Grow, compete, retain: why energy companies need to get ready to sell again soon

Grow, compete, retain: why energy companies need to get ready to sell again soon

Across the UK and Europe, consumers are looking forward to a time when they’ll be able to pay less for their energy usage. And with the wholesale price of gas falling to its lowest in almost two years, that time may soon be here.

For the energy sector, that means a chance to send their sales agents back out into the field and compete for new customers once again. But to take advantage of this opportunity to grow – not to mention to keep hold of their current customer base – their sales teams will need to be well ahead of the curve, and have the right tools and clarity to move intelligently when the time comes.


Your customers are waiting for prices to fall

In February the wholesale price of natural gas fell below €50 per megawatt hour. That’s a significant drop from its peak of €320 per megawatt hour in August 2022, and the lowest the energy sector has seen since September 2021.

In response to that, Ofgem in the UK has begun dropping its energy price cap. For the second quarter of 2023 it went down from £4,279 to £3,280, and it’s expected to continue falling to £1,966 by the end of the year.

But while wholesale prices are falling for energy providers, the benefit of that is still yet to trickle down to the consumer. Due to their fixed price contracts, customers are locked into paying the higher prices they’d signed up at.

When their contracts end, those consumers will be looking to switch to whoever can supply them for less – and that opens up a significant opportunity for energy providers who are ready to get out and sell again.


The advantage will go to the agile

In 2020, the year before the current energy crisis began, almost 6m customers in the UK alone changed their energy provider. When prices are low and competition is high, there is a large appetite among consumers to capitalise on better deals and more innovative tariffs by shopping around.

If the price of energy falls again in 2023 and the market opens back up, that appetite may well return. Energy usage has been one of the most daunting household expenses for many consumers over the last two years, with some being forced to choose between paying for heating or paying for food. If there is a chance for them to save hundreds on their next bill just by switching providers, they will be open to it.

The first providers to respond to that will be at an advantage, but they will need to be ready to move fast. No one wants to be out on doorsteps trying to sell now because they aren’t going to win new customers while prices are still high. But they still need to be proactive, not reactive, and start planning how they’re going to deploy their next sales campaign ahead of time.

That will mean thinking tactically about where to focus resources, drawing intelligent data insights on where gains can be made, and knowing how to maximise the productivity of your entire sales process. It will also mean asking yourself if you’ve got the right tools to move with that level of speed and precision – and if not, what do you need to get there?


Think smarter on customer retention

When it’s time to sell again, one of the biggest challenges for the energy sector will be that a competitive market won’t just mean an opportunity to grow your market share. If everyone else is out on doorsteps offering lower prices, there’s a risk that you could lose as many existing customers as you gain.

If you have the right sales system in place for customer acquisition, it’s easy to turn that same insight and tactical approach towards retention. The PSI system, for instance, can draw on the data you’ve already gathered, so all your current customer information is already at your fingertips – and that gives you a clear advantage over your rivals.

Your sales team will know exactly when your current customers’ contracts are ending and what kind of deal they were on before. That means you can get started on customer engagement before your competitors have had a chance to get their boots on. And with their details already in the PSI system, their retention form can be populated automatically – giving your customers an effortless, positive experience, and your sales reps a better chance to close the deal quickly.

With sales software that gives clarity and insight on the state of your customers, you can think intelligently about how to engage them long before your reps arrive at their door. To learn more, check out our thoughts on effectively returning your sales agents to the field.