Why Hiring a Subject Matter Expert Can Be a Huge Boost For Growth
They’ve been called by different names. At times, they’ve been Inside Sales Engineers, Sales Support Specialists and other job titles. Now though, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) fit a wide variety of positions, and they may be just the help you’re looking for.
Small and mid-sized businesses are beginning to understand and are finding good use for these increasingly invaluable professionals with a wide range of talents and skills.
The Value Of Unique Expertise
SMEs have a deep understanding of a particular product, technology or field. They develop their unique expertise after a long time learning the details and performance of a product or subject area.
A SME may have been there at the origin of the product. They could have managed the project that designed and produced it. They may have even participated in its market testing. In essence, they know almost every specification, application and capability of a product, and they know the history of customer complaints and service solutions.
One of these experts earns their reputation by delivering speeches about the topic, writing articles on it, publishing books on it, or even teaching courses on it.
Bringing New Business
The most valuable SMEs do more than just have specific knowledge that makes them valuiable to an organization. They bring in new business.
Time is a precious and scarce resource for startups. Founders usually don’t have enough time for strategic marketing while they’re at work on daily administrative tasks and decisions. If you don’t have the luxury to learn sophisticated digital marketing tactics right now, you need a subject matter expert.
Such expertise is vital to business growth. Freelance, contract or new hire, your SME brings proven talent and credible credentials to an expanding space in your organizational structure.
Among the talents they bring is knowledge of your prospect base. The SME should know who and where leads are, and how you can best approach them. They are smart enough to know that customers and their needs change daily, so they can meet them ahead of their need, not waiting to work in a responsive mode.
Results come with the package. Your SME may have key strengths in finances, operations or IT, but their job is to deliver on goals with real-time metrics. If the SME is worth the money, you’ll see growth through new business and salvaged business. The SME is expected to hit the road running from the start.
Independence is a hallmark. They tend to be self-possessed and independent workers who don’t always give up automated or legacy systems. For example, they appreciate the advantages of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and have a knack for discerning trends in the data. They can see over fences and around corners for things needing resolution before they happen.
Their time and expertise are valuable when you need sophisticated solutions to complicated problems. For instance, a bank might call on its SME to investigate and correct an accounting practice. Lawyers may call on SMEs as expert witnesses in trials. Engineers may need SME input on materials and technology. You’ll find them in fields where expert and current specialization is important to everyday performance.
SME As CGO
Some SMEs are also known as Chief Growth Officers. They look at the product-customer relationship and see it as the nexus of marketing, sales, production and finance.
They can tell a customer, “We appreciate your business, but before you re-order, we think you would do better with our Model 944 because you’ll need its flexibility when you launch your 2018 product line.”
Or, they might say, “Our analysis of your loyalty shows we can reduce your cost by 5% if you order before September.”
But, they’re also positioned to tell the customer, “You may be correct, but that is not in our interest right now.”
They could also say “In your best interest, we think you would do better with XYZ Competitor.”
A well-placed SME helps a competitive business embrace the agility, flexibility and responsiveness of the startup world. By putting someone in the key position of making growth happen, your business places accountability where it can make a real difference.
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