Moravia’s recent webinar Global Staffing: Finding and Managing In-country SMEs explained what Subject Matter Experts are, what they provide to global businesses, and, specifically, the role external SMEs play in meeting translation and localization standards for diverse industries working in foreign markets.
Bringing Expertise in Industry & Locale
While SMEs can be internal resources, more often than not they are external resources who are working on your behalf in your target local market. They have industry expertise, yes, but with the knowledge of local customs, buyer behavior, and government regulations. Their goals are twofold:
- One, SMEs provide very industry-specific knowledge as it relates to your target locale. One of our clients, for example, delivers services in more than 50 countries around the world. They needed SMEs who could work in conjunction with their managers and engineers on all aspects of the company’s local language site. The SMEs were responsible for figuring out what’s hot and what’s not about this industry in this locale and giving local flavoring.
- Two, SMEs provide very locale-specific knowledge as it relates to your industry. We recently had a U.S. client that was entering foreign markets for the very first time. They needed SMEs who could help them vet their go-to-market plans — to talk with actual consumers in the target markets to gain their feedback on the company’s plans and strategies.
Let’s think about this in terms of a SWOT analysis: SMEs can help your business understand internal strengths and weaknesses in relation to target locales so that you can capitalize on your business’s opportunities there while mitigating the typical business threats of entering foreign markets.
Bringing Value to International Business Strategy
There are important points to make on how SMEs relate to your core business as well as the international product and deployment strategies for your products and services.
The simplest model for the go-to-market process is this:
- You analyze the potential of new markets.
- You gain intelligence on these new markets.
- You expand into target markets.
SMEs will help your business at each step along the way.
- In which markets could your business have a competitive advantage?
- Where would regulatory frameworks be favorable to your business?
- What roadblocks or deal breakers make certain markets a no-go?
- Where could we generate market interest for our new/revolutionary/innovative product?
- What are local buyers saying online or in their communities about our product and industry?
- What is our revenue opportunity in this market?
- What are the local regulations that could significantly affect our business?
- How can we effectively get our business into this market?
- How can we best source in-country teams to represent our business in this market?
- How do we gather, analyze, and capitalize on the data of our local buyers?
- How do we monitor the shifting landscape of local consumer behavior, market competitors, trends, and regulations that could challenge our business?
Entering into foreign markets can demand a very significant investment. It’s very easy to overspend on corporate infrastructure, and, yes, you ultimately want to have the local expertise, say, in labor law. But you want to make sure that you are not wasting your company’s time and money, especially not on things that do not deliver ROI on your international product and service plans.
SMEs are a smart investment strategy for understanding target markets, crafting market strategies, and keeping your business’s eyes and ears on the means and ways of local market success.
Want to hear more? Click below for the full recording of Global Staffing: Finding and Managing In-country SMEs.