Your Energy Solutions Finds Efficiency with PipelineDeals and Zapier

PipelineDeals CRM integrates with Zapier and that integration makes incredible connections to improve productivity.  Here’s how a Bay Area contractor is zapping to create a better employee and customer experience.

Customer Spotlight: Your Energy Solutions

In our PipelineDeals Customer Spotlight series, we take a look at the successes and challenges faced by our customers. We hold these informal video chats between our customer and the PipelineDeals team regularly and the conversation revolves around customer successes and challenges.

Recently, Amit Roy of Your Energy Solutions joined us for a video chat during a company lunch event to tell us how the PipelineDeals and Zapier integration has improved the business.

So what is Zapier? Rhymes with happier, in case you were wondering! It is a great integration that connects PipelineDeals to hundreds of different apps, including WuFoo, LinkedIn, and Xero, giving customers the ability to extend what can be done with PipelineDeals. With this integration, workflows are faster than ever, consistent, and reliable.

Your Energy Solutions  

PipelineDeals Customer Since: 2014

Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Industry: Contractor/Solar Industry

Problems Solved: PipelineDeals and Zapier Integration

“We make an absolute effort to make sure we have top-notch customer service, and PipelineDeals with Zapier integration helps us do that.”

– Amit Roy of Your Energy Solutions

Here are the business problems and challenges that the team at Your Energy Solutions solved with the PipelineDeals and Zapier integrations.

  • Your Energy Solutions takes the powerful PipelineDeals Custom Field filters to make many necessary custom fields for customers. Through Zapier, the company duplicates information from PipelineDeals to create a contract instantly. This saves time, money, and ensures data is accurate.  
  • WIth the PipelineDeals and Zapier integration, Your Energy Solutions has automated data entry which helped the company’s employees notify or email customers when necessary.
  • WIth the PipelineDeals and Zapier integration, Your Energy Solutions optimized its Solar Final Inspection Report. Zapping has enabled certain users to update PipelineDeals without having access to the CRM such as solar installers and inspectors.
  • PipelineDeals’ Days in Stage feature enables Your Energy Solutions to track a customer so follow-up does not fall through the cracks. If there’s a customer stuck in a particular stage, employees can catch it and take action.  
  • In the Final Review process, the PipelineDeals and Zapier integration have enabled staff to make sure data is filled in. As contractors, it’s easy to forget something but this particular zap makes sure everything is complete at the end, and nobody forgot anything.
  • With PipelineDeals’ automation feature, Your Energy Solutions created one automation on Pipeline as well as one automation on Zapier to work with every deal.
  • The Your Energy Solutions team says that PipelineDeals is “really easy to use.” Whenever a new employee comes in, he/she can be trained in one hour, and they’re able to do a lot of the basics in PipelineDeals.

Continue reading on for snippets of this PipelineDeals Customer Spotlight featuring Your Energy Solutions and how they leverage the PipelineDeals and Zapier integration to help run a successful business and keep customers happy.

PipelineDeals and Zapier Integration Solutions

Annie Myrvang, Customer Success Manager at PipelineDeals: I’m so happy that everyone has joined our Alpaca lunch today because we have a super special guest, customer and PipelineDeals super user, Amit Roy of Your Energy Solutions. I first spoke to Amit about a month ago about how Your Energy Solutions has been leveraging Zapier to do some really awesome stuff with data from PipelineDeals.

Since then, Amit has also been instrumental in helping me personally increase my knowledge of the scope and limitations of our Zapier integration.

I’m really happy that Amit was willing to join us today to talk about his company’s experience with PipelineDeals, and show us some of the awesome things they have been doing with Zapier. As customer success managers, we do have the unique opportunity to become well acquainted with the successes and challenges faced by our customers, and the true impact that our product has on their day to day operations. With our monthly customer spotlight, we’re hoping to be able to share those experiences with the company as a whole. With that, I’d like to turn it over to Amit.

Amit Roy, Your Energy Solutions: Hello, everyone. I hope everyone’s day is going well so far. So first, I’m showing you our Yelp page.

Amit: We have 180 reviews, and a perfect 5 out of 5 star rating. It’s very, very important for the kind of business that we do that we have an absolutely stellar reputation online.

We are a solar install company; we install solar panels for our customers. Our customers expect a return on investment within 6 to 7 years, for a system that’s warrantied for 25 years. So we install the solar panels; essentially after 7 years, their electricity becomes free. Of course solar isn’t cheap, so we need to have the best reputation we can in order to continue to gain more clients, and PipelineDeals has actually helped us in a great way.

As Annie mentioned, we are using a lot of Zapier integration. The benefits of Zapier are that it keeps us more organized; it allows us to be more responsive to our customers and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.  We have been with PipelineDeals since 2014.

