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Why Solar Panel Companies Need a CRM and How They Help Them

by Vitaliy Podoba
Vitaliy Podoba avatar

When our client who owns a solar panel agency TexasSolar contacted us and asked for advice on automating business operations and managing customer relationships, we immediately knew that the solution was a new CRM. 

Developing a CRM for TexasSolar helped the business improve its efficiency, communication with the clients, user experience, retention, and service. 

In the solar power industry, interaction with clients is quite peculiar. The thing is, the client data is usually technical, and it is highly prone to change. The key here is to manage it correctly and efficiently and be adaptable to constant changes. That’s when a CRM comes into the picture. 

A powerful CRM can help you automate your business operations, increase revenue and profitability, manage leads, and grow your business. 

Thus, if you are an owner of a solar panel company looking for a way to manage customer relationships, this article will help you learn more about the main benefits of CRMs for solar power businesses and how they can benefit all your business processes. 

What is a CRM

Before diving into the main benefits of CRM for solar agencies, let’s talk about what a CRM is and why businesses need it. 

A CRM, or a Customer Relationship Management tool, is a technology used for marketing automation and leads creation. The goal of a CRM is to improve business relationships, optimize and automate business processes, and help the business grow. 

With a CRM, a company does not need hundreds of spreadsheets, apps, and databases anymore. All data can be kept in one place, resulting in higher efficiency, organization, and time management. When all the information is visible and easy to access, all team members can collaborate more effectively, and it increases overall productivity. Every member of your company is able to see how the company communicates with the clients, what they buy, how they pay, and more. 

More than 65% of companies believe that CRM tools are very impactful! Moreover, according to Nucleus Research, the ROI on CRM is $8.71 for each dollar spent. This is not the only reason why solar companies use CRM tools, though. Other benefits include a broad set of features and great functionality, built-in integration, user-friendliness, API integration, and more. Now, let’s talk about each of these benefits. 

CRM Benefits for Solar Business

One of the recent solar power projects we worked on is LocalPower. It is a roof design tool with the automated best placement of panels on top of it, calculations of panels’ info, the system’s power, etc. The project we worked on consisted of two parts: CRM and Projects. Let’s dwell on the main benefits of a CRM for solar businesses based on LocalPower. 

Saves Money and Increases Sales

With a CRM, you can save lots of money. You do not need to invest in numerous tools that collect, store, and analyze data. Moreover, since time is money, an effective CRM can help you get rid of unnecessary practices that waste your team’s time and instead let them focus on the essentials. 

With all the data stored in one place, the probability of losing invoices or misplacing them is less. Since you won’t be losing any invoices anymore, it means that you will save more money. 

With our CRM and a roof design tool within it, LocalPower’s sales increased by 27%. Moreover, the company stopped using expensive competitor software which saved almost $6000/month in business costs.

When the proposal generation process is fast and smooth, clients can communicate freely with the team, and the system allows you to work on more proposals at once, it positively influences your revenue and profitability. 

Saves Time

One of the main features of solar CRMs is that they offer you automation of business processes. With a powerful CRM, you can auto-assign leads, send automated emails and texts, track customers in the sales pipeline, and automatically schedule new appointments. 

Moreover, it allows the creation of proposals automatically. At LocalPower, when a client wants to create a proposal, the system automatically generates images of how the panels will look, does all the calculations and estimations, tell the client about approximate costs, and send the proposal to the team. This way, LocalPower does not require so many human resources, and its employees can cover more proposals in less time.  

You can also save time thanks to the built-in integrations that CRMs offer. According to Forbes, a CRM system reaches its full potential when it’s connected to other applications and software. This is also called “CRM integration.” Connecting your solar CRM with third-party systems will allow you to collect data from your customers and store it in the CRM automatically, control marketing and social campaigns, and automate the flow of data.

Happier Clients

Great customer management means happier clients, and using a solar CRM can guarantee that your clients will be satisfied. A great solar CRM allows the company to easily collect and store clients’ data which is essential for making solar panels for their houses. 

For example, when a person reaches LocalPower with a request, a CRM collects this info: the person’s name and address, contact details, requirements, site measurements, electricity bills, location, photos of the house and a roof, etc. It is impossible to proceed with the order without this info, and CRM allows to collect this data automatically, ensuring that it is stored safely. 

Moreover, you can connect your CRM to a bank and allow people to take on loans if they need them to purchase your services or products. For example, when a person uses the LocalPower services, there is no more need to pay via direct bank transfers, checks, and other outdated forms of payment. 

