Solar PV installation industry has become very competitive in the recent times. To effectively compete and grow your solar business, you need to operate a very efficient sales process, always aiming to grow your solar sales funnel.
Automation helps greatly to increase the efficiency and productivity of your sales team. If major parts of the solar sales process can be automated, your sales reps will have more time on their hand to engage with more customers and to build better relationships with them.
In the solar sales process, any repetitive and structured steps can be very effectively automated. Creating and sending a proposal is one such step which can be well automated with a solar sales proposal software.
Let’s look at the important aspects of selecting such software.
Typically, solar PV installation sales is considered as a ‘solution sales’ process. Here you present a complex and customized solution to the customer, rather than an off the shelf product.
Normally each PV solution needs to be customized as per customer’s requirements, conditions at the site, availability of grid connection, net metering policies etc. Therefore, a lot of data and documentation needs to be gathered in the solar sales process.
The final proposal is generated based on specific customer requirements, site survey data, documents (electricity bill etc.) given by the customer.
So what are the parts of a typical solar sales process that can be automated?
Typically a sales process for solar installation projects goes like this –
Steps 2-3-4 in this sales process revolve around a lot of documentation and book-keeping work. Usually a lot of time of your sales team is consumed in this menial book keeping.
But the good news is that it’s a repetitive process that can be easily automated with a workflow software.
And that automation can free up a lot of time for your sales reps. They can utilize this time to build better relationships with the customers and get more orders.
Now if we are to automate the solar sales proposal creation, let us first look at the details of that process.
The first thing we need is a standard format for our proposal. That could be in a Word Document, Google Doc or HTML file template. Once we have the template, we will just need to plug in the technical, commercial and legal details to create the final proposal.
The technical details for our proposal should ideally come from engineering design report created as part of the sales process.
But practically, preliminary engineering is not always done. Especially for small scale projects you can fill in the technical details like the capacity, load etc. based on experience from similar previous projects.
Some of the details in the proposal and most of the data required for creating the engineering design actually comes from the site survey.
The legal details of your solar PV offering are usually captured in the standard terms and conditions.
Typically there are very standard and you can have 2-3 different sets of standard terms and conditions, to be used for different types of projects.
The last thing we need is an automation workflow to pull all of this data together and plug it into the proposal template.
Otherwise we can use different forms for site survey, engineering design etc. built into your sales process. For example – create an online site survey form which can also be opened on the mobile devices. Make it mandatory for your sales engineers input all site survey details only through this form.
Similarly you can have forms for engineering design submission and even for the commercial details. Any inputs coming through a digital form are highly structured. So they can be easily plugged into our proposal template.
It becomes clear that a software to automate the sales proposals should be connected to data from all different stages of the solar sales process.
It is very important that your solar CRM software or sales proposal software is well connected to a site survey app. This site survey app should have a mobile friendly UI, so that information captured in the site survey can be easily shared by respective engineers via their mobile phones.
If you offer multiple solutions – for example, solar heater, pumps etc. along with solar PV solutions – your site survey form will change according to the product category.
Therefore, the CRM software should have configurable site survey forms that you can use for multiple product categories.
A lot of documentation, photos are gathered during the site surveys, along with customer’s information and requirements.
These documents and photos are used for creating the sales proposal. But even after the proposal submission, orders may not come right away.
Sometimes order gets delayed by months, when a customer does not readily have the budget available. In such cases, you’ll be speaking to the same customer months after doing the site survey and you will need all the documentation collected during site visit.
Therefore it is important that any CRM or solar sales proposal app, must have document management capabilities.
The documents are measurements gathered during the sales process are used by multiple stakeholders to create a final proposal for the customer.
Therefore it is important that the software used for managing the solar sales process and creating a proposal should enable easy collaboration between stakeholders.
When all the information required for proposal has been collected and documented, we will need a structure to insert all this data. This structure is provided by a sales proposal template.
This template should consist of the framework outlining the proposed solution, commercial details, terms and conditions and the official format with your logo, company details etc.
A proposal automation app, should enable you to easily create and manage these proposal templates.
If you offer products from multiple categories, you may even need to create multiple such templates.
Finally, your CRM or proposal software should create a proposal document using the technical, commercial and site survey data. The auto generated template should be editable before it is sent to the customer, just in case anything needs to be changed – for example, discounts etc.
Even after sending the first proposal, there would be some back and forth with the customer, specially with respect to the commercial details. In such cases, you’ll need to revise the proposal multiple times. It’s important that a solar sales proposal software tracks all these revisions, so you will have a record of your interaction with that customer.
Basically we need these elements to automate the solar sales proposal creation with the help of a software –
We can find all these elements in Google Drive –
We can use all these Google Drive apps as building blocks to create our solar sales proposal software.
In fact, Fuzen’s solar sales tracking solutions does exactly that to automate your sales process. It provides you a scalable yet flexible framework to digitize your sales process.
It serves you as a CRM solution that is well connected to other processes – site survey, engineering design, project execution etc.
It is even available for a free trial, so you can check out how it works and how this software can help you to automate your solar sales proposals.
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