Why We Chose to Build Our Own Lead-Distribution Software
Everyone at SolarLeadFactory is proud to announce the release of our own fully-featured lead-distribution platform.
We developed this in-house to solve one problem: how can we provide better service and a better product to all our customers?
It’s a fundamental startup dilemma: build your own technology, or use what’s already available?
If we had a dollar for every time we were told not to build our own software–we still wouldn’t be rich–and we certainly wouldn’t be able to make this announcement: we’ve taken a bold step forward to provide the best product and service we can by developing our own state-of the art customer qualification and lead distribution platform.
In plain English this means we can, at a much higher degree of accuracy and quality, identify prospective solar customers and connect them with qualified solar installers.
Why not use tools that are already on the market?
In an ideal world, the perfect business solution would already exist. A well-designed, intelligent, and beautiful product that seamlessly integrates into what we we’re already doing (ie accelerating the adoption rate of solar power). A few examples of great products that come to mind are Xero (bookkeeping) and Stripe (payment processing). Many thanks to the great people who built these.
Unfortunately, in many situations the result of using off-the-shelf parts is a piecemeal solution that ‘works’ as long as you don’t need something more specific. Or worse, you end up with a chimera that sucks up more time to operate than the benefit it provides.
In the past I’ve seen both scenarios play out first-hand:
- Building too much software – which requires a tremendous amount of time, energy, money, and focus, and is very dangerous for a startup unless it’s coupled with rigorous testing and ongoing customer development work.
- Surviving on off-the-shelf parts that ‘sort of work’ – which can slow business development to a crawl and suck huge time and energy in just trying to do your job.
As usual, there is a middle way that solves both of these problems:
Building great software that allows you to serve your customers better with specific, timely solutions to your industry’s biggest problems.
Enough philosophy: What’s so great about the SolarLeadFactory lead distribution platform?
To underscore the point: we think that having our own technology allows us to move faster and more specifically address customer issues. It allows us to build new features on the fly, and better supports the mission of accelerating the adoption rate of solar power.
This alone makes us extremely excited about the product, but here are some of the specific features we’ve developed beyond what we’d call a standard set:
- Proprietary LeadQC – We’ve taken lead qualification technology up a notch with our own internal system that can identify valid solar customers better than any other system we’ve seen (and we’ve tried a lot).
- Better Payment Transaction options – It’s astonishing how outdated many of the currently support payment processors are. We’re integrating the best available providers into our system (Stripe anyone?) to make things easy, fast, and most importantly, secure.
- Advanced Matching Intelligence – We can’t say too much about this, but suffice to say we’re building the most advanced customer matching and distribution algorithms we’re aware of. The goal as always is to better serve prospective solar customers and solar installers.
- It’s really fast – Not exactly a feature, but we’re happy to have a system that we’ve optimized for speed and ease of use.
We’re looking forward to releasing a lot more great stuff while continuously refining our platform now that everything is (finally) in house.
Will this platform be publicly available?
Although we’ve discussed it more than once, we currently have no plans to roll this out to the public beyond our installation partners and vendors.
While we’d love to see a better product in the market-place for lead distribution there is plenty of work to do in solar, and it would be a disservice to everyone to distract ourselves from the primary mission.
If you’re one of our current customers we’ve love to get your feedback on the new platform. We’ll be incorporating suggestions on an ongoing basis.
Photo Credit: kovah under CC License (note: not our real code)