Win More Specifications Without BIM and Other Buzzwords

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Darren Lester, founder of building product research platform, SpecifiedBy, shares some of the insights from their upcoming ‘Specifier Insights Report 2017’, which looks at how to reach and influence specifiers in 2017.

When it comes to sales and marketing, there’s always a new, latest trend or buzzword. One silver bullet after another. Inevitably, they often tend to be duds.

For the construction industry, and specifically building product companies, one of those buzzwords has definitely been BIM over the last couple of years.

The promise being sold to building product companies is that by creating BIM objects, your products will be placed directly in front of relevant professionals at the time of specification, which will influence their decision making.

But is that actually true?

There’s an obvious attraction to the latest tactics and technologies – we all like the idea of something new. But often they are a distraction from what will actually have a big impact on your business.

And for most companies, there are some simple, cheap basics that can be quickly improved and driving results.

To demonstrate how important this is, we analysed the behaviour of specifiers on SpecifiedBy (which contains more than 12,000 BIM objects) and the responses gathered in our survey of almost 1,000 specifiers.

For example, when asked to name the three most important things when it comes to carrying out their building product research, specifiers named their top three as:

Technical product information (56.3%); CAD details (52.6%); Clear product descriptions (41.6%)

We got similar results when we analysed the file types which are downloaded on SpecifiedBy, broken down by percentage below:

  • Technical files (datasheets, specifications etc.) – 25.6%
  • CAD files – 24.6%
  • BIM – 24.5%
  • Images – 16.7%

So whilst there are a number of users looking for BIM content, more than 50% of downloads are simple CAD details or files containing the products technical information.

This, combined with the results from the survey, demonstrates that the demand for basic information such as technical information, datasheets, sample specifications and CAD details is still significantly higher than the demand for BIM objects.

And with something as simple as ‘Clear product descriptions’ featuring in the top 3 most important things specifiers need to carry out their product research, there are clear gains to be made by making very basic improvements.

We also asked specifiers ‘Which 3 options have the biggest impact on your decision making?’. The top three responses from specifiers here were:

Technical performance of the product (57.3%); Price (38.7%); How the product looks (31.6%)

(It’s also worth noting that ‘Brand reputation’ was next on the list, only just missing out on the top 3 with 31.1%.)

Again, no mention of BIM. Just the basics.

Whats does the product do? How much does it cost? What does it look like?

The final piece of research we carried out which supports the importance of investing resources into getting your basic product information right, was a study of the most popular products on SpecifiedBy.

We went looking for patterns which could give an indicator of what ‘good’ product information looked like.

This led us to common set of rules and a ‘Quality Score’ which seeks to link the quality of a product’s information available to how popular a product will be with specifiers (in terms of views, clicks, enquiries, file downloads etc.).

When we applied the ‘Quality Score’ to our database and analysed it against the popularity of products, we found a direct correlation.

We grouped products into ranges of popularity (0.8 – 1 being the most popular products, 0 – 0.2 being the least popular) and then calculated the average ‘Quality Score’ for each group.

This graph shows that the most popular products ( 0.8 – 1) also had the highest average ‘Quality Score’. This validated two things;

  • Products with better information are more popular
  • Our criteria for what ‘better information’ is, is accurate









‘Quality Score’ includes details of what the format of a good product name is, what a good product description contains and the importance of technical information, images and other downloadable files.


In summary, all of this points to the conclusion that there are still big opportunities and gains to be made in simply getting the basics right. Basics which cost significantly less than investing in BIM objects or other buzzwords, and based on the data available, will have a bigger impact in regards to securing more specifications.


The full ‘Specifier Insights’ report is available to pre-order here with a 49% discount before the price increases on release (26/02/17).


If you represent a building product company you can follow our Specifier Insights blog here or arrange a discussion about how SpecifiedBy works by scheduling a short online demo here.


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