Do You Know the Key to Increasing Your Solar Sales?
I spent about seven years of my career focused on selling as a solar consultant for one of the biggest companies out there. I had a blast doing it, but if I’m being honest, it definitely didn’t come without its challenges.
Like many other verticals, selling within the solar industry can be a rewarding and profitable market. In fact, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a new solar installation was completed every 84 seconds in 2016. But the solar industry can also be cumbersome, with a tricky sales process that, with one missing piece, could result in a killed deal. It normally works like this:
Jane has decided that she wants to transition her home to solar energy and closes a deal with a solar sales rep. The sales rep then gets in touch with a site tech, who goes to Jane’s house to take measurements, analyze the roof, etc. After giving the ok, he then sends that information to a project coordinator who looks over all of the information and ensures that he has data like usage, utility bills, etc. Once this has been approved, the project coordinator’s information then either gets stored for install or gets sent to another coordinator in charge of obtaining building permits. Once the permit is approved, the deal goes to a scheduler/installer in order to get the job completed. After the job is installed, an inspector goes out to Jane’s house to ensure the job is up to code. Finally, the utility company then goes out to Jane’s house to turn on the system.
Whew… quite the journey of information hand-offs, right? What makes this even more complex is that, with even the smallest missing piece of information in a typical scenario like above (ex: a missing utility bill, an incorrectly scheduled site tech visit, etc.), installation time is likely to not only increase, it can end up leading to a cancelled sale altogether. What’s more, in my experience, about 50% of the deals that get sold don’t actually end up getting installed. This is in an industry where you only get paid upon installation.
One of the biggest problems is that, right now, most of this is being done through email and text messaging— two of the easiest ways for communication to become disjointed, messy and for things to fall through the cracks. Keep in mind, with so many moving parts when it comes to solar, it can take 9 – 12 months to get something sold and installed, sometimes even longer (or not at all) with a missed communication. For solar companies this can mean less money and a lot more hassle.
The good news? With the advent of all-in-one solutions, these messy processes are beginning to change. Many solar companies are beginning to see that there’s a better, more efficient way to do things. This is coming in the form of apps that not only help to minimize the risk of losing a job due to a lack of communication, but that also keep interactions, documents, scheduling and more, in one place.
With this type of software, the scenario above becomes more aligned and far more transparent. The right kind of solution will allow solar companies to add stakeholders (whether they’re internal or external) into one place— the same place where necessary documents, contracts, scheduled tasks, timelines of workflows, invoices, etc. are stored. Along with a business messaging and video conferencing component, clients are then able to ask questions, discuss concerns and schedule times that work at their convenience. This is all within a channel that’s well documented and without having to jump between apps and text messaging to get the job done.
Although there are some solar companies that are resistant to change, the ones that are leveraging newer and more unified forms of communication are the ones that will reap the benefits of true collaboration. And with the likelihood of creating improved customer service, increasing referrals and decreasing the risk of unpaid jobs, it’s never been a better time to consider a better way of making the sale.