PipelineDeals, Web-to-Leads, and Zapier

Amit: Let me show you a typical customer and what we experience, and what they experience, as they go through the pipeline. I’m gonna make a mock lead that comes in through our website. We use the Web-to-Lead form, and I’m going to put some random information, just to get something onto PipelineDeals. The Web-to-Lead form is very common for our process.

Amit: It’ll take a moment to process that, and then show that it was successfully submitted. Now let’s go to PipelineDealsDeals.

Amit: So here is the person that we just created. Of course, it posted in without any problems. What I’m going to do is pretend this person becomes a customer, so I’m going to make a deal for it.

Amit: The first problem that we had is that we have all these custom fields for data about our customers. We want to be able to know the specifics of our solar system, how many panels, how many inverters, the specific schematics of what’s going to be installed.

One thing my bosses hated doing was having to duplicate information to put it in PipelineDeals and then make the contract. Instead, we use PipelineDeals itself to make the contract for our customers to sign, and to do this, we use Zapier integration.

I’m going to put some information for a random customer and what they may order. The purpose of this is to have a contract that syncs back with PipelineDeals, so we’re entering this data here in PipelineDeals.

We want to be able to generate a contract that literally grabs that data from PipelineDeals. That way, we don’t have to do duplicate work. So we’re trying to save time, money, and keep the information we have accurate.

And using Zapier, we also made various checks in the automated part of the process, so just in case somebody messes up, it will stop the contract from being made until it’s fixed.

Amit: We have a feature here that says “make contract”, and we hit “request”. So now, PipelineDeals is going to make a call to Zapier, and usually this takes about 30 seconds. I’m going to have to refresh this page after a few seconds and make sure this “request” turns into “done”. Let’s see if it did.

Amit: Okay, it’s done! A new activity was posted, and this all came through Zapier. I click on this link and it gives me a chance to verify all that information.

Zapier Makes Connections

JP Werlin, CEO of PipelineDeals: You guys made this screen in-house, right? That’s your backend?

Amit: Yeah, we made our own backend. This information that’s coming here — this is grabbing data from PipelineDeals and putting it onto our own server, but we’re using Zapier to make the connection. So once everything is done, I can just hit “Make Contract”. Right now, it’s making the contract.

Amit: Here is the contract that’s generated; it’s got all that information from PipelineDeals, including the price, the customer’s address, the customer’s information. We use the PipelineDeals deal ID as the contract ID as well.

Amit: So if we click here, we can get back to that deal. And the cool thing about this is that, with the contract, it’s pre-signed.

Amit: These tags over here — when we put it onto Adobe Sign, the tag on the left will be the customer’s signature field, and the one on the right will be our employee’s field. We still have to do some manual work. Once this is done, we have to manually upload it back onto PipelineDeals, but even then, we’re able to make a nice-looking contract and save a lot of time.

We can put this directly to Adobe Sign, and the customer will be ready to sign. That way, everything we have on PipelineDeals remains accurate. This is important because one of PipelineDeals’ very powerful features are the custom field filters. Being able to put all these product models in for our “Solar System” custom fields, we can run some regressions, do some analysis — but of course with any CRM, a lot of times the problem is that employees get a little lazy and they don’t keep everything updated. So this is a way I can make sure we keep this data updated, because we need to in order to make the contract.

Customer Communication Improved

Amit: Once we have the contract and it’s updated and everything, we also want to be able to keep communication with our customers. One of the problems we had with our employees: we’ll update the CRM, but oftentimes our employee will forget to notify the customer. And with our industry, our customers are spending so much money; they want to be updated on a regular basis. But of course the employees here always say, “You know what, I don’t want to send an email every time I make a little update.” So we’ve automated it!

This is where we can take advantage of those phases on PipelineDeals. As we go, the next stage we’ll go to is “Ready for Design”. One thing we’re a little bit different on is that we use PipelineDeals not only as our CRM, but also as our project management software. Because in solar, making the sale is only the beginning. We have to also design the system, permit it,  install it, connect it with the power company, and then we’re done.

Amit: So, when a contract is uploaded, we have a feature called “Contract Uploaded”. This feature actually sends an email to the customer saying that the contract has been uploaded.

Emails Go Out at the Right Time

Amit: A couple different emails go out; we notify the entire team that the contract has been uploaded so everybody can start their work, and then to the customer, we send out a “Next Step Letter” saying, “Hello, thank you for choosing us,” and what they need to know. We were able to save time: you just do one action, and everyone in the company is notified, and the customer is notified that we’re working on their project.

And this goes for files as well. As the project makes its way through, we do something called CAD design, so we use AutoCAD to design a solar system. For example, this is what a CAD plan set looks like, solar panels mounted on the roof. Cities want this content. So we want a way of getting this information onto PipelineDeals without having to take multiple steps.

