A B2B client came to me with the problem that lead generation had slowed over the past two years. They were lead to believe this was because they are writing content for their peers, not their clients.
They dedicated a lot of time and effort into market research to determine who their clients are and what influences their audience to partner with them.
Reviewing the market research feedback, we were able to see the most important factors in choosing an agency (aside from price) are:
- Confidence in ability
- Industry reputation
So, I asked myself (and Google)… “how do we identify experts?” And “what builds confidence in a person?”
I came across an article in Psychology Today from September 2018, that references papers such as Crispen & Hoffman, 2016, and Shanteau, 2015, and suggestions by Danny Kahneman and Robert Hoffman.
I’m sure you can think of at least one person right now that was highly recommended and ended up being a complete flop.
While there are no absolutes, there are soft criteria we can pay attention to that will give us the upper hand.
How to Determine If Someone is an Expert
Does this person (or company) have a measurable track record of making good decisions? Look for a large sample as it is possible to do very well just by luck.
Keep in mind that, “a watch that is consistently one hour slow will be highly reliable but completely inaccurate.”
Do others in their field respect them?
Just because someone is the loudest or has 30k YouTube followers doesn’t mean they are an expert and trustworthy.
Tread cautiously as peer respect can be manipulated by a person’s confidence and articulation.
Consider the number of years performing the task because they will have likely been exposed to a wider set of circumstances.
There are many marketing companies I know that combine top level manager experience to say the company has 50 years experience.
It’s a bit of a dodgy indicator. As some 10-year experts have been repeating the same strategies and have not sought out to expand their skillset.
When I ask “What was the last mistake you made?” a credible expert will be able describe a recent blunder because it has been eating at them.
In contrast, someone posing as an expert, will typically say they can’t think of any or make a joke to defer the statement as folly.
I was curious and posed this question to the largest SEO Group on Facebook, at publication they have 52,000 members.
“What was the last mistake you made?”
Of the respondents:
- 71% made a joke implying they have never made a mistake.
- 12% made a bad hiring decision involving believing the hype of an “expert.”
- Only 9% provided an example of a mistake they had made in the past year.
This is my favorite indicator as it holds to be the most true. Tacit knowledge involves: perceptual skills, pattern recognition, anticipation and mental models.
This is easier said than found as some experts may be less articulate because tacit knowledge is by definition hard to articulate.
According to Statista, there were 13,740 advertising agencies in the United States in 2017. We were able to determine the most important criteria in choosing an agency (aside from price) are:
- Confidence in ability
To increase lead generation and conversion rates as a B2B agency you must position your company as an expert in the field.
Focus on creating thought leadership articles to increase your industry reputation. By doing so you will showcase your expertise and increase quality lead generation.