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How to Sell Translation Internally

Tips to navigate you through the “buy-in” process

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CK Khandekar

CK Khandekar

Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Smartling

Change is inevitable, right? As a project manager, one of your main priorities is to spearhead change so that you can stay ahead of the curve.

And, when you believe that change is needed and have uncovered an exciting opportunity, you must take the right steps to drive innovation within your organization.

Once you’ve identified a solution, your focus has to shift to the next important stage: getting buy-in from other stakeholders, including executives.

Translation in particular will require buy-in from your entire leadership team: tech needs to support the integration of new services, finance needs to recognize the value of translation software, marketers need to understand how to connect with a new audience, and so on.

Squaring up to the challenge

This is an exciting, yet challenging, process because this is where you get to use both your analytical and negotiation skills to convince your peers and superiors that this product is what the company needs.

Undoubtedly, there will be challenges and hurdles along the way. The way to overcome these is to think about the big picture. Think about the milestones you might be able to accomplish - including streamlined productivity, cost savings, and growth in revenue - if you were able to successfully get your organization to adopt this new solution.

That is the mentality you need to take to succeed.

And with the right plan of action, you can take those lemons and make lemonade, lemon bars, and maybe even lemon meringue pie. 🍰

The rules that apply to buying software are the same guidelines that can be used for investing in translation services. It may not always be the most straightforward process, but these tips can help you make a case for investing in a language translation management system.

Identify your stakeholders

The first step in this process is understanding which departments will be most impacted or will most benefit from this change.

List out all of your stakeholders - the people who may influence the decision to adopt a solution. Start by listing your natural supporters: the managers and teams who are most likely to benefit from a new tool.

  1. Find a champion 🏆 Finding a champion builds extra credibility in getting buy-in for a SaaS product. To look for a champion, look for another department in your company that would benefit from the tool. Another tactic is finding people who have a proven track record for successfully pitching a SaaS product.
  2. Who are the roadblocks? 🚧 Let’s clarify one thing - roadblocks are not enemies. They are merely hurdles in the ‘buy-in’ path that one needs to overcome strategically. In the case of a SaaS platform, a roadblock is someone who might be skeptical of the tool’s usefulness, setup process, or experience with other products on the market.

For example, one roadblock might be the IT department. From their point of view, they want a tool that seamlessly integrates with their existing infrastructure, without creating any havoc.

When you start to understand why there are specific roadblocks or what people may feel about a particular solution, then you can better understand what you need in a provider.

And once you’ve identified the stakeholders, the champion/ally, and the potential roadblocks, it’s time to determine who will make the ultimate decision, and start formulating a business case for the investment.

How to make your case

You’ve assembled the table. Now the big challenge you need to solve here is complicated yet straightforward: How will this new SaaS product help my stakeholders achieve their goals?

This is the ‘what’s in it for me’ or ‘why should I care’ that you need to solve...for each stakeholder. The answer will most likely be different for each person, but it’s important to understand what motivates other people, and to highlight real world examples.

The head of IT needs assurance that the software will integrate seamlessly with the existing tech stack.

The CFO will want to know if this will help the company drive a stronger ROI.

The Head of Operations will want to see the historical success of productivity from the software.

The table has been set; now you need to make a case for each member.

Will the team be supported?

We all know that time is money. The last thing any customer wants to do is try to troubleshoot an issue with a platform they are not familiar with, yet will need to rely upon heavily.

For an executive, one of the biggest questions they have when considering a new SaaS platform is this: __will my team be supported for anything from answering questions or troubleshooting issues? __

An executive will need that extra assurance that his employees are being taken care of and not left in the dark.

Smarting knows the importance of this and offers a dedicated Customer Success and Account Manager to give the customer support as they navigate around the platform and are committed to achieving their business objectives.

Value and optimization with a long term contract

When you’re investing in a SaaS subscription for your sales team, your first inclination might be to try out the platform with a short-term subscription.

Companies invest in software to get long term value. The more you use the platform, the greater value you will get out of the platform. The more you use the platform, the more you have time to optimize your process.

A disadvantage with a short-term contract is that you, as the customer, have less time to optimize your success. Depending on the software and your ability to implement the tool quickly, the value that you realize will be different.

The big picture: building your brand

Implementing software is a unique opportunity to prove yourself in an organization.

Implementing the right tools can not only transform businesses, but also change people's careers, and you need to understand how your investments impact the business to showcase the value.

And with that, there is the potential for recognition, visibility, earned trust, a promotion, and maybe even more opportunities for advanced growth.

As we’ve demonstrated above, we know that getting buy-in, especially with an executive team, is never easy. But there are significant rewards to reap if you do succeed.

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