Amit: This is the form we use for uploading CAD design. We take that deal ID for Jane Doe and put it in here. Then we put the CAD design, and tell whether it’s a CAD Design or a permit. So it says, “File sent Successfully. Check PipelineDeals to make sure it’s there.”

Multiple actions are happening as we speak. Not only is the file being uploaded to PipelineDeals and the relevant team is being notified, that file is also going to be sent to the customer as well. Let me make sure it came in. And yes, it did; it says, “Hello Jane. We are getting closer towards your solar install! We now have your CAD Planset. Call us if you need anything.” So the customer is notified.

Amit: And on PipelineDeals, refreshing that page, here it is. “Hello Jane, we’re getting closer to your solar install.”  The file has appeared so we can all access that file, because we also use PipelineDeals to store all our files.

A Unique Zap to Update CRM Fields

Amit: The other thing I wanted to share is the Solar Final Inspection Report. I want certain people to be able to update our PipelineDeals without having access to PipelineDeals, and we have our solar installers and our inspectors. I don’t expect these employees to use PipelineDeals directly, and I wanted to keep it as simple as possible for them. So that’s why we created the Solar Final Inspection Report.

The final inspection happens after we complete our install, and the city is inspecting the Solar system. We take that deal ID that we had for Jane Doe earlier, and put it in. We provide the deal ID to our inspection techs so they know who it is.

Amit: We hit submit, and now we’re using Zapier to make the call to PipelineDealsDeals to grab some data.

Amit: And there we go. It’s able to pick up the Customer Name as long as it knows the deal ID, just in case the inspector entered in some incorrect information. So let me fill out this form with some random gibberish just to demonstrate how it works.

Amit: Our employees in the field use iPads to fill this out on site. And the cool thing here is that our accountant wants to know what money is coming in, because payment is due if we have final inspection. So not only does this alert everybody, for their respective roles; it also alerts the accountant to know how much money is coming in, before the money is actually in. And it also sends a text message alert to the accountant because she said, “I want to have a text message whenever we pass the final inspection.”

And all we’re doing is interacting with this form and with Zapier. After filling out the form and clicking submit, here it is on PipelineDeals. The inspection report has been submitted.

Amit: And here’s kind of a little cool bit of Zapier trickery that we’re doing. The final inspection report gets emailed to everybody; the customer gets an e-mail. And a couple of our custom fields get updated: the inspection date, and if the inspection has passed on its first try. So if the first-try pass was a no, and somebody filled it out and submitted a new final inspection report, it’s still going to say no.

Amit: The reason we’re doing this is because we want to be able to track where the company is having issues with installs, and the way we can find that out is through the final inspection. So this information here automatically gets filled in when that inspection form is sent in.

Amit: Over here, we have an entire record of inspections, so that one should be added in — Jane Doe.  The install team and city are included. This way, we can see if there’s one particular city we’re failing more often in. I do have to remind our operations team to remember to fill out the install team. Because of course you can automate as much as you can, but ultimately employees have to cooperate. So I’m going to remind them to fill this all out. But this is the way we can keep track of which teams are passing inspections, which teams aren’t, and use that for better training.

And the other thing we’ve been able to do, and this is not a Zapier thing — one thing I love about PipelineDeals which really helped me out is the Days in Stage feature, when that was introduced. It is my way of tracking to make sure a customer does not fall through the cracks. So every few days I check if there’s a customer stuck in a particular stage; if they are, then we are able to catch it.

Automate the Mundane

Amit: Finally, one more thing I wanted to show: once an install gets to close out, we do something called Final Review. This also uses Zapier. Final Review gives me a chance to look at it and make sure everything is filled in, the customer is installed, and it’s working correctly, because as contractors it’s easy to forget something. So I want to make sure everything is complete at the end, and nobody forgot anything.

But of course, one thing I hate doing is checking all these little fields to make sure they’re all filled out. So I decided to have Zapier do part of it for me. The first thing they’ll do when they’re ready to kick it over to me for Final Review — let’s say they decided to kick our Jane Doe project over to Final Review. They’d put it under requested…

Amit: And this is kind of the fun part, after refreshing…

Amit: The Zap moved it to “try again”. It sent an email to the person who’s responsible for requesting the Final Review with what it’s complaining about.

Amit: It says, “Not all the fields are filled in for Jane Doe. Please fill in all required fields, then re-submit to Final Review.” So that way Zapier can kick it back automatically, and I don’t have to look at it and then kick it back to them. This way, at least for some of it, I can have Zapier do the work for me.

Zapier Side of Things

Amit: Let’s take a look at the Zapier side of things. One thing we had issues with at first is that when you create a Zap and have PipelineDeals set as the trigger, it only triggers for that specific user, so you have to make duplicate zaps.  And I still have a few of those relics. For example, this — I had to make exactly the same Zap for each owner.

