As an architecture firm owner, you have the opportunity to leave a permanent mark on your city’s skyline—but only if you edge out your competitors. In an industry where big-name firms dominate the architectural landscape, landing that next life-changing project may feel like an uphill battle.
If you want to increase your market share and get on a level playing field with established architectural firms, you need to design your sales strategy with as much care as you design a new building. Miscalculating the weight of your materials and disregarding your building’s future occupants can have long-lasting repercussions on your design. Similarly, using the wrong sales methods and targeting dead-end prospects can leave cracks in your sales pipeline and bring your lead generation efforts to a halt.
Here are five mistakes to avoid if you want to build a long-lasting and successful architecture lead generation program.
1. Leaving Research Out of B2B Appointment Setting
When architecture firms decide it’s time to start focusing on lead generation, they typically begin with B2B appointment setting. It’s a great first place to start. Appointment setting can yield tangible, predictable results and turn your unknown firm into a recognizable name. This success comes with a caveat, however—you have to nail the execution.
It’s hard not to get excited and rush into things at the outset of a new appointment setting program, but you need a stable foundation for your pipeline before you start making cold calls. You should spend at least a few weeks narrowing down your lead list and preparing your sales development representatives (SDRs) for their first phone calls. These weeks could save you months of wasted time in the long run.
Initial research is an integral component of lead generation because it allows you to focus your efforts on qualified leads only. Qualified leads fit your definition of a target client and have the potential to turn into one, whether that happens a few weeks from now or months down the road. SDRs determine if leads are qualified by asking them strategic questions, such as:
- What industry are you in? This question helps you eliminate leads that don’t fit your target project. If you only want to work on large multi-use residential buildings, you can remove contacts in the foodservice, government, and manufacturing sectors.
- Do you have any upcoming projects that require an architect? If the answer is no and your lead can’t foresee any projects happening in the next few years, you should remove them from your call list.
- What does your potential project timeline look like? This question can help you determine how long you’ll have to wait before a lead starts accepting bids. If the project is substantial enough, a few years might be worth the wait.
- How large will your future project be? Every firm has different goals for its lead generation program. If you have a certain threshold for square footage or project budget that your next job needs to meet, this question can help narrow down your list.
If you dedicate time to research, use qualifying questions to determine if a prospect is a good fit, and spend your time chasing viable opportunities, you’ll increase your chances of B2B appointment setting success.
2. Letting Viable Leads Exit the Sales Pipeline
Once a lead makes it past your qualification stage, there’s no telling how long it will take for their project to materialize. A prospect who needs an architect immediately is a rare find. More often than not, you’ll have to spend anywhere from a few weeks to a few years nurturing your lead before they’re ready to discuss a partnership.
When a lead tells you that it might take years before their newest project will need an architect, it can be tempting to hang up and immediately delete their name from your list. However, good projects come to firms who wait. All you have to do is stay in touch, keep your lead engaged with personalized email messages and marketing collateral, and wait patiently to set an appointment. In a few years, you might end up in the news after the lead selects your firm to spearhead their new project.
These tips can take your lead nurturing strategy from nonexistent to effective:
- Use different forms of communication. You can lose touch with leads if you stick to phone calls, emails, or social media messages only.
- Follow up frequently, but don’t flood your lead’s inbox. If you wait too long to follow up, you might miss your window of opportunity, but communicating too frequently can annoy your lead. Find the sweet spot between under- and overcommunication.
- Use content to your advantage. Adding links to blog posts, videos, and marketing collateral in your personalized emails is an excellent way to pique your lead’s interest.
Lead nurturing is one of the most critical components of a B2B appointment setting program. A little patience can go a long way in lead generation.
3. Overlooking Marketing Collateral
Architecture is a visual industry. When you submit a proposal for a new building design, you don’t describe your plan—you show it through blueprints, mockups, and 3D models. During a cold call, you could tell a lead about your latest skyscraper design with steel framing and a blue glass facade, but it’s far easier (and more impactful) to send them a piece of marketing collateral.
Marketing collateral comes in many forms—it can be a paper brochure, a digital infographic, a physical banner, or a professional video. It combines images of your architecture projects with professionally written copy to create a persuasive sales tool. Plus, marketing collateral adds value to both your outbound and inbound lead generation programs.
When a lead asks if you’ve ever designed a modern restaurant space similar to their vision, you can send them a case study showcasing each step of a similar project. During a sales presentation, you can display a pitch deck containing images of past designs and detailing ideas for a potential project. If a random user stumbles on your website and wants to learn more about your business, they can watch a company overview embedded in your “About” page.
Your opportunities for using marketing collateral are endless. Once you start integrating collateral into your sales strategy, you’ll notice a difference in lead engagement and overall return on investment (ROI). Collateral showcases concepts that don’t translate well to words, and it adds context to your claims. If you want to get the most out of your lead generation efforts, don’t overlook marketing collateral.
Our sales experts can draw up the blueprints for a sustainable architecture sales pipeline. Schedule a meeting today to see if we’re available in your market.
4. Prioritizing Website Form Over Function
Design is second nature for you and your employees. You know how to design buildings that fit seamlessly into their surroundings, pay homage to the surrounding architecture, and catch the eye of anyone who walks past. Additionally, you know how to make buildings beautiful without sacrificing functionality. Websites should achieve the same balance.
An eye-catching website might perfectly showcase your eye for design, but without search engine optimization (SEO), it acts as a static brochure instead of an inbound lead generator. Once you add function to your website using keywords, internal links, informational content, and other SEO principles, your website becomes a magnet for