LocalPower has a built-in payment process that makes it easier to generate invoices and avoid unnecessary trips to the bank. Moreover, if a person needs to take a loan, a customer can get it immediately from the LocalPower partner bank. Everything is fast, convenient, and does not require a person to leave their house. 

If you want your clients to be able to track the progress of the project, a CRM can give you this opportunity, too. When we were creating a CRM for LocalPower, we also created a second part called “Projects.” Here, the company’s clients can track the progress of the project, communicate with the engineers, see live photos, and statistics, and almost manage the project themselves. The goal was to allow people to be as involved in the project as possible and for the process to be transparent. 

Happier Employees

A CRM can also make your employees’ lives easier. They won’t have to do all the tasks by hand, spending lots of time and effort. Instead, a CRM automates those processes and lets your employees focus on other duties, being able to process more requests in a shorter period of time. The more sales they close, the higher their salary is, and a CRM is a perfect tool for closing sales faster. 

Advantages of Custom-built CRM over Out-of-the-Box Solutions for Solar Companies

At SoftFormance, we firmly believe that custom CRMs for solar businesses have innumerable benefits. One of the reasons why we prefer custom-made solutions is the ability to choose a unique set of features and functionality for every client, depending on their business needs, requirements, budget, and project complexity. 

Custom CRM Ready-to-use CRM
You choose the functionality depending on your project, budget, and requirements Standard set of functions that you cannot change
Higher initial price but you save lots of money, in the long run, Can be cheaper at first but requires spending on licenses
You can integrate it with any third-party platform Is not as flexible when it comes to integrations as they are limited depending on the CRM you choose
High flexibility and easy scaling up Less flexible, not as easy to scale up
Is built according to you specific needs and challenges, you can change any part of it You need to choose among multiple CRMs the one that matches your needs more, yet no guarantee that it will be a perfect choice for your project 

What to Consider When Choosing a CRM

If you have already decided that you need a custom-made CRM for your solar business, it is high time to look through a couple of essentials before choosing a development team and proceeding with the project. 

Your company size & history

One CRM cannot be a perfect fit both for a small startup and a huge corporation. Your requirements for the future CRM should be based on your company’s size and the complexity of the project you need a CRM for. For example, if you have a small startup, you may not need cloud-based software right ahead; you can start with desktop or server-based options. Big corporations, on the contrary, usually invest in cloud-based CRMs to handle multiple processes simultaneously and store all the data in one place without crashing the system.

Mobile compatibility

Usually, companies prefer CRM systems that are compatible with different devices, including desktops, smartphones, and tablets. In fact, most development teams use the mobile-first approach when creating CRMs as it ensures that both employees and clients would be able to use the tool from any device and browser and have the same great user experience. 

Budget

Before moving on with any project, it is essential to consider your budget. Analyze how much money you can spend on development, marketing, and other processes. Even though servers may be cheaper during the first few stages, you will be required to spend more money later on. Thus, even though creating a custom CRM may seem costly, you will save your budget in the long run because you won’t have to spend money on human resources, different tools to manage and store data, and constant updates. 

Wrapping up

There is no one-size-fits-all CRM for solar businesses that will be a perfect choice for everyone.

That is why you need to take into account your unique business needs, ideas, and capabilities when choosing a ready-made CRM or looking for a team to build a custom solution for you. No matter which CRM you choose, you can be sure that it will help you automate your business processes, increase your revenue, and improve customer retention levels.

If you have been looking for a CRM for your solar power business, need a consultation, or a custom solution, contact us.

F.A.Q

Why is it necessary to use a CRM system in the solar industry?

Solar CRM allows solar companies to save time between lead generation and proposal submission. It allows clients to create proposals by themselves, and employees to cover more proposals in a shorter time period. As a result, solar companies save money on human resources and are able to work with more clients simultaneously. Moreover, solar CRMs offer a better user experience and allow to communicate with clients constantly. 

Why is it more profitable to order the development of a CRM system for the solar industry?

Ordering a custom-made CRM will ensure that all your business needs, requirements, and expectations are covered. This way, you won’t have to pay for unnecessary features. You pay only for what you actually need. Moreover, a custom CRM is an ideal choice for businesses looking to scale revenue, operations, and profitability.

How to choose the right company for developing a CRM system in the solar industry?

First of all, you need to look for a company that has previous experience in developing solar CRMs. Check their portfolio of previous projects and schedule a consultation. The company should have knowledge of the renewables sector, follow the mobile-first approach, be able to communicate with you constantly about your project, and offer you to follow the process from A to Z. 

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