Amit: But what we were able to do later, thanks to PipelineDeals’ automation feature, was to create one automation on PipelineDeals as well as one automation on Zapier to work with every deal. Let me show you how with the contract maker. It’s actually not that complicated. It’s one of these automations.

PipelineDeals Deals automations page.

Contract email alert settings on PipelineDeals.

Getting the webhook as a trigger for a Zap.

Amit: This is how I make a Zap work for any owner; this works for all the deals, not just user-specific, and this is what you have to do to avoid making duplicate Zaps. Take note of the settings — “a deal is updated”, “make contract changes to request” — and notice this. We “call an API”, so then when the webhook is caught on Zapier and you view it…

Amit: …it gives you this number, the event model ID. This is significant. The reason this is significant is because this is the deal ID of Jane Doe. So when you grab that, you’re able to use that data to find the deal from PipelineDeals.

Amit: This feature is actually a result of one of the PipelineDeals employees working with us to make our setup work. Thank you so much to Paige for working with the developers to add this feature for us! This feature was big, because this is what allowed us to use that webhook, to pull the deal ID, to pull all the information from PipelineDeals. It really helped us out in becoming more productive, because we can get all that information and we can find the person in PipelineDeals.

Amit: As you can see, there’s several steps to making this Zap work, but at the end of the day, it’s not all that complicated. It’s very logic-thinking, but it’s pretty cool.

Now some of these that we’ve covered, our Solar Final Inspection Report or our CAD Permit Upload, where we’re pushing into PipelineDeals — these use Zapier, but they also use a bit more complicated code, like some PHP and some Javascript and AJAX. But it’s nothing that is terribly complicated, and if someone is able to use a Web-to-Lead form on their website, they can do those with a little guidance.

PipelineDeals for Productivity

Amit: That is pretty much how we use PipelineDeals along with Zapier. I would say Zapier is the most underrated feature that PipelineDeals has. I like that it’s really unrestricted on what we can do; I see more things that we can do. And in some respects, Zapier actually saved us from moving to a different CRM. One of the complaints that I was getting was we wanted to have our CRM be the center of our company. And at that time, PipelineDeals was still a little bit weaker than it is now. But Zapier allowed us to do a lot of things for less money than another CRM might be able to do it, and the cool thing that I like about PipelineDeals is that it’s really easy to use. Whenever a new employee comes in, I can get them trained in one hour, and they’re able to do a lot of the basics on PipelineDeals.

Some complex CRMs take days and weeks of training, and even then you’re still noticing something completely new. So kudos to all of you, you guys have come up with an amazing product and I love it. It can get a lot better, of course, but so far it’s an amazing product. I think using it with Zapier makes the product a lot more “sticky” for our company.

I’m glad I was able to give everyone at PipelineDeals a customer perspective on this, because we use PipelineDeals very differently from how you all use it. We have to work with the up sides as well as the quirks. One of the things we were able to do with PipelineDeals is — everyone wants to do as little work as possible, and our customers want to be informed each step of the way. And we can do both!

For Top Notch Customer Service

I have the next step that I want to do in mind right now — and this is gonna take a little bit of time. PipelineDeals, of course, is our central database right now. We want to make customers able to log in and grab data. I want them to be able to, without calling us, say, “Hey, what is the status of my project?” And they can log in on our website, they’ll get a description of each stage, and they’ll know what stage they’re on, as well as if they need to redownload some files — like if they want to download their permit, their CAD plan, or a copy of their contract. An approach I’m thinking about doing is using custom fields, using Zapier to have those files uploaded onto Google Drive, and then be able to pull down those files as links. So that way PipelineDeals can also supply data for our login. And what I’m trying to avoid is having to do things multiple times; this is a way we can ensure everything we have is accurate.

Like I mentioned, we have five out of five stars on Yelp, and we want to keep it that way. Our reputation is absolutely important to us — it’s how we get a lot of our leads. Solar is a very competitive market. Unfortunately, the way the market is, people view solar like buying toothbrushes. It’s very hard to differentiate yourself as a company. Really, the only way you can is through customer service. So that’s why we make an absolute effort to make sure we have top-notch customer service, and PipelineDeals with Zapier integration helps us do that.

Annie: Thank you so much for joining us today. I know this was great for everyone who was able to join. It’s awesome for us to hear from a customer and we thank you so much for being our inaugural customer spotlight. We really, really appreciate it.

Amit: You’re welcome! And thank you so much for having me, Annie. I do hope PipelineDeals continues to improve and continues to aspire to be the best CRM it can. It really has helped us out. So thank you for coming out with an amazing product!

Free, 14-Day CRM Trial Awaits

If your business is in need of a CRM solution to help you boost productivity and customer management just like Your Energy Solutions give us a shout. We can offer you a free, 14-day trial (no credit card required) and we can provide a custom system demo to take your customer relationship management and sales growth to the next level.

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