August 20, 2019 Michael Meinhardt
I’ve just landed in Singapore for ON24’s Webinar World and I have to say, I am quite impressed with the global culture that’s been developed over the last 50 years. The moment you step off the plane you are hit with signs in several languages directing you to various locations, different cuisine, including a Swensen’s ice cream restaurant — I didn’t even realize those places were still around!
In short, I couldn’t think of a better place in Asia to hold the third of four Webinar Worlds, as it truly captures the essence of the event.
I travel quite often and on my various trips I am often asked, “I have to get some content translated, do you know any translation service companies I can use?” Or “I have video content, do you know where I can get a transcription?” Need to send gifts to customers in 10 counties? What about corporate gifting services? Generally speaking, I do have answers for all of these questions, but what strikes me is the tactical nature of the question.
There are more than 30,000 translation agencies to choose from. Many of them will do transcription and Amazon.com is a good option for sending gifts to your customers and partners — although a new company, Sendoso, can help you get those personalized gifts out globally as well.
However, more recently, the line of questioning has changed from tactical to, in my mind, strategic. These strategic questions, “I need more pipeline in Germany,” or, “I need to grow revenue in Japan,” or, “I need to improve the split of my revenue from 80/20 home country to international to a 50/50 revenue split in the next five years.” How can I get there? What resources do I need? How should I align my go-to-market teams internally? What investment should I make?
I love these questions.
My first piece of guidance is always the same: Always start with the end result — what are you trying to achieve? More new customer meetings? More pipeline? More revenue? How much? There are plenty of services companies, and technology, that can help you get “there,” but you have to first know where “there” is. If you don’t know where you are going, then how do you expect to get there?
Going global doesn’t happen overnight – it takes a measurable and focused process
Translating your website, email campaign or an amazing new video isn’t going to get you that new set of customers, or even impress your current customers. The best companies in the world have realized that creating engaging global content is a series of micro-processes that often include a massive web of coordinated teams, both internally and externally. Once your company appreciates this fact, then you can begin to chart the course for the introduction of your company globally.
Salesforce automation, marketing automation and localization automation
I would guess that your sales team has a set of processes to identify opportunities and perhaps they even use some level of CRM to help them automate and capture this sales process. Further, some companies automate their marketing function, enabling them to create ever more engaging emails, landing pages and help them target ideal customer profiles. Well, if your sales and marketing teams leverage automation technologies, and you are thinking about the next step in your global content processes, localization automation can help you improve the speed of multilingual content production.
Localization is really just another global business process, albeit an insanely manual process historically for even the most global enterprises. Most companies who have tried to improve their processes have relied on massive spreadsheets, confusing email strings and content repositories that lack version control. Engaging with your global customers is extremely critical, so an investment in localization automation technology is imperative, just like salesforce automation and marketing automation.
Consider the global customer experience
Imagine a customer visits your website, do they see their native language? If they do, how much of the content has been translated? If they click on a link to a marketing asset or on-demand webinar, do they see that asset in their native language, or is it simply in English?
I can’t stress enough how important it is for visitors to have a consistent experience from the first time they visit your website, your booth at a conference or even when they engage with your frontline organization. If you aren’t willing to invest appropriately, then it becomes very obvious to your future potential customers. I would simply recommend making sure the content available to your global customers is consistent with “what” you are selling in that region. Doing so provides these potential clients with the sense that your organization truly cares about them and their culture. This is, in essence, true localization.
Lastly, the journey to becoming a truly global organization is just that — a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight and there will be setbacks, but if you start with “why” you are entering a new market, the true reason for localizing global content and understand how you are going to measure your success, then you are already 50% there!