What to Do When Your Website Isn't Enough

Hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear about new CAD and BIM tools or data formats that design and sourcing professionals want to access from their preferred manufacturers.

Most manufacturers rely on a basic website and phone number to handle these inquiries, often with poor search and insufficient data to allow customers to easily discover products and download the right data for their workflow.  A positive digital customer experience is critical to attracting, retaining and converting customer visits into leads and ultimately sales. A top-notch experience is becoming critical wherever your products are discovered.

Industrial products continue to grow more complex, with critical features and characteristics that clearly differentiate your products.  A 100-word product description isn’t going to cut it when customers want to know if your product is the right fit for their project. Design and sourcing professionals want 3D CAD and BIM models, detailed drawings, performance details, and more — whenever and wherever they discover your products.

Your website is a good place to start and is often the first port of entry.  It reflects your brand and the commitment your company has to a positive digital experience.  But your products can also be discovered through the websites of your distributors, eCommerce portals like AmazonBusiness or industry portals like BIMobject. Delivering your eCatalog to these destinations with a mix of 3D CAD/BIM models, drawings and specs can improve your search ranking and your sales on these others destinations.

The concept of omni-channel marketing has come to industrial B2B.  The positive digital experience we have all grown to expect during the discovery and selection of products in our personal lives, is becoming the standard in the B2B world.

It’s a B2C World

Understanding the demands of your engineering and procurement customers is as simple as looking at the device in your pocket or purse. The experiences you’ve already had on your smartphone, tablet, and PC guide your expectations for your next experience whether it’s for work or for play.  As a new generation of industry professionals replaces the old guard within your customers, demand for a 24/7, self-serve and instant success web experience becomes the definition of your brand.

Amazon has led the way in creating the standard for B2C purchasing – clean and complete descriptions, high-quality images, supporting documentation. Sony, Canon, LG could never have imagined 10 years ago how much of their own website would be almost replicated on the site of a bookseller from Seattle.  They set the bar and an expectation level in broad community of users where the differences between B2C and B2B lie only in who’s paying and perhaps volume or product detail.

These B2C experiences all feel incredibly simple and easy. Because the barriers have dropped and this data flows freely across multiple channels (mobile, desktop, e-mail, etc.), your customer isn’t going to accept a B2B experience that isn’t as simple.  Search, discovery, comparison, configuration and a host of supporting downloads are becoming mandatory to retain and convert your customers’ visits into revenue.

You have the choice to offer them the information they want, how they want it, when they want it, where they want it. While the equity you have built in your brand may be valuable, a positive digital experience is how a new generation of industry professionals will judge your company.  Brand and quality has become only a part of your competitive advantage and your ability to attract and retain customers.

Your customers want an intricate understanding of your offerings, but to get this from a system that doesn’t feel complex. They’ll push, play, discover, and download if you make it easy. Adding this rich data can improve your relationships with existing customers and partners — and can also generate high-quality leads and improve sales.

Leveraging rich data to gain more business takes a little more effort, but you’ll find some strong tips in our free eBook: “A Building Product Manufacturer's Guide To Becoming BIM Ready."  

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