Art of Message
The other business of expertise
“The Business of Expertise” addresses service providers – agencies, consultants, etc. What’s nice is that you can guess the premise of the book from the title and the working definition of expertise is very clearly laid out: “deep and specialized knowledge or skill in a particular field or area.”
Interestingly, by this definition, many product businesses are also expertise businesses.
I once had a consulting client whose SaaS sold for $14,000/month because there was so much expertise around it. It helped people making big bets (8 and 9-figure medical real estate) discover opportunities and vastly reduce long-term risk. And it did this in days, rather than waiting months for consultants to do it.
But the principle holds even when the product falls in, let’s say, the $100-200/month range, like SEMRush, Hubspot, Freshbooks, or DocuSign.
Each of those products was designed and is serviced with expertise. It’s no secret that expertise goes into the design of software.
What’s more of a secret is that expertise adds value as you deliver it; B2B software is:
- a relationship business. It’s active income, not the other way around, and it relies on EQ
- a customer success game – intelligent people enable the customer – teaching the product, of course, but also helping them think strategically.
For example, say a customer success rep at Hubspot teaches a customer with many experts on staff about “segmented thought leadership,” melding marketing automation, personalization, and inbound marketing. They explain not just the technology – but make a business case for why this kind of thought leadership is attractive.
The more expertise you build into B2B software relationships, the better the customer does with the product; in short: expertise can play a big part in the value creation & capture cycle of products.