For Digi-Key, which derives all its sales through its websites, the addition of a local technical sales support reflects the growing importance of the distributor’s design and development tool sales.
The distributor has partnered with Mentor Graphics to offer entry-level professional-grade PCB design tools. It also has a number of design and component sourcing tools which are free to users.
“Two years ago I was Digi-Key’s first sales support representative in the UK and now we have recruited a third member of the local team with a greater engineering focus and part of this is to support the design tools,” said Ian Wallace Digi-Key’s regional sales director.
The distributor first added local sales staff in UK and in other parts of Europe to support a new area of business. This was the supply of components to manufacturers for small order production.
The sales team identifies those customers which want to up-scale their business with the distributor from buying small orders of components for design to production purchasing.
“This is not a direct sales effort by me and the team,” said Wallace. “We still find that customers don’t want account management with a salesman. The web is still the sales tool.”
Wallace believes that buying through the website works for procurement as it does for design.
“Engineers don’t need hand-holding, I see our role as facilitators and not pushing products at them,” said Wallace.
Wallace said the distributor has seen its small order production order business coming from sectors such as aerospace, medical and F1 racing teams.
“The attraction to these customers is that we offer the speed of the online sales with component traceability through manufacturers’ certificates of conformance and data codes,” said Wallace
Digi- Key has sales staff working in Germany who can support the business if UK customers wish to use an EMS in Eastern Europe.
“We have seen a big change in the local business in the last two years and we find the web is still evolving as a channel to market,” said Wallace.
Digi-Key has seen its sales in the UK growth by 48% in the last two years.