We've had very rapid growth over the past 10 years, and we certainly would not be here today without QuickBase.
Mike Chagala, Director of IT
As an early player in a fast-growing industry, Sullivan Solar Power needed a better way to manage an exploding volume of sales leads. The company’s spreadsheet-based system was both inconsistent (some leads were called by multiple sales reps, others by none) and impossible to report on. By implementing a sales management solution built on QuickBase, Sullivan Solar Power was able to grow its business rapidly while maintaining its commitment to quality products, systems, and people. The company now runs multiple processes and functions - from HR to Purchasing - on QuickBase.
Like many successful entrepreneurs, Daniel Sullivan didn’t get into business just to make money. He wanted to lead the solar energy revolution. Sullivan launched Sullivan Solar Power with a few thousand dollars and a desire to change the way the world generates electricity. From sleeping in the garage of his first customer to pulling in more than $30 million in 2013, Sullivan built Sullivan Solar Power into one of the fastest-growing companies in an exploding industry.
Keeping up with an ever-growing volume of sales leads proved too much for the company’s spreadsheet-based system to handle. To scale with its ambitions, Sullivan Solar Power built a sales management app on QuickBase. The app helped streamline the lead-to-close process and organize key data so sales leaders can run robust reports. Best of all, Sullivan Solar Power was able to get this app up and running quickly, with no coding required.
Since then, Sullivan Solar Power has expanded its use of QuickBase. The company now runs multiple functions, from HR to purchasing to IT service requests, on apps built with the system.
“We would not be here today without QuickBase,” says Mike Chagala, Director of IT for Sullivan Solar Power.
Sullivan Solar Power promises customers dramatic reductions in their utility bills, frequently reducing those bills 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. We were on a course to build quality systems,” says Chagala.
That commitment to quality extends to its business operations, but fast growth (the company doubled in size almost every year) hindered its ability to deliver on all fronts. Sales leads were a particular challenge, as the company’s spreadsheet-based system lacked in 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 into customers.
Recognizing the need for a centralized system to manage sales leads and other key company information one that could be up and running quickly Sullivan Solar Power chose to build a basic lead-tracking system to match its processes with QuickBase.
Leads could now be entered into a simple QuickBase form, assigned to any sales rep, and tracked in detail. “We built a very basic app in QuickBase that really helped us grow,” says Chagala.
QuickBase was a good choice for Sullivan Solar Power, says Chagala, because it was possible to build a lead tracking app quickly with no coding, and because the built in reporting features of QuickBase allow users to get more of their 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,” he says.
While Sullivan Solar Power was able to build a fully-functional lead tracking app on its own, eventually the volume of information in the app 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. 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. As soon as they came on board, things really started to happen,” says Chagala.
Sympo president Emi Gwin says her team immediately saw the value in what Sullivan Solar Power was trying to accomplish. While Sullivan Solar Power had done a good job corralling key business data into one place, there was a lot more to be gained by making that data work seamlessly across multiple processes.
“There was a lack of connectivity between their processes. We saw an opportunity to build a consolidated platform that would allow Sullivan Solar Power to get to the next level,” says Gwin.
The success of Sullivan Solar Power’s sales management app inspired the company to look for other ways to capitalize on the flexibility 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.
In the future, 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,” says Chagala.