Zurich, Switzerland

One of the most powerful strategic levers: reducing senior staff involvement

I have observed throughout my career that senior staff is frequently involved way beyond discharging their supervisory duties, or ensuring that activities are properly executed. They are often used to provide repetitive guidance at a very tactical level.

The expertise gap between a company’s core operations and its business development, marketing, and communications functions represents a significant challenge that many organizations face today. This gap stems from the need for specialization in each distinct area of business—a natural evolution as industries become more complex and diversified.

In many sectors, particularly in fields like asset management, this expertise gap manifests conspicuously. For example, traders and risk managers often find themselves pulled away from their primary responsibilities to engage in tasks they deem non-essential, such as crafting marketing materials, responding to requests for proposals, or updating website content. These activities, while crucial for the business’s visibility and client engagement, do not directly align with the specialized skills and knowledge these professionals possess.

The discrepancy arises because these subject matter experts, who excel in their respective fields, are not necessarily trained in marketing or communication strategies. Their involvement in these areas is not just a poor use of their time but can also lead to less effective marketing materials due to the lack of professional marketing expertise. The content may either be too technical for the target audience or may not effectively convey the value proposition of the services or products being offered.

To address this issue, companies must strive to bridge this expertise gap through several strategic initiatives. Firstly, enhancing the proficiency of marketing and business development teams in understanding the core technical aspects of the business is crucial. This doesn’t mean they need to become experts in risk management or asset trading, but they should have a sufficient grasp of the concepts to communicate effectively about them.

Secondly, leveraging technology and improved processes can significantly reduce the burden on technical staff. Automated tools for content creation, customer relationship management systems, and digital marketing platforms can streamline many tasks that would otherwise require manual input from busy technical staff. For example, using AI-driven content generation tools can help in drafting initial versions of marketing materials that only need light revisions from experts, rather than full-fledged writing.

Moreover, incorporating better governance and oversight in these processes is essential. By establishing clear guidelines and workflows for how and when technical experts should contribute to marketing and business development efforts, companies can ensure that these interactions are both efficient and effective. This approach helps in maintaining the quality of the output while freeing up senior staff to focus more on their core responsibilities.

The impact of successfully bridging this expertise gap is multifaceted. Not only does it enable senior technical staff to concentrate on what they do best, leading to higher productivity and potentially greater innovations and improvements in their primary roles, but it also enhances the quality of the business development and marketing efforts. With more knowledgeable and skilled personnel dedicated to these tasks, the company can achieve more coherent and compelling communication strategies, tailored to the nuances of their target markets.

In summary, bridging the expertise gap is not merely a matter of reallocating tasks but involves a fundamental enhancement of the interplay between specialization and interdisciplinary understanding. Through education, technology, and structured processes, companies can optimize their workforce’s capabilities, aligning their efforts across departments to drive overall business growth, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. This strategic alignment not only boosts internal morale by reducing the strain on subject matter experts but also elevates the firm’s position in a competitive market by ensuring that all communications are as professional and impactful as possible.

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