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Our Analysts' Insights

20May

Step Up: It’s Time for Localization Teams to Lead

Have you dreamed about leading the charge to globalize business processes across your entire organization? Or maybe you already have a plan to help Marketing or Customer Support get their international act together? Based on our recent COVID-19 Enterprise Survey, the stars may finally be aligning to allow you to raise visibility for globalization in ways that enable other teams to be comfortable about where they’re investing internationally. Here’s why:

  • New stakeholders may already be reaching out for additional services. More than half of the respondents to our COVID-19 Enterprise Survey said that new groups are turning to them as a result of the pandemic. Whether their requests relate to language support, local market research, or how to better optimize their processes to serve international customers, listen carefully, ask lots of questions, and use data to strengthen your recommendations.

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  • Other teams are longing for leadership and seeking reliable partners internally. Members of the CSA Research Global Leaders Council tell us that they are moving up to collaborate and lead because colleagues are feeling immobilized and not sure what to do in the face of a pandemic. Instead of sitting back and waiting for someone else, localization teams are taking the lead for cross-functional initiatives to address issues and requirements that no one ever dreamed of prior to the outbreak. Providing the data that other business functions require to make successful international investment decisions as they reallocate funding is a big piece of this.
     
  • You can leverage your additional budget in the short-term. Our recent survey results also indicate that it’s not uncommon for localization teams to be receiving transfers from other budgets to run additional marketing promotions, organize large virtual events, or provide additional languages. If you find yourself in this position, don’t hesitate to use the additional power that it affords you to retain your team, push for better/less source content, move up plans for (additional) machine translation implementation, or start a small AI project.

Here are three areas to focus on to take advantage of leadership openings:

  • Enable senior management to view your budget as an investment they may not want to cut. As your organization switches from surviving the pandemic to weathering the recession, prepare budget scenarios based on various global expansion/pullback possibilities – before anyone requests them. Always present reductions in comparison to the investment required for future customers. If the company cuts a few thousand – or even a hundred thousand – dollars now, what will be the impact to the brand, revenue potential, competitive positioning, and market share over the medium term? If there are opportunities to add language support, make sure that you’re adding the right ones and localizing the right content. Be ready to negotiate and use the Global Revenue Forecaster™ to understand where your revenue comes from and calculate investment realignment so that you have hard data to back up recommendations.
     
  • Make your reach more powerful and strike while the iron is hot. Are strategic marketers scrambling to decide which markets to add or delete? Do digital marketing colleagues need guidance on how to ramp up additional promotional programs in local markets and how to design video content that’s world-ready on day one? Are events marketers at a loss as to how to put together their first virtual conference in more than one language? Maybe post-sales support is reviewing ways to expand chat capabilities because your product or service has suddenly increased in popularity due to everyone working from home, home-schooling, or self-isolating. All of these scenarios represent opportunities for localization teams to not only be at the table when decisions are made, but to take a lead in making those decisions.
     
  • Prepare now for new content types and delivery platforms. Our research indicates that language teams should be preparing for increased requests for multimedia content and multilingual support for large virtual events. These requirements are a direct result of almost all in-person events being cancelled for the foreseeable future. Be ready to work with your language partners to manage these new service requests and content types. Your management will soon discover that they can reach a much wider audience than any in-person conference ever did – and do it globally.

Don’t reinvent the wheel – reach out to CSA Research for data and benchmarking tools. Whether you’re a member or not, contact us for help in making the hard decisions around which languages to support and which technology to adopt for multilingual online events, repositioning your team as a center for globalization expertise, or supporting other business functions to benchmark their international support capabilities.

About the Author

Rebecca Ray

Rebecca Ray

Director of Buyers Service

Focuses on global digital transformation, enterprise globalization, localization maturity, social media, global product development, crowdsourcing, transcreation, and internationalization

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