How a Manufacturing Company Jumpstarted Orders with Product Configuration

We partner with clients across a lot of industries – from QSR and food service to manufacturing and distribution to health medical. Company and market situations are, obviously, vastly different right now. Some clients are planning for the rehire and retraining of employees. Other organizations are attempting to keep up with the demand for essential services and front-line workers. Still, others are trying to jumpstart sales. What they have in common is wanting to know what other companies in their industry are doing, and what’s working.

The takeaway

We all have to be data companies.

Even more so now. And we’re seeing the most successful organizations experimenting, measuring, and collaborating with their customers. Not waiting for the New Normal. 

We’re working with a global manufacturing company whose sales and technicians are unable to meet face-to-face with contractors and factory managers who need their products to manufacture other products. Historically, those in-person meetings were important in order to inspect the building, spec out heat management systems, and to make sure that the contractor was choosing a solution that didn’t result in facility overheating and equipment shut down. Or worse.

With a global pandemic afoot, their competitors are waiting to see what will happen, what the New Normal will look like. This company made the strategic decision to launch an online configuration tool that allows its customers to specify products from a key product line – without a salesperson or a technician physically on site. 

New Normal Supply Chain

The tool requires thermal input information including power input, heat load, dimensions, and mounting location. Information that previously was gathered in person. With the launch of the product configuration tool, they looked to double-down on shifting how the industry traditionally gathered information and configured products in the field, empowering the techs and their customers. There is some control that the company and the salesperson give up, letting prospects and customers spec out their own products, but with proper analytics and newly aligned processes, they are able to adapt to the current situation. 

What the Data Says

Here is what we’ve seen:

  • 79% of the visitors to the tool have interacted with it, with only a 21% bounce rate.
  • 62% of those people completed all the fields (over 10 inputs) to inform product recommendations.
  • 81% of the people who completed the calculations reviewed the recommended products.
  • Those product recommendations provide enough information for them to call a distributor or a sales representative to place an order.
  • 11%  saved their selections for download as .pdf or .csv, or for sharing via email.

Experiment, Measure, Evolve

G2 called the “world’s largest tech marketplace” with over a million visitors a month, saw a 75% increase in traffic to pricing software, and a 22% increase in traffic to CPQ (Configure Price Quote)  software between early March and late April of this year. 

“Companies are looking for a new level of support for intelligently pricing their products in a time that may require more flexibility or creativity than they would during a standard sales cycle.” That’s what we’re seeing, too. And where we see the opportunity for companies to engage with prospects and customers and to transform those interactions into revenue. At a time when so much has slowed down or is on pause. 

We all have to be data companies. Even more so now. And we’re seeing the most successful organizations, like the thermal manufacturing company highlighted here, experimenting and measuring, and collaborating with their customers. Not waiting for the New Normal. 

There’s a lot of speculation about what the New Normal will look like. And a lot of discussion about what’s effective now in this remote working and remote selling landscape (while we’re waiting for a New Normal to get here). Plenty of postulations, predictions, and promises.

But most of us want detailed examples of what will work,  what is working, and the data to back it all up. Proof of the effectiveness of any given strategy or tactic. A playbook, or at least the beginning of one.

In VUCA parlance, we’re looking for Vision to tackle Volatility, Understanding to mitigate Uncertainty, Courage to wade into Complexity, and Adaptability to weather Ambiguity.  As Bill George wrote, “If ever there were a need for leaders to be flexible in adapting to this rapidly changing environment, this is it. Long-range plans are often obsolete by the time they are approved. Instead, flexible tactics are required for rapid adaptation to changing external circumstances, without altering the strategic course.”