Subject matter experts (SMEs) are individuals in your organization that have special in-depth knowledge. They are the go-to people marketing departments and development teams rely on to provide background information as well as technical analysis to gain better understanding of customer needs while providing predictive insights into demand.
SMEs can be business educators, researchers, engineers, librarians, and subject analysts of all kinds. SMEs are good communicators, who remain patient under fire and possess the background, experience, and willingness to educate and engage.
SMEs give product related content inherent authenticity and credibility that builds a foundation for relevant, engaging enterprise. SMEs are people who understand research and keep on top of the latest trends. They can best help guide the sales process while also driving growth in top performing companies. Forbes identified SMEs in their list of Top 10 Business Trends That Will Drive Success In 2017.
Forbes contributor Ian Altman, identifies 3 key buyer personas to be aware of:
- Order taker
- Subject matter expert (SME)
“The order taker merely takes an order, and provides a price and delivery schedule. That function can be easily performed by Amazon (often with better results). Of the remaining two personas, which one would you want to encounter as a customer? Would you want the person with a mission to sell something to you, or the expert who you might be willing to pay to meet with because of their in-depth expertise?” – – Ian Altman
Businesses can hire new salespeople right out of college, SMEs are not as easy to find or hire. It is recommended that businesses maintain a contact list of consultant SMEs who could play a larger role in growing revenue. Further according to Forbes, “the best organizations offer integrity-based training that builds into a knowledge management (KM) culture.”
This kind of culture will organically empower SMEs as keys to growth. In short, SMEs won’t tolerate wasting time pursuing opportunities that aren’t likely to succeed. Have you found your subject matter expert?