May 13, 2009

Going Beyond the Basics: Sell More with Catalog Data

Catalog data extends each specific product’s identity beyond the basic transactional data fields to enhance your sales effort. Some of you know catalog data as attributed or marketing data, but regardless of the term you prefer, this is the data that can take your company to the next level of competiveness.

To truly see the value in how your data fits into the sales process, you must be familiar with the meaning and purpose of catalog data.

Basic transactional data includes the product attributes that are required to conduct basic B2B sales transactions. These include, but are not limited to: UPC, catalog number, basic invoice description, packaging and price. Catalog data goes above and beyond transactional data – it includes the attributes that differentiate the product in the eyes of trading partners as well as end users. These attributes include, but are not limited to: images, technical spec sheets, MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets), warranty information and long descriptions used for keyword searches.

Catalog data is a must for companies that need data for print catalogs, eCatalogs, website store fronts, and inside sales resources. This data expands the sales opportunity both in the store as well as electronically by enabling your customers to more easily find, recommend and purchase products.

Think about the last item that you personally purchased online. Did you view an image, read an extended description or browse for other detailed product attributes (i.e., size, color, operating instructions, etc.)? If the information you need to make a buying decision is more than a few clicks away, do you continue searching or just move on to the next product?

B2B decision makers have come to expect the same experience as online consumers (Read more in the article “Next Generation B2B eCommerce”). So how do your customers find and select your products electronically? For the electrical manufacturer, the answer is to provide all the catalog data that you have on each of your products to the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW). Distributors depend on IDW Catalog data to make smarter buying decisions and to help sell more products to end users.

The next time you provide or request IDW product data for your company don’t stop at the basics, go beyond the basics and take full advantage of all the catalog data available. This initiative will help to make your products easier to find and sell at each point of contact in the supply chain.

You can access the full list of IDW Catalog data fields in the Product Descriptor Data (PDD), NEMA # section 6.110.