5 ways to boost solar sales and marketing to capitalize on ITC’s expansion

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Modernize

By Gregg Hicks, Vice President, Modernizing home services

Solar installers are anticipating a surge in demand with the rollout of a new round of IRA investment tax incentives. To make the most of these new opportunities, your sales and marketing teams need to work together as one cohesive unit.

Among the thousands of home improvement companies Modernize works with, we looked at the five most common strategies that top performers use to align their sales and marketing teams.

1. Create a uniform definition of leads

Every employee should use the same language to distinguish the phases of marketing and sales funnels. If you ask marketers about leads, they might point to those generated by ads, organic search, trade shows, and third-party affiliates. But salespeople may not consider these leads until they’re sure it’s worth pursuing.

Define prospects at three or four different levels and ask everyone to use the same language and definitions. Here are examples of common terms that marketing and sales may use:

  • Request or initial prospect (Lead): new solar insights acquired from any channel or source.
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL): inquiries showing at least some level of interest in a solar project.
  • Qualified Leads (SQL): went through filters such as home ownership, budget and urgency.
  • Opportunity: owners who have received or will receive a solar proposal.

2. Share your goals

Share your business goals and how they relate to each stage of your funnel. Determine the goals your team needs to achieve at each stage, in terms of quantity and conversion rate. For example, if you plan to book ten solar installs per month, your goals might flow down the funnel as follows:

  • Lead Goal: 360 raw leads are needed, assuming 33% are responsive enough for digital marketing qualification.
  • MQL objective: 120 MQL is needed, assuming 50% qualified and accepted by sales.
  • SQL Goal: 60 SQLs are needed, assuming 50% of the SQLs receive a proposal.
  • Opportunity Goal: 30 opportunities are needed to generate 10 sales, assuming a close rate of 33%.

These are round numbers and generous conversion rates to simplify the examples. The key is that both teams understand that the outcome depends on the success of each of the prospecting steps, in terms of quantity and conversion rate. Looking at your funnel allows management to determine where improvements need to be made in each phase.

3. Plan events that build understanding

Schedule face-to-face meetings between sales and marketing teams to share performance against goals, as shown above. It’s also a chance for each team to share the opportunities and obstacles they face. The marketing team should make sales calls with the sales team as this can improve their understanding of your target market, customer needs, and common objections. Cross-functional training ensures that each team is aware of the other’s responsibilities and priorities. Sales training should include a module on how marketing works to understand what engagement took place before they got involved. The marketing team needs to learn how the sales team converts their leads.

4. Create a lead qualification machine

Many solar companies use a team whose sole responsibility is to qualify leads before they are passed on to sales. This can be a third-party call center or an in-house team. This allows the marketing team to focus on maximizing the initial volume of top-of-funnel leads. Your sales team will be more focused and effective at closing qualified leads that are passed on to them.

5. Integrate marketing and sales software systems

Marketing uses software to manage website, social media, digital advertising and email. The sales team uses theirs for customer relationship management and sales funnel tracking. The integration of the two allows for accurate attribution of closed deals, so you know which sources are generating the best performing leads.

Try these five steps to get your sales and marketing machine running and turn those new investment tax credits into gold for your solar business. If you have any comments or questions about these suggestions, feel free to tweet us or DM us on Twitter @ModernizePros.


Gregg Hicks is a longtime distributor of home improvement services. He is a business manager for Modernize Home Services and has 20 years of experience in web analytics, SEO, social media, SEM and affiliate marketing. His role as a spokesperson is to explain the value of thoughtful pairing between homeowners and home improvement professionals that builds positive and productive connections between the parties.

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