Expert Networks – Do They Really Deliver Specialized Expertise?
What does it take for expert networks to bill $600 – $1000 an hour for their independent business strategists and consultants? An MBA from a top school? Academic knowledge in specific science fields? Years of experience in investment banking and consulting experience? How about a decade of experience in a super niche industry?
The truth is that leading research firms and expert networks hire a newly minted undergraduate from college with little expertise other than knowing how to use a database similar to Google. The associate gets an assignment and tries to fill the research request with a “fit.” Sometimes they get lucky quickly. Sometimes the associate needs to get very creative.
Here is the rub:
More often than not, the associates contact the experts without truly doing any form of deep-dive questioning. The so-called experts often know how to answer the questions just right because they want to get the job! It is up to the client to read between the lines with regards to the subject selection, assuming the associate has done a good job vetting candidates.
When seeking an expert network, you need to make sure that the firm you work with is working with your plan. They craft a personalized offering. The firm also has a force-multiplier approach to getting you the very best research: access to primary and secondary sources, experts, focus groups and surveys, or analytical research studies.
How do expert networks work?
Expert networks offer various models to engage with different clients from the financial services industry to management consulting firms. Their services can range from phone consultations, research surveys, training sessions, and long-term strategic projects.
Usually, companies will give you 3 to 5 experts to speak to you. Then you have to decide based on their personal experience, what direction to take. These are often lopsided opinions that don’t give you the complete picture or answer your questions.
Who is the perfect expert?
It is important to know the level of experience you are looking for. Do not blindly accept the opinions given to you by the network associates, even if they come from a widely recognized knowledge network. Make sure you ask a unique qualifying question that distinguishes the duds from the diamonds. Also, remember that experts in knowledge networks cannot give you insider information. They do need to walk a fine line. So be mindful of what you ask.
Ask yourself this question: Do knowledge networks truly bring the expertise your organization needs?
Individual experiences alone can be costly to a firm. Yet, the responses are often inconclusive and unreliable. Approaching knowledge expertise using a research platform approach can reduce variability and cut excess expenses. The best part: the cost to find the answers is also much lower.
To learn more about the HyerTek Research Platform, go to