Product Consulting Helps Manufacturers and Service Providers Find The Perfect Market Fit
We bring you closer to your customers and the industry—and help you align engineering, marketing, and sales so you can gain traction and grow your business in the solar-plus-storage sector.
As the solar-plus-storage industry continues to boom, manufacturers and B2B service providers have a lot to look forward to. But a flourishing market also means more competition. Identifying the unique value of your product and translating it into revenue strategy and customer-centric campaigns has never been more important.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is creating a rising tide of public and private investment that is lifting the solar industry to buoyant new heights. Wood Mackenzie expects the industry to triple in size by 2028 and there are currently over 10,000 solar businesses operating in the United States.
But the flip side of this welcome growth is that more and more manufacturers and service providers are entering the market (even from outside the US), increasing the number of products and services jostling for the hearts, minds, and wallets of installers.
Plus, the market is evolving at speed. Codes and standards are shifting all the time, as are the ways we use, transport, and store electricity. Understanding and keeping pace with every industrial and technological shift is difficult at best.
In this environment, simply designing a new monitoring software or cutting-edge energy storage system, then doing some marketing and a bit of sales is nowhere near enough to grab market share.
In short, “build it and they will come” is not a pathway to success.
Where manufacturers and service providers struggle
Some of the common issues we see in our work with manufacturers and B2B service providers are:
- A lack of internal alignment around how to sell their product or service
- Engineering, marketing, and sales teams disagreeing on positioning
- No single value proposition and no clear go-to-market strategy
- Siloed, scattershot, and ineffective promotional efforts
Another problem comes when a company designs and builds a product without getting any customer-centric input on who will buy it and why. In the worst case, you might end up with a warehouse full of product and no one to sell it to. The financial losses can be significant and painful. CB Insights found that 35% of startups fail because there’s no market need for their product or service. Companies in the solar-plus-storage industry certainly aren’t immune to this risk.
What’s the solution?
The common thread in those two scenarios—the root cause of the symptoms—is that the business is too distant from its customers and the industry. This makes it impossible to understand where the product fits into the market.
To fix that, you need to shrink the gap by engaging in discovery that asks questions like:
- How are the folks in the field actually using this product?
- Which features and benefits resonate most with them?
- What segment of the industry is best served by it?
- How much are they willing to pay for it?
If you can answer those questions (and a few more), then you know how to talk about your product. Once you know how to talk about it, you can align everything—strategy, marketing, and sales—around a single, powerful value proposition.
But it’s hard to read the label from inside the bottle (or inside the combiner box). Seeing your own product from a customer-centric, strategic perspective can be tricky.
An external team can help: They can provide unbiased engineering expertise and deep industry acumen, and get you the technical and market insights that will set your product or service on an upward trajectory.
Ideally, that team can also use those findings to build you a high-level revenue strategy and then create and launch multi-phased, integrated campaigns to activate it.
Introducing product consulting with Mayfield, Cross Consulting, and Crest Creative
With several decades of experience in providing strategic support and creative campaigns to 50+ companies across the solar-plus-storage industry, that’s exactly what we’re here to do.
Our product consulting service is built on engineering, technical, and industry expertise. It’s all about figuring out the thread between your product, its application, and how to market it, message it, and sell it.
To do that, we harness the power of our three companies, each of which brings you closer to your customer and the industry in distinct but complementary ways:
- Mayfield Renewables – Think of us as the Engineer. Our strength is technical consulting that ensures your product or service hits the mark. Mayfield’s got 15+ years of design expertise, and collectively our team has been in the business for some 150 years. We know the latest products, best practices, and engineering codes and standards.
- Cross Consulting Services – Think of us as the Strategist. Our strength is calibrating product, marketing, and sales to drive growth. We combine customer-centric insights and industry acumen with an incisive understanding of how to build powerful revenue strategies that deliver.
- Crest Creative – Think of us as the Artist. Our strength is visual storytelling that’s driven by science and shaped by art. We use our understanding of the industry and your product to develop high-value campaigns that get your solution into your customers’ hands.
How do Mayfield, Cross Consulting, and Crest approach product consulting?
Typically, we start by zooming into your product and your company. But we don’t go in with blinders on: We always keep sight of where you fit into the overall industry. We’re also honest from the outset: If we see barriers ahead for your product or service, we’ll tell you.
Our first step is to dig into the technology, understand how it works, and the job it needs to do. You talk to us about how you operate and what your goals are. We build hypotheses about your product, then we go out and test them.
This can involve comparing your product to competitors and establishing points of differentiation. We also look at which codes and standards you need to comply with, and which product safety requirements apply.
Then we zoom out to wider analyses and research. We engage our extensive industry connections, surveying subject matter experts, installers, and contractors to gain boots-on-the-ground insights into your potential markets and customers.
You get a report from us showing which hypotheses have been validated or repudiated. You get our key recommendations and a product-market-fit analysis. We’ll also provide revenue strategy and a roadmap for effective marketing and storytelling.
We can then take those outcomes and that strategy, and use them to build powerful visual storytelling campaigns that speak to your audience in their language—turning them into loyal customers and active ambassadors for your product and your brand.
Why is this kind of product consulting valuable?
Put simply, it reduces your risk and maximizes your chances of reward.
Deciding how to position, market, and sell your product or service always entails risk. You’re working from a hypothesis about your customers and investing time and money into activating that hypothesis.
With product consulting, you drastically reduce the risk of pursuing a faulty theory that will make your marketing and sales efforts fall flat.
As solar-plus-storage veterans, seeing the industry flourishing today really lights us up. So we want to do everything we can to help it—and you—thrive.
We’ve already done it for a number of manufacturers:
- John Lerch, Senior Director of Global Marketing at Tigo Energy, described our product consulting work as an “accelerant” for getting the customer insights that have given them valuable new perspectives on their products.
After doing a strategic audit and market research, we’re now building a video campaign around Tigo’s EI software. It’s the single biggest line in the company’s marketing budget for 2023.
- Ahmed El-Rasheed, PhD, Industry Director for Renewables at Megger, says our work helped them understand how their products can fit into the solar industry.
Building on a market analysis for their tools, we’re now creating industry-defining content and a suite of associated marketing activities and campaigns to position them as a high-profile leader in the solar industry.
So who’s on your team?
Do you have a team of technical, strategic, and creative partners who can get you closer to your customers and the industry? Who can bring objective outside analysis to your product and the strategic insight required to find the path to your ideal customer? Who can turn engineering insights into creative campaigns that tell a powerful visual story?
Mayfield, Cross Consulting, and Crest are that cross-functional team. Email us today to find out more.