Manufacturers usually want their industrial marketing to generate leads that result in RFQs as quickly as possible. Inbound marketing tactics such as SEO and other content marketing strategies do fill the top of their sales funnel but converting leads to sales opportunities takes too long for their liking. Think of 3D CAD models and 2D CAD drawings then as supercharged content assets for moving leads closer to the RFQ stage much quicker than any other type of content resource.
There are several benefits to offering 3D CAD models and 2D CAD drawings on an industrial website. By far the strongest reason, at least in my opinion is that they help get manufacturers’ or distributors’ parts “designed in.” Design wins lead to prototype and production orders. That’s why I like to call them “sales enablers.”
ThomasNet research indicates that up to 80 percent of the time a buyer or engineer downloads and specs a CAD drawing into a design, that part is purchased. That is not an isolated case; I have read many comments that are variations of a common theme – design engineers will look for alternate suppliers if they cannot find 3D models on a vendor’s site.
Some of the other benefits include:
- Influencing the influencer (specifier) to reach the final decision maker
- Cutting down on specification errors in BOMs
- Saving customers time and shortening their time to market
- Attracting new customers by offering CAD drawings to OEMS, distributors and other channel partners
- Generating better qualified leads at a lower cost and reducing wasted resources on RFQs that are not a good fit for you
It is not difficult to create an online library of CAD files if you only have a handful of parts. However, manufacturers need a much more robust solution than their homegrown efforts if they have thousands of parts with tens of thousands of possible configurations. They need a system that can scale up quickly and is not a drain on their in-house resources.
I have seen some industrial companies offer their 3D models without requiring registration. Most will gate their 2D CAD drawings where one has to fill out a form in order to download files in various formats. Several companies offer online CAD catalog creators and configurators, each with their own areas of expertise. Comparing these offerings is a topic for another blog post in the future.
CAD can also be a powerful differentiator for precision machining shops and fabricators. They can move up the value chain by offering CAD/CAM related services to OEMs that are always looking for ways to reduce production costs and shorten their time to market.
Fabricators and CNC machine shops that have invested in the latest CAD technology and have on their staff, trained people with the right skills set, gain a strong edge over their competition. They are in a much better position to offer value engineering and DFMA (Design for Manufacturing and Assembly) services to become the preferred manufacturing partner instead of being a supplier that is constantly competing on price.
Overall, I think 3D CAD models and 2D drawings are extremely effective in generating more sales-ready leads for manufacturers and industrial distributors.
Download my 7 Content Marketing Tactics for Marketing Industrial Products white paper to learn more about using downloadable CAD files as one of the industrial content marketing tactics to move leads forward in their buying cycle.
How are you using 3D CAD models and 2D drawings on your industrial website?