In my 20+ years in sales, I’ve sold into virtually every industry. At Apple, I sold to banking firms (Solomon Brothers, Citigroup), Life Sciences (Pfizer, Bristol Myers-Squibb), Media (Viacom, Conde Nast, Omnicom) and even manufacturing (GE, Boeing). In my start-up career I’ve worked with an even broader set of industries, including online businesses like AOL and IAC, and dozens of other “dotcoms”.
In all cases, the technology products and services we sold were designed to help our customers get their work done more effectively, by saving time, money, or both. Smartling is no different. Our software makes localization easier, faster and cheaper. In a word, smarter.
But there is one unique distinction that sets Smartling (and localization as a business strategy) apart from many others.
New Language = New Customers
Once our customers complete their localization, they’ve not only saved time and money, they’ve created entirely new businesses. Each new language engages a new set of customers.
And in most cases they achieve this without re-tooling their core offerings. They don’t create new products, or write lots of new code. Nor do they fundamentally change the way they market or sell. They simply make the same offerings available to a new set of customers, and in many cases the results they see are even better than those on their English site. It’s as if they could start their business over but offer a fully mature product from day one.
SurveyMonkey Goes Global
Let’s take SurveyMonkey as an example. Many international consumers and businesses have used SurveyMonkey’s industry leading online survey platform for years in English. But many others could not if their knowledge of English was limited. As soon as SurveyMonkey offered their survey tools in other languages, hundreds of new customers signed up. The platform works the same way: the registration pages are the same, the pricing is the same, and the functionality of the software is the same.
As with English, these new customers often use search engines to find products like SurveyMonkey, yet they search in their native languages. So the value proposition and sales process is identical – it’s simply working in a new language community. What’s more, these non-English customers can offer surveys in their native language, and engage more with their own customers/markets. It’s a win-win.
Of course, every business is different. But if your business engages with customers online, and especially if your goal is to complete a transaction (registration, subscription, purchase, download, check-in, etc.), website localization is like adding a new business division without changing a thing. Other than the language, that is.