Photovoltaics Masters Institute
“Once Upon A Time…” – A Day In The Life Of A PV Salesman!
“I am convinced that the most breakthrough moment in my work was the decision to change the management, design and offer preparation tool!”
Few people realize how important it is to choose the right tools not only to efficiently carry out the sales process, but also to manage the entire company. The photovoltaic industry is developing very fast. Not only the competitiveness is growing, but also the customer's requirements. A modern entrepreneur operating in such a dynamic market must react very quickly to all, even the smallest changes.
Engeneer Maciej has been active in the photovoltaic industry for several years. He runs a dynamically developing company selling and assembling photovoltaic systems and currently employs a dozen traders. He successfully closes many sales deals per month. In his work, he uses the principles of the Photovoltaics Masters Institute using the EasySolar program. We asked what his day-to-day work looks like and the salespeople he hires, what challenges they face, how they solve them, and how the change of work tools influenced the development of his company.
Photovoltaics Masters Institute: What were the most common problems you had to deal with when you were active in the PV industry?
Eng. Maciej: This is one of the most frequently asked questions among people dealing with or planning to start dealing with photovoltaics: what problems do we have to deal with on a daily basis. Based on my several years of experience in this market, I believe that a trader’s biggest opponent is time. The client expects that the offer will be best received immediately after the meeting, if not during the meeting. It happened very often that we managed to positively drive the client to investments, but before he received the offer, this enthusiasm disappeared. There were current affairs, other expenses, “good advice” from friends. The competition often simply overtook us by delivering the offer faster. Because there is nothing to cheat, most customers also contact other companies to compare the offers they receive. We have been working on our offer for a long time to be able to stand out in the crowd of installers, unfortunately, each introduced even the smallest change in the project or financing model was associated with subsequent hours of labor not only on the analysis and design, but also on a visually attractive offer. Because the client judged our professionalism and our offer not necessarily by the amount of calculations it contained, but by whether it was pretty, or whether the design looked “cool”. Customers are not engineers, for them most of such detailed data was simply useless because it was unclear for them.
Photovoltaics Masters Institute: You mentioned that you have been working on an attractive offer for a long time. Why was it so important to you?
Eng. Maciej: Not so much for us as for our clients. When you have frequent contact with customers from all walks of life, you can see that it is important that what you buy is simply nice and visually attracts attention. Especially when the customer receives 4 different offers from 4 different traders. We noticed, for example, that presenting the calculations in the form of simple colored charts translated into a much greater understanding among customers. As a result, they were more willing to choose our offer. I also remember how we used to focus strongly on making advanced 3D visualization, which was not only extremely time-consuming, because only one person in our company had experience with such complex design programs, but most of all it did not impress our clients. On the contrary. We often joked that the client was interested, but did not live in a house made of colored blocks, because that was what the designs looked like. Now we are looking forward to the reaction of our clients when we present them a project prepared directly on the photo of their house. Customers are delighted with such a project and are definitely more likely to choose such an offer.
``Based on my several years of experience in this market, I believe that a trader's biggest opponent is time. The client expects that the offer will be best received immediately after the meeting, if not during the meeting.``
Photovoltaics Masters Institute: Having so much experience, you have certainly discovered how to deal with such problems. Will you tell us your secrets?
Eng. Maciej: (laughs) This is not a recipe for building a rocket, there are no secrets and some mysterious solutions. The answer is simple: a well-chosen tool for your daily work. We live in such times when we store most of our data in the cloud, and we try to have all devices integrated with each other. It is similar in the PV industry. You have to go with the times and develop.
Photovoltaics Masters Institute: Do you use the same software that you used at the beginning of your career in the industry?
Eng. Maciej: Absolutely! We used to use solutions from different vendors. It was extremely time consuming. A separate design program, another for financial analysis, another for management, and another for preparing offers. Our competitors took advantage of the time we wasted maneuvering data between these programs. And we didn’t sell. I am convinced that the most breakthrough moment in my work was the decision to change the management, design and offer preparation tool. I can’t imagine how it used to work for us.
