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Calling all biz dev professionals: How to maximize your impact by helping your SMEs maximize theirs

Last Thursday in London, I spoke at the PM Forum, the yearly conference where marketers for professional services firms gather.

The moderator asked this of the audience: "Who feels they're making the full impact they could on their firm?"

More than half the people raised their voting paddle, a wooden stick with yes/no on each side, to say "No."

I was surprised that so many marketers felt they could do so much more to bring the business forward, if only...

That big, fat "if only" was hanging in the air.

We did not have time to get into the reasons why they have so much more impact to make. Let's just accept it as a fact - it came straight from the mouths of those whose job it is to sell the expertise of the firm.

Here is a lesser-known way that marketers can make a big difference on their firm: by helping their experts make a bigger difference themselves with writing that externalizes their best thinking and serves it up as conversation-starters.

Why support your experts in thought-leadership writing?

Not only do the best ideas in your firm lie directly with your subject-matter experts, these people can speak for the firm with authority because they're the ones with deep expertise and constant client contact.

A second reason is that these experts are closest to the pulse of what's new and have deep understanding of client problems.

Finally, many experts in firms feel unseen and unheard. They are often waiting for the chance to contribute to the conversation but have not been given a pathway to do this or feel their ideas are unwanted.

Imagine if you made space for these experts to improve their thinking and writing, and you as the marketer got a steady stream of interesting new ideas with which to engage clients?

In my view, that's a new and potentially big way for marketers to have a greater impact.

And, along the way, it feels good for the marketer because you're helping experts grow, develop and find ways to be seen and heard.

It's a win-win-win: For you as the business development professional, for the expert and for the firm.

Want to know more?

The Institute for Thought Leadership helps you scale up thought- leadership writing and turn your experts into innovators.

-Rhea Wessel is the Founder and Head of the Institute for Thought Leadership. She can be reached at

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