Outsourced sales teams allow a deregulated energy supplier to acquire energy market knowledge out of the box. Since it’s a newer industry, fewer sales reps are available with experience. Choosing to work with a sales company that has experience in the local energy market means getting a sales force that knows how to sell the different packages and explain to customers how efficient usage, as well as reduced cost per kilo-watt hour (kWh), can save them money.
The market for energy has exploded and diversified with the implementation of deregulation in the late 1990’s.
The selling process is unique because, while the actual face-to-face demonstration of value seems straight forward enough, the market conditions are extremely dynamic. Keeping up to date on market conditions on a state by state level and quickly pivoting in the sales approach keeps our success rate higher than competing firms.
Sales reps need to sell against a wide array of providers. They will compete with reps from giant multi-billion dollar companies, mid-market regional firms AND part-time home based reps working for themselves. Some states such as Texas, make it very easy to become an energy broker. Even cable tv companies are getting in the act bundling electricity with the other services it offers.
The industry is controversial, post-Enron, and resistance needs to be dealt with diplomatically. After all, your customers rely on your service as an elemental part of their daily business and home life. Switching from a previously regulated and well-known utility company creates confusion and uncertainty. Emphasize the post-sale to address “buyer’s remorse,” and help the customer validate their decision.
We train our team to build rapport while becoming a consultant for their client.
We understand that changing regulations can drastically alter the market. Energy companies need to be able to add or reduce staffing levels on the fly. An outsourced sales and staff recruiting team is very attractive because it provides year-to-year flexibility for energy providers and brokers.
When our contract sales team is in the field, we teach them to understand specific conditions that exist in the deregulated market. Our outside sales team is coached on state level differences within their territory such as whether gas, electric or both are deregulated, as well as overall pricing trends for the state.
For example, prices have actually gone up in some states as a result of energy deregulation. A rep working that territory can still be successful if they position themselves as experts who know how to structure a deal for the client’s benefit.
In states where energy deregulation has reduced energy prices, we use data-driven lead lists that guide reps to prospects who haven’t been touched by another broker or energy supplier.
Our sales process is customized with scheduled briefings and training if necessary to keep our contract sales force up-to-date on the ever changing landscape of regulations and global energy prices. Our sales management is tight enough to prevent practices which can jeopardize our clients standing in the local market. An outsourced sale firm needs to have training and oversight which prevents “slamming“, or the practice changing a customer’s utility provider without their permission.
Selling commercial deregulated energy is primarily a local sell. Being in front of the customer is crucial to building trust because small business owners need to know that you understand the pricing and billing arrangements that are available. While price is the main driver, some business owners like the pricing stability that energy contracts feature. Beyond the initial sale, a local field rep will be perceived as better able to resolve billing issues for small business customers. Billing can be very confusing because in some states, you get the same exact bill from the utility even if you are supplied by a different company.
From our perspective, deregulated energy markets are just starting to exit the “wild west stage” where vague regulations and lax enforcement ruled the field sales climate. Up until a few years ago, the value was driven mainly by better pricing and building awareness that deregulation was an option.
In 2014 and beyond, more customers at aware if their state is in a deregulated energy market. Moving forward, winning sales reps will build creative packages that emphasize reduced or smarter usage, fixed monthly pricing and reliability.
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