Although GTM research predicts that acquisition costs will decline as installers embrace lower-cost lead generation strategies and more efficient technology platforms, near term competition may be causing costs to increase. Confusion over the real cost of solar given an array of incentives, rebates and tax policies. A shorter average length of home ownership, which reduces the likelihood that the homeowner will realize a positive payback. Irrespective of whether a lead came from a list purchase, retail partnership, web site conversion or other source, phone sales continue to serve as a cornerstone for residential sales. Solar providers are also becoming increasingly sophisticated about how they use call center technologies and methodologies to optimize conversion at each stage of the funnel, driving down customer acquisition costs.
To reduce the cost of lead acquisition, solar providers often divide their consultants into two teams. Agent occupancy is a key performance indicator (KPI) used by call centers to measure the percentage of time an agent (or sales rep) is actively engaged with a prospect. Solar businesses are increasing the conversion rates of lead development and sales teams by actively monitoring performance and coaching staff.
Sales performance can also be increased by monitoring team and individual sales rep performance. For incoming calls, supervisors can view in real-time how many calls are in queque (on hold), how many are being lost (hang ups) and dynamically move sales agents to handle queues with more call volume.
Probably the most important way to improve lead-to-opportunity and opportunity-to-close rates is through highly skilled sales consultants. To improve the effectiveness of sales consultants, providers are placing the most advanced tools possible at their disposal. Additionally, sales consultants will often be organized into teams based on their unique skill sets. Although much of the residential solar sales process is handled over the phone, not everything is done by phone.
Richard Dumas is the director of product & solution marketing at Five9, a provider of cloud contact center software, used by solar companies to manage sales, service and support. International Shipping - items may be subject to customs processing depending on the item's declared value. Your country's customs office can offer more details, or visit eBay's page on international trade.
Estimated delivery dates - opens in a new window or tab include seller's handling time, origin ZIP Code, destination ZIP Code and time of acceptance and will depend on shipping service selected and receipt of cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab.


This item will be shipped through the Global Shipping Program and includes international tracking. Will usually ship within 1 business day of receiving cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab. For Q4, 2014 Vivint Solar reported sales and marketing costs of 45 cents per watt while SolarCity reported costs of 57 cents.
What they can control are the types programs and technologies they use to find and convert ideal solar prospects.
For example, SunEdison is able to estimate that 10% of leads and 40% of qualified leads will ultimately convert to sales.
Companies have found it to be one of the most cost effective ways to lead a prospect through the complexities of solar adoption. One team uses lower cost lead development reps to place outbound calls and schedule appointments. By using automated dialing solutions, solar providers are able to reduce the amount of time a lead development rep spends dialing, listening to busy signals and reaching answering machines. Leveraging supervisory applications, sales managers can view sales rep status to easily see if they are ready to place (or receive) call, on a call, doing wrap up work and more. Managers track, in real-time, metrics like number of calls made, time on call, average handle time and wrap-up time. Consumers often fill out forms or use online calculators to estimate how much they can save with solar. For many solar providers, the entire sales process including answering questions, reviewing utility bills, designing panel placement, scheduling site visits and ultimately signing contracts is orchestrated by the sales team, over the phone.
Integrated agent desktops typically include soft phones, sales scripts, automatic screen pops that include caller information, CRM integration and access to provider knowledge bases.
For example, reps might be grouped into teams by state so that calls can be routed to those who are most knowledgeable about local requirements. Contact the seller- opens in a new window or tab and request a shipping method to your location. Meanwhile, a report by Lawrence Berkeley Labs estimated a cost of less than 7 cents per watt in Germany. You can get a better feel for the amount being spent on customer acquisition by comparing sales and marketing budgets to revenue. They also have control over how they optimize conversion at each stage of their sales funnels.


It also gives them the ability to reach more prospects and easily scale operations to meet lead flow.
The second team is comprised of highly skilled sales consultants who can help to answer complicated questions and move an open opportunity to close. Studies have shown that advanced dialers can dramatically increase talk time, often as much as 300 percent, helping to improve occupancy rates.
This helps both to onboard new reps and to improve the performance of more seasoned agents. These leads are extremely valuable, but their value decreases rapidly if not followed up on immediately. If a prospect is calling the solar provider (or calling them back) they want to ensure that those high value calls are answered first. Lead development reps may also use online chat to engage with new web prospects and even mine social networks for new leads. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable. Marketing, advertising and sales made up the majority of the cost (41 cents) while system design accounted for 8 cents per watt. For Q4 2014, Solar City spent $79 million on sales and marketing compared to about $72 million in total revenue or 110% of revenue. For example, referrals represent one of the best performing lead sources with providers paying as much as $1000 for a lead who decides to purchase. The more time sales staff is is available for calls and adhering to staffing schedules, the better sales performance will be.
However, for times when there is low incoming call volume, sales reps can be automatically switched to placing outbound sales calls, reducing idle time and improving occupancy. This is why many solar providers are also embracing solutions that enable them to engage effectively across multiple channels as a way to shorten the sales cycle and improve close rates. Some approaches, like door-to-door sales, in-store sales teams and telemarketing attempt to pull a prospective buyer directly into a live conversation with a highly skilled sales representative to create the type of engagement that is essential to close a complex, high cost solar sale.



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