Over a decade into the U.S. residential solar boom and the “solarcoaster” continues to surprise with new twists and turns. Like any good rollercoaster, there have been a lot of ups and downs – but if you keep your eyes open and your wits about you, these changes can be exciting instead of stomach-churning.
Just like our installer partners, Sighten has worked hard to make sure our software platform stays relevant in the fast-changing solar landscape. And we’re confident that our new proposal tool, MyProposal, will make your ride on the solarcoaster a lot more enjoyable by helping your business capitalize on the most important trends in residential solar.
You can learn more about MyProposal in our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, May 23 – sign up here. But first, let’s talk about how the MyProposal feature set can help you stay ahead of the market and grow your solar business!
1. Empowering local & regional installers
The early years of the solar boom were led by large, national solar companies, but growth has now shifted to small and medium-sized solar installers. As in similar industries like the HVAC market, this trend is likely to be sustained over the long term: local and regional installers know their market better than anyone, and trust and reputation are paramount in any business where you’re working in (and on top of) someone’s home. These local installers have also been increasingly empowered by better access to financing programs and advanced solar software.
Expanding access to financing and technology for all types of solar businesses is core to Sighten’s mission. While we work with some of the largest solar companies in the residential market, most of our customers are small/medium-sized businesses with less than 50 employees. We understand how important it is for these local and regional installers to be able to differentiate themselves with a strong brand and a effective sales process that drives confidence, closes deals, and generates sustainable growth.
Our new proposal tool, MyProposal, is built with these needs in mind. From start to finish, you’re in complete control of how your proposal looks and works:
- Add company logos and other design elements to make your brand stand out
- Create, delete, and arrange slides to fit your existing sales process / pitch (not the other way around)
- Generate accurate proposals that model customer savings in detail
- Create eye-catching, interactive proposals optimized for tablets / mobile or simple printed proposals
- Add custom referral pages to make it easy for your existing customers to become evangelists for your business
We’ve been testing the MyProposal tool with installers, and they love how much flexibility and customization it provides – as well as how intuitive it is to use, with a web-based interface that doesn’t require in-depth technical training. After all, we want to help installers leverage their local knowledge and nimble organization to gain a competitive edge, not bog them down with a cumbersome learning curve.
2. Integrating diverse financing options
Initially, the solar financing landscape was dominated by the leases and PPAs offered by the large, national solar companies. As the industry diversified, we saw the rise of solar loans as well as PACE financing, both of which have distinct advantages and specific customer types. More recently, as we discussed in our blog on solar financing trends, third-party ownership (TPO) options are getting a new “lease” on life, as new programs and software tools make them accessible to smaller installers for the first time.
As solar financing has evolved, it’s become clear that there is no “one size fits all” solution: every customer is different, and being able to offer a tailored financing solution to meet each customer’s specific needs increases your addressable market and your close rate. However, while financing is critical to solar’s value proposition, it’s also the most complicated part of the sale – and integrating multiple types of financing into your pitch can increase that complexity exponentially, potentially confusing prospects (and your sales reps).
Sighten’s new proposal tool, MyProposal, makes operationalizing diverse financing programs seamless. You can walk prospects through your specific financing options with dynamic charts and visual aids, inspiring confidence through a clear presentation of how each financing option works and how savings will grow over time. Given the many nuances of all of the different financing programs out there, being able to present this information clearly, compellingly, and accurately is extremely important – and a powerful competitive advantage.
Of course, like the other design elements within our proposal tool, these financing features are fully customizable. The MyProposal financing module allows you to create pages that present the specific information you’ve found to be most effective for each type of financing. Want to present a summary side-by-side comparison of different financing options? No problem. Need to drill down into the details of a particular loan or lease product with a stacked bar chart? You’re just a click away.
Making your customers and sales reps comfortable with the myriad of financing products available today allows you to offer tailored financing solutions that drive growth (instead of confusion). And our new proposal tool, MyProposal, makes it easy for installers of any size to successfully navigate financing, regardless of their expertise or resources in this area.
3. Expanding beyond the solar sale
One of the most important long-term trends shaping the residential solar industry isn’t even about solar – it’s about expanding your business to go beyond solar, with additional offerings like batteries, roofing upgrades, and smart home and energy efficiency improvements. This trend is only beginning to take off, but it’s moving fast: for example, the most recent data from GTM Research shows that residential storage grew over 200% in 2017 compared to 2016.
There are good reasons for offering non-solar products beyond just brand differentiation. In certain leading solar states (California and Hawaii, we’re looking at you), changes to net metering have challenged stand-alone solar economics and created a stronger value proposition for storage. Moreover, being able to amortize a larger project (e.g. solar + storage instead of just solar) over a fixed customer acquisition cost improves installer margins and often results in a better overall energy solution for the customer. Finally, the rise of financing programs that allow for the bundling of solar projects with non-solar products has made it possible to close these types of sales with a single signature.
Our new proposal tool, MyProposal, lets you easily add these new, non-solar product offerings to your sales process. You’ll have an intuitive interface to design custom pages that explain the features and convey the value of these new products in a way that fits seamlessly within your existing brand and process. As with financing, convincing prospects to take the plunge on new technologies requires winning their confidence and trust, and a consistent look and feel here can go a long way.
We know from our conversations with installers that adding these new products and services to meet growing market demand is a top priority for companies of every size, and there’s a lot of excitement – and experimentation – around figuring out exactly how to sell them. By providing a web-based proposal tool that’s flexible and easy to update, we hope to give you the freedom to make your sales process just as innovative as the new technology products you’re selling.
A future-proof proposal tool
Most people choose to work in solar because they want to be part of an exciting, fast-growing, world-changing industry: that’s why we founded Sighten, and it’s probably part of why you started your solar company, too. And the rapid growth – and sometimes surprising changes – that we’ve seen over the past few years has validated that expectation and then some!
Sighten’s new proposal tool, MyProposal, is designed to let you take advantage of every new opportunity (and challenge) the solarcoaster throws at you, with fully-customizable, attractive, web-based presentations that can evolve right alongside your business. Here and elsewhere, our goal is to empower solar companies of all sizes to move with the nimbleness of a small installer – and operate with the sophistication of a large one.
Sign up for our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, May 23 to learn more about our new proposal tool, MyProposal, or reach out to the Sighten team directly!