Selling in a global marketplace: the importance of multilingual teams
Selling overseas? It’s time to think about arming your workforce with multilingual skills.
The world is quickly shrinking because of technology connecting even the most remote of areas with the rest of the planet. As a result of these advances, globalising your business is much more accessible than it ever used to be – even if you’re only a startup.
In order to truly make ground in another country though, you have to communicate well. Doing so ensures that your brand grows well overseas, you create good engagement with your customers and it ensures strong links are made with suppliers and clients. Of course, communicating in other countries can be really challenging. Basic communication is one thing, but building real connections and making an impact involves a much more refined approach that goes far beyond basic translation.
This is where your business can benefit greatly from having a truly multilingual team.
The problem with single language selling teams
If you’re very localised within your own country and you don’t want to globalise, you can easily remain a single language business when it comes to sales and communicating with your consumers. However, when it comes to your operations, you might still find a need for communicating with staff in different languages. For example, many large companies now will subtitle or voiceover their training videos for onboarding new staff. From Lithuanian to Cantonese, the multicultural society we live in means businesses of all shapes and sizes are now much more likely to come across staff members for who English isn’t their first language.
When it comes to companies with global operations and trying to operate with a single-language team, things can get really complicated. There are multiple aspects of your business you’ll need to address including:
- Web translation
- Multilingual social media
- Customer engagement
- Customer service
- Training videos
- Marketing content
- Supplier relations
- Market research
All of these areas and more have to be done not only in the native language of the country you’re trying to make ground in, but they have to allow for cultural differences, language nuances, and different dialects within that market too. This is where having a multilingual team is not only beneficial but really is essential.
Enlisting a multilingual team for global sales is essential
In order to make long-lasting, meaningful connections with your consumers overseas, you have to have a multilingual team. You can’t just ditch your current team, or have them learn another language on demand though, right?
Well, initially, enriching your team with language-learning can only benefit their career and personal development anyway, resulting in greater employee satisfaction and engagement with your business and lower staff turnover, so really there’s probably no harm in offering this kind of training anyway. That being said, it can still be a good idea to have a professional translation company with localised experience on hand, so that you have that very niche skill set available to you when you need it. This is especially important for branding and marketing activities.
Moving forward, it can be a good idea to start trying to add multilingual talent to your team both in your native country and in your target markets. Doing this ensures you have ‘men on the ground’ as well as in-house capability, for a multi-faceted approach to the complex task of selling globally.
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” – Stephen Hawking
Whilst it can initially seem daunting, the global business barrier of language can be effectively tackled with the use of multilingual teams. With the right approach to communication, your company can make a big, positive impact on your target markets overseas.