``Working in the PV industry is the simultaneous management of a growing team, sales, results, preparation of statistics and their analysis, and then motivating people to introduce changes in their daily duties, and in the meantime meeting customers, designing systems, preparing offers, financial analyzes and valuations for customers. With a few non-integrated programs it was extremely costly and time consuming and generated a lot of errors. ``
Photovoltaics Masters Institute: How, then, did the change of tools affect your daily work and various aspects of the operation of the entire company?
Eng. Maciej: As in any company, there are plenty of tasks to deal with. A trader does not live by selling alone! (laughter)
Before we started using EasySolar in the company, it was hard to control everything, and there was simply no time to analyze what could be changed to increase sales. Working in the PV industry is the simultaneous management of a growing team, sales, results, preparation of statistics and their analysis, and then motivating people to introduce changes in their daily duties, and in the meantime meeting customers, designing systems, preparing offers, financial analyzes and valuations for customers. With a few non-integrated programs it was extremely costly and time consuming and generated a lot of errors. For me personally, it is amazing how changing the tool for the better automatically generates an improvement in the quality of work and the conversion rate. At EasySolar, we have at our disposal both tools for managers, such as advanced CRM for team, sales, customer, project management, etc., adapted to the specificity of the PV industry, as well as extremely extensive statistics.
The implementation of artificial intelligence algorithms that monitor all elements of salespeople’s work, sales, etc., allow the program to clearly define the most advantageous sales path in the company. No program gave me such control over what exactly happens, who spends how much time on what, how much he sells and what specific activities make the sale successful.
An unprecedented advantage over the competition is given by the possibility of visualizing the system in the photo of the building in EasySolar, and then, in a few steps, generating a graphically refined and personalized sales offer along with an extensive but customer-friendly financial analysis. It gave us an advantage not only in the form of the offer and design itself, but above all in the form of time savings. My salespeople often send the client an offer less than an hour after the meeting with them. In addition, we can conduct online meetings with customers, which extended our sales to locations slightly further away from us, plus it allows us to conduct several meetings within one or two hours. And most interestingly, all these customers receive sales offers on the same day. Imagine the huge impact on the number of systems we sell. Our conversion increased by over 30%. And I believe it’s because of changing a few low-level programs to the EasySolar App.
Applying the principles of the School of Photovoltaics Masters in theory would seem simple. However, it is the use of appropriate tools in everyday work that allows these principles to be put into practice and guarantees success on the market of PV systems. In everyday hustle and bustle, not only of a salesperson, but also of customers, it is worth using programs that maximize the chance of a positive closing of the sale, while minimizing the time needed for customer service and team management.
One of the programs available on the market and offering a comprehensive solution based on the principles of the School of Solar Masters is EasySolar.
The EasySolar program allows you to prepare an initial visualization of the system during the first meeting with the client, or in a few minutes from the photo of the building sent by the client, if we conduct the first online interview. If we do not have a photo, you can design the system on Google Maps in just a few moments.
As one of the factors influencing the success of the sales process is the time and attractiveness of the offer provided, EasySolar gives the user a comprehensive tool to create graphically refined and personalized offers along with extensive financial analysis, customer-friendly.
The program also has very extensive Artificial Intelligence Algorithms that constantly analyze all sales, along with all variable factors that may affect the success or failure of the transaction, including price and discounts.
Extensive statistics allow you to have constant control over all variables and quickly react to changes, and determine the most common and effective sales path in your company, including the best pricing strategy.
Thanks to such an advanced analysis of the sales process, based on Artificial Intelligence Algorithms, you will learn how even the smallest change in a given factor in the sales process affects conversion rates, it may be, for example, offering smaller discounts, because you know exactly how individual actions affect customer decisions.
Sometimes talent isn't enough to be the best, you also need to use the best technology and most advanced tools available. Because would Kubica be the best if his team designed the Formula 1 car in Excel? 😉