Solar Businesses Can Leverage Relationships for Success
The solar industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. In fact, over the past two years, it’s grown by nearly 40%. That doesn’t sound like a problem, but for all the benefits it offers, solar should be growing even faster.
Part of the reason we’re not seeing solar panels pop up on the rooftops around us with even more regularity is that the public isn’t yet educated on the finer points of what solar can bring to a household or to a business.
For instance, many potential solar adopters are still under the impression that photovoltaic systems are prohibitively expensive. Others think that they’re grossly inefficient. Still others are under the impression that the environmental impact of manufacturing the solar panels themselves outweighs their earth-friendly power production.
If you’re in the solar industry, then you know that these rumors simply aren’t true. And further, the cost of going solar has become quite competitive in recent years. The impact of solar panel production pales in comparison to the environmental cost alternatives, and advances in solar technology have made solar panels one of the most efficient sources of renewable energy available on the market today.
You know that information to be true – but how can you convince your potential clients? Well, you can certainly maintain an informative blog, or offer seminars on the current state of solar technology, and spread the good word about solar through social media. You can also offer current clients referral credits, and provide them with attractive signage that lets them show off their new-found solar lifestyle.
All of these methods can be quite effective, but one of the most effective techniques of all is to form strategic partnerships with other businesses.
What’s a B2B Partnership?
A business-to-business or B2B Partnership is a strategic agreement between two businesses that allows each to take advantage of the marketing reach and client base of the other. B2B partnerships can be set up as one-time events, but the most effective partnerships tend to be ongoing relationships that benefit both businesses.
Make a B2B Partnership List
The first step in establishing a B2B partnership is to make a list of businesses with which a mutually beneficial relationship could be formed. For those in the solar business, this list might include other businesses that cater to an environmentally conscious clientele, such as eateries that specialize in serving local goods, green cleaning services, sellers of electric vehicles, and health food stores.
It might also include construction companies such as roofers or builders of custom homes. It may also be smart to partner with other sellers of renewable power, such as wind turbines, hydroelectric systems, and even other solar vendors that operate in other locales.
Next, Narrow It Down
Once an inclusive list of potential partners has been created, it should be narrowed down to only the most promising prospects. Partnerships that present a conflict of interest should be crossed off the list. It’s also best to partner with businesses that have established respected reputations, and have healthy financials.
Make Your Pitch
Next, those businesses that make the cut should be recruited. Some thought should be put into how the partnership will work, and the benefits for each party before presenting a partnership proposal to decision-makers. It may also be wise to do a bit of online or face-to-face networking before pitching the proposal.
Make Everything Clear
Before embarking on a strategic B2B marketing partnership, it’s important to make sure all parties involved understand how the partnership works, and to put it in writing.
A Mutually Beneficial Relationship
There are all sorts of ways a B2B partnership can work. Two businesses can invest in a joint marketing campaign, or pool their expertise to create special events for homeowners interested in green technology, or for businesses in need of the PR boost that renewable energy adoption can provide. Joint lead generation strategies often work well, and the collaboration factor allows both businesses to receive a boost in credibility from the other’s endorsement.
Obviously, your first goal in creating a business partnership is to help your business thrive, but you should jump on any opportunity to go above and beyond, especially if all it costs you is a referral. Always be on the lookout for ways to help your B2B partners, and chances are, they’ll do the same for you.
[Photo Credit: Flazingo Photos, Flickr Commons]
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