Tips for solar lead management & sales

In a competitive business like solar EPC, lowering your customer acquisition costs is a key factor to achieve profitability. From that perspective, generation and management of leads is of great importance for a solar PV installation business.

Lead generation

Here are a few practically effective lead generation channels for solar installation sales.

  1. Email Marketing – Very useful for B2B solar lead generation; in case of B2C it will help your brand awareness and online following.
  2. Yellow pages and business listings – Platforms like Google Maps, Google My Business make it easier for prospects to find you and contact you. List your business in local yellow pages or trade portals like Indiamart or JustDial etc.
  3. Social media promotions – Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube pages / channels to build organic reach for your brand. Over time, this becomes a very cost effective channel to reach your potential customers.
  4. Online ads – Use Google and Facebook ads if you are into B2C solar installation business. Target the potential customers in your area with geotargeting options. LinkedIn ads are more effective for B2B lead generation.
  5. Content marketing, SEO – This is arguably the most cost effective lead generation channel in the long run. But initially you need to invest a lot of time and have patience.
  6. Offline lead generation – Trade shows and partnerships with local contractors, will help you with offline lead generation for solar projects.

Sales in a solar installation business are a product of lead generation and effective lead management. Now let’s take a look at how efficient lead management can actually help you to grow the sales of your solar business.

Solar lead management

When you want to grow your solar installation business, simply investing in lead generation is not enough. You should also ensure that those leads are effectively managed and converted to paying customers.

These lead management tips will help you with that –

Lead management plan

Even before you make any investment in SEO, social media or online ads for solar lead generation, you need to have a well thought out plan about how you are going to manage those leads.

In case of solar lead management, you need to answer following questions –

  1. Who is the target customer, how much budget he is likely to have?
  2. Based on the average ticket size, how long will the average sales cycle be?
  3. How many meetings will be needed on average, before getting an order?
  4. Based on the average sales cycle and number of meetings, how many sales people will be needed? How skilled / qualified / experienced should they be?
  5. How to screen useful leads, so as to not waste much time of sales people?
  6. What channels to use for lead screening, engagement, nurturing, follow ups etc?

Before you start spending marketing dollars to acquire new leads, you need to be absolutely sure that you are ready to convert those leads to sales. Because all of those leads will have a very limited time window for conversion. If you fail to convert in that short window of time, your marketing spend will be wasted.

Qualify your leads

This is a very important part of the lead management process. Your sales and marketing team has limited time on their hand. You would want most of their time to be spent with leads who are serious and not just curious.

Therefore you need to screen your leads in the beginning and then engage with only those leads who have shown a purchase intention in the next 1-2 months.

Ask them about –

  1. How much budget they have provisioned for this solar project.
  2. If they have thought about what installation capacity they need.
  3. If they have allocated an area for the installation.
qualification checklist for solar lead management

Even if they don’t have exact answers to these questions, the way they answer will still tell you if they have given a serious thought to these questions.

Warm up your leads

Based on your screening process, you can decide how serious is the buying intent and urgency for each of your leads.

The ‘red hot’ leads who are ready to buy can be straight away handed over to the sales people for – site survey, preliminary engineering and proposal.

But there would be many other leads, who are not quite as ready to buy. They still need some more information, some more time to think. These are ‘lukewarm’ leads need to be nurtured and taken to the ‘red hot’ stage before sales people can start talking to them.

Use the following lead nurturing methods to educate and convince your potential customers about the value and benefits of solar PV installation –

  1. Add them to your weekly / monthly email newsletter. Send them customer case studies, recent project news, testimonials from happy customers.
  2. Invite them to join your social media pages, Youtube channel.
  3. If they visit your website a few times in a week, use Google / Facebook remarketing ads to nudge them over the edge and make the buying decision.
  4. Whenever they interact with either your sales team or your website, make it a point to note down their questions. Then you can send them relevant marketing material to help them overcome their doubts or reservations.
lead nurturing cycle

Each new lead comes at a cost. While your sales team should only focus on the serious ‘HOT’ leads, you don’t need to ignore the remaining ones. They just need a little warming up to bring them to the ‘HOT’ stage where they are ready to buy from you.

Lead scoring workflow

By now we know all leads are not the same. Each of them is at a different stage in the buying process. The colder or warm leads need more time and nurturing before they are ready to buy. Whereas the hot lead deserve most of the attention of your sales team.

It then becomes clear that we need an effective system to score each lead, to determine whether they are COLD, WARM or HOT.

It is recommended to create a workflow for regularly scoring your leads on the most recent interactions like – phone conversation, website visit, reply to email etc.

Your sales and marketing teams are going to jointly work on the lead scoring and subsequent lead management. That’s why they need to be on the same page with this lead scoring system.

How effectively you score your leads will directly influence how your sales team responds to them and how effectively they can convert them to sales.

Measure, learn and improve

No matter how effective or efficient you think your sales process is, there is always going to be some room for improvement.

So your goal should always be to measure the performance of your solar sales funnel, for different types of leads. Use the data to analyze the gaps and opportunities for improvement.

Then make the necessary changes to your lead management process, keeping your sales and marketing teams in the loop.

Then measure, analyze and repeat again.

Even incremental improvements to your lead management process will compound over time to make your solar sales process substantially more effective and your solar business more competitive over time.

Use automation for lead management

When your lead generation, nurturing, sales and marketing processes are decently stabilized, you can use automation to make them even more productive.

Automation will help you to reduce manual efforts of your sales team, allowing them to spend more time with customers. Automated workflows will also ensure that all procedures are followed 100% of the time – making it easier to implement lead management processes.

Here are some examples of automation for solar lead management –

  1. Add a ‘customer readiness checklist’ to your solar site survey app. Ask questions about budget provision etc. to gauge the readiness of the customer. Connect the site survey app directly to your solar CRM software where the lead can be assigned a score based on his answers.
  2. When you have a bunch of cold leads, use a drip email marketing workflow to send them a sequence of emails based on their current lead score, their past questions and their recent interactions with the sales team or your website.
  3. If you use emails, spreadsheets and folders to manage the sales and marketing related data, connect all of these tools with a workflow to measure sales related activities. Over time, you can use this data to analyze the productivity and improve your lead management process. Fuzen.io offers many such automation workflows to improve your sales and marketing processes.
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