Project Everest

[Proposed Experiment]: Solar Malawi Feb 19 - Central Blantyre/Nancholi Region, Training Independent Agent Channel Testing

Lean Phase: Channels


Assumptions: Trained agents can operate independently and sustain the operations and sales of the solar product.


Time Period: 3 weeks


Success metric:


Green Light: Hire agents to conduct sales from March until May (inclusive).


Success Point: The agents have a sales conversion rate of 9% or greater.


Orange Light: Determine the reasons as to why the agent did not reach their intended sales conversion rates. This can be done through re-evaluating and adjusting agents training processes and assessing the qualities and competencies of the agents.


Red Light: Stop the agent operations and re-evaluate whether agents are an effective method of sales.


Failure Point: Agents have a sales conversion rate of 3% or lesser.

Experiment build:


  1. Ensure selected agents will be available for the period between March and May (inclusive).

  2. Develop agents sales skills through supervised work on the solar Blantyre stall, F2F sales in Nancholi, Village Bank meetings and/or Community meetings during the first week.

  3. Hold agent training workshops during week 2 to ensure that the agents are able to work independently successfully. Enable the agents to conduct sales independently with PEV present at the end of week 2.

  4. Implement agents to work independently and assess their sales conversion rates.

Eugenia Muñoz 11 months ago

Really interesting channel! Fuel in Fiji is at a similar stage as we are looking at channels we can use to sell and scale the Buka stove. Something that we are currently trying to figure out is the specific logistics of using sales agents and how to best approach this model. So determining things like, how will we stay in contact with them when we're not in country? How will they pay us? When will they pay us? Will they sell the stove with a commission model? Where will they pick the stove up from, etc... I would love to hear if you guys have ideated specific logistics around the use of sales agents and if so what that looks like!
For reference, this is our experiment:

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Erin Spinks 11 months ago

Hi Eugenia, I read your experiment and it looks amazing. This experiment is in it's early stages so we still are trying to figure out most of the logistics but can answer some of your questions.

Agents at the moment receive money to cover transportation and food cost, when they become full time agents we are looking at implementing commission pay model. We unsure how much commission at the moment. We are looking at setting up the agents with a google drive that allows them to upload documentation that highlights what sales they have made and from that we will pay them the correct amount. All our agents have smart phones so we intend to use What's App to stay in contact with them and they can also email through the drive.

The logistics however around transportation, storage and finances are still in the works, as we are currently refining this systems at the moment.

I hope that information was informative, and I have some questions for you:
What type of storage unit are you using (capacity), and were it would be located?

What requirements/criteria do your agents have to fulfil?

What are your ideas be hide getting the money from the sales from the agents to us?

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Eugenia Muñoz 11 months ago

Hey Erin, so interesting to hear your initial thoughts on this model. I like the idea of using Whatsapp and Google Drive, we were thinking of maybe making a facebook group to communicate with possible sales agents as Facebook is widely used in Fiji but we haven't settled on that yet.

We haven't figured out how we are going to approach storage yet. For the short term, our options are to either have them stored with the manufacturer (but they have limited storage capacity) or at the project houses (which also have limited storage capacity). As sales increase, we are going to have to find a better storage system and maybe look into getting a warehouse in Sigatoka.

The requirements that our agents have to fulfil so far are:
1. Be able to communicate with us via an internet method so we can communicate with them when we are not in country (i.e. have a smartphone and access to data);
2. Be able to pay us by delivering cash to ANZ and giving ANZ our account details.
These are really basic requirements and I would love to flesh these out more. Especially requirements we can put in place to ensure reliability. Our plan is for sales agents to be taxi drivers, small shop owners and tour guides that are looking to increase their revenue by selling stoves and will do this as a side-hustle rather than this being their primary employment.

At the moment what I picture the system looking like is:
1. Agents order however many stoves they want to sell from us using facebook
2. We order the amount of stoves required from the manufacturer
3. Stoves are picked up by agents from a central location (either manufacturer or warehouse)
4. The agents sell the stoves for up to $150FJD
5. Once the stoves are sold the agents pay us $90FJD per stove by depositing cash into our ANZ bank account
6. Once we have received the cash the agents are then able to order more stoves.
This is a baseline outline of the system and we haven't done any testing around this system yet so it is very much subject to change but as we test elements of that we'll keep you updated with any changes/successes. So excited to hear what you guys get up to in Feb!

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Kylee Wells 5 months ago

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