White Paper: Reducing Customer Acquisition Costs and Sales Cycles in the Commercial Battery Storage/PV MarketJanuary 12, 2016
Author: Jerry Jackson, Leader and Research Director, Smart Grid Research Consortium, President, Jackson Associates
Combining battery storage with PV systems provides new commercial sector market opportunities for battery and PV systems. Battery outputs can be used to smooth PV impacts reducing peak demand charges beyond what can be achieved with PV alone. Battery storage also provides opportunities for peak load leveling, shaving and shifting. The example in this paper illustrates the ability of combined battery/PV systems to provide a synergy that reduces peak demand more than the sum of reductions achieved independently by the two technologies.
Battery/PV business case load profile impacts are illustrated with interval load data for medical offices in the SCE service territory for battery storage, PV and a combined storage/PV systems in medical office buildings in two geographic locations.
However, high commercial customer PV acquisition costs and long sales cycles present a challenge for battery/PV providers. This paper identifies two primary bottlenecks in the sales process associated with (1) difficulty in identifying the most profitable and receptive potential customers and (2) long delays in qualifying and engaging customers because of delays in obtaining customer interval load data from the utility and providing an initial sales proposal.
Two marketing analytics applications are presented to resolve these bottlenecks. Market segmentation is widely used to target attractive potential customers; however, the segmentation and analysis process required for battery/PV segmentation and targeting must include information on customer hourly loads characteristics. This extension requires application of a commercial customer database that includes 15-minute interval load data in addition to traditional firmographic data.
A “real-time” customer qualification and sales proposal process is presented as the second marketing analytics application. Providing potential customers with a business case assessment using actual customer characteristics along with interval load data from peer buildings extracted from a commercial customer hourly loads database provides an immediate assessment for battery/PV providers and potential customers. The ability to quickly engage high-value prospects has been shown to significantly increase sales conversion rates.
Both marketing analysis solutions are illustrated with MAISY marketing analytics products developed to improve technology provider segmentation/target marketing and customer qualification/engagement.