The last decade has seen exponential growth and added complexity for the global electronics industry. The pace of technological innovation has only fueled the number of design cycles and the demand for both semiconductors and components. All of this growth and development has put additional pressure on sales teams to secure deals as early into the design cycle as possible.
These challenges become even larger obstacles when we consider the disconnected nature of these processes. While the industry at large has made significant steps forward, the way we market and sell to the broader engineering and design market has yet to achieve this level of transformation, and it’s putting both manufacturers and distributors at a distinct disadvantage. Join us as we look at five key elements of a digital customer engagement solution that addresses these obstacles head-on.
5 Ways to Transform Customer Engagement in The New Normal
In many ways the go-to-market strategies of component suppliers and distributors is woefully outdated. Sales and marketing leaders regularly observe that customer engagement has not significantly changed since the 1980s.
Taking into account the events of 2020, the shift towards online engagement is undeniable. In-office meetings and annual trade shows were cancelled overnight. Sales teams moved to a virtual model, and marketing campaigns needed to be retargeted. Meanwhile, new surges of demand from market segments like consumer electronics and automobiles are placing additional pressure on suppliers and distributors to scale their digital engagement and gain new visibility into buyer preferences and intent within the design-to-manufacture process.
A change is in order, but merely embracing a digital approach is not enough. Instead, a truly transformed customer engagement model that unifies sales and marketing across the entire buyer journey must be adopted.
1. Expanded Market Coverage
Actionable data, from a market perspective, and more specifically from user engagement, demand, and intent, allows for intelligent marketing campaigns beyond the scope of the organization’s typical reach.
Customer engagement in our digital-focused world requires that marketing strategies reach their audiences where they are. Armed with demand and intent data, advertising teams can craft relevant and targeted advertising for syndication across third-party platforms where engineers and commodity managers are conducting research into potential parts.
By engaging with designers and engineers during the inception of their research activities, distributors and suppliers reach their audience earlier in the design cycle than ever before, giving them an opportunity to utilize all of the aforementioned capabilities in their sales efforts.
2. Enhancing Technical Content and Syndication
Engineers and designers require specific assets to properly implement and evaluate parts in their designs. Things like PCB footprints, schematics, and 3D models are crucial as tools to use within an electronic computer-aided design (ECAD) platform. Many suppliers and distributors provide these in the form of a PDF download that requires manual effort from the designer to translate the specifications into their platform.
This is time that could have been spent on actual design and iteration, which reveals an excellent starting point for engagement with the engineering and electronics design audience. Providing readily usable models, schematics, and footprints for use in ECAD software presents a competitive and value-added edge for a specific component manufacturer’s offerings. Offering such assets also creates the potential for new streams of data that provide key insights into the design cycle early on in the process. This brings us to our next capability.
3. Intelligence-based targeting
Engineers and commodity managers make the majority of their buying decisions before they ever visit a supplier website. During this phase of research and iteration, suppliers have zero visibility into design cycles and are unable to influence decision-making as a result. In most cases, this kind of visibility doesn’t begin until the Request For Quote (RFQ) arrives, and at that point it’s nigh-impossible to provide a differentiated experience or alternate solutions.
Looking back on our design assets, the opportunity to capture activity and interest towards specific parts or product categories in real-time provides the basis for a much more targeted sales and marketing approach.
4. Streamlined Customer Response
When an RFQ arrives, many sales teams spend days crafting a response, utilizing catalog systems that are slow and disconnected from real-time intelligence or insight.
Furthermore, issues with validation of part numbers and suggesting alternatives in the event that certain items are unavailable only serve to further delay the response. Without the aid of speed and accuracy on their side, sales teams are unable to position themselves as a trusted supplier with their customers.
Quickly receiving, processing, and responding to quotes with both accuracy and an eye for competitive opportunities directly translates to higher margins, customer loyalty, and more sales overall.
5. Profitable and Competitive Pricing
The lack of visibility or data in this process also prevents the potential for profitable and competitive decision making during the quote response process. In the face of these issues and lack of insights, the benefit of a streamlined, frictionless sales process is clear.
Quote response should account for factors like historical pricing and the customer’s prior activity to ensure their expectations are met and exceeded.
Furthermore, bringing widespread market intelligence from both an internal and external perspective provides the basis for smarter quote response, and the opportunity to present more favorable alternatives thanks to a deeper understanding of the customer’s needs and the potential risks associated with each line item – helping you build loyalty and become the supplier of choice.
Tomorrow’s Digital Customer Engagement Today
These capabilities are the future of customer engagement in 2021 and beyond, but they are not out of reach for organizations. Supplyframe’s Design-to-Source Intelligence (DSI) solutions provide these capabilities across our cutting-edge offerings.
Supplyframe’s DSI Solutions provide the basis for a digital transformation that brings the possibilities of future customer engagement into the present. We are reimagining customer engagement through smarter solutions, powered by Design-to-Source Intelligence. Contact us to learn more today.