Value 2C: Keep the Sales and Field Experience Simple
By Ben Peterson, Former CEO
At Blue Raven Solar, we have three values helping us stay aligned with our mission statement and to bring solar to homeowners across the nation.
- Develop a High-Trust Culture
- Be Efficient
- Continuously Improve
Without each of these values, we could not stay close to our goals as individuals and as a company. With rapid growth and constant industry advancements and changes, we must keep our mission at the front of our minds and operations. However, these three values can seem vague, and might be difficult to apply to specific process steps or departments in a solar company like Blue Raven Solar. So, each is accompanied by four sub-statements capturing what living this value means.
After covering Value 1 and its supporting statements, we can more fully understand the reasoning and rationale behind Value 1 and how to use it to deliver results. Developing a high-trust culture means keeping commitments, closing the loop of communication, respecting and empowering one another, and disagreeing constructively.
Our second value, “Be Efficient,” means four things for us:
2A: Produce results that are worth more than they cost to deliver
2B: Obsessively reduce cycle times in every area
2C: Keep the sales and field experience simple (even if it means adding complexity elsewhere)
2D: Stay lean – eliminate unnecessary costs (even through periods of rapid growth)
We broke down Value 2A and Value 2B in previous blogs, and their importance shines even brighter now that it has been fully explored and related to our operations.
Value 2C is the next topic: Keep the sales and field experience simple (even if it means adding complexity elsewhere).
What it Means to Keep the Sales and Field Experience Simple
When new hires join our corporate office and teams, I meet with them in groups to talk about the mission and values and why they are important to keeping Blue Raven Solar strong. In this meeting, I ask them if they have ever had a job in the field in any industry, and I will occasionally get a few individuals who raise their hands. I then ask them how their office job is different from a non-office job.
In a meeting a few weeks ago, a new hire’s response stood out to me. “Our jobs are hard, but their jobs are really hard.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “Well, in an office, we have air conditioning and computers and a desk. We work in a structured environment. In the field, you never know what you are getting into. You work in the real world. You face the weather. You run into unexpected situations, and you need to adapt.”
I like this response, and I think it acknowledges what our field teams must deal with while bringing solar energy to people across the country, a good bit of it not being under anyone’s control. Our field and sales teams must adapt to ever-changing situations, turning a problem into an opportunity and being persistent to a degree many office employees will never have to.
How We Make the Process Simple – It’s in the Details
Being on the road, in somebody’s house, or on a jobsite (someone’s roof) introduces a level of inherent complexity that can quickly derail a sales or installation process. Value 2C at Blue Raven Solar means we keep these processes simple.
“Simple” translates to fewer mistakes and better outcomes for everyone involved!
For example, we do not require our sales representatives to come up with or build their own proposals because we want them to focus on the customer, not the technology. We do not require our installers to conduct customer scheduling or permit processing, as we want them to focus on installation quality and customer experience. Every department and employee should focus on exactly what they are personally responsible for, because someone else is responsible for and focused on the other moving parts – together making a seamless experience.
Our Approach to Complexity
In some cases where complexity must be added to accommodate a scaling operation, the rationale should never be to simplify somebody’s job in the office. In my experience, this is too often the rationale for making a change. Adding complexity to remote teams must be carefully considered and always be in service to another value of ours.
We should also be on the lookout for other ways to simplify the experience to offset whatever we have introduced. And above all else, Value 2C means we must always ask, “What impact would this change have on other departments, and especially on employees who work in the field and in sales?”
Our Employees Response to Keeping Sales and Field Experience Simple
We asked employees how they have experienced Value 2C at Blue Raven Solar. Here is what a few of them said:
Our customers see a simple process of having solar installed while we are running around trying to make every little piece fit without showing the chaos.
Value 2C is super prescient right now. We are working so hard in design to eliminate hiccups or friction in the sales process that are caused by the work we do. We are paying very close attention to all resurveys, regens, and engineering reviews that are called out, so that we can eliminate all unnecessary ones.
Management is great in making sure we are keeping the sales process simple and straightforward. They teach us to focus on listening to the customer's needs rather than overwhelming the customer with jargon.
On the proposals team I have seen how the designers will bend over backward to get the reps the designs that they need, answer questions about why panels were placed in certain places and offer solutions to the reps when there are difficulties that arise.
We do what we can to make jobs in field ops as easy as possible, whether that is through scheduling or uploading the necessary documents for permits or inspections. We value our field technicians, so we want them to have a good experience working with us!
We constantly try to optimize work, so the reps and customers have an easy, smooth process.
We are always doing everything we can on our side to make the field experience as quick and smooth as possible.
One thing that I like about Blue Raven Solar is that everything is done ‘in house.’ Because of this I believe it really helps keep the sales process smooth and simple for its customers.
Customers do not have to be transferred around from department to department because everyone keeps good enough notes in our CRM. I know our customers appreciate it when we have the answers, even if it is as simple as an answer to ‘what is the next step?’
Going solar can be quite a lengthy process. I am glad that our operations team puts in the work necessary to keep our customers happy and keep them updated as they move through the pipeline.
Employees are constantly looking for solutions for the customer even if it means more time and effort on their part.
The behind-the-scenes process of generating a proposal is complex. To the customer and rep, it is simple and straightforward.
At the Forefront: Sales Representatives and Field Operation Teams
We know we could not imagine Blue Raven Solar the way it is today without our sales representatives and field operations team members. One of the reasons we have experienced success is because the entire solar process is done in-house at Blue Raven Solar. We do our best to acknowledge our sales and field teams’ hard work, and we do our best to keep their jobs as simple as we can.
This can mean we add steps to a process happening in the office, or maybe we change a method to one of our department’s operations. No matter what, we believe living this part of Value 2 is incredibly important to not only the continued smooth operation of Blue Raven Solar, but also to the comfort, ease, and happiness of our employees who work persistently outside of the office.
Local and State Recognition for Continued Greatness and Achievement
We have stayed true to this goal, and it shows. Blue Raven Solar has won several awards for our solar services and growth in our industry and markets. We would not be producing at this level if it was not for our sales and field teams being happy and successful with the tools given, and comfortable with their responsibilities. Through their dedicated work and support of Blue Raven Solar’s mission, we are continuing to experience rapid growth and more success throughout the United States, expanding to new markets and helping more homeowners every day.
Our mission is to make homeowners’ lives better by reducing their energy bills, by increasing their reliance on clean and abundant renewable energy, and by providing a world-class customer experience through a reliable sales process and a speedy, high-quality installation.
We do everything we can to stick to this mission statement and help our sales and field teams have a simple process to follow.
Are you ready to experience our mission and values? Request a free quote from one of our solar experts today!