All related (35)
Alina Fu
Director, MicrosoftNovember 30

I take a relationship-based approach when I think about stakeholder management. I prefer to tailor my style to the individual, so it doesn’t matter as much which department but what type of personality they have and their communication preferences. For instance, a leader in department X may prefer pre-reads days in advance and then a discussion over feedback while a stakeholder in department Y prefers video conferences to spitball ideas in real time. At the end of the day, the goal is to foster a productive relationship with an enthusiastic stakeholder who will be a thought partner and collaborator.

A wise mentor once shared with me the rule of 3, especially if the stakeholder management is for someone on the senior leadership team.

  1. If the topic is something I’m willing to go to battle over, I will push until I hear a firm “no”.
  2. If I’m convicted but not all in, I would try 3 times before I accept that “it’s not going to happen”.
  3. If I feel indifferent either way, I would want the person driving the project to make the decision. I can share my thoughts but I want to empower them to own the call.
Stacey Wang
Director of Product Marketing, IroncladJune 29

To the extent different teams have different cultures, I will tailor my approach, but for the most part I manage stakeholders according to their individual personalities rather than what team they're a part of. Some folks are more transactional; others are more relationship-driven. No matter the individual, I always start with empathy: understanding the person behind the ask, and what they need to be successful. 

Natalie Louie
Head of Product Marketing, Reejig | Formerly MobileCoin, Zuora, Hired, Oracle, ResponsysMay 5

Yes, I always do.  

Treat each stakeholder like one of your “personas”. Understand their role, what their pain points are, what their goals are, what words they use and what’s important to them. Do a 1:1 with them, get to know them, their OKRs, interview them and find out how you can help them and work with them. Once you have a clear idea on how to deliver value to them, incorporate that into how you work with them, message them and position your work to them. You already do this as a PMM for customers and prospects, so applying this same tactic to internal stakeholders works just as well.

I even apply my PMM ability to speak to and treat personas differently in my personal life, with my kids, family and friends -- it really brings alignment across the board! I find our PMM skills in this area are a best practice for approaching life :)

Find your champion in each team and build a relationship with them. They can be your go-to person when you need advice on how to work with their team, you can bounce your ideas on them first to get early feedback and they can help socialize any of your ideas or strategies within their team. I find during this process, I end up refining my thinking, strategies and ideas too, so it’s win-win.

Test your ideas on stakeholders in each group and socialize early. The longer someone is exposed to an idea, certain words and strategies -- the more time they’ve had to process it and start weaving it into their thoughts and initiatives. Eventually, they will start taking ownership of those ideas too. You have to be patient, the bigger the idea, the longer it will take to be adopted. When I was at Oracle, a few of us had a novel idea and strategy and I socialized it across stakeholders in groups across the years...I never gave up. It was finally brought to market 3 years later. If you truly know your idea is a good one and have done your research as a SME (subject matter expert), then be patient and consistent and you will get there. On the other spectrum, there are of course ideas that can be socialized and have buy-in within a few days/weeks as well.

Use storytelling and examples for context and back everything up with data -- use customer data, market data, OKRs, MBOs, KPIs, industry benchmarks, customers stories, quotes, etc… When you can have data driven stories with stakeholders, tailored to them, you are validating your thoughts while using storytelling to give context and relevance, while making your ideas stick. People remember stories that are put in context, they don’t remember a list of facts.

April Rassa
Product Marketing, Cohere | Formerly Adobe, Box, GoogleJanuary 18

Yes! When approaching stakeholder management, it's key to accurately identify who your stakeholders are to cultivate and nurture strong relationships successfully. You'll want to fully understand the unique points of view and needs of your stakeholders. Like any solid relationship, it requires ongoing strategic engagement and effort.

You’ll need to determine the best way to involve and communicate with each of your stakeholders to earn their buy-in and support. One way to do this is to create a stakeholder profile that asks three questions: What motivates them? How does this project align with their priorities? Do they have a negative view of the project? Once you have a clear idea of who your stakeholders are and what each one needs, the next step is to develop a communication strategy to guide engagement throughout the process.