10 Ways to Use a Digital Parts Catalog and/or Configurator to Increase Sales for Industrial Manufactuters or Distributorspliers via B2B ecommerce

1. INCREASE SALES - The industrial buying process has changed. Like the rest of us, your customers search online for what they need. As an Industrial supplier you need an integrated marketing approach to achieve three things:

When a CAD model is downloaded, how often is the physical part purchased?

  • Get your products found - via an online digital parts catalog and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - "We don't really go after customers online, If we're doing our job right, they should be finding us." This quote succinctly captures the point of SEO for industrial suppliers but your on-site search can be just as important to help visitors find the right product once they are on your site.
  • Get those parts selected and 'designed in' - enable and encourage selection via an intuitively easy to use and highly functional online catalog and ecommerce system. Optionally get your parts 'designed in' via view-able and downloadable CAD models for embedding in new CAD designs. With conversions to sales at up to 50% CAD models may be the best B2B lead generation idea!
  • Then purchased - your overall ecommerce system may or may not include online purchasing. If you don't offer a shopping cart at least let site visitors request a quote (RFQ).

“The site launched last November and I can say that it paid for itself in new business within 3 months. This has yielded the fastest and best ROI of any marketing investment I have ever made!” Karl Ganshirt, President, GTS

2. INFLUENCE THE PRODUCT SELECTION AND PURCHASE PROCESS - Obviously if customers are searching online and they don't find your products you mostly likely aren't in contention.

By reaching and being selected by the design engineer while they are searching for parts they need. Why? The designer is the key decision maker regarding components in the design. Once a part is 'designed in' (embedded within a new design) it is rare that Buyers purchase anything else. You can improve the likelihood of your parts being 'designed in' by offering CAD model downloads of them from your website. If you do that the customer/designer doesn't have to draw your part, just download and use its CAD model. This survey indicates designers so appreciate suppliers offering CAD models that doing so positively influences their choice of supplier. Why do they think that? Because suppliers' 3D CAD models save them design time (download rather than draw from scratch), automatically provide bill of materials (BOM) info, eliminate opportunity for error and increase productivity. Many designers today rely on suppliers online catalogs and CAD models to complete their design projects on time and on budget.

“In just the first 4 months we’ve received enough online orders to pay for the cost of the site. The assistance of the site has also helped our salespeople close other offline orders so we are on track to achieve the ROI we hoped for.” Sal Garbarino, Sales and Marketing Manager, RTS Cutting Tools

3. GENERATE LOW-COST, HIGH-QUALITY B2B SALES LEADS - To generate sales leads your website can persuade visitors to register their contact information. The easiest way to do that is to offer some valuable content. For industrial suppliers we have learned that since at least 2005 the most useful content they can offer is 3D CAD models of their products. In return for saving designers time suppliers obtain sales leads by registration prior to download. Sales leads obtained in this way tend to close faster, convert at higher rates and cost a small fraction, <10%, as much as traditional sales leads is a marketing dream come true!

Wondering how this is possible? It occurs for three primary reasons:

  • The extremely high relevance for the customer (product selected and a CAD model included in their design)
  • The high value to the customer (saves time, increases productivity)
  • Enable customers to self serve by downloading CAD models directly from your website (lowers your costs)

“In less than a year, already 60% of our sales leads are from CAD models. CAD downloads sales leads convert to sales at a higher rate and even more importantly they convert faster!”John M Winkler, CEO, Office of the President, J.W. Winco Inc.

4. SELF SERVICE - Automatically present your products as CAD models online on your website with your 'sales drawings' working 24*7 (even while your sales people are asleep). More than 90% of engineers already use the internet to locate technical product information - make sure they can self help themselves at whatever time suits them.

Catalog Data Solutions has provided Gates customer base with 24 hours a day access to 1,536 Coupling CAD models and 1,060 Adapter CAD models of our products via an online catalog and downloads are already running at 400 a month. In addition, the enhanced product information and part attributes available via CDS’s advanced search functionality allow customer engineers to quickly find parts, confirm selection through CAD interrogation or via download into their own system, resulting in reduced overall design cycle time." Todd Mueller, Manager, Business Development at Gates Corporation

5. REACH NEW CUSTOMERS- Say you've implemented this strategy; your parts are being found, the models of them downloaded and included in their designs and Bill of Material (BOM). As a result the buyers' jobs are easier because the part detail information is all presented to them within the design and BOM. Now what? A potential sales trigger event occurs when a user registers and downloads one of your part CAD models. You have just been informed that one of your products may just have been included in a new customer design. Ensure that trigger alert is passed to your sales team for astute followup to understand why and develop the opportunity.

"We changed our sales process to adapt to and effectively take advantage of the new buying process and our customers use of CAD. We now have a more efficient sales process in which time and number of contacts to close the sale are respectively shorter and less. CAD downloads are now a primary driver for our sales lead generation, providing tons of ‘sales ready’ leads on a daily basis for our sales team and distributors. National Sales Manager, a US Manufacturer

6. INCREASE EXISTING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND LOYALTY - through better meeting your customers' needs, saving them time and boosting their productivity. Ensure your website digital parts catalog makes it easy to find the 'right' product, select it and use it so you are helping customers accelerate their time to market.

The CDS technology enables customers to fit complex products to their unique requirements by accommodating great complexity in a simple user interface that provides efficiency for the user and visual feedback that helps and educates the user, ultimately shortening sales cycles and lowering the cost of sales" Marc Macaluso, eBusiness Manager, Emerson Power Transmission

7. OBTAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE OVER YOUR COMPETITORS - By providing models of your products, especially if your competitor do not, you save design engineers time so gain a competitive advantage! Research into design engineers’ opinions shows that 97% rate online CAD models important when selecting a supplier.

“Overall this online marketing strategy has been so successful in increasing product sales that we have largely stopped attending tradeshows" Herb Arum, Marketing Manager, Stock Drive Products/Sterling lnstrument

8. LOWER YOUR COSTS - By integrating a digital parts catalog (and possibly CAD Models) into your website you reduce technical sales queries on your engineers so they can focus on designing new products instead of answering queries or helping customers select products (or creating and e-mailing CAD models).

We’ve seen an increase of at least 25% in online lead generation and an 80% increase in order automation as online orders automatically get put into our ERP system. We have also seen about an 80% reduction in processing time for orders containing items requiring prices to be updated in the ERP system." Shannon Winkler, Product Manager, ITT Compact Automation

9. ENHANCE AND EXTEND YOUR DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS - Enable all these benefits within your distribution and OEM channel partners – encourage them to offer your parts catalog online (ideally your CAD models too). CDS can help you achieve this for multiple websites from one master set of CAD data. CDS will also protect your intellectual property (IP) by making your downloadable CAD models 'outer envelope only' and exclude the inner details.

10. ONLINE CATALOGS DO NOT REPLACE TRADITIONAL MARKETING, THEY AUGMENT IT - Traditional marketing vehicles, as well as online keywords search engine marketing (SEM), are the means to inform potential customers about your online catalog on your web site.

Now you know why you probably need an online digital parts catalog - if you'd like to discuss your situation, request a demo today!