Solar energy is unquestionably the future, and opportunity abounds in the industry. While U.S. solar output has grown by a factor of 35 since 2008, so too has competition, with EnergySage estimating that there are now over 3,000 solar installers across the country. To maintain or carve out a bigger share of the market, your solar sales and installation company needs to find ways to stand out above the crowd and to squeeze more out of every area of your operations.
Lead generation is one of the most important tasks your company performs. It is also one of the hardest hit by the exploding number of firms in the space. As the competition (and cost) for leads rises, how you approach lead generation and how you handle leads you’ve acquired becomes more and more critical. The following represent four of the most effective ways you can ensure your company maintains a steady stream of new leads entering your sales funnel, and can turn more of them than ever into paying customers.
Turn Satisfied Customers into Marketing Machines
One of the most powerful lead generation opportunities you can take advantage of is turning previous customers into evangelists for your company through great service. Aside from certain unique places like California, solar installations are still generally a curiosity – especially residential systems. That means the likelihood is fairly high that your previous customers’ friends and neighbors will have plenty of questions. Word-of-mouth not only represents a great opportunity to further consumer education on solar power in general, it also represents a huge opportunity for your business since 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over any other form of advertising.
If you can offer a great experience from initial inquiry all the way through to installation and ongoing maintenance, you will become a go-to recommendation. While word-of-mouth leads might not be huge in number, they will be highly qualified, so make sure to provide your existing customers with an easy way to refer their friends. Payment or discounts in exchange for referrals can work, but leaving some business cards behind or educating your customers on how to direct friends to your lead capture page is often just as effective.
Create an Invaluable Solar Educational Resource
Because solar installations are not yet mainstream and relatively complex in nature, a lot of research goes into the decision to buy. Once upon a time, consumers would have left most of the groundwork and research to professionals. In the internet age, customers prefer to conduct pre-purchase research on their own, well in advance of reaching out to a vendor.
Offering honest and thorough educational resources to potential customers represents a great way to generate leads because it accomplishes three key goals: it provides upfront value to the prospect in their search for information, it helps move them through the earliest stages of the sales process independently, and it creates interaction with your brand rather than your competitors. Educating prospects online through videos, articles, reports, and social media requires the investment of both time and resources, but it can be done cost-effectively and offers a potentially enormous return-on-investment.
Consider Paying (Carefully) for Help
Organic lead generation may be the best way to go because it offers you the most control and helps ensure lead quality – but it isn’t the only way to keep the top of your sales funnel full. Paying for leads can also be extremely effective, and enables you to tap into potential customers from a wide variety of sources – in some cases, even from competing installers that are over capacity, out-of-area, or who focus on different specialties.
Online lead brokers often have the advantage of focusing full-time on developing business through content marketing and social media efforts, areas in which your business may be lacking the time or resources to pursue effectively. While paying for leads can be highly effective when done right, when done wrong, there may be no better way to bleed marketing dollars. If you decide to pay for leads, you must keep a laser-focused eye on the quality of the prospects you’re getting, otherwise you may find yourself paying for bogus leads upfront and eating the costs associated with trying to sell to people who were never really going to buy in the first place.
Engage a Solar CRM to Get More from Each Lead
Putting work or money into generating leads is pointless if you don’t have an effective way to capture and manage them. This means investing in a customer resource management platform is crucial to the success of your prospecting.
CRMDialer – the leading solar sales CRM – enables your team to automatically capture leads from a wide variety of online sources, including forms on your website and landing pages, links embedded in email, and more. You can even create new lead accounts from inbound phone calls or text messages, thanks to the system’s built-in power dialer and communication suite. Outside leads from your existing system or paid sources can be easily imported, and your sales team can also manually add new leads in a matter of a few clicks.
Once leads are in the system, all interactions between the prospect and your team are automatically logged. That ensures an uninterrupted stream of lead data and enables lead status to be updated by the system automatically, leading to better classification and overall management.
Regardless of how you choose to generate your leads, there is no more efficient solution for successful collection, management, and use in the sales process than CRMDialer. If you’re ready to get a first-hand look at how CRMDialer can supercharge your solar company’s lead collection and management, start your no-commitment 14-day free trial today.