Today’s design professionals—architects, engineers, contractors, and specifiers—are increasingly dependent on manufacturers for insights and technical know-how. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) highlights, “architects rely on manufacturers to supplement their knowledge of product categories and provide more technical information.” But as pivotal as this relationship is, there’s often a disconnect when it comes to accessing this crucial information online. Let’s explore some best practices to bridge this gap and streamline the product specification journey.
The Value of Relationships in Building Success
A relationship built on trust is a relationship built to last. This saying holds especially true in the building industry, where a strong rapport between manufacturers and design professionals can mean the difference between a project’s success or failure. According to AIA, “88 percent of architects say that building relationships with manufacturers is important to their professional success.” This underscores the need to not just offer top of the line products but also to provide value through being a resource for the design community.
Where Design Professionals Look for Information
Design professionals primarily turn to manufacturers’ websites to unearth detailed product information and documents. However, most of these platforms are not up to the task, as AIA points out: “Architects primarily use manufacturer websites to access detailed product information or documents, but most websites are not designed with this purpose in mind.” Here’s where best practices come into play:
What Design Professionals Want
Easy Access to Technical Data
To make your website truly useful for design professionals, ensure that all your technical documents like CAD, BIM, data sheets, certifications, and other product resources are easily accessible.
Implement a robust search and filtering functionality that lets users quickly locate the product specifications they are seeking.
The information should not only be accessible but also current. Regularly updating your content ensures that professionals have the latest data at their fingertips.
A Seamless Experience
Design professionals don’t just visit your website for kicks; they’re there with a purpose. AIA elaborates, “Most architects use manufacturer websites. They usually visit a website to find specific product information, and they primarily judge a website on its ability to quickly and smoothly let them find what they need.”
Layout and interface matter. Your website should facilitate a smooth browsing experience across all devices. Consider different experiences for different personas. Architects needs can be different than Contractors, for example.
Enable Comparisons and Time-Saving Tools
Features that allow design professionals to compare various products, earmark your products to their projects, and streamline submittals can help save time. Don’t make them open up multiple data sheets or brochures side-by-side on their monitors to understand how your specifications differ. Offer digital tools that allow them to get your technical data quickly into their environment for whatever project stage they are in – from research to specification, submittal or installation.
How Concora Makes It Easier
To manage and distribute your technical content efficiently, consider the value of the industry’s first purpose-built digital platform: like Concora Spec. Designed to enhance the design professional’s website experience, Concora Spec integrates seamlessly with the manufacturer’s website – usually as an extension of the Resources page. As a cost-effective subscription, Concora Spec offersIt offers manufacturers digital tools, content, and analytics/leads.
For design professionals, Concora Spec provides the ability to compare products, create smart bookmarks of your technical files by projects, and quick access to essential downloads. In essence, Concora Spec is engineered to streamline the complex task of managing and distributing technical content to make the lives of both manufacturers and design professionals easier.
The technical content you offer isn’t just a utility—it’s an asset that can help build and sustain long-term relationships with design professionals. As the AIA notes, these relationships are often critical to the success of architects, and by extension, other design professionals as well. Manufacturers can get a leg up on the competition by subscribing to a platform that is purpose-built with digital tools and content design professionals need. Let Concora show you how.