sales management for architects

Sales management for architects – strategies, pipelines, and systems

There’s a common discomfort around the concept of “sales” among architects and city planners.

Their core competencies lie in problem-solving and designing, not selling. 

The notion of selling often carries a negative connotation associated with pushing unwanted items onto people or convincing them to make decisions they’re not entirely comfortable with. 

This goes against the principles many architects carry in their work.

Moreover, the effort required to seek out and secure new business opportunities may not be considered part of the “genuine” job. The intricacies of the sales process can seem an inconvenience, often leading professionals to either rush through them or dodge them entirely. 

However, if you don’t change this attitude, you will miss opportunities and experience many growth challenges.

It’s vital to understand that being sales-aware doesn’t mean hard-selling your services 24/7.

Rather, it involves educating potential clients by showcasing your unique skills and the value you can bring to their projects.

Without learning fundamental sales management strategies, you won’t be able to grow your architectural business. 

Let’s review the basics of sales strategies and processes even the smaller UK architectural firms can use.

Sales strategy for architecture firms

A sales strategy is a plan that outlines how your business will sell its services to clients

It involves identifying the target market, understanding the competition, and creating a unique selling proposition. 

Your sales strategy should also include sales goals, optimal methods for reaching potential clients, and a process for following up with clients after a sale.

Your market

Understanding the target market is a crucial part of a sales strategy. This involves researching potential clients, understanding their needs and wants, and tailoring the firm’s services to meet these needs. 

Your target market could be residential homeowners, commercial property owners, or government entities, among others. No matter which group it is, you need to position yourself accordingly.

Your competition

Another important part of a sales strategy is understanding the competition. Be aware of other architecture firms, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and identify opportunities for differentiation.

Your offer

Creating a unique selling proposition (USP) is the ultimate part of your architecture sales strategy.

This statement outlines why your firm’s services are different from and better than those of its competitors. 

The unique selling proposition could be based on the firm’s expertise, its innovative design approach, or its commitment to sustainability, among other things. Your mission and values need to reflect your USP.

Your goals

Setting sales goals is another important part of a sales strategy. 

These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. They can work around increasing the number of clients, increasing the revenue from each client, or increasing the firm’s market share, among other things.

Your tactics

Determining the best methods for reaching potential clients is also a crucial part of a sales strategy.

This could involve traditional marketing methods, such as print advertising and direct mail, or digital marketing methods, such as social media and email marketing. 

Your firm could also use networking events and trade shows to reach potential clients – and don’t underestimate the power of a personal brand you can build.

Your communication

Developing a process for following up with clients after a sale is another important part of a sales strategy. 

This could involve sending thank you notes, asking for feedback, or offering additional services. By following up with clients, the firm can build strong relationships and encourage repeat business.

Our client communication module is intuitive and effective, letting you stay on track with any sales strategy you pick.

Sales pipeline for architects – the checklist

A sales pipeline for architects is a visual representation of where potential clients are in the sales process. It allows architects to understand their sales process, manage their sales activities, and forecast future sales. The pipeline is typically divided into stages, each representing a step in the sales process, from initial contact to closing the deal.

Here’s a quick overview of what the sales process normally looks like. 

Naturally, yours may differ – just keep in mind you’re maximizing your efforts’ effectiveness:

  • The sales process for architects begins with identifying potential clients. This could be through networking events, marketing efforts, referrals, or direct outreach. 
  • Once potential clients have been identified, the next step is to qualify them. Determine whether they have the budget, need, and authority to make a purchase decision.
  • The next step in the sales process is to present a proposal. This should clearly outline the scope of the project, the timeline, and the cost. You must tailor the proposal to the client’s specific needs and present it in a way that highlights the value the architect can bring to the project.
  • Following the proposal, the next stage is negotiation. Be prepared to negotiate and to have a clear understanding of your bottom line.
  • The final step in the sales process is closing the deal. This involves finalizing the contract and beginning the work. Make sure to maintain communication with the client throughout the project to ensure satisfaction and to pave the way for future sales.

An effective sales system for architects should include a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. CRM tools can track potential clients, manage follow-ups, and even automate some aspects of the sales process.

Should you hire sales staff?

Hiring sales staff for architecture firms can significantly enhance your business development efforts. Remember that no matter how much work you’ve got now, you need to have more lined up to secure your future and increase the quality of clients you work with.

Sales staff bring a different perspective to the table. They can help identify new business opportunities or growth areas that may not be immediately apparent to you as an architect. This can help the firm diversify its portfolio and reduce the risk of depending on a few large clients.

With sales staff, you can delegate building and maintaining relationships with clients and prospects, which contributes to a better reputation for your brand.

Sales staff can also help improve the firm’s profitability. They are trained to negotiate contracts and can help the firm secure better terms.

Finally, hiring sales staff can free up architects to focus on what they do best: designing. By handling client acquisition and relationship management, sales staff can reduce the workload of architects, allowing them to spend more time on creative and technical tasks.

Hiring sales staff can bring numerous benefits to architecture firms, from increasing the number of contracts secured, identifying new business opportunities, building long-term client relationships, and improving profitability to allowing architects to focus on their core competencies.

You can easily manage all your sales-related documents, SOPs, and data with PlanMan, so sign up today and start optimizing your sales process!