There was no doubt about it. The sales personnel at the engineering company had done a tremendous job raising its profile and increasing sales. They had worked hard visiting numerous trade shows, introducing the company’s products to hundreds of new customers and winning new orders hand over fist.
But as profitable as the company had become, its management realised that its online presence was sorely lacking. Although they had a rudimentary website that briefly outlined the history of the company, the products that it offered and its whereabouts, the management felt that they could be doing much more to take advantage of the power of the world wide web.
So they duly called in an outside agency to make some suggestions as to what might be done to redevelop their website to increase the visibility of the company in the global marketplace to ensure that its message would reach a wider audience.
After a series of highly productive meetings, the website developers went back to their computers to create what they knew would bring the small engineering company into the big time on the internet. And several months later, when they returned, the management of the company were delighted with the result.
Not only had the software engineers created a new 21st century image for the company, they had filled the website with a lot more data that the company’s customers could now view online. Not only were there data sheets of all the company’s products in PDF format, there were even 3D CAD models that customers could download so that they could virtually integrate them into their own products to try them out for form, fit and function prior to purchase.
As if that wasn’t enough, the website developers had also built in a sophisticated online system that the company’s customers could use to order any of the company’s products. Simply by entering their account or credit card details, they could be assured that they would receive the company’s products by express delivery the very next day.
The new website was well received in the marketplace. Customers old and new found the new functionality made their lives a lot easier. And for a while, it appeared that the company and all of its employees would reap the financial rewards of the new internet endeavour.
Sadly, however, the new online ordering system became so popular that the company’s sales force saw the new electronic system start to eat into their own commission, as month by month, an increasing number of the company’s existing customer base migrated to the commission-free ordering system, rather than place their orders through the sales representatives.
Disenchanted by their ever-diminishing pay checks, the sales folks slowly left the company and were not replaced. While the management recognised the important role that they had made in establishing the success of the company in its early years, it appeared that their services were not longer required in the internet age.
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