It’s tempting for companies to focus squarely on recouping customers’ unpaid, overdue bills in times of economic strife in order to alleviate their own financial setbacks. While our customers have seen enormous savings by strengthening their Billing and Collections strategies throughout COVID-19, they’re also wise enough to build up their revenue generation efforts. When they’re able to gaze past customer payment problems and look toward innovation, they see opportunity on the horizon.
For businesses in today’s economic environment, that can mean the opportunity to sell once-overlooked products and services in fresh new ways.
It can mean eliminating extraneous spending on things that are no longer necessary (office supplies, anyone?).
Or it can mean opening up to new markets that contain a whole swath of new customers.
For our utility and enterprise customers, the pandemic has meant leaning into innovative technologies that may not have been high priority items before but which have gained new ground. A prime example for electric utilities is Commercial & Industrial lighting programs.
Why Expanding C&I Lighting Makes Sense Right Now
While public cleanliness, safety and building use have all been reconfigured these past eight months, property owners have revisited the way lighting functions on their premises. They may be asking:
- Are shadowy hallways safely illuminated when no one is on the premises?
- Are parking lots and garages adequately lit?
- Should office suite lighting controls be tuned to timers or smart switches to automatically shut off when no one is present?
As the pandemic progresses, we’ve had a chance to see how it affects lighting. Energy usage declines where employees aren’t in offices and students and teachers aren’t in schools. The demand for lighting rises at businesses that have taken their products and services outside, such as restaurants that have claimed sidewalks that now need to be lighted and grocery store parking lots where consumers queue up in the dark for curbside pickup. And lighting needs may change in medical facilities as wards are repurposed for Covid patients.
These are just a few of the reasons our partners are expanding their C&I lighting programs. Some utilities are looking for new customers, like the office buildings, grocery stores and restaurant chains mentioned above, to sell electricity to. Lighting manufacturers and wholesalers may be looking for utilities to partner with. And to complete the full circle, business owners may be looking for money-saving, energy-efficient lighting systems to illuminate this new reality we’re all living in, and they will need both the hardware and electricity to make it happen.
If you haven’t read BlastPoint’s special report on Commercial Business Personas for B2Bs, you can download it here. In it, we offer a broad overview of how commercial personas help expand B2B initiatives.
You should also check out our brochure on how BlastPoint’s customer intelligence platform supports the expansion of C&I lighting programs.
We wanted to flesh out what data-driven, commercial business personas can really do in this context and share some of the ways our partners are putting BlastPoint to work. So now, let’s focus on electric utilities and C&I Lighting.
The Secret Sauce for Successful C&I Lighting Expansion
When a utility customer comes to us looking to expand their C&I lighting program, we first ask a lot of questions to drill down into their specific goals so that we know exactly what they’re looking to achieve.
In collaboration with the company’s IT specialists, adhering to the most stringent cybersecurity protocols, we use our system to analyze the company’s internal data regarding their C&I lighting initiative. If the data is fragmented or siloed, we “clean” it and pull it together into a cohesive format.
This exercise allows us, and most importantly our customers, to understand:
- who their current commercial partners in this exploration are;
- who and where their existing customers are;
- what are the current leads they’re following; and
- what kinds of success (or setbacks) they’ve already experienced.
If the company is just kicking off a C&I lighting initiative for the first time, and therefore has limited data regarding existing partnerships and customers, we work with them to profile the market for C&I lighting products.
Next, we enrich their data. That means we draw from the wealth of external data resources that our data scientists have access to, which are constantly being updated and refreshed. We use our patented machine learning technology to weave this new data into their current data, so that what results is a fuller picture of who those existing and potential customers and leads are.
It’s at this phase that BlastPoint’s internally-built algorithms predict which businesses and markets in the utility’s service footprint:
- Show the highest propensity for partnering with the company, or
- Are the most likely businesses and markets to adopt C&I lighting.
With this knowledge, the utility can set about strategizing which business entities sales teams should contact first, and whom to direct advertising and marketing campaigns toward. But BlastPoint doesn’t stop there.
We provide our customers with commercial business personas: representations that encapsulate precisely the characteristics that make the identified business targets worth chasing.
BlastPoint’s commercial personas include key business characteristics, location indicators, credit ratings, and more. Through data visualizations, we depict very clearly every facet of those ideal customers and markets.
Throughout this article we’ve shared some glimpses into the kinds of commercial business personas we provide for companies looking to expand their C&I footprint. These are only snapshots of what we typically provide our customers, and keep in mind they are purely fictionalized, but they should give you the flavor of the kinds of guidance our system creates, all based on real-time data.
C&I Lighting Expansion Victory
With commercial business personas, our customers have a clear understanding of their best business targets, what matters to them, and how to reach them. And every piece of it is backed by current data.
The benefits of using BlastPoint’s comprehensive system are numerous. Some of our partners don’t have whole departments or budgets specifically dedicated to furthering commercial lighting projects. BlastPoint helps them make the most of their small teams. Personas let them expand their initiative without having to hire new sales reps.
Furthermore, many lighting projects are relatively small, compared to the scope and price tag of most commercial building development projects. As such, they’re relatively low risk. And lighting is something every business needs. With advancing technology, light sources today are more efficient, affordable, durable and less costly to maintain, so potential targets have every reason to buy.
Meanwhile, with a robust C&I lighting program that’s driven by predictive analytics, utilities will make up for lost revenue due to COVID19, especially considering that you can keep startup costs low.
For more information on how BlastPoint’s customer intelligence platform can guide your C&I lighting program, please reach out to us. We’d love to hear about your goals.