Client: How do I choose an expert network?

When identifying an expert network to use, first identify what are your company’s own needs: What timeline are you facing? Are you looking for a broad selection of possible experts, or a concentrated number of hand-selected advisors? What is your budget? Is this a one-time need, or an ongoing business requirement?

Next, consider the expert network options and compare:

  • How easy is it to review their candidates? How do they share expert background information with your team, and how easy is it to navigate?
  • How do they handle upfront payments? Some networks require significant upfront contracts, while others pursue a “pay-as-you-go” option. Both have their place, but its important to make sure that their plans fit your business needs.
  • What are their policies on connecting with experts outside of their network? Many networks will first go to the advisors that they have used in the past – and while this can offer fast responses, it also means the insights you get may not be as unique as you initially hoped. Some networks, like DeepBench, perform a custom search for every project. Any network you engage with should be comfortable letting you know how they approach new projects.
  • What compliance systems do they have in place? Check with your legal counsel to make sure they can check any compliance boxes required by your company. This may mean doing a check to make sure to only speak with former employees, or require some advance background information before moving forward with a call – either way, it’s important to know what information is needed from a compliance perspective.

Finally, see what the network can do before you sign an agreement. Many will provide a trial run for discounted price, while others (like DeepBench) will do a custom search for free to see what they come up with, and only charge when you actually connect with an advisor.