If you want to be recognized, be hunted or bill high rates, being a Subject Matter Expert on a hot topic might be the ultimate way to achieve your goals.
With this in mind, Salesforce Marketing Cloud has a very wide range of topics where one can thrive and build a successful career.
Unfortunately, most people in the industry are too busy delivering projects that they never stop to examine how they can showcase their most rare and valuable skills.
By all means, it won’t happen overnight if you want to become a notorious SME in the ecosystem.
You need a plan.
As Salesforce Marketing Cloud professionals, we get to work on a variety of subjects: email marketing, data management, content, Real-Time APIs, Ads, Social Media… and the list goes on indefinitely.
Step 1: Pick a topic you’re obsessed about
Here’s the thing: you may have the temptation to be the first on a new feature. A niche.
Take the case of Salesforce announcement of Salesforce Genie. Along with the new CDP and Personalization Studio, this topic seems hot. You could try and gather some information, make 2 or 3 posts about The Purple Rabbit, and… Voilà!
There’s a catch though: you’ll have to be committed and… lucky! Why? If you want to remain the SME on a new topic, you’ll have to work on related projects. And they will be rare. Also, as it’s a new feature, you’ll just end up commenting on future releases instead of giving real insights.
Here’s a better way to pick a topic:
- Choose a topic you worked on for at least a full year
- Make sure you do not need an external drive to develop skills on that topic
- Make your knowledge unique
For example: you’re a Deliverability Expert for Underwear Retailers. (True story, it’s hard to properly perform an IP warm-up for those brands).
You’ll be then able to expand to Retailers. You can’t be challenged. You bring immediate Value.
Step 2: Learn More
So, you’ve decided that you’ll be the Journey Builder Custom Activity Specialist everybody will be looking for…
You must bulletproof your knowledge now.
- Write down all you know about the subject
- List each area you have doubts about, each weakness
- Search for answers. Everywhere.
And don’t be shy. An expert is recognized by the questions he asks.
If you’re going to be THE SME, then you’re always learning about it.
Step 3: Teach
Did you ever question an instructor’s knowledge?
If you remember only one thing after reading this issue, please pick this one!
First thing to remember, you can’t be a Subject Matter Expert if you don’t teach others.
Teaching will give you:
- Status: as an instructor, you’ll be considered an expert
- Network: your students will follow and support you
- Knowledge: The best way to improve your learning curve is to search for answers to your students’ questions.
- Insights: Interacting regularly with students allows to better understand how the topic is perceived, what are the current main challenges, and what value you could bring.
So, even if you’re a maniac and think you need to learn more, just create a course. Call it MVP if you want. And begin teaching.
Step 4: Leverage Testimonials
People love social proof. And Testimonials are particularly one of the best.
Ask your previous or current clients or students for a testimonial. Here’s how:
- If a student stays and expresses gratitude, ask them to submit a short testimonial in writing or video.
- Formally request a testimonial from students that got to use the knowledge you taught them.
- Someone reaches out on social media or praises you in public. Thank them then ask them if they mind converting that to a full testimonial.
Step 5: Iterate
The main challenge is not to become a Subject Matter Expert. It’s to remain the best in your field.
Repeat Steps 2 to 4 regularly.
See you again next week!
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