Sullivan Solar Power’s IT Leader Enables Lead Generation and Revenue Growth
When Daniel Sullivan started Sullivan Solar Power he had one goal in mind: to transform the way the world generates electricity.
At the time his company launched in 2004 it was one of few in the San Diego area that installed solar power systems. Since then not only has Sullivan Solar Power grown tremendously, so has the industry itself.
But the company’s fast growth was hindering their ability to deliver. Sullivan Solar Power needed to find a way to stay ahead of the competition. Company leaders quickly identified that they needed a better way to manage an exploding volume of sales leads.
The company’s spreadsheet-based system for tracking leads was inconsistent and impossible to report on making it difficult to know the actual number of leads. The team turned to Quickbase to quickly build a centralized system to manage sales leads and other key company information. They have since leveraged Quickbase to streamline multiple processes and functions, from multiple business functions like HR, Purchasing, and IT.
Sullivan Solar Power has since been able to grow its business rapidly while maintaining its commitment to quality products, systems, and people.
- The company was experiencing rapid growth without a scalable process for managing leads
- The current spreadsheet system for tracking leads was not capable of keeping pace with the amount of leads coming in
- There was no time or resources available for longer term technology projects
- Built a sales management application on Quickbase
- Automated the sales lead process in Quickbase where leads from the website now automatically populate lead fields in an application
- Built a full reporting capability for teams and individuals
- Self-service reporting provides the business with greater insights
- Quickbase’s easy-to-use interface enables rapid customization
- Notifications and cross-app relationships automate workflows and streamline project progress
- Leads are now automatically assigned to sales reps thanks to automated processes
Driving the Solar Energy Revolution
Daniel Sullivan was working as an electrician in San Diego when he realized he wanted to lead the solar energy revolution. So, in 2004 he quit his job and launched Sullivan Solar Power with just a few thousand dollars, a set of old tools, and a desire to change the way the world generates electricity.
In less than a decade, Sullivan went from sleeping in his first customer’s garage of his first customer and being one of the few companies installing solar power systems in the area to pulling in more than $30 million in 2013. The company has doubled in size almost every year.
As a fast-growing company, it quickly became evident that keeping up with a growing volume of sales leads was proving too much for the company’s spreadsheet-based system.
To scale with its ambitions, Sullivan Solar Power needed a fast solution.
Employees found that Quickbase could enable users to quickly develop solutions to make their processes more efficient. They built a sales management application to help streamline the lead-to-close process and organize key data so sales leaders can run robust reports and provide better insights into the organization.
“We would not be here today without Quickbase,” said Mike Chagala, Director of IT for Sullivan Solar Power.
Commitment to High Quality
Sullivan Solar Power promises customers dramatic reductions in their utility bills, often down to $0, by capturing solar power from rooftop panels and returning unused power to the grid. To achieve these results, Sullivan Solar Power relies on a highly trained workforce and a commitment to building top-quality solar installations.
“We weren’t founded by investors looking for an opportunity,” said Chagala. “We were on a course to build quality systems.”
But fast growth has hindered their ability to deliver on all fronts. Managing sales leads were particularly challenging, as the company’s spreadsheet-based system lacked both process and reporting capabilities. Some prospective customers were called by two different sales reps, while others were not called at all. And the company had no insights into how leads could best be nurtured to customers.
Recognizing the urgent need for a centralized system to manage sales leads and other key company information Sullivan Solar Power turned to Quickbase to build a basic lead-tracking system to match its processes.
Leads could now be entered into a simple Quickbase form, assigned to any sales rep, and then tracked in detail, allowing users to get more out of the data.
“We do a lot of reporting here, and with just a little bit of training we have employees with no knowledge of databases able to run some pretty complicated reports on their own,” said Chagala.
Sympo Delivers an Expanded Solution
While Sullivan Solar Power was able to build a fully functional lead tracking application on its own, eventually the volume of information in the application became too much to handle without some help. The company turned to Sympo, a Quickbase Solution Provider with deep experience in building process-based systems.
Within a few months, Sullivan Solar Power was powering its entire sales process from Quickbase. Now, leads generated online automatically populate new records in Quickbase, which are then assigned to sales reps using a “round robin” process. Data from the front-to-back process is all captured in Quickbase and can be used to generate deeply insightful reports.
“Sympo spoke our language,” said Chagala. “As soon as they came on board, things really started to happen.”
Emi Gwin, President at Sympo, said her team immediately saw the value in what Sullivan Solar Power was trying to accomplish, but that there was a lot more to be gained by making data work seamlessly across multiple processes.
“There was a lack of connectivity between their processes,” said Gwin. “We saw an opportunity to build a consolidated platform that would allow Sullivan Solar Power to get to the next level.”
Powering the Business
The success of Sullivan Solar Power’s sales management application inspired the company to look for other ways to leverage the power of Quickbase. From Human Resources to Purchasing, Accounting, and IT, nearly every department at Sullivan Solar Power now relies, at least in part, on Quickbase.
Chagala hopes to get even more out of Quickbase by integrating it more deeply with the company’s website, for example displaying a running counter of how many kilowatts of electricity Sullivan Solar Power’s installations have generated. It’s all part of a growing system that maximizes efficiency while minimizing waste — something Sullivan Solar Power does best.
“Beginning to end, we’re all Quickbase,” said Chagala.