In the divided world of sales and product expertise, the salesperson typically chats with a customer about a product or service with canned catchphrases and relatable industry jargon while the Subject Matter Expert (SME) cavorts with the C-suite and product engineers. One is on the front lines communicating the information, while the other is in the office creating and disseminating information. And the customer or client, whom they are both intentionally serving, its receiving information from different angles and degrees. Line managers in market-facing roles need a way in which to curate, if you will, a relationship between a salesperson and a SME in order to best serve their clientele with up-to-date information as well as professional relationships.
Customers nowadays, in this hyper-information age, will have typically researched a product or service online before even making contact with a salesperson. They will have read both product specifications and reviews and be well-prepared and informed well before engaging with the company or organization itself. Therefore, the roles of the salesperson and the SME are becoming, at best, more symbiotic and co-dependent. There are two components where can play a part in the sales cycle:
It is important to find the sweet spot amongst the salesperson, SME, and the desires of the customer or client as the overlap and cooperation are critical in determining how to best serve client and customer needs. In the digital social media age where the customer basically defines the brand, it is important to have both the information and sales relationship fully and healthily intact. When SMEs and salespeople work with customers together, in a shared sales process, a skilled consultative salesperson and the SME create powerful sales teams. The cost-benefit analysis of on-the-ground, in-the-trenches salespeople combined with the expertise and support of SME personnel prove to be positive for both the organization and the customer.