Solar panels are increasingly popular across the world, with renewable energy seen as one of the best ways consumers and homeowners can make a positive impact on the environment.
For salespeople, this is a competitive market. When it comes to selling rooftop solar panels, you need every advantage possible.
Selling solar takes time. Despite the fact that the cost of solar keeps going down, according to The New York Times, getting a customer to say yes still isn’t easy.
Research from the Solar Energy Industry Association shows that the sales cycle is long, up to 8.9 months for a customer to “go solar.” Customer acquisition costs account for 10-15 percent of the cost of solar panels and installation.
Compared to cars, kitchens, or windows, the sales cycle takes longer and costs are far higher. Even compared to Enterprise-level software sales, solar panels usually take more time before a customer goes ahead.
With all of that in mind, this article looks at how virtual selling can increase sales engagement for solar energy salespeople.
Solar Panel Target Market
Selling solar panels to customers means having a clear understanding of your target market. We cover how to identify potential customers more easily in the next section, defining buyer personas.
Market research shows that the types of customers solar energy companies are likely to win are residential and either retired or old enough that their children have left home.
According to a Solar Electric Power Association survey, 52% of solar customers are one or two people households, usually a married couple. Homeowners make up the majority of residential customers.
Most have a joint household income above $100,000, with 33% in the $50,000 to $100,000 category. The majority also have a degree, and over half have a postgraduate degree, making this particular customer base highly educated, financially comfortable, and environmentally conscious.
How to make the best solar sales pitch:
- Define Solar Buyer Personas
- Implement the right Solar Marketing Strategies
- Use the right tools for Solar Marketing
- Rely on fine-tuned pitch documents
1: Define Solar Buyer Personas
If your sales campaign is struggling, it’s always worth asking, how well do you know your customers?
Residential solar sales and energy utility customer engagement rely on having clearly defined buyer personas. Get to know your customers.
Understanding what they need, and what’s going to encourage them to go solar, and crucially, make the switch to become the prosumer of sustainable energy with yourselves rather than a competitor.
Either manage this internally or work with a sales or customer research provider to understand the following to define the buyer persona of potential customers for solar:
- Who are our customers (e.g. the most profitable and quick-to-convert customers)?
- Where do they live (in the country, state, province, or county)?
- What are their household income levels?
- How big are their properties?
- Why are they concerned with solar and renewable energy?
- What makes them want to buy?
- What level of service or guarantees are they looking for?
- What are their cost motivators, what budget do they have?
- How can we encourage them to go ahead more quickly?
- Do they live near people who already have solar panels? Yale University recently published a study that shows if customers can see that other people have solar panels in their neighborhood, they are more likely to want to get them.
Collect a clear understanding of your solar panel target market. Armed with this information, your sales team, whether they are field-based or working from home, and therefore engaged with virtual selling, will be more successful.
2: Solar Marketing Strategies
When focusing on a solar panel target market, wherever you are, there needs to be a strong solar marketing strategy to support outbound and direct sales. You can’t have one without the other.
Chances are, your competitors are already going to be active through sales and marketing channels.
Solar digital marketing needs to be multi-channel, hyper-local, and effective at reaching the demographics you want to target.
When you need to increase solar energy sales, make sure marketing is focusing on potential customers with the budget. Customers who fit the target demographics, who want to buy, are interested in renewable energy, and see the benefits.
The most effective strategies use a website, social media, organic search (SEO, content), PR, and advertising (PPC, Social Ads). Depending on your budget and its effectiveness, even roll out TV, radio, and outdoor advertising, as required.
Make it so that customers already know your brand when salespeople either knock, call, or email. Brand awareness is crucial when driving virtual selling for residential solar sales forward.
Read more about SEO for solar companies.
3: Tools for Solar Energy Marketing
Solar energy sales teams need a wide range of tools to get results. Solar energy sales and marketing tools should include the following:
- A database of potential customers, alongside multi-channel solutions for reaching them:
- An email outreach solution, an automated phone dialer, direct print postal advertising, social media);
- Call recording and monitoring system, for tracking sales calls and recording them (as part of sales training)
- A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, to record every contact point from the initial outreach to confirmation and onboarding;
- In-person and virtual sales presentation and pitch documents;
- An impactful website with strong on-site and off-site SEO. Needs to be mobile-friendly. Essential for driving organic traffic and funneling solar leads you generate from PPC, online, and other forms of advertising.
- A virtual selling solution, such as CrankWheel, when it’s not possible for sales teams to meet with customers in-person. Don’t lose out on sales because you aren’t prepared to handle warm inbound leads, whether they come from advertising or organic search. It’s also a solution that sales teams can use when pitching to purchase-ready customers, who are at the “ready to buy” stage in the sales funnel.
4: Solar Sales Pitch Documents
Sales pitch documents, or presentations, are an essential part of the sales toolkit. Residential solar sales rely on visuals. Make an impact. Stand out, with a presentation/pitch document that makes customers want to buy.
Use colors that make customers think of the environment. Such as green, blue, yellow. Use images of people like themselves. With properties in the presentation that look familiar. Make them think of themselves, their home, their neighborhood. Show them how solar panels are life and environment-enhancing.
Whether your solar energy sales pitches are in-person or virtual — using software for solar sales such as CrankWheel — the presentation should make a positive impact to the sales process.
Key Takeaways for Solar Sales Pitches
- Clearly define your buyer personas: Who are they, where are they, and are they interested in renewable energy?
- Solar marketing strategies should be multi-channel and make customers in the area aware of your brand.
- Solar energy sales campaigns should be supported with a strong marketing campaign and sales tech stack.
- Solar pitch documents should make an impact. Use them to help increase conversion rates.