24 Oct How Can Data Drive Sales for ESCOs?
How much data should ESCOs capture about their customers? Then once it is collected, what can be done with it?
In an ever-growing, digitally accelerated market, every ESCO needs to be able to answer these questions for itself. While growth in competitive energy markets is rising, margins for energy companies are increasingly thinning, as a plethora of new players enter each regional playing field in an attempt to gain a share of the overall market.
Data has the potential to drive sales for ESCOs. Finding, utilizing and analyzing the data is not the easiest task, however, it can help make a business more efficient and profitable. In an environment of increasing competition, data (particularly invoice data) can help companies create a competitive advantage and improve sales.
What gets tracked gets measured. Track your company’s Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). EDI represents a fundamental change in the way companies transact business. It replaces paper-intensive functions with efficient electronic transactions and eliminates the need for printing and mailing business information. By using standard formats and languages, the computerized data can be electronically transmitted between two companies, or between a utility and ESCO, and interpreted automatically.
Use this invoice data to enhance lead qualification and identify better targets. With insights into seasonal effects, demand charges, time-of-use rates and energy costs for both residential and commercial energy users, ESCOs can make more informed decisions about where to target sales efforts and improve conversion rates.
Present a stronger value proposition with prospects’ current bill data. Potential customers want their prospective savings to be forecasted as accurately as possible. Without this information, they are far less likely to switch to your ESCO and make the decision to do so quickly.
To accurately show a prospect how much he or she can save by switching to your company, your ESCO needs access to the prospect’s historical utility bills and interval data, which contain valuable usage and cost data. ESCOs can take this personalized data and show the prospect how much they can save by switching or entering into a specific plan. These savings can be represented in both energy units and dollars.
Given this information, customers can choose the best option based on their goals and be confident that switching plans or companies makes sense for them. This approach helps potential customers get on board faster by validating what an ESCO is pitching with personalized, instead of generic, data.
Gaining Sales with Data
While businesses should adhere to legal requirements and respect individual privacy, ESCOs should gather as much data from their customers as they possibly can. It’s the personalized and high-touch use of the data that makes customers willing to share.
Insights garnered from this data can help your company identify buyer concerns and structure your value propositions around such concerns. Data can be used to create value propositions for the buyer that benefits the bottom line. For example, one electric utility has used information gathered from smart meters to track customer usage in 15 minute increments. Knowing when customers used power enabled the company to offer ‘Free Nighttime Energy’ between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. that comes with a discount on daytime usage. The incentive for customers to cut electric use during peak times will saved the company hundreds of millions in capital investments and operating costs in coming years.
Using data wisely can gain your ESCO commercial, residential and industrial customer accounts. By tracking data, your company can develop insights about customer journeys to advance the relationship. In turn, the knowledge you gain and present back to your customers will garner trust in your brand and fuel sales for years to come.