Your guide to the expertise economy

We live in an information society, where a lot of information is just a click away. Everything Google, LinkedIn or XING do not readily find for you is typically a phone call away. But what if you don’t have the relevant contact network of experts for your primary research? Then you make use of expert networking platforms. This is a 20 years young industry brokering between information seekers (clients) and subject matter experts (advisors). In this post, I am introducing the top 4 platforms along with my experience using them.

The number one – Gerson Lehrman Group (“GLG”)

GLG are the leading and most established information company. Founded in 1998, they have more than 400,000 advisors for one-on-one learning and more than 1,400 client companies. GLG is headquartered in New York with 22 offices globally and 1,000 employees. At GLG, advisors are called “council members”. As a council member, I had so far a couple of consultations with big game consultancies about chemical industry topics (e.g. feedstocks, pricing, supply chain). Compensation is usually 300$ per hour of phone consulting (with billing per minute) and their website is very convenient and easy to use.

The runner up – Guidepoint

Guidepoint launched in 2003 and currently have offices in New York (HQ), London, Düsseldorf, Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong. In 2009, Guidepoint acquired Vista Research from Standard & Poor’s. In the same year, Innosquared GmbH was founded in Düsseldorf, Germany, with a focus on the European primary research market. This February, Guidepount also acquired Innosquared GmbH. There are about 500 current clients and 50,000 experts available in Guidepoint’s global network. I signed up as an advisor with both Innosquared and Guidepoint, but had not have any enquiries so far. Currently conducting a niche market study, I have sent a web enquiry which was answered within minutes by a very helpful Senior Vice President from the Düsseldorf office. Guidepoint typically sell subscriptions of 10-20 hours consulting to their clients, which requires a budget of about 10,000 – 20,000 €. That is about 1,000 € per hour in total and probably some 200-400 € paid to the subject matter expert. For my purposes as a start-up consultancy, this was cost prohibitive. But the good service of my Guidepoint contact did not stop there. He even recommended my to have a look at another company, 10EQS.

The crowd-(information)-sourcing platform – 10 EQS

10EQS (pronounced “Ten X”) was founded in 2011 by Eberhard von Löhneysen. Offices are located in New York, Lugano (Switzerland) and Singapore. While 10EQS also has a client (“get a job done”) and advisor (“start to work”) side, the work model is different and not one-on-one. Advisors can choose between three roles, “experts”, “collaboration managers” and “business analysts”. I have just signed up today and I am curious to also explore this platform from both the client and advisor side.

The web search engine – Zintro

“ A Google search returns web-sites and content. A LinkedIn search returns peoples’ profiles. A Zintro search returns private responses from subject matter experts ready to help address your business or technical needs.”

Zintro‘s webpage looks like a web search engine. The Waltham, MA/USA based company says it has more than 100,000 experts registered and about 20,000 clients. I have signed on both as expert and client. As expert, I get about 2-3 enquiry emails per day, but no matter how I tweak my profile, I have not yet received a truly relevant and interesting enquiry. As a client, I have created an enquiry and quickly had one relevant and knowledgeable expert replying (and no other reply till today). I also got an email from Zintro’s “Expertise Agent”” to help me with my enquiry. I will talk with them in the next few days. While I like the convenience of the search engine approach, I think that quality-in means quality-out. I am not yet convinced of the Zintro approach…

If you like this post (and/or my other posts), please share it, comment on it and talk back to me!

I would love helping you with sales acceleration, sales process excellence and social selling as well as my expertise on titanium dioxide pigments, custom colour masterbatch, carbon black, recycled carbon black, devulcanised rubber polymers, import/export trade statistics and many more.

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