marketing strategy

How Project Development and Marketing Teams Can Work Together To Create Better Customer Experiences

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Portrait photo of DG+Design founder, David Ganske
David Ganske

david@dgplusdesign.com

Your company likely just went through a long and laborious sales process to sell a big account. It might have taken anywhere from days to months or even years to get signed. All hands were on deck to provide the right proposal, pricing, and product schematics or designs. The result was a delighted opportunity that turned into a key customer for your business.

We all know how marketing and sales fit together like modules and inverters (even if a circuit breaker flips now and then), but what about marketing and development? After the big sale, your marketing team’s efforts should also sync directly with your operations and development teams to reap long-term value for your business.

Let’s take a look at how marketing and operations teams can work together to create a positive customer experience. In the end, it can all translate to better testimonials, referrals, and up-sell or cross-sell opportunities.

Add Project Managers to Your CRM

A CRM is a customer relationship management tool like Salesforce or HubSpot that marketing and sales teams use to track correspondence with contacts during the sales process and beyond. It also provides automation for reminders, emails, and more to reduce the need to reminder follow ups or key messaging.

So why not include project managers or engineers in the CRM? For the project manager, this would mean transparency into the sales process and customer needs in addition to tools that can make repetitive emails more streamlined.

If you are tired of writing the same explanation of why a solar canopy doesn’t feed directly to an electric vehicle charger placed underneath, a CRM can help you with that.

Why should you do this?

  • Add customer communication transparency across teams
  • Extend automation tools to development and operations
  • Delight customers with regular email correspondence and standardized messaging

Educate Communities on Upcoming Projects

Once a clean energy project is sold, it still has to be sold over and over again to community members. These members might include the general public, board members, or utility administrators.

This is where development and marketing teams can really shine by working together. Marketers spend a lot of their time creating content with sales teams to build awareness and show the benefits of your products.

For development teams, direct collaboration could mean a website landing page about the upcoming project, flyers or educational content, a direct mail campaign, or even articles in local media. You can introduce your project to neighbors or other community members and build support before any opposition gets started.

Why should you do this?

  • Beat community opposition by getting your message out first
  • Educate the public on your products
  • Reduce bottlenecks for permitting
  • Build brand awareness beyond your customer

Create Development Stage Customer Materials

Project managers typically launch their work on a new project by having a kick-off meeting with the customer when the sales lead transitions out of the main contact role. This meeting, whether in person or over the phone, also presents next steps and sets the tone for many meetings to come over the following weeks or months.

When I worked in residential solar as a project manager, I really liked to come to these meetings prepared. This meant having a folder for the customer that contained an overview document, necessary forms, a copy of the contract, and sometimes flyers or spec sheets of equipment that we would be using.

Marketers can work with project managers and engineers to develop materials that create a positive customer experience that provides transparency and education. Examples could include a booklet on the project development process, a flyer on what to expect, or a brochure on added benefits for customers. If swag is available, it’s also a good time to give the new customer a hat, t-shirt, or really anything to build brand loyalty and show you care.

Why should you do this?

  • Create an engaging post-sale customer experience
  • Educate customers on potential risks or bottlenecks
  • Standardize communication across all project teams
  • Excite customers about your company and reinforce the buying decision

Share Development Expertise for Sales Content

Now that we have both sales and marketing and development and marketing working together, why not combine all three teams? This triple-threat approach can really make your company shine during the sales process by showing deep expertise to truly engage future customers.

In simplified terms:

(Sales + Marketing + Dev) > [(Sales + Marketing) + (Marketing + Dev)]

Potential customers often have a lot of specific questions about how your clean energy project will impact their facility. If it is energy storage, the question might be about the software and demand shavings. If it’s about a fleet of new electric vehicle charging units, it might be about conduits and peak load impact.

Sales leads can do a great job answering questions, but your subject matter experts in engineering, development, and operations can help, too.

You can connect all three teams by bringing subject matter expects from the development team into the sales process. Marketers can help by ghostwriting blogs, getting speaking opportunities, and recording webinars that showcase development expertise.

This directly impacts the sales process because future customers can see your company’s full breadth of talent. Plus, it’s sometimes much easier for a lead to engage with someone who is not in sales (no disrespect to sales).

Why should you do this?

  • Show full breadth of your company’s expertise
  • Give opportunity to project managers and engineers to shine
  • Provide a non-sales contact for potential customers
  • Create varied content for lead generation

Here’s How to Get Started

If you are a marketer reading this, you might not know the needs of your development team or even know the specifics of what they do. If you are a developer or project manager, you might not know what your marketing team’s toolbox has available to you.

That’s why the best first step is to simply schedule a meeting between marketing and development leads to discuss needs and how you can address them. Add sales to the meeting for even better results across the entire customer journey.

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