proSapient is an expert network coupling clients looking for industry or company-specific advice with subject matter experts. By using advanced technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning, proSapient claims to be able to locate the best experts in any type of industry. Or maybe they’ve just hired a bunch of associates scouring LinkedIn for people willing to participate in calls? We’ve taken a critical look at ProSapient to find out what it’s all about.
Sophie – Our Expert Network Specialist: Sophie is from Hamburg, Germany and is our specialist on Expert Networks. After several years of working as a top executive, Sophie is now an independent consultant and is signed up as a council member of several networks. When she is not helping HuginX write Expert Network reviews, she can often be found enjoying thrilling Nordic noir crime series.
“Leverage insights from the smartest people around the world and make great decisions. Whether you need to speak to five experts or five hundred, our platform helps you scale your projects without the stress.” proSapient
How do Expert Networks operate?
New to expert networks? Here is a quick guide to 10 key steps networks take when matching experts with clients for ad-hoc phone consultations.
What is proSapient?
If you have ever received a request from a network like proSapient offering hundreds of dollars for an hour of your expertise in a call with their clients, you may have been sceptical. However, professional networks are in high demand and pay generously for valuable industry knowledge. Joining the proSapient network could be the key to earning extra income with a minimal time commitment.
Expert networks like proSapient act as middlemen and earn money by leveraging your subject matter expertise to connect businesses with consultants working on an ad-hoc basis. The format is usually a one-hour conference call. Companies engage consultants because a single critical decision can cost millions of dollars, and a few thousand dollars in consulting fees is a small price to pay compared to the cost of making a mistake.
Just like several other players in the expert network industry such as Xperiti and NewtonX, proSapient claims to be using the latest in AI technology to match projects with the best experts. By crawling publicly available sources, their smart algorithms will apparently find the best subject matter experts.
What type of data will I be asked to share?
Expert Networks are in the business of harvesting your knowledge and expertise, so it’s important to understand the type of personal data you will be asked to share. Here is an overview of some of the data proSapient will collect, store and potentially share with clients:
- Identity Data and Contact Data: You would provide this information when you sign up to join proSapient expert network or when you communicate with them via email or phone.
- Profile Data: proSapient may collect this information from your LinkedIn profile or from information that you provide directly to them through their processes.
- Financial Data: proSapient would collect this information if they need to pay you for your services.
- Survey Data: If you participate in a survey, proSapient would collect any personal data that you provide during the survey. If they do not anonymize the data, they would ask for your explicit consent beforehand.
- Interaction Data: proSapient would collect any personal data processed during calls, written work, messaging, transcripts, recordings, or feedback that are conducted between Clients and Industry Experts on their platforms.
One of the key selling points of proSapient is to offer your conversation cleanly transcribed as part of a library which their clients can access on an ongoing basis. This is not necessarily a bad thing for the experts, but I think it’s important to be aware of it. Especially if you are sharing information that could be potentially sensitive. It’s important to remember that the entire conversation could be shared by a potentially large audience (and not just the person you are talking to on the phone).
Will I remain anonymous as an expert?
What will information can I share?
Compliance is a big thing when participating in expert calls. One of the key reasons why PE companies and consultancies don’t just source their own experts is to avoid compliance issues related to sharing confidential or non-public information. By using an expert network as a middleman, they mitigate the risk by placing the responsibility in the hands of a 3rd party company. That’s why companies such as proSapient will take several measures to avoid experts sharing confidential information:
- Non-disclosure: As part of the terms when signing up, you’ll be prohibited from disclosing confidential information about clients or their business practices. These agreements are legally binding and serve as a deterrent to experts who might be tempted to share sensitive information.
- Expert screening: Expert networks carefully screen potential experts to ensure that they have the appropriate skills, qualifications, and experience to provide valuable insights to clients. This screening process may involve verifying employment history, checking references, and conducting background checks to identify any potential red flags.
- Training and education: proSapient will provide training and education to experts on privacy best practices, including how to handle sensitive information, how to identify and report potential data breaches, and how to comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
- Monitoring and auditing: Expert networks like proSapient typically monitor and audit expert-client interactions to ensure that experts are complying with NDAs and other privacy requirements. This monitoring may include reviewing call recordings, messaging transcripts, and other communications to identify any potential breaches.
While proSapient has a good system in place to manage compliance, the responsibility ultimately lies with you. When being asked a potentially sensitive question it can be hard to remember if you know the answer from an internal PowerPoint presentation or a public announcement. Our advice is to err on the side of caution, also keeping in mind that your call will be transcribed and made available to a potentially large audience.
