Positioning Your SMEs to Succeed in an Ever-Changing Business Environment

With so many changes to life in general these days, it’s no surprise that businesses have had to reinvent themselves—especially when it comes to keeping their brand, messaging, products and business initiatives top of mind.

I started to think through all the different people that make these things happen seamlessly, whether in or outside of the office. It really comes down to a company’s subject matter experts (SMEs). You know, the folks that understand and know a company’s products or services inside and out. The folks who have given countless hours to learn all the features and benefits of any given product or service. Those folks who you call when you have questions or need knowledge, insight and/or expertise in a specific area, skill or subject for a project. The folks that live and breathe a company’s mission, vision and culture each day—basically, your go-to resource.

An SME could really be any one of us involved in the day-to-day operations of a business, one who is able to provide the knowledge and expertise in a specific discipline. An SME is eager to share their knowledge and the passion they have for their specific area of expertise and understands the target audience they are trying to reach.

The question is how do we continue to position ourselves as SMEs to succeed in an ever-changing business environment?

As we move to a more virtual world to conduct business—think Zoom meetings, Microsoft Teams, virtual trade shows, presentations, interviews or a simple conference call—an SME’s role is more important than ever to help showcase knowledge and solutions to ultimately drive business.

Below are a few tips to make sure you are at the top of your SME game.

1. Do your research. Know your audience and understand what information is critical to help them make an informed decision.

2. Understand your role. What piece of the puzzle do you hold? How can you impact the story, meeting or presentation in a positive way?

3. Own the conversation. Focus on the facts, features and/or benefits of a product, service or solution.

4. Develop key talking points. Practice what you are going to say. Consistency is key.

5. Provide statistical and/or industry data. Showcase proof points to validate your product, service or solution offering.

6. Be resourceful. Provide visuals or additional links to content where your target audience can learn more. Follow up as needed.

7. Be professional. Since most meetings/calls are being done remotely in a virtual environment, make sure you are putting your best self forward. Are you dressed in professional attire? Is your “home office” space clean and organized?

8. Be authentic. You are an SME because you work hard and excel in a specific area or skill. Showcase your knowledge and yourself in a genuine way.

9. Continue to learn. Knowledge is power. Test your skills and expertise to continue to grow and evolve as an SME. Challenge yourself daily.

10. Don’t settle. Surround yourself with a team that believes in you. Push yourself to be the best within your industry or discipline, and continue to make a difference.

Want to learn more about how to stay on top of your SME game? Talk to your akhia communications team member to learn more about our SME media training services, or contact Kelly McGrath at kelly.mcgrath@akhia.com.