Top Marketing Strategies to Help Your Solar Sales Team to Succeed
An Introduction to Solar Marketing
With more and more solar companies hitting the market, it has become more important than ever for businesses to amp up their marketing and sales so as to gain a competitive advantage. But this is no easy feat; solar companies of varying sizes, right from large, global conglomerates to recent start-ups have all made their arrival. So in order for a company to ensure that they are the preferred choice for anything ‘solar’, choosing the right target segment, establishing a differentiation factor and effective marketing messaging, is key. The thing is, there is no dearth of potential customers; but identifying them is the tricky part. To be honest, most people are vaguely aware of the merits of embracing solar energy. It’s great for the environment, helps save money in the long run and when done right, requires a moderate investment. But in spite of this awareness, most of them are just complacent when it comes to adopting it. Even for well established solar businesses with a good reputation in the market, new sales are still a much dreaded hurdle. This is where a well-thought out marketing strategy helps deliver the much required nudge in the right direction.
Harness These Strategies to Ensure Marketing Success
Having understood how crucial marketing is in converting leads into customers, here are some strategies that will help businesses maximize their marketing ROI.
Educate your potential customer
Before consumers invest in a product, they wish to garner as much knowledge about it as possible. Some of the avenues through which this is done is by talking to other users of the product, reading up on the product on the internet or talking to industry experts. While this is crucial step that can either make or break a consumer’s mind, marketing functions often do not acknowledge it. Especially when it comes to solar, education is a much desired proponent for successful business. Most potential customers seek to embrace solar as a solution to high utility bills, fluctuating fuel costs, and in a bid to be more eco-friendly. So when a sales team approaches them, it is crucial that they answer as many of the customer’s queries as required. An education-based strategy helps establish trust between the consumer and the solar company, in turn resulting in business conversion.
Leverage the value of the product before quoting the price
Here’s a fatal mistake most marketing teams make – thinking that consumers are looking for the cheapest solar solution in the market whereas in reality, most consumers are looking at the most capable one. It is true that pricing is an important factor. However, it is only an attraction if the value proposition of a product has already been established. While competition is fierce in the solar industry, it is futile to only compete on price. Instead, a better strategy for marketing teams would be to project the value their product can add to the consumer’s daily life or business. Focus on showing your customers that your price may not be the lowest, but your product’s value is definitely among the highest. But how does one do this? Well, talk about the technical aspects of the solar services your company offers, and how highly trained your resources are. Providing testimonials and reviews from your existing customers will also help consumers choose you over your competition.
Establish brand differentiation
When it comes to solar solutions, the biggest hurdle is establishing a marginal difference between one product and the other. Here’s why, unlike fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel which vary in terms of octane grades, solar energy itself does not have varying quality; In that sense, all clean electrons are the same. With this being the case, how does a company differentiate its solar product from its competitors’ in the market? Here’s how; Even if the solar power itself does not vary in terms of quality, the machinery through which it is processed, varies vastly in terms of durability, capability and efficiency. Sales associates must focus on these aspects when promoting their products. For example, the quality of the solar panels can be furnished and so can the total solar savings consumers can expect to have with the help of the solar product. How durable they are and what their recorded performance metrics have been, will give consumers an idea of whether or not your product is better than the others in the market. EPC players who do not manufacture anything, need to differentiate in the way they sell, service quality, response to customers, etc. to create a brand in the already crowded market. Along with knowing one’s own product, it is also beneficial for marketing personnel to know the strengths and weaknesses of competitor products. This helps them effectively drive their differentiator strategy.
Make your pitch customer-specific
Essentially, good marketing must begin with market understanding. And the first node of market understanding is the customer. Understanding what gaps your customer is hoping to fill with the help of solar, is what should drive your marketing strategy. When marketing and sales teams fail to tap into the customer’s pain points and blindly harp on about the product, they are just exasperating the customer. Solar products, just like most other products in the market, are a solution; which means, there is a problem that they are meant to solve. This should be the start of the sales pitch for any company worth its salt. As discussed earlier, the main pain points that customers looking to invest in solar solutions are looking to address involve utility bills, the ever-changing fuel costs and overall environment impact. Now, every customer’s reason for solar adoption are different. If customer A is looking at reducing his utility bills, talking to him about how your solar product is eco-friendly, is of no consequence. So case in point – tailor your marketing strategy according to your customer’s needs. And if you are not clear about a customer’s primary interest in solar, it is always better to ask.
Feed your marketing funnel
At a primary level sales is predominantly a numbers game. Hence in order to ensure that more customers are garnered, it is always wise to start with more leads. Have a long list of potential customers also motivates the sales team and ensures confident performance. While many solar companies today spend copious amounts of money on advertising, certain companies have come to realize that there are more benefits to investing the money in lead generation instead. While both are important for business, lead generation today is getting more precedence. Some channels through which leads can be generated are Word-of-Mouth referrals, Investing in popular lead-generation websites specializing in solar, co-marketing with complementary businesses, as well as sponsorships of community events, sports teams, schools, etc.
Tell them why you need to invest in solar NOW
As we discussed earlier, although there is no dearth of potential customers for solar, complacency in immediate adoption is rife. Hence, a marketing strategy that focuses on why NOW is the best time to invest in solar, is much required to ensure conversions. In order to further pique the customer’s interest, it is a good idea to offer limited period discounts and added benefits to ensure immediate conversions.
Use technology to streamline your marketing process
While all the strategies mentioned before lay down the foundation to a solid marketing practice, it is always a good idea to adopt technology that can make the job easier. For example, in order to educate a customer about solar, sales and marketing executives need to be extremely well-informed and aware of the technology, product features and regulations. This can amount to an overwhelming amount of data. Instead, adopting a software solution that can quickly collate the required information and alleviate all customer queries in a jiffy, is a tool worth investing in. The time that sales and marketing teams spend in collecting information and working with multiple teams to prepare proposals, can instead be productively spent in pursuing more leads. A digital solution such as SunPro+ helps encapsulate all aspects of solar marketing such as knowledge disbursement, pricing, loan assistance, and much more.