img-solarworksFrom Excel to iPad – Solar Works CRM Goes Mobile

The Challenge

Starting in 1986, John Parry, CEO and owner, built Solar Works from a one-person solar hot water business to a company that offers a full spectrum of renewable energy and resource conserving services for home, business and community. With over 500 successful PV installations, the company employs 20 people in their beautiful energy efficient Sebastopol, CA office and warehouse.

In October 2010 Solar Works decided to look for a CRM system to manage its growing customer base. Lisa Richie, Director of Marketing had used Salesforce at a previous job. The executive team decided to attend Dreamforce 2010, where they made the decision to go with Salesforce. They issued an RFP to 10 consulting partners, short-listed and interviewed three, and finally chose San Francisco based West Coast Consulting. “We decided to go with West Coast Consulting, because they took the time to analyze our business needs and transform them into a cost effective implementation plan. Being local, they established a great working relationship with our team right from the start ” said Lisa Richie.

The Solution

John Parry had created a system of Excel spreadsheets to qualify potential customers, track customer site visit information, contracts and project-manage solar installations. The West Coast Consulting team took these processes and implemented them in Salesforce. Within three months, they migrated existing customer data, product information and contracts going back all the way to 2001.

They trained all 20 employees and took the system live without a glitch. Salesforce is now being used in all facets of the business – marketing, lead management, sales, installation, warranty and service. Chatter keeps the entire office up to date on all projects and tasks. Customers have been added to Chatter for discussing sales information for commercial solutions which was acquired by Unify had all of its Case Management data migrated into a single Service Cloud platform.


Solar Works staff uses iPads in the field, to input site evaluation details, dimensions, photos and drawings directly into Salesforce, so bids can be created and revised by office staff before the sales visit is complete. This has the added benefit of making the sales process virtually paperless. A customer portal allows clients to get answers to routine questions, access their personal system details and view live energy production with system monitoring. It also allows customers to enter production and utility billing information, so Solar Works can react much faster to customer inquiries and calls. “West Coast Consulting has done an outstanding job, creating a solution for Solar Works to communicate and operate more efficiently, and allowing my staff to provide exceptional service for our customers.” said John Parry.

Solar Works

Solar Energy

Sebastopol, California

Full implementation in 3 months

Successful, complex data migration

Mobile data entry via iPad

Chatter improves office and customer communication

Cloud solution with no investment in hardware or software