Best Company’s VP of Marketing, Justin Ashby recently had the opportunity to speak with Coulton Main, the Senior Manager of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at SOLO.
SOLO is a sales conversion platform that focuses on creating customizable proposals for businesses in the solar and roofing industries.
Because SOLO and Best Company’s target business audiences are so similar, the two companies have decided to partner together in an effort to build their customer bases and help their customers take full advantage of their software and offerings.
Coulton began by explaining that SOLO's software was designed to optimize the solar sales process.
“SOLO has been around for a little over five and a half years now and really came into the solar industry, first and foremost, fixing a long and painful sales process for homeowners trying to purchase residential solar.”
He said SOLO built a "pre-posal" process to give salespeople the ability to better inform homeowners about solar.
“We’ve created a content area called the ‘pre-posal.’ So, right when you are beginning that journey with the homeowner, you’ll send over the information, and instantly, you have a company-specific and industry-specific proposal where you can start going through some of the information, whether you’re educating on solar or just really riffing about your company and all the benefits that you are going to bring to that prospective customer.”
Coulton mentioned that the pre-posal is also designed to help those in solar sales build a bridge with customers that naturally leads to an official proposal.
“You have all that information in a very clean, powerful presentation. As soon as you get through that, you have an amazing rapport, the customer is feeling great about what they’ve learned so far, and you just transition that right into the actual proposal, where you get into the specifics that they’re really going to be purchasing.”
Coulton explained to Justin that tools are a major part of the sales process and that it’s important to choose the right ones if you want to be seen as an industry expert and have better closing rates.
“You becoming the expert in what these consumers are going to carry forward throughout the experience with you has to do a lot with what you’re using as well. Tools like Best Company and how they’re seeing reviews and learning about your company before you ever speak to them, that’s really where you have that expert-level and these different touchpoints throughout. People have really started to see that and have material differences in their closing percentages.”
When it comes to sales, Coulton said SOLO focuses on helping reps get more facetime with customers and give them the tools they need to succeed.
“Speed is a big part of what we deliver as well as quality and accuracy too. So, companies can come over and their sales reps are instantly able to present to more customers. If you’re sitting with more customers, then you’re going to be able to sell more deals, but really, the enablement pieces inside of our tools help increase that conversion too.”
When Justin asked Coulton about what he predicts will happen in the solar/home improvement industry, Coulton said he sees a very large, continual solar opportunity due to the way home-building trends have accelerated over the past few years.
“Around three to four percent of U.S. homes have solar and 2021 was the biggest year for residential solar installs. But we are extremely far behind the number of new homes that are being built each year. So, even though we’re around three to four percent, if we don’t have another record year in solar deployment in residential, that gap is going to continue growing.”
He explained that this gap is an opportunity because an increase in new homes directly means a larger demand for energy, and he believes that solar is a great way to fill that demand.
“That’s really something about this industry that’s super powerful because we’re building way more homes than we are putting solar on, so we’re adding four to five times more energy needs every single year with new home builds. The solar industry is around the technology, you know 40-, 50-plus years old but the opportunity in that space is massive, and it’s not slowing down.”
Coulton suggested that companies looking to level up their customer's journey should take a closer look at their touchpoints, use the right tools, and make sure that their brand is consistent and able to speak for itself.
“There are super powerful tools that are going to level up your indirect or passive presentation of your organization, especially online. The touchpoints and how they’re structured, pre-sale, during the sale, and post-sale. That’s where these tools should have this similar look and feel the whole time and it’s really just going to add so much to what your organization is doing.”
In addition to being the Senior Manager of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at SOLO, Coulton Main is also an experienced Co-founder and Vice President with over 10 years in the renewable energy industry and 4 years in the tech space.
He is skilled in operations management, sales, team building, and leadership.
Founded in 2018, SOLO streamlines sales for reps who depend on speed and accuracy to close. SOLO, a back-office solution for contractors and sales organizations, provides dynamic, proposals, document management, CAD design, and engineering as a service for the home improvement industry.
So far, SOLO has created over 3 million proposals, saved an estimated 150,000 hours of work, closed more than 100,000 deals, and permitted over 9,000 CADS.