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How Product CAD Models can Radically Impact Manufacturing Sales

By Kuno CreativeJun 3, 2015

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As an industrial supplier (manufacturer or distributor) are you experiencing any of these three new realities?

  1. The sales process has changed dramatically in the last few years and not in a way that has made it easier for your sales people to get in front of prospects! Prospects ignore sales people, so selling the old way is dying out.
  2. The marketing process has changed dramatically, too. Prospects ignore ads and they research solutions themselves online, so marketing the old way is dying out.
  3. Content Marketing is supposed to be the new panacea, but it’s not yet working well enough for you.

Are you? If so, here’s the fix!

Sales and Marketing need to work together using content that truly helps prospects do their jobs better.

Fortunately, in the manufacturing sector, there is a unique type of content that achieves this right at the top of the prospect funnel and generates leads that convert to sales at rates of up to 50 percent! 

It’s called ‘Product CAD models’—3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) models of your products are made available for download from the part detail pages of your website.

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Question: When you download a CAD model of a supplier's part, how often does the physical part get purchased?

Here’s the user scenario: A designer working in their CAD system is designing a new product for her company – for example, a new type of gearbox. For that gearbox, she needs many parts (e.g. gears, bearings, springs, shafts, connectors, seals and many more parts), most of which will be existing components available from component suppliers. If possible, she saves time and cost by using purchasable ‘standard’ components rather than custom build every component of a new design. She searches online for those components. If she finds your component, she can download it right into her CAD design instead of redrawing it. The saved time makes her more productive. From your point of view, your product just got ‘designed-in’ (inclusive of its part number) so that if and when the parts are sourced, your product will be ordered.

Who should use CAD models in their content marketing? 

All business to business (B2B) industrial suppliers who sell components (gears, bearings, fasteners, etc.) or engineered products (motors, gearboxes, etc.) to designers of other products should consider CAD models.

What benefits should you expect?

Industrial part and component suppliers obviously need to keep up with the changed product selection and buying process. They also need alignment of sales and marketing teams in shared content marketing. CAD models as a type of content helps achieve both.

1. From a marketing point of view, these are achieved by presenting products on your website with good search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure they are found. The new buying process is turned to your advantage by symbiotically helping customers and yourselves. Adding viewable and downloadable CAD models on product detail pages is valuable and highly relevant both for suppliers and their designer customers.

  • For suppliers the high value and relevancy is having their products selected rather than competitors’, then ‘designed in’ and purchased. On average, purchases occur 50 percent of the time a CAD model is downloaded. 
  • For their customers the high value is the saved time and increased productivity from downloading CAD models instead of drawing them from scratch. The high relevance is that the right part is selected and an accurate CAD model and other part details (e.g. part number) are ‘designed in.’

2. From a sales point of view, you’ve reached the real decision maker, the design engineer. More than three out of four (77 percent) of design engineers rate CAD models essential, very important or important when selecting a supplier. CAD model downloads can generate low-cost, high-quality sales leads by requiring email registration prior to download.

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Question: When selecting a supplier, how important is it that the supplier offers downloadable CAD models of their parts?

For one national distributor these leads cost ~90 percent less, convert faster and convert in higher proportion than traditional marketing sales leads. Download of a CAD model is also a sales trigger event, alerting you to the start of a new design that could be using one of your products. Immediate lead distribution to your sales team enables timely and astute follow up to help prospects and even expand the sales opportunity.

3. Other likely benefits include:

  • Obtaining a competitive advantage – offer CAD downloads before your competitors do!
  • Lower costs—replace technical sales requests for CAD models with automated self-help downloads.
  • Enhance your distribution channel—enable all these benefits within your distribution and OEM channel partners.
  • Once you have CAD models of your products, you can syndicate them like other content types across the web. For example, see how many suppliers are found online at CAD model search engines like 3DModelSpace.com.

If you’re interested in how to add CAD models as a content type and how to generate leads with them, check out ‘The complete A-Z Guide to CAD Model Downloads for Industrial Supplier Marketing’ infographic.

As John Winkler, CEO J.W. Winco put it:

“The ROI has been tremendous, saving us literally thousands of dollars when calculating the time and effort we save! Sales lead generation from CAD models already far exceed that from our traditional marketing (paper catalogs, advertising, trade shows etc.)."

That’s how product CAD models can radically impact manufacturing sector sales!


Jeff Drust helps startup and expansion stage companies accelerate their growth as a Consultant, Interim Exec or Board Member. CDS is one of his current clients.


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Kuno Creative

Kuno Creative is more than an inbound marketing agency. We blend the best of inbound marketing with demand generation to achieve long-term growth with swift marketing results.
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