The Money Wasted Email – Creating Urgency For Commercial Solar

The Money Wasted Email – Creating Urgency For Commercial Solar

One thing truly baffles me about the long commercial solar sale cycle. Customers will get a proposal, then delay making a decision for months. Every month they “think about it” literally costs them money. The lack of urgency shows they don’t get the “money wasted” problem. It’s ok. Many things in life take a little while to sink in.

The worst part, though, is when a proposal goes into decision limbo the sales rep often is helpless. He/she can ping the customer via email/phone, but typically hears “Oh, we have been busy. Hopefully, we’ll make a decision in the next few weeks.” Eventually, the phone calls/emails become annoying and turn off the prospect. So what do you do?

My simple solution is an automated email that I call the “Money wasted Email.”

 

The Money Wasted Email

Each month, send every customer with a proposal outstanding an automatic email. The email simply shows how much money the customer wasted on energy bills while thinking about the proposal. It is amusing at first. It’s not pushy because its automated. Over time, though, the $$ wasted number gets bigger and bigger. In doing so, it literally illustrates “the problem” to the customer. Eventually, the number gets so big the customer starts to feel the pain of delay. At that point, you have urgency.

Money Wasted Email Example

 

How To Set Up The Money Wasted Email

Setting up a customized Money Wasted Email is actually fairly simple. You either need an email service like InfusionSoft, or a CRM like Salesforce. Below is a quick outline of how you do it. Of course there are a million little steps. I’ll just focus on the big picture conceptual approach, highlighting the tricky parts.

 

If you have SalesForce:

1)   Add a new field in your Opportunity database called “Savings per month.” You can populate this field manually or define a custom calculation based upon the KW field.

2)   If you don’t already track it, add a field for “Proposal Sent Date.”

3)   Create your template email. My example above has two custom fields: “total wasted” and “months waiting.”

4)   Set up the calculation. Add a second field to the Opportunity database called “Total Wasted.” Define the field as the Savings Per Month multiplied by Age (keyed off the Proposal Sent Date).

5)   Setup a batch email to send your template each month to all Opportunities with a proposal out but not closed/dead.

 

If you have InfusionSoft:

1)   Make sure your CRM is tracking: “Proposal Sent Date” and “KW” with every opportunity.

2)   Add “Savings Per Month” using excel. Download that Opportunity list into Excel. Add a new column for Savings per Month. You can manually enter savings per proposal. You could also simply use an estimate of $ * kW to apply to all rows.

3)   InfusionSoft (currently) won’t do the math for you. As a work-around, I do the following.

a. In excel, add 12 new columns representing the next 12 months.

b. Have excel do the math to calculate the Total Wasted each month for the next year.

c. Upload that full year of data to InfusionSoft as part of the Contact Info associated with each Opportunity.

4)   Create 12 templates. One for each month. The only thing that will change is which field your reference for “Total Wasted.” For example, in the September template make sure to pull the field associated with September column in your excel file.

5)   Set up the Campaign to send each of the 12 emails on their respective months. The nice thing about Infusionsoft, is when a deal closes you can easily pull that contact from the campaign. However, again, that’s done manually.

 

About The Author

Brandon Conard is the Director of Zenergy, providing energy finance advisory services to developers and investors. He has more than 16 years of legal and energy experience, with expertise in raising tax equity, early stage project development, commercial energy analysis, solar fund structuring, and project finance. Previously, he was Chief Strategy Officer/VP Structured Finance at HelioPower, CEO of Greenzu, and Director of BlueMap. As former Weil, Gotshal, & Manges attorney, Mr. Conard also understands the changing energy, tax, securities, construction, and environmental hurdles every clean energy project must clear. He’d love feedback on this article. Send it to info@zenergy.com.