The Government Relations Evolution
Laws and regulations that get passed affect the total revenue of companies in most industries. For some sectors such as banking, it affects more than 50% of their revenue! This means that companies that strategically utilize government relations to successfully influence legislative and regulatory policies have the potential for extremely high growth.
We’ve identified 5 key challenges that the clients utilizing government relations strategies face:
- Traditionally, internal and external government relations have lagged behind other sectors and departments that take advantage of advanced analytics to make informed decisions.
- Internal government relations is reactive to legislative and regulatory changes – meaning they react to changes that negatively affect them rather than proactively working to create changes that would benefit them..
- Organizations often place government relations under the legal, public relations or policy arms of the business. This approach is especially detrimental to larger organizations because the government relations function becomes too separated from the overall business strategy.
- Interacting with the government means relying on a closed-door, tight network of professionals. For an emerging business venture or government relations professional, barriers are significant. As a newcomer, attempting to navigate the constantly-changing political landscape becomes a daunting process.
- On the business side, government relations’ efforts and subsequent results are challenging to quantify. Measuring any growth on a defensive initiative, for example, becomes complex. How do we convey a risk management initiative as a business development priority?
The lobbying sector and culture are ripe for a sea of change. Currently, many companies do not integrate their government relations strategy into their overarching business strategy and do not make use of advanced analytics. Instead, they scramble to fight new policies enacted that will negatively impact them.
We have found that organizations that include government relations into their business strategy create and maintain a significant competitive advantage. For example, of the 1.6 million non-profits in the US, only 4% utilized the help of lobbyists. Those 4% accounted for 45% of total money brought in across the entire non-profit sector.
As more organizations realize the necessity for government affairs in their overall strategy, the lobbying sector will evolve to meet those needs. With the advancement of technology, organizations will be better equipped to set realistic goals and actually achieve them.
By applying data science and analytics to the political process, information on public trends and industry direction can be more accurately determined. Specifically, artificial intelligence will help craft and shephard legislation that will aid in achieving an organization’s goals.
Widely accepted key performance indicators in the lobbying sector will help organizations evaluate the effectiveness of their initiatives. Effective technological tools for government relations will include cross-functional coordination between policy, economics, communications, risk management, product development, and legal departments.
With the progress the lobbying market is making, organizations with advanced government relations strategies will maintain the competitive edge. By being proactive, organizations are set up for success through shaping legislature that creates space for growth rather than reacting to approved bills that will limit them.
New technology is emerging to push the lobbying sector from traditional to modern. Through Retaen, organizations can now easily keep track of any bills in the works that could impact them, and streamline the process of paying and managing lobbyists and the campaigns being implemented. Adopting new technology that can only help put you at the forefront of your industry.
John Clemente is the chief business development officer and president of Echo Ridge, the parent company of Retaen. He’s a graduate of Dartmouth, USD, and RPI, as well as a US Navy veteran.