Fund. However, funding doesn’t guarantee the success of a product, and the reality is that even some of the most hyped products are not always well-received by average consumers, civil society groups or policy makers. Truthfully, some companies are more focused on taking shortcuts around product developmental issues in order to be first-to-market rather than respecting the go-to-market (GTM) process and addressing key issues at the forefront.
From Big Tech to startups, tech companies have their own definitions of success measured by key performance indicators. Today, the common denominator across the industry is to launch a product that resonates with consumers and is widely adopted. Easier said than done.
Fortunately, effective planning that includes stakeholder engagement strategies can help ensure a product launch meets, if not exceeds, business metrics. Given how much time, money and resources that today’s tech companies allocate towards inventive projects, consider investing energy into the following engagement tactics to help mitigate shortfalls in your company’s next GTM plan:
- Select your roster carefully. Your starting point should begin with identifying and understanding your target stakeholders and their priorities. Leverage company resources, professional and personal networks, and social media monitoring tools to properly identify both internal and external stakeholders.
- Secure the proper resources. Ensure that internal resources are available to sufficiently facilitate both short- and long-term stakeholder engagements. A multinational company that is targeting global markets should confirm that internal resource capacity is available locally and abroad; there is internal alignment on engagement strategy and goals across all operating teams; and communication plans are tailored towards specific stakeholder audiences and have received internal approval before dispatch. Importantly, external consultants and contractors can provide the additional support needed to achieve engagement goals. While local, smaller-scale enterprises may not have the same concerns of strategic coordination across borders, operating under an engagement plan that has the means to execute is an imperative to any organization’s product launch initiative.
- Commit to proactive outreach and relationship management. Prioritize stakeholder outreach early and throughout your entire project development timeline to help ensure that your team is equipped with the counsel it needs to navigate potentially challenging technical, legal or policy issues. Determine a cadence that works best for your stakeholder and team to discuss project developments and goals. It’s crucial to establish clear expectations with your stakeholders early in the relationship, so that both parties understand their roles and purpose. Above all, ensure that your stakeholder relationships are grounded in trust, transparency and respect.
- Diversify engagement to improve impact. The value of stakeholder feedback cannot be overstated. Insight and recommendations from subject matter experts, policy influencers and community advocates can help align your project goals with regulatory and social expectations. Consider a multi-pronged approach, one that enables as many opportunities to engage with stakeholders as possible. For instance:
- sharing weekly development updates with stakeholders invites more active feedback loops;
- private, one-on-one briefings with stakeholders to discuss specialized subject topics highlights stakeholder value to your success; and
- organizing an advisory council of stakeholders to help your product teams identify project blind spots can signal your brand’s commitment to designing an inclusive and well-rounded product.
Embedding and entrusting stakeholders with your vision and project goals can help secure more buy-in internally and externally and increase the impact of your product.
Stakeholders can be an invaluable resource that informs and helps validate your GTM strategy. Investing time in an engagement plan that recognizes the right stakeholders, secures the proper resources, prioritizes relationship management, and diversifies efforts to maximize impact all supports a sound and effective stakeholder strategy. As you prepare your next GTM strategy, ask yourself: is it better to be first in the market, or is it better to be the best in the market?