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Lessons that the B2B SaaS industry can learn from 3D Printing

We recently had a great conversation with Kris Meulemans, the head of PreSales and Customer Service at Materialise. They’re creating the leading 3D printing and additive manufacturing software in the industry, working with customers like Nissan, Tupperware, and Samsonite. Here’s what we learned about what the B2B SaaS industry can learn from 3D printing – you’ll probably be surprised!

Let’s be real – at first glance, these two industries couldn’t seem further apart. But just as working with 3D printing can help customers reduce their time-to-value, deliver more relevant and compelling pitches, and reduce friction in the sales process, there’s a way for B2B SaaS businesses to do the same. 

Materialise helps manufacturers and medical device companies create actual usable prototypes by creating and printing 3D models. These models let people get the look and feel of something they want to try out without actually building it, which is super expensive. Plus it takes a lot of time. The 3D printed model lets them see how an idea would actually work, and if it’s worth developing and building on a larger scale. It’s almost like a digital twin that’s easier to work with. The software Materialise makes even lets customers simulate printing the results, so even without ever sending a part to a 3d printer, customers get a real feel for the potential results. 

This reduces cost and friction for manufacturers, and lets them show an actual workable product of a high quality to prospects without committing to a big build. 

And guess what? That same principle applies to B2B SaaS software demos. 

Setting up a full free trial takes hours to coordinate all your systems, upload your data, and more. And without a free trial, prospects are committing to a big spend without knowing if your product will actually work for them and provide real value. 

What’s the equivalent of the 3D printed model to show value and reduce friction? It’s Reprise – we create a little taster tour – a preview, if you will – for your prospects. They can see exactly how your product works in real life without committing to a complicated free trial right upfront or paying you right away. 

It gives a tantalizing taste of what you do – and then those prospects can choose to work with your sales team to use the full product if they like what they see. This taster can live on your website, in your emails you send to prospects, or anywhere else you think it would help you sell. 

These low-commitment but high-quality try-before-you-buy options – both 3D printed models and Reprise product tours – do three great things. 

  • Reduce your costs to try out a concept with a prospect. No pricey trials, no big product builds – just a fast, easy test run. 
  • Reduces buyer friction. Instead of explaining and convincing a prospect that your product is really as good as you claim, you can just hand them a printed model or email them a clickable demo to prove your point. 
  • Reduces mismatch mistakes. Sometimes an idea just doesn’t work out – finding that out before you commit to a big product production or sign a contract makes both sides happier. No danger of miscommunication between an eager sales rep and a confused client when an easy test run is happening. 

Lessons learned in unlikely places – we love it. The B2B SaaS industry certainly has lots of room to learn as we all grow and evolve. 

Our biggest takeaway from this whole conversation, though? 

Reprise is like the 3D printer for your software demo.

Want to see for yourself? (Hey that’s what we’re all about, after all.) Check it out on Troops.ai – they’re a great example. 

Photo by Kadir Celep on Unsplash