Can one startup change how enterprise translation workflows are done online?

Bureaucracy, gatekeepers, complicated structures, account management headaches, having to juggle with multiple parties… Dealing with enterprise customers is not every business’ forte. The global pandemic made it even more complicated to handle all these matters online. Nevertheless, startups want to use this complexity to their advantage via advanced workflow solutions.

The translation industry is one that involves complicated business workflows. Often times, the persona that requires translation at large organizations do not have clear cut attributes. The role that has a need for translation or localization changes anywhere from a marketing director to a country manager, from a CEO assistant to a localization director. How does one sell to such a complicated persona mix and also manage the enterprise account successfully at the same time?

The EMEA region’s leading online translation service moderated marketplace platform Protranslate’s CEO Kerem Kalkancı states, “It all starts with being able to capture the demand. In an exclusively online business world, the approach is oftentimes the exact opposite of sales in an offline transaction and key account management. Your online lead gives the details about your persona and how you have to manage that account. Then you have to route them through your workflow management structure to nurture that lead. Whereas in legacy offline organizations, salespeople often need to spend days if not months to get through gatekeepers, to figure out whether there is any need for the services rendered, make sure everyone is notified about the solution for the need, wait for the right time for that need to occur and guess what – they still somehow need to remember that solution is available through that salesperson and contact him. How unproductive is that?”

Today’s technological advancements allow translation and localization work to be done at a fraction of the cost of what it used to be about five years ago. From computer-aided translation tools to advancements in translation archiving and machine translation technologies, today, translation providers utilize “human in the loop” workflows to increase productivity and speed while ensuring quality via final proofreading and editing touches that are done by humans. “Most of these technologies are cloud-based, the only part of the process that is not online is “sales” even at the most non-tech-oriented organizations and it is destined to change,” says Kalkancı. “Previously, even as co-founders, we had the dilemma of whether we are only capable of servicing SMB segment companies.

After getting a bunch of Global 2000 customers on board through an “online only” sales team, we were convinced that we had 90% of the game plan in play. Now we are adding the necessary key account management features to our workflows and with enterprise customers already adapting new online approaches and knocking on our door, we are expecting multiple digit growth in upcoming years as well.” One of the largest organizations that has taken on the challenge of building a global B2B sales organization from ‘online’ space was SalesForce. Today, it serves both the enterprise and SMB segment customers with its SaaS CRM offerings. While it utilizes its local support agencies/partners in various countries for training and onboarding for its somewhat complicated platform, it still generates a good chunk of its leads online.

It will be interesting to observe how other B2B service providers navigate the complicated enterprise business structures to find a way in and capture customers in a more online environment than ever before. With the global event industry trying to find its way online, B2B organizations have struggled to introduce their offerings to new prospective customers through conventional marketing methods. In saturated markets such as translation & localization services, there is certainly still a lot of opportunity to infiltrate with creative approaches, thanks to the ever-increasing speed of globalization and the pandemic that forced businesses to adapt online work styles.