5 ways to boost solar sales and marketing to capitalize on ITC expansion
By Gregg Hicks, Vice President, Modernize home services
Solar installers are anticipating a surge in demand as a new round of tax incentives for investment in the IRA rolls out. To make the most of these new opportunities, your sales and marketing teams must work together as one cohesive unit.
About the thousands of home improvement companies modernize works, we observed the five most common strategies used by top performers to align their sales and marketing teams.
1. Create a unified definition of leads
Every employee must use the same language to distinguish the phases of the marketing and sales funnels. When you ask marketers about leads, they can refer to leads generated by advertising, organic search, trade shows, and third-party partners. But salespeople may not consider these leads until they’re sure it’s worth pursuing.
Define leads at three or four different levels and ask everyone to use the same language and definitions. Here are examples of common terms that both marketing and sales can use:
- Request or first lead (lead): new solar forecasts obtained from any channel or source.
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL): questions that show at least some interest in a solar energy project.
- Sell Qualified Leads (SQL): have gone through filters such as home ownership, budget and urgency.
- Opportunity: homeowners who have received or will receive a solar proposal.
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 rates. For example, if you plan to book ten solar installations per month, your goals might go down the funnel like this:
- Leads target: 360 raw leads are needed, assuming 33% are responsive enough to qualify for digital marketing.
- MQL Goals: 120 MQLs are required assuming 50% are qualified and accepted by the sale.
- SQL target: 60 SQLs are needed, assuming 50% of SQLs receive a proposal.
- Odds Goal: It takes 30 opportunities 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 for both teams to understand that the outcome depends on the success in each of the lead stages, in terms of quantity and conversion rates. By looking at your funnel, management can determine where improvements need to be made at each stage.
3. Plan events that build understanding
Schedule face-to-face meetings between the sales and marketing teams to share performance against goals, as described above. It is also an opportunity for each team to share their opportunities and barriers. The marketing team should discuss sales conversations with the sales team as this can increase their understanding of your target market, customer needs, and common concerns. Cross-functional training ensures that each team is informed about the responsibilities and priorities of the other. Sales training should include a module on how marketing works to understand what engagement has taken place before they get involved. The marketing team should be taught how the sales team converts their leads.
4. Create a Lead Qualifier Machine
Many solar companies employ a team that is solely responsible for qualifying leads before transferring them to sales. This can be an external call center or an internal team. This allows the marketing team to focus on maximizing initial lead volume at the top of the funnel. Your sales team will be more focused and effective at closing the qualified leads that are passed to them.
5. Integrate Marketing and Sales Software Systems
Marketing uses software to manage the website, social media, digital advertising and email. The sales team uses theirs for customer relationship management and tracking sales funnels. By integrating the two, closed deals can be accurately mapped, so you know which sources deliver the best performing leads.
Try these five steps to get your sales and marketing machine working and turn those new gold investment tax credits into your solar business. If you have any comments or questions about these suggestions, please tweet us or DM us on Twitter @ModernizePros.
Gregg Hicks is a longtime marketer of home improvement services. He is a business leader for modernize Home Services and has 20 years of experience in web analytics, SEO, social, SEM and affiliate marketing. His role as a spokesperson is to explain the value of thoughtful matchmaking between homeowners and home improvement professionals that builds positive and productive connections between the parties.