Are you a Subject Matter Expert (SME)?

I think I am!

Our managing director has a great expression “In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king“. It’s self explanatory I suppose, it’s easy to provide leadership when those around you know less than you do. However, providing ‘insight’ is another game. I think insight comes from actually “doing” something or being a part of something. Once you’ve played the game, you’re able to provide a degree of insight.

There are plenty of folks who seem to label themselves as “experts” when it comes to social media and more recently the “social business”. I don’t claim the title of expert, however we’ve certainly being playing in this space and have learnt some lessons that are of benefit to our clients. If that translates in to saving them time and money because of the insight we’ve gathered, that has to be a positive.

Thought Leader” is another term often used interchangeably with “Subject Matter Expert“. I think they’re a little different though. The first stands out in front and provides leadership on a specific point or subject, the latter is buried in the topic and knows every detail about the topic. The latter could become a thought leader based on their experience and ideas about how to improve the subject matter.

Becoming the “King”!

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the London 2012 Olympics.
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the London 2012 Olympics.

About 12 months ago our Managing Director, Rob McGregor, saw benefit in understanding how prospects and clients wanted to engage with their financial planners. We thought about how best to do this, it seemed we needed to hear it from the mouths of those we were curious about. 

We devised a survey and then invited Australian Financial Planners to send a link from the survey to their clients. We had around 400 people respond to the survey. The responses were gathered and a report prepared. Click Here to download the survey.

Why this approach?

Machiavellian is one word to describe what we did, but there was benefit to many parties along the way.  At the end of the day we’re a business in business to make money. At the moment that money comes from the implementation services we provide for Oracle FUSION CRM and Oracle FUSION Marketing.

Lead generation is key, but having people understand you have the ability to help solve the business problems they have can be a challenge. They first need to understand that you even play in the area of solving their problems. This is helped if they potentially see you as a subject matter expert or perhaps a thought leader in their space.

As an IT consulting company we work with many businesses, most within the Oracle world. Having the backing of Oracle is a good thing, it can bring a feeling of confidence to many people. That helps us pin ourselves as an SME around all things Oracle CRM and perhaps CRM more generally.

We chose to target the Australian Financial Services space. This industry understands CRM and has benefited from it over the past 10+ years. However as a small firm, we needed some way to open the doors.

Hence, the survey. We were able to capture open and honest feedback from their clients about how they want to engage with their financial planners. All businesses love to hear what their clients have to say. We analysed their feedback and responses, tabled a report and then offered that report to companies of all sizes within the Financial Services industry.

The outcome?

So far, it’s been great. We’ve had meetings with numerous companies and members of the Australian Financial Planners Association (FPA). Their response has been favourable and they’re keen to be associated with the report. We’ve also had coverage from industry bloggers and news sources.

In the space of 12 months we’ve gone from an idea to a project that has opened doors for our sales team and provided genuine value to companies about their clients.

What about you?

If you’d like to understand how to achieve what we have, we’re happy to share the process. You can contact me here or at our North Sydney office.

About Derek

Derek has worked in the Sales & Marketing Consulting and CRM industries for over 17 years. He's consulted to companies here and overseas helping them develop processes to support their lead generation, marketing and sales businesses. He sees CRM as an enabler and not a solution by and of itself. Implemented with users in mind and a clear view of defined processes, companies can derive great value from their CRM.

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