Avoiding Benchmark Bottlenecks

Updated: Feb 6, 2021

There’s a fundamental truth when selling additive manufacturing technology: “Customers don’t acquire 3D printers; they buy the parts they can produce.” Since the benchmark is such a vital component of your success, how you present this validation portion of the process to the buyer is crucial. As you may know, many benchmark parts print as expected on the first try. Occasionally, however, they do not. This holds true, particularly when introducing a new geometry to a system for the first time. It is not uncommon for a new project to require more than one attempt to “dial-in” the most optimal build strategy before satisfying customer expectations. The good news is that once the optimal part orientation and build parameters are established, this success can be repeated for future builds.

To avoid frustrating your prospect and creating costly bottlenecks for your applications team, you must set clear expectations with the potential buyer from the very beginning. To accomplish this, you must first communicate with your AE, prior to making any commitments to the customer. With metal printing, it is not uncommon for the benchmarking queue to be 60 days or longer, especially during the last month of a sales quarter. This “limited capacity” messaging should be leveraged as an effective tool to accurately prioritize the strongest opportunities, as well as protect your AE’s time. Here is how I communicate this to the prospect:

“Dear Mr. Prospect,

Now that we have successfully completed the Time & Cost Study, we can move to the proof-of-concept segment of our validation process. Please keep in mind that our applications team is currently backlogged with several months of benchmarks, mostly representing potential buyers like yourself. However, if you are interested and capable of making a purchase within the next 90-days, I will request that you be advanced in the queue. If your timeline is further out, we have a sample part that can provide a fair representation of your project and can be loaned to your company for internal evaluation. We are confident that this part can adequately demonstrate the features, tolerances, and properties that are important to your team. With that said, how would you like to proceed?


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