Industrial suppliers (manufacturers or distributors) can radically drive more sales via CAD marketing, if your customers use 3D CAD models and/or 2D CAD drawings.

What are CAD Models and Drawings?

Skip this paragraph if you know the answer already. Most engineers now use Computer Aided Design (CAD) to create their designs often using 3rd party component suppliers, say for a motor, a gear, a bearing or whatever. Alternatively they might configure a design in an online configurator, say of an electric valve or a complete conveyor belt layout. Either way they need 2D CAD drawings, 3D CAD models, or both, for inclusion in their own 3D CAD design files or 2D contractual documents. If they can download and use your files, rather than draw these from scratch themselves, they save time and are more productive.

How Many CAD Models do Engineers Download?

As the graph shows, 3D CAD model downloads continue to trend upwards. About 90% of engineers download 3D CAD models and they, on average, annually download 63 CAD models each according to Business Advantage’s annual CAD Trends surveys. As explained in the link below, these numbers conservatively estimate the number of CAD downloads only, and do not count CAD views – an engineer may view a number of part models (zoom, pan, rotate, etc.) before selecting which to download.

Why Can Your CAD Models & Drawings Generate Sales Leads?

Customers save time by being able to select or configure the right product online and then download 3D CAD models and/or 2D CAD drawings. If choosing your products over a competitor’s is quicker, it’s easy to see why yours would be selected. Once selected you can request user registration or login before allowing a CAD download – that registration information becomes the sales lead. Are users resistant to sharing their information? Yes of course they are but because of the inherent time saving value of your CAD to them, most users will register (ref: this Sep 2019 TREW Marketing/IEEE GlobalSpec survey on engineers’ willingness to give their information in return for CAD downloads – see graph – shows that CAD files are the type of content most enticing for them to provide their information).

It’s this fact that has made CAD downloads a leading content type for lead generation. Once you collect leads, decide how you will distribute, follow-up and track them. For example, you might integrate your CAD download solution with your customer relationship management (CRM) system and automate the follow-up by email.

How to Use CAD Models and Drawings to Generate Sales Leads?

In the past engineers would talk to suppliers about their needs for a component or part. More often nowadays they go online and search for it. They look for the exact spec they need and if they find it and a CAD model is available they’ll download and use the CAD model within their design. Your part or component gets ‘designed-in’ and automatically included in the BOM (bill of materials). Without even speaking to them, a CAD download can alert you to the start of a new design by a customer, or potential customer, that could be using one of their products. Astute and timely follow-up by the sales team can ensure and even expand that opportunity.

You need to ‘fish where the fish are’ and that’s online, where customers are searching for the parts or components they need.

Here are the steps you need to take to do so – you may have done some of them already:

1. A website containing all your product or part data – probably in the form of a searchable digital catalog or alternatively in the form of a product configurator.

2. Each part detail page or configured product needs to include visuals (pictures and/or viewable CAD models and drawings) – do you already have CAD files of all your parts/products or a configurator that generates them?

3. Build your own or choose a 3rd party CAD download solution that integrates into your website and/or configurator.

4. If you have a configurator or CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) solution choose a 3rd party CAD download solution that integrates with it.

Lastly, if you’d like our opinion on your particular situation with online CAD marketing, please call or click either button below:

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About the Author: CDS Visual

CDS Visual is helping lead the digital business revolution for industries all over the world. Whether you’re an OEM or parts distributor, we will help you convert prospects into buyers – while reducing engineering costs.

Turn ordinary CAD drawings into dynamic 3D product experiences that captivate and engage your audience.


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