What Is a Subject Matter Expert (And Why Do You Need One)

What Is a Subject Matter Expert (And Why Do You Need One)

People start businesses because they have a skill and passion for a certain industry. They later find out that business requires a level of expertise outside their scope of knowledge.

When you run into this situation, it’s time to hire a subject matter expert.

Known as an SME, subject matter experts lend their adeptness to all lines of work. When you’re a small business owner, you must know how to meet ever-changing customer needs.

Someone with this type of business prowess at your disposal strengthens customer relations. As the market fluctuates, you need competent talent on board giving proper direction.

If you need someone to help you create and develop first-class content, read this. Here’s what a subject matter expert is and what they do.

Subject Matter Expert Defined

An SME is a person with expert-level knowledge and skill for a particular job or topic. They’re employed by businesses large and small to educate, train, and guide.

In fact, some of the best content marketing agencies recommend one for superior marketing purposes.

SMEs hone their skillset over time. They immerse themselves in a specific field or topic — technology, marketing, or hospitality. The majority of them have professional credentials.

They’ve either matriculated through college and earned multiple degrees, or they’ve worked for long periods in a field, garnering expertise over time. An SME’s mastery portfolio includes professional references, published books, and articles.

They also pursue continuing education to stay up-to-date with modern developments.

Why You Need an SME

SMEs cover a lot of ground in business. They step in and handle key responsibilities where skilled labor fails.

  • The SMEs’ Role in Training and Development 

In order to determine whether you need an expert, you must do an overall training analysis. This is where senior reps uncover skill and knowledge gaps within the business.

An SME comes into focus once the business identifies training and development objectives. They then collaborate with team members on an instructional level.

  • For example: 

You open a restaurant, and six months down the line, you recognize opportunities for failure. Most of these opportunities stem from novice decision-making. To make a course correction, you hire an expert.

The SME in this field would be an expert restaurateur. They would have credentials in restaurant revenue management and service operations. Not to mention, expert qualifications in hospitality and food and beverage management.

The contracted SME then lends their experience for training while guiding the process as well. From the chef down to the server, skill gaps close and quality enhances.

More Advantages of Hiring an SME

Consultants are the usual go-to for business enhancements concerns. But there are times when you need to employ temporary expertise.

Because SMEs are flexible, they can lend their services without interfering with the consultant’s role.

SMEs help businesses make faster decisions because they’re offering expert advice. They understand the field and can offer up best practices advice in the flow of business.

If you have a project that’s moving behind speed, an SME can offer analytical horsepower. They join forces with your in-house team to help shave off weeks of development time.

Hire an SME 

A subject matter expert helps your business develop and grow its weak areas. Whether it’s brand content, process management, or technology, SMEs simplify the struggle.

Take an overview of the fleeting areas in your company, then hire an expert to get the job done.