Lead Generation for Solar Companies: Best Practices, Tips, and Techniques
Whether you’re looking to boost solar panel installation, help companies with financing, or emphasize the importance of system maintenance, a lead generation strategy can increase solar company revenue.
Marketing your solar business through outbound sales development and inbound digital marketing is essential for building your sales pipeline, piquing the interest of potential buyers, guiding them to the end of the sales cycle.
If you want to get more commercial solar sales. you must do the following:
Identify the Types of Prospects You Want in Your Solar Lead Funnel
Every company has its own perception of a “high-quality sales opportunity.” So, although a prospect may be interested in your company’s solar services, they may not fit your company’s criteria, which is what makes defining your ideal prospect such an important part of building a sustainable solar lead funnel.
Before sales reps reach out to prospects or marketing specialists craft sales and marketing content, we suggest that you determine your company qualifiers to ensure you’re getting the best business opportunities for your pipeline. For example, many of our solar clients have a sales lead qualifier of at least 10,000 square feet because it ensures they’re getting a quality business opportunity rather than occasional project work. Additionally, it ensures that the opportunity being presented to the client results in a positive ROI.
While defining sales lead qualifiers are crucial, so is creating different buyer personas within your target market. Dividing potential customers in your target market into buyer personas can help you better segment prospects and leads, allowing yourself to better market your solar panel and energy maintenance services.
For example, the buyer personas between business owners and facility managers for solar services differ in their pain points; therefore, they must be approached differently. Creating and dividing prospects into their different buyer personas encourages your SDR and marketing teams to provide them with information that aligns most with their wants, needs, and interests.
Choose a Business Growth Strategy That Aligns With Your Target Audience
Once you have a firm understanding of your target market and their buyer personas, it’s time to select a solar lead generation strategy that aligns with how they go about making purchases. While some buyer personas make interaction better with appointment setting, others may see more leads generated through inbound lead generation. Selecting a strategy that aligns best with your target audience ensures that you get the most gain from your business growth efforts.
Not sure which business growth strategy is best for your market? Download our free guide to learn the core differences between appointment setting and lead generation to help you choose the approach with the best ROI.
Let’s dive right into becoming a solar panel deal with this simple 10-step guide.
Do your research
Before you can become a solar panel dealer, you will need to do your research. This includes learning about the different types of solar panels and their features, as well as the benefits of solar power.
You will also need to find a reputable supplier of solar panels, and determine whether you can get a discount for buying in bulk.
Once you have done your research, you will be in a better position to negotiate with potential customers and convince them to switch to solar power.
With the right approach, you can make a good living as a solar panel dealer.
Contact Wholesale Suppliers
When you are in the market for solar panels, it is important to buy from a reputable supplier. There are a few ways to find reliable solar panel suppliers.
One way is to ask for recommendations from other solar panel dealers. Another way is to search online directories, such as the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Once you have compiled a list of potential suppliers, you can begin contacting them. When reaching out to a supplier, be sure to ask about pricing, minimum order quantities, and delivery times.
Be sure to also ask whether the supplier offers any discounts for bulk orders.
Find a reputable company
If you’re interested in becoming a solar panel dealer, it’s important to find a reputable company that you can work with. There are a few things to look for when you’re trying to find a good company.
First, make sure that the company has experience in the solar panel industry. You’ll also want to make sure that the company is located in an area that gets a lot of sunlight. Finally, you’ll want to make sure that the company is financially stable and has a good reputation.
Once you’ve found a few companies that meet these criteria, you can start researching them further to see which one would be the best fit for you.
Solar panel dealers must be able to effectively communicate with potential customers, and they must have a thorough understanding of the products they are selling. Not only that, but dealers must be able to provide customer service and support after the sale.
If you are interested in becoming a solar panel dealer, you will need to get training from an accredited institution. There are many colleges and universities that offer solar panel dealer training programs.
In addition, several online courses can provide you with the education you need to become a successful solar panel dealer.
Find training opportunities
Solar Energy International offers online courses as well as in-person workshops. They also have a certification program that is nationally recognized.
The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners also offers a certification program for solar panel dealers. There are many other training programs offered by different organizations.
You can find these and other training courses by doing a simple search online for your area.
To become a solar panel dealer, you must first get certified. The certification process involves taking a test that covers topics such as solar panel installation, safety, and maintenance.
Once you have passed the test, you will be able to apply for a dealer license from your local government. In most cases, you will also need to provide proof of insurance and bonding before you can start selling solar panels.
By getting certified and following all of the necessary steps, you can become a solar panel dealer and help people save money on their energy bills.
