How to scale your e-mobility business with efficient lead qualification in charging infrastructure sales
Author: Marlon Hütten, epilot
The electromobility market is booming: the number of registered electric cars in Germany is expected to increase to over 3.4 million passenger cars by 2025, more than 500% increase since 2021 1, 2 . This opens up the sale of wallboxes and charging columns as a high-potential business area of the future. But to build up the e-mobility business segment profitably, the rising demand must be met efficiently – and here solution providers of charging infrastructure often face obstacles.
One pain point is lead qualification. Inquiries often come in through a wide variety of channels: Prospective customers write an e-mail, call customer service, visit the customer center in person, or use the contact form on the website, which is usually programmed statically via an agency and sends the inquiries to the central e-mail inbox of the sales department. The problem is that the request data is not collected centrally for all process participants to see; instead, the result is a jumble of Excel lists, e-mails in various mailboxes, and personal notes. In addition, the same data is not consistently requested from prospects and erroneous data creeps in, for example due to typos or misunderstandings on the phone. The lack of transparency results in avoidable internal coordination as well as inquiries with the interested parties and thus time expenditures for the employees.
In order to meet the increasing demand and successfully scale the business model, efficient processes for lead qualification are required: Manual efforts must be reduced as far as possible and higher data quality must be ensured.
The following approaches can be used to build successful lead qualification:
Using different channels for lead generation, such as phone, website or personal contact,is important to reach different audiences. But all these points of contact should request the same information from the customer and bring it together centrally in one solution. Digital forms can be used to request information relevant to qualification from the customer. Embedded on the website, the customer can enter his details himself, in the customer center or at the customer’s site, a tablet is used to fill in the form, and in the call center or customer service, the employee can send the form to the customer or use it as a conversation guide during the phone call and fill it in himself.
Why not actively involve the prospect in prequalification and relieve employees? Digital forms can be used to automatically check certain questions that do not necessarily have to be processed manually: For example, after entering their address, the prospective customer can be shown whether the wallbox or charging station is even available at their location or whether they should contact another provider – and there is no need for the employee to make a phone call or send an e-mail. Creditworthiness checks can also be mapped automatically in this first inquiry step: If the customer’s credit rating is determined to be poor after the address has been entered, it can be automatically displayed that no products are available at the location.
It is also possible to go one step further and have the prospective customer make the product selection as well. By answering questions such as “What charging power do you need?”, “Are you looking for a wallbox or charging pole?”, “Should the charging cable be attached?”, a preselection of corresponding products can be displayed automatically. Helpful tips, such as “What are the differences between different charging cables?” or “How do I find out what charging power I need?” can also be incorporated via help texts. This means that the entire process does not require manual support from employees.
The information requested from the customer should be flexibly adapted to market conditions: If it is currently difficult to collect new leads, it is advisable to request only the most necessary information in the interest of conversion optimization. If the acquisition of new leads is simple, more of the customer’s own input can be incorporated into the qualification process by requesting further information. This agility at the customer interface is one of the cornerstones of successful online sales.
Incorrect e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, addresses, bank data, etc. make life difficult for service staff and cause unnecessary delays in the process. Here, too, digital remedies can be found: Digital forms can be used to clean up data intelligently. For example, incorrect e-mail addresses can be detected, address data can be compared with postal directories, form fields can be restricted to numerical or text entries, and IBAN data can be validated automatically. This minimizes the risk of incorrect entries on the part of the prospect or employee.
Data should be collected from the beginning with the aim of being able to evaluate it cleanly later. For this purpose, the structured creation of data in the software in which the requests are processed is of central importance. For a later evaluation, relevant data should not be created as notes or free text fields if possible, but as standardized objects or fields, e.g. multiple or single choice. This creates comparability and makes it easier to derive trends from the data, e.g. how many prospective customers are interested in a particular type of wallbox or which charging capacity prospective customers most frequently request.
In most cases, lead qualification cannot be fully automated for complex products and services: The human factor continues to play a decisive role in sales. Nevertheless, more efficiency can also be created in manual activities by partially automating processes. For example, workflows can be created with certain standard tasks and responsibilities, which can be differentiated according to product type or inquiry channel. If the request is received, the corresponding workflow is automatically started and the employee receives his first task, e.g. “Check of specified date preference for installation”. The advantage: everyone involved in the process knows exactly what needs to be done and when, and no tasks are forgotten. Variable-based e-mail templates or document templates can also be integrated into the workflows and automatically filled with the prospect’s data. This also automates manual communication to the greatest possible extent.
Lead qualification is just the first step in the sales process: You can read about how to efficiently manage your e-mobility projects and control service providers here.
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