In the General Theory of a Translation Company, we classify sales as a Core Function of a language services provider (LSP), rather than a Support Activity. This is because in the language services business, unlike other industries, there is a continued need for sales even after the deal is closed.
Sales adds value through marketing, selling, and account management. Marketing begins before the client is even ready to buy language services. Once they are interested in purchasing language services, the selling activities begin. Once the customer is onboarded and rolling, the sales Core Function takes place through account management activities.
The overall sales process starts with marketing, which provides information to language services buyers (LSBs) not just about a particular LSP, but about the industry as a whole. LSPs host webinars to educate their customers and potential customers about industry trends. They also attend industry conferences and events, where they meet other LSPs as well as LSBs to discuss the language services industry. They operate blogs, where they talk about topics dear to the buyers. By doing so, the sales team is already adding value, regardless of whether or not they actually do business together.
Sales is working with a potential customer to understand their needs and then guide them through the complex world of the language services industry, for it can be intimidating to an outsider. Salespersons need to play the part of teacher, referee, coach, and motivational speaker. Through this process, the customer is able to understand not only what the LSP is proposing, but also their own challenges in a completely new light.
A key responsibility of account managers is to develop and grow the business. An additional responsibility of account managers is managing the customer relationship. They maintain good communication with the customers through regular check-ins, quarterly business reviews (QBRs), and regular meetings. Building trust allows the LSP to make sure their clients remain happy and also provides a better understanding of the customers’ needs.
The HubSpot localization team has positioned itself as a high-priority (revenue-generating) strategic function critical to the continued growth of the company, with a broad scope of responsibilities that goes beyond providing translations. A key to their success has been their tight collaboration between localization and other core teams.
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Continuous growth and fragmentation have been the key characteristics of the language services market. Let's see what the data says.