Do you feel it is becoming increasingly difficult to acquire qualified leads in the solar panel industry? You are not wrong! With more and more competition out there, it is important to concentrate on putting energy into effective operations. This includes time management, but also the reduction of soft costs that can come between you and a competitor for the same contract. With more than 10,000 solar companies across the country, there is a lot of competition.
We quickly come to the conclusion that some prospecting and customer relationship management methods should be changed. We are talking about CRM on paper or in an Excel workbook. Of course this is where you waste the most time. However, you also waste time with CRMs that are not tailored to your industry. So you need to find a solar CRM that meets your needs. So how do you choose the right one? Here are 5 things to consider that will help you make the right choice!
This should be the first thing that comes to mind when researching and choosing a solar CRM. CRMs and their features are not all made equally. Some of them are designed for making sales and transactions, for quotes and submissions, others are only for collecting and managing contacts. Here are the three management systems you should find in your solar CRM.
Solar Project Management
Ideally, CRM should manage of all your past, present and future projects. You should be able to add all the features like the panel brand, the inverter model and the rates. Also, add the following points:
- The type of connection to the grid;
- The monthly electricity costs;
- The expected Life-span ;
- An assessment of the cost of the system and its components;
- Steps of the project process ( submissions, signature, installation, etc.);
- And more.
A hierarchical system is always valued when your sales team starts to grow. However, assigning projects to users is even more important. As it is necessary to monitor their projects with them, why not assign the project directly and monitor them with the project form.
This is undoubtedly the heart of a solar CRM, lead management should also be associated with projects. You can follow up on them through the various stages of your process. The contact form should give you the option to create a project or a submission on the interface to make the management process easier.
2. Customer Service and Documentation
A platform is useless if you do not know how it works. In this case, you will have two choices: either call customer service or read all the documentation. If you are lucky, the company will provide you with explanatory videos on the different modules.
It is important that you offer a good customer service and carefully answer their questions about your product. This should be the same with the purchase of your solar CRM. Moreover, the company should be able to implement the solution while explaining it to you. This will allow you to answer some future questions you might have and to act faster in certain situations.
Here are some criteria to evaluate the customer service of a CRM solution:
- Fast response time (ideally within less than 24h);
- Access to documentation and an online knowledge base;
- Many means of communication (phone, online chat and emails);
- Ticket system for support.
The higher the level of customer service provided, the better your overall experience will be with the platform.
3. Its Interface and User experience
You could have the most modern platform with incredible tools, but with an interface dating back to the 90's. Navigating the CRM should save you time and not waste it. When options and features are hidden 4 levels below in small menus, there is a real problem. Since design is one thing, the navigating experience in your CRM must be optimal. We all have our little problems in life, however when you find them in a software on a daily basis, it makes your day that much harder !
A good solar CRM :
- Must have a user friendly navigation;
- Be quick to use;
- Have logical functionality and clustering.
4. How it is Invoiced
Every company has different realities and needs. You should be able to find what you are looking for regarding billing or payment methods. We can find this in the following methods:
- Prices / Users
- Prices / Contracts (or clients)
- Prices / Features
Some even offer user credits. So, you don't have to have a monthly or fixed rate payment system. It all depends on how your business model works. For example, if you have a lot of users, it would be better to opt for a subscription with unlimited users. However, if there are less users but you have many contracts, it would be better to find a plan that relates to this number.
Figure out your needs first, and then find a solution.
5. Device compatibility
This is a very good point. Too often, the mobile aspect of the software is set aside. So you get an online or desktop platform that is unusable for smaller formats. For sellers on the road, mobility is crucial and should not hinder operations.
Imagine after a meeting with a customer you discover another potential lead. The owner of the house is outside and you want to show him the saving possibilities with solar energy, but you can’t because your CRM does not work on your phone or tablet.
Is it worth losing a lead because you do not have access to your tools? Whether it's a mobile adaptation or an application, you should be able to use your solar CRM no matter where you are, and at any time.
Take your time before choosing a solution for your business. The important thing is that it meets your needs in terms of functionality and general usage. Several basic elements should be included in a CRM such as customization of contacts or preference options. You should find features designed for solar installers that will allow you to optimize your working methods and generate more leads.
With this information you should be able to make the right choices.