A Conversation with Panagiotis Papachristofilou, Head of Marketing and Demand Generation at Transifex
In today's MarTech leader conversation, we sit down with Panagiotis Papachristofilou, the head of marketing and demand generation at Transifex. Transifex is a translation and localization platform. Panagiotis has helped the company achieve steady growth, a wide selection of top-notch international clients, and an exceptional retention rate. In our discussion, we cover how he approaches marketing through sales collaboration, PPC ads, quality content, and hyper-personalization.
Transifex is a translation and localization management platform. We have been around for more than 11 years now. We work with both the SMB and enterprise sector. So we work with tech giants like Atlassian and HubSpot, and also with smaller companies that want to use the power of localization to expand to international markets.
We are also very popular in the open-source space. Transifex started as an open-source project, so that's why a lot of open-source products trust us. We actually offer Transifex for free to open-source products that do not have a commercialization model. We actually want other engineers to be able to build on top of Transifex.
When somebody is looking to continuously evolve their digital content, at a certain point, if this digital content is continuously updated, managing this process with Excel spreadsheets will not be feasible. Transifex can streamline this whole process, from uploading your files to translating the content using machine translation.
We also offer many linguistic tools for the people who do the actual translations. And once the translations are ready, Transifex is used to publish them via many avenues. So, that's a very simplified overview of the process and the product: It helps you upload your content, translate it, and then publish it and use it.
We have a long history in the localization industry. And we believe that localization and internationalization should be an integral part of the product development process rather than an afterthought. So we want to help everyone—engineers, product managers and designers, marketers, and so on—from the beginning of the process.
We are a small team of three plus a couple of external contractors. So our main KPI, as a team, is to generate qualified leads for sales. On top of pure lead generation, we support all product releases, new features, and new integrations. So together with the product team, we assist with the go-to-market plans.
We use HubSpot as our marketing automation software. Once somebody starts a trial with Transifex, our goal is to understand what value he gets from Transifex and the key features he should have based on his title. We use this information to educate our free trials and connect our free trials with sales to have a live product demonstration.
HubSpot is fully integrated with Salesforce, which is our second main sales tool. And while we focus on lead generation, we are also responsible for the entire sales funnel. So we want to make sure that the lead is converted to a sales qualified lead and then to an opportunity and then to a closed deal. Seeing all of these stages of the funnel is where Salesforce comes in.
We also use a range of other marketing tools. We use Ahrefs to monitor what's going on SEO-wise, which is important for our content strategy and outbound campaigns. We use Drift for our chatbot. The sales team also uses Outreach and Adapt.io for sales prospecting. And, as a demand generation team, we do all kinds of PPC campaigns. We use LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Reddit, and Quora for paid ads. At the end of last year, we shifted from live events to virtual ones. We use webinars for two reasons: first, to stay in contact with and educate our customer base and leads, and, secondly, for pure demand generation. Livestorm is our preferred webinar platform.
Transifex is in steady growth mode, I would say. We are growing quarter by quarter, month by month. We as a company and as a product are retaining our customers; we have an amazing retention rate. The people who come and trust Transifex, they stay with us. For me as a marketer, it helps me in my day-to-day job and my campaigns to have people that have been using Transifex for years. The churn rate is actually very low and the retention rate is very high. So all I would say in terms of goals is keeping KPIs in the green.
One of the main challenges is to balance our responsibilities between demand generation and product marketing. We do our content planning on a quarterly basis. At the end of each quarter, we sit down as a team and decide what content we will be producing in the next couple of months. So we might have some upcoming releases or new features that we want to cover in our blog posts. But on the other hand, there may be a specific keyword that is trending for our audience. So we need to cover these keywords as well. So sometimes we have to produce content that is SEO driven. But on the other hand, we need to produce content that is productive. And so we need to find the right balance and search for the common space between these two.
Another challenge is that developers don't want marketing gimmicks. They don't want to buy rubbish. To keep senior developers and CTOs, your content has to have real value; otherwise, they’ll unsubscribe.
One of the other challenges is being super aligned with the sales team. Demand generation teams cannot be successful if sales teams are not equally successful. And if your KPIs are not properly defined at the beginning because you haven't discussed things with the sales team, the lead handoff process becomes impossible—even if you have the most brilliant copy or the best landing page. Not properly defining the success metrics for campaigns with sales can get dangerous. So, you need continuous feedback and collaboration between the two teams.
We are offering a free trial or live demo, which allows for all kinds of inbound marketing techniques that bring in good-quality traffic to our website that convert to demo requests. It's been a fantastic couple of years, 2020 and 2021. We are seeing 10 to 15 percent growth from quarter to quarter in terms of new product trials and demo requests.
Using Drift as our bot has also given us amazing results in terms of booked calls. Prior to 2020, the only way someone could request demos was to fill in their contact details on the demo request landing page. When we switched to Drift, we changed that. Now, people can book straight through the bot, which shortens the process for the end-user. Automating the whole demo-scheduling process with Drift has given us really impressive results.
A very important trend is being where your customer is. In the past, it was enough to have one touch with your prospect. Nowadays, because of the wealth of information and triggers we get every day, you need to have around 10 touches with a prospect to convert them into an actual sale. As a result, you need multichannel marketing.
The other trend is hyper-personalization. In the past, personalization simply meant using someone's first name. Nowadays, everybody expects the content and the messaging to be personalized for their particular use case, activity and behavior with your website, or product.
I believe it all starts with the right content for the right person at the right time. And everything is content; even an ad is actually a piece of content. We want to give value with our content. We need to really answer people's queries and give them the content they are looking for rather than content that’s cheesy or irrelevant. Value, benefit, and creativity are key terms here.
Content is working for us. Organic brings the best results. To be more specific, our organic leads convert to paid customers at a much higher rate. And that's all kinds of content, whether it's a blog or a video. That's actually how I managed to “sell” the idea of a full-time content manager internally. We are actually hoping to create an academy with YouTube videos in the next couple of months.
Of course, content also comes with challenges. It's not enough to create high-quality content. You need to find ways to distribute it and bring it in front of the right people. You have to think of your customers and your prospects' DNA. These customers are real people with real needs; they are most likely online most of the time. So, you need to understand their online behavior. Are they on Facebook? Are they a member of a specific group on LinkedIn? Do they ask questions on Reddit and Quora? Do they check review sites and forums? Knowing what your audience says and where they spend their time is the best place to start with content distribution.
I think it's not enough to understand the customer and the audience on an industry or company level—you need to understand your users and what exact problem your product solves for the different types of users. Defining your ideal customer profile (ICP) is a complex process of strategic importance that requires you to bring many teams to the table. You need to go beyond the title and try to understand your audience that way. It requires customer empathy and a truly customer-centric approach. And that's why we give everyone the chance to talk with us so that we can really understand the problems they are facing and tailor their demo to their needs.
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