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3D Printing Companies & VARs - Adapt or Stay Behind

Updated: May 10, 2020

We are facing new and challenging times that requires to re-examine pre-covid-19 sales business models and strategies. How should 3D printing companies and resellers adjust themselves to stay competitive?

Go-to-market and sales strategies are one of the most important topics each 3D printing company and reseller should re-examine in times like these. In a trade show-less business environment and much less traveling possible, there is a need to generate new leads, manage sales processes efficiently, and finally deliver and support their products. Which steps they should take to stay efficient and competitive? Let’s examine companies that offer solutions in three different categories:

3D software solutions

The main challenge of 3D software companies would be to find new prospects for their products. This is due to the fact that in most cases, the evaluation and sales process are done anyhow remotely - preforming demos, Q&A, ROI calculation and even trail period.

In few cases when a complex solution is involved it may requires heavy integration into existing systems. Therefor, the installation, training and after sale support might still require onsite support. So in this case, Software companies should be able to find the right steps to promote, sell and support their products with minimum physical presence on customers sites. Finding the right prospects will be the number one challenge.

Low-cost 3D printers

By nature, most of the lead generation activities for affordable 3D printers are done already online. In some case, prospects will buy a new 3D printer without examining

printed samples or seeing the printer (buying a second printer from the same type,

purchasing a well-known brand ect). However, is some cases the prospects would like to examine printed parts to do their own testing, and or seeing the printer in action. Another option - if possible - test it for a period of time.

So in the case, promoting and selling affordable 3D printing solutions can be done online, when the rest of the steps includes also logistics aspects.

Mid and high-range 3D printers

In this case, the challenges are more complicated throughout the process. From generating leads of more expensive products, qualifying them, printing benchmarks, performing live demos, all the way to installation, training and after sale support.

Even if some of the first steps could be done remotely, the rest like installation might require onsite support by the manufacturer or sales partner. Companies that are selling heavy equipment will have to set efficient processes to manage the whole sale and after sale activities. Nothing in this case is impossible but would include more steps that will need to be clearly define, including all the health aspects around the physical presence of technical teams at the customer site.

Adopting an online strategy

In general, we can assume that the coming weeks and months will be challenging for companies and resellers to promote, sell and supports their products. Potential customers in each industry will have to prove to their organizations that purchasing a 3D printer is essential, and can help to reduce costs, shorten product delivery time, lower labor costs, and in general to present an compelling ROI.

As for adjusting strategies and staying competitive, here are few points to consider:

1. Re-examine the potential in the industries you are selling into.

2. Set a wider online lead generation marketing plan.

3. Define clear processes for remote lead qualification and engagement.

4. Set the right methodology for preforming hardware demos remotely.

5. Find the right tools for enabling remote systems installation and training.

The bottom line is clear - for the foreseeable future companies must adopt an online/remote strategy to keep their business running. What used to work in the past might not work in the new business environment we live in, until it will go back to normal.

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