Like every other industry, solar is transforming the way it does business during this time of social distancing, with remote tools playing a significant role. However, the pivot to virtual strategies can be more challenging for residential installers who have long relied on in-person consultations with homeowners as an essential part of their sales cycle.
Industry survey results collected by the Solar Energy Industry Association between March 13 and 22 revealed that 81 percent of solar companies are very concerned or moderately concerned about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on customer acquisition. Prioritizing robust prospecting and lead generation efforts today is essential to best position residential installers to weather any economic downturn that might endure after social distancing restrictions are lifted.
In fact, it may prove to be an ideal time to connect with homeowners to begin the solar conversation, as millions of Americans are confined to their homes and thinking, perhaps more seriously than ever, about home improvements.
So what can residential installers do to excel at remote sales? Solar design software can play an integral role in the strategy.
Long before COVID-19 changed our world, Dallas-based SolarTime USA incorporated solar design software into its business development process. SolarTime Junior Vice President Martyna Kowalczyk first purchased PVSketch from PVComplete in 2017 to bring rooftop solar options to life for her customers during initial project consultations. But quickly the SolarTime team saw an essential PVSketch application beyond only customer consultations. Whenever they spot a rooftop that is ideal for solar, they use PVSketch to develop a design that they send to the home or building owner to illustrate the solar potential for the property. The team is able to target entire neighborhoods on a house-by-house basis by mailing customized rooftop solar designs to every homeowner with an invitation to learn more.
A personalized direct mail campaign like those employed by SolarTime is easy to put together. Beginning with only a prospective customer’s street address, site imagery is automatically downloaded from Google Maps. PVSketch’s simple design tools makes it possible to draw the individual roof site plans in minutes.
With subscriptions starting at only $40/month, PVSketch is the industry’s best value and a low cost sales investment that can deliver significant ROI for both virtual business development today and in-person sales efforts down the road. Plus, to help solar businesses with teams working remotely, PVComplete offers a free PVSketch subscription level that lasts indefinitely and can equip every sales team member to leverage the tool from home.