1. The Sales person does not have knowledge/experience in the language translation services industry.  There are many complexities in the sales and project process.  A sales person who had not experienced this is at a disadvantage for multiple reasons.  Suggestion—better training for sales people—have them shadow and work with translation project managers.
  2. The LSP sales cycle is too long—compensation comes too late.  Many LSP owners pay sales people commission once the client pays on the project.  The first 6-12 months, the sales person may see minimal commission payments.  Sales people, motivated by money, may not be willing to wait that long to receive payments.   Suggestion—pay sales people a larger guaranteed base and reduced commission plan the first year.
  3. Poor production and customer service on the part of the Translation Vendor.  Once a sale is completed,  the LSP production team is responsible for managing the project process.  Failed projects resulted in diminished sales and frustrated sales people.  Suggestion—involve the sales person in the production process to improve customer facing interactions.
  4. Sales in the language services industry is commoditized and competitive.  LSP Sales people find that the sales landscape is bleak.  There are low cost production centers, competitors with cheaper alternatives, MT is ubiquitous, Google translate is popular and multiple vendors compete for every RFP.  Suggestion— differentiate yourself from competition and compete on your strengths.
  5. Selling is hard and most people are not good at it.  The truth is, sales is a challenging profession with built in rejections.  There are a shortage of good sales people in most professions.  Suggestion—choose a sales person carefully, evaluate for motivation, evaluate track record, test for cultural fit and support your new hire as you would the arrival of your new child.