On the back of lower renewable energy costs and government incentives, the solar industry is blazing hot. But that doesn’t mean that the task of accelerating solar sales growth is any easier.
So, how do you scale your solar business? This was the question guiding our webinar with Ruben Ugarte, National Sales Director of Home Services at ActiveProspect, and Jay Choi, Enterprise Account Executive at Aurora Solar, moderated by Convoso VP of Marketing, Lisa Leight.
Below, are highlights of the experts’ discussion of the hottest trends, biggest challenges, and top technologies for solar sales. You can also watch the full webinar recording here.
5 Solar Industry Trends
The panel reviewed some of the latest developments in solar, and identified these five solar industry trends, along with advice for navigating challenges.
Solar Trend #1: Industry Booms on Inflation Reduction Act Tailwinds
With the passage of the Inflation Reduction (IRA) in 2022, the industry is on a path of rapid growth. Jay Choi shared that the US market will see:
- 69% more solar deployment over the next 10 years compared to a “no-IRA” scenario
- 5X installed solar capacity in the U.S. by 2032
- 200,000+ additional industry jobs by 2032 compared to a “no-IRA” scenario
As a result of all of this new opportunity, many companies are aggressively expanding and there are numerous new entrants into the market. Ugarte mentioned that, in particular, he has now begun to see many non-solar businesses, including a range of home services lead generators and providers, get in on the action.
Meanwhile, these booming markets continue to be largely dominated by regional powerhouses and rising local brands, as the IRA incentivizes action and the spread of solar financing allows for an easier way for people to sell and design solar products.
Solar Trend #2: Increasing Acquisition Costs
Despite the momentum driven by the IRA, increased customer acquisition costs continue to be an issue—as they long have been—for solar brands. According to the panel:
- 9-20% of solar costs are attributed to customer acquisition
- 38% of installers reported an increase in acquisition costs
- 64% of Residential PV costs made up of non-hardware soft-costs
While there’s no one cause of these rising acquisition costs, issues with call blocking and flagging—and the low contact rates they cause—have made it tough for sales teams.
Of course, with difficulties and inefficiencies comes yet more opportunity. According to Ugarte, these persistent troubles with acquisition have opened the door to the evolution of the solar industry as we know it. Over the past decade, more and more new businesses and solutions have popped up, targeting optimizations and improvements of the whole solar sales process.
So, now, without the right mix of sales and lead gen tech in your stack, you risk falling behind.
Solar Trend #3: Increased Competition
Falling behind the solar competition is no idle threat in today’s solar market, either. As more organizations of all stripes have arisen in response to the abundant (and attractive) opportunity, the market has become more saturated and fiercely competitive.
This competition doesn’t just contribute to the rising cost of acquiring more customers and cut into margins. It also only increases the importance of finely calibrating your entire lead gen and sales process. Because when potential customers have more options, they tend to explore them. Data from an Energy Sage Installer Survey suggests that 54% of customers get three or more quotes before making the decision to go solar. 89% of customers get at least two.
In this type of environment, speed to lead becomes even more important. And even if you’re getting to potential customers first, you need to deliver improved, memorable experiences with the help of technology.
Solar Trend #4: Personalization Expectations
One essential facet of a new and improved sales process is personalization. According to McKinsey research, Jay Choi noted that:
- 71% of consumers expect personalization in the sales process, and 76% express frustration when they don’t find it.
- Using personalization also delivers sustained value that can help lower acquisition costs over time: 76% of consumers are more likely to consider purchasing from personalizing brands, 78% are more likely to make repeat purchases, and 78% are more likely to refer friends and families.
Keeping up with these changing expectations is crucial for future solar sales, says Ruben Ugarte. As the next wave of homeowners enters the market– Gen-Z consumers, for instance–they will expect digital and app-based experiences:
“More and more folks are going to want to have things on the mobile side and not necessarily want to talk to somebody at their home…On the technology side, the ability to get software from the top of the funnel all the way to the CRM and [solutions] like Aurora, along with Convoso [is essential].
The solar brands that I see who are really scaling—they have their tech stack tight, and they have the ability to coordinate everything [throughout their sales funnel].”
Solar Trend #5: Increasing Regulations
Changing expectations isn’t the only thing solar sales organizations need to keep an eye on these days. At both the federal and state levels, regulations are changing and multiplying, making the task of supporting TCPA compliance all the more complex.
Lisa Leight pointed to the recent spate of new “mini-TCPA” laws passed or pending in states around the country, which are creating a patchwork of laws that can be difficult to navigate, as one important compliance development. She also discussed newly proposed rules at the FCC which threaten to end multi-vertical marketing agreements, closing the so-called “lead generator loophole.”
What You Need in Your Solar Tech Stack
From lead capture to solar design, there are many steps in the solar buyer’s journey. Technology can help shore up weaknesses and add value at each phase of the sales process. However, what separates the best sales teams from the rest can be summed up in one word: integration.
By developing a tech stack composed of solutions that not only create efficiencies individually but work together and multiply the effectiveness of your sales team, your salesforce can seize on the momentum in the market, overcome potential challenges, and truly scale your solar business.
Implementing ActiveProspect solutions like TrustedForm at the top of the funnel can help validate consent and equip your team with the insights needed to deliver personalized experiences. Convoso’s omnichannel platform and automation-powered dialer software give you the tools to actually reach customers, support compliance, and effectively lower acquisition costs. Meanwhile, Aurora Solar offers a variety of tools to aid sales teams throughout the funnel, including Design Mode, which excels in streamlining the project design phase.
See how Convoso’s solar dialer can help you convert leads faster and support compliance.