Common Questions That LSP Sales Managers Face
Growth is an evergreen topic for language service providers (LSPs). Those that struggle to increase revenue want to figure out how to formalize their sales function, while those that already have positive sales numbers want to grow more or do it more sustainably. The fourth quarter is sales and marketing prime-time. Not only it is a critical to finish the year strong, but it’s also the perfect time to focus on the year ahead.
Here are answers to questions that LSP sales teams frequently ask CSA Research:
- Sales or marketing: Which should come first? CSA Research observes that production-minded LSPs often start with marketing because it gets them thinking about their sales strategy and gaining comfort with the idea of a more proactive approach to prospects. However, if resources are limited and the need for growth is more urgent, LSPs are better off prioritizing proactive sales – provided they already have a solid website that projects their differentiation and offering accurately.
- What is the best way to grow our business? First and foremost, LSPs should increase sales organically by beefing up their sales efforts in their existing markets. In addition, they may supplement this approach with: entering new markets, servicing new verticals, or adding new products or services. CSA Research recommends that LSPs develop solid market penetration skills before venturing into other strategies that require the right structure to attract, win, retain, and up-sell prospects.
- How challenging should sales quotas for business developers be? Sales quotas vary greatly, even within the same LSP, depending on experience, compensation structure, territories, geographic location, and sales support. Targets must be a stretch for the business developers, but achievable based on the training, structure, and resources the company provides. In our CSA Research Sales Cookbook, we provide concrete examples on how to calculate sales goals.
- Which markets should we pursue? Market selection does not mean simply deciding on which verticals – life sciences, legal, or manufacturing, for example – LSPs will target. Industry is just one of many characteristics that they need to use to define the best segments. To narrow the field, LSPs should develop a list of candidate segments that they can clearly identify, have enough revenue potential, describe a well-defined cluster that they can market to and support, and where they stand a solid chance of success when competing for business in that segment. They should then eliminate those that aren’t a good match for their services.
- What is more effective: Physical mailings, e-mails, or cold-calling? Over the years, we have collected significant success stories with all of these first contact approaches. In the end, it is a numbers game where you need to reach sufficient leads at the right time with a message that piques the prospect’s interest. The messaging and volume usually influence success more than the medium.
Finishing the year strong and starting 2019 off right is the result of solid planning and skilled implementation. As you develop your strategy and seek to benchmark the state of your sales organization, leverage resources in the CSA Research “Sales Cookbook,” “data visualizations,” and “data highlights” series.
This blog originally appeared in September 2017 and has been updated to add newer research.
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