What can you expect to be asked during a proSapient consultation call?
Many clients pay more than 1,000 dollars per hour to gain information from experts like you. So, what can an expert contribute to an hour-long client call? In essence, three things:
- Company deep dive: The consultant provides detailed information about a specific company such as market positioning, management information and customer opinions.
- Industry overview: The consultant gives a high-level view of an industry segment, including expected growth rates, latest trends, vertical segmentation, and key players.
- Recent event analysis: The consultant analyzes recent events, such as the impact of a pandemic or merger, to help clients understand changes in the competitive landscape, consumer demand, and industry growth rates.
What should be my proSapient hourly consulting rate?
Networks can pay quite a bit, and you are not likely to undervalue or overvalue your service! The initial stages of your expert career can be charged between $75 and $150 per hour, whereas senior professionals typically make between $200 and $300 per hour. Some experts have been reported to demand $5,000 per hour, but it needs to be clarified what percentage of them are booked at that price.
proSapient pays per minute, which means that the hourly rate you pay is just an average; you’ll receive half the hourly rate for a 30-minute call. However, if you go over one hour, the meter will continue to tick. Unlike many survey sites, expert networks like proSapient pay very quickly after the consultation ends. Always through a cash transfer to your bank account or a prepaid visa- or master card.
Beware, proSapient associates might try to negotiate your rates lower. Research the rates other network members charge for similar services. Then, look at other networks’ rates. For instance, a proSapient consulting fee of $300 per hour could be charged at $500 by another company meeting with the same client. You will typically recognise the same jobs if you’re a member of several expert networks.
Actual time spent consulting.
While the hourly rate consulting with proSapient can seem high, keep in mind the extra time spent on “administrative” tasks that you don’t get paid for. This includes:
- Pre-screening questions: Answering these questions can often be quite detailed and take around 10 minutes. And there’s no guarantee you’ll qualify.
- Compliance: Conducting compliance training and -questions can be tedious.
- Providing professional experience: Keeping your resume up to date can take time.
- Payment: Setting up your payment options and submitting your invoice is streamlined but not fully automated.
- Preparing for the call: Finding a quiet spot, logging on a couple of minutes beforehand and creating a buffer in your calendar take time and effort.
Your billable hourly rate will be lower, considering the time spent on all the admin tasks. You should use a time-tracking app to check how much time you spend calculating your actual earnings per hour working with an expert network.
While this intricate process might seem daunting, it’s essential to remember that proSapient is one of the companies that have streamlined their processes the most.
Also, remember that participating in an expert network call can be exhausting. While the tone of the conversation is friendly, you’ll have to tackle open-ended questions on complex subjects. The call will feel much more intense than an average company conference call. The client is paying north of $1000 per hour for your time and wants maximum value from the interaction.
How can I get more proSapient consultation projects?
Making your profile more attractive is a great starting point for getting more traction with expert networks. Despite the current fierce competition in the market, there are some strategic actions you can adopt to improve your chances of winning more jobs. First, you must be visible, so study the keywords you would like to rank for to create a keyword-dense profile. One of the best ways to get more work is to arrive first. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to act swiftly and answer quickly. Being the first to respond may not get you the job, but it makes your name stand out.
Build confidence quickly by staying truthful and objective. First impressions count! The most dangerous thing you could do is exaggerate your experience or skills. Apply only to jobs you’re qualified to take on, and be honest when you are asked questions. Never make promises you cannot keep, or you’ll lose your credibility quickly.
Present yourself confidently as an expert, and be specific in your answers. Give enough detail on the things you’ve completed about the project. Include the facts, figures, and impacts. Demonstrate how you contributed value to earlier projects and show how valuable you could be to a potential new client. Make them believe they’re worthy of the investment!
The 1:1 Expert Call
proSapient recruiters often reach new consultants through LinkedIn. Firms will book hourly slots to discuss operational and strategic challenges, get market feedback, and test concepts. This is a massive benefit for you as a consultant! They want to know your thoughts and solutions that could be suggested, so they’re seeking you out. This means that you can make appointments at times that are suitable for you. You do not need to prepare anything, and there’s no follow-up.
Most calls are enjoyable conversations, and both parties learn something from the conversation, which is an added benefit. Another benefit is being recognised and regarded as an expert in your field. It’s a position you’ve put in a lot of effort and time to attain. Now is the perfect time to reap the benefits.
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Disclosure: While HuginX is editorially independent, we may earn commissions on sign-up links.