The first certification is a sales certification, which can be obtained through the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The second certification is an Alternator Installation Certification, which can be obtained through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
The final certification is a Solar PV Design Certification, which can be obtained through the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
These three certifications will allow you to sell and install solar panels.
If you want to become a solar panel dealer, you will need to get insured. This insurance will protect you from any potential liability arising from the installation of solar panels.
To get this insurance, you will need to contact an insurance agent or broker and ask for a quote. The cost of this insurance will vary depending on the size of your business and the amount of coverage you need.
It’s important to have this insurance in place so that you can protect yourself and your business.
Type of insurance
Solar panel dealers need to have general liability insurance, which will protect you in the event that someone is injured while on your property.
How much do solar panel dealers get paid?
Solar panel dealers typically get paid around 10-20% of the system’s cost of installation. For example, if a solar panel system costs a customer 30,000 to install, the dealer would make about 3,000-6,000 from that sale.
Some companies also pay their employees a base salary commission, so it really varies from company to company. The average solar panel installer makes about 26/hour, so if they work 40 hours per week, they would make about 450,040/week before commissions.
Commission structures also vary – some companies may pay higher percentages for larger systems, or lower percentages for smaller ones.
Overall, though, solar panel dealers usually make 10-20% of the cost of the system they sell.
How important is a marketing plan for a solar panel distributor?
A marketing plan can be extremely important for anyone who wants to become a solar panel distributor. Let’s take a look at a few key points you need to include.
Here’s an example of what to include in a layout:
- How you plan to find customers.
- Do some research on your competition.
- Create a pricing strategy.
- Develop an advertising campaign.
- Put together a promotional strategy.
All of these factors are important to consider when putting together your marketing plan. By taking the time to do this, you’ll be in a much better position to succeed as a solar panel distributor.
Your marketing plan should also include content that will help you reach your target audience. This can include blog posts, infographics, eBooks, and more.
When creating content, be sure to FOCUS on topics that are relevant to your business and that will be of interest to your target audience. For example, if you’re a solar panel distributor, you might create a blog post about the benefits of solar power or how to select the right solar panel for your home.
By creating content that is both relevant and interesting, you’ll be more likely to reach your target audience and win new customers.
Once you’ve created your marketing plan, it’s time to start executing it. Begin by reaching out to potential customers and letting them know about your products and services.
Make sure you’re providing them with accurate information, and be sure to follow up regularly.
About the job
Solar panel dealers are people who help to sell solar panels. They work with customers to help them choose the right solar panel for their needs.
Solar panel dealers also install solar panels on customers’ homes and businesses. They make sure that the solar panels are working properly and that the customer is happy with the results.
Solar panel dealers typically work for solar panel companies or they may be self-employed. Some solar panel dealers might also work for electrical contractors.
Solar panel dealers typically have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some solar panel dealers might have an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or a related field.
video guide: powering business with solar
Whether you are curious how solar works or you’re interested in learning more about financial incentives or competitive advantages, this quick-start video will help get you up to speed in less than five minutes:
As a fourth-generation family business, we look at the long term. Capital investments like solar are good for business. We are increasing efficiency and reducing costs in the supply chain, and most importantly, we are taking the initiative to protect our environment.
Kyle Nothem, PresidentGlacier Transit and StorageSunPeak Customer
Solar costs less than traditional utility power.
While utility have steadily risen nearly 3% per year over the last decade, the cost of solar has decreased drastically. For a business interested in cutting its energy costs, the economics of solar are very appealing as solar provides immediate and long-term cost savings over traditional utility power.
Solar mitigates risk and frees capital for other investments.
With solar, energy are predictable over the system’s 30-year lifespan. Being insulated from price volatility for decades provides a competitive advantage and the opportunity to invest the savings in other capital expenditures.
Solar provides strong tax and financial incentives.
Currently, federal tax policy is extremely favorable for commercial businesses choosing solar. Currently, businesses investing in solar can receive a tax credit equal to 30% of its solar project costs.
Local grant opportunities are also readily available in many states, and SunPeak helps its customers maximize financial incentives. These lower project costs combined with energy savings and flexible financing options allow many businesses to be cash flow positive within one year.
Sustainability Investments Lead to Increased Revenues
Research from the Conference Board found that aggregate revenues from sustainable products and services climbed 91 percent over a three-year period, while overall sales grew just 15 percent among a sample of SP Global 100 companies.
This project is special because we’re not telling others how we’re sustainable, we’re showing it.
David Young, Senior ManagerTyson FoodsSunPeak Customer
Solar greatly enhances your environmental leadership.
Commercial businesses use a lot of energy. Aside from the expense, traditional sources of power deplete our natural resources and lead to greater pollution. As awareness and concern for climate change grow, businesses are under greater scrutiny for their environmental impact. By reducing your business’s carbon footprint, you demonstrate goodwill toward the planet, stewardship within your community, and leadership within your industry.
Solar provides opportunities for sustainability marketing.
In a crowded sales environment, a message of corporate sustainability is a valuable differentiator. Buyers feel good supporting products and services powered by the sun. Solar investment is visual, making it easy to showcase via press coverage, video, social media, in-person events, and other channels. Many SunPeak customers have reported some of their highest engagement metrics have resulted in communications about solar.
88% OF CONSUMERS LOOKING FOR SUSTAINABLE BRANDS
A 2018 Futerra survey of over 1,000 consumers in the United States and UK showed that 88% of respondents would like brands to help them be more environmentally friendly and ethical in their daily lives.
American Family’s competitive position is strengthened through a solid energy and carbon emissions strategy that improves expense efficiency, mitigates risk, fosters engagement in the community and supports our brand promise. Our solar installation is an example of the steps we are taking to fulfill our commitment.
The importance of consulting an attorney
“As business people, we look at the definition of opportunity zones in geographic areas and the qualification requirements of the business,” he said. Because it’s not always easy to determine whether a business qualifies for the benefits, his company always consults attorneys. “Our attorneys advise us about how to present our applications for qualification,” he said.
The eligible tracts for the zones are based on economic indicators of median family income and poverty, said Petra. States are limited to establishing zones in 25% of their low-income communities. In other words, if a state has less than 100 tracts identified as low-income communities, 25 qualify, he explained. The tracts are chosen based on statistics from the U.S. Census.
Consider focusing on Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico — which has been rebuilding its energy infrastructure in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Maria — received special treatment, with 835 of 945 low-income tracts qualifying as opportunity zones.
“Of particular interest should be Puerto Rico, which after Hurricane Maria has made a concerted effort to promote alternative energy, especially solar energy,” said Petra.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Treasury certified over 8,700 individual census tracts as Qualified Opportunity Zones in 50 states, six territories and the District of Columbia, he said. About 35 million people live in these zones, which are established for 10 years.
Look for opportunity zones in rural areas
“Most solar energy developments located in opportunity zones should qualify,” said Petra. He added that “Developers should consider rural areas, where over 23% of census tracts are located and land tends to be more available and cheaper.” Solar developers should also consider opportunity zones in the states with the most sunshine, he noted.
In order to qualify for the tax benefits, a Qualified Opportunity Fund must invest in a Qualified Opportunity Zone Business. A Qualified Opportunity Zone Business must be a trade or business in which substantially all (70%) of the tangible property is owned or leased in a Qualified Opportunity Zone, said Petra.
Fifty percent or more of the business’s total gross income must come from actively doing business in the Qualified Opportunity Zone. And at least 40% of the company’s intangible property must be actively used in a Qualified Opportunity Zone. Intangible property includes non-material assets such as bank accounts, copyrights, stocks, patents, bonds, insurance policies, retirement benefit accounts, plus customer lists or trade secrets, all of which have a dollar value.
Petra notes that the location of the business is especially important to qualifying for an enterprise zone. “The FOCUS is on the location of the business, but a Qualified Opportunity Zone Business must meet other tests,” including the requirement that the company must derive 50% of its gross income doing business in the Qualified Opportunity Zone,” he said.
It’s important for solar businesses looking at the program to understand what’s needed to qualify as an Opportunity Zone Business, he said. Spano agreed, noting that the zones can be confusing, so it’s important to work with attorneys.
Solar opportunities with the ITC
The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a US federal tax credit for those who adopt solar in all states within the US, including residential and commercial properties. This credit was an excellent incentive for many solar prospects to adopt solar. Initially, the ITC was scheduled to be reduced to 22% in 2023 and then disappear altogether for homeowners in 2024.
But as of Aug 16, 2022, the government passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). which increased the tax credit to 30% and extended the expiration of the ITC for 10 years.
“The final benefit of the Qualified Opportunity Zones program is if the investor holds the investment for more than 10 years, any subsequent gain recognized escapes federal tax entirely,” said Petra. (It is important to note, however, that a state may not follow the federal law and may tax the gain.) Overall, the tax benefits available to investors should translate to long-term, cheaper capital, he said.
To date, most of the qualifying transactions in the zones have been in real estate, said Petra. “Generally, real estate projects are well suited… but as folks have gotten more comfortable with the program, other industries [like solar] have gained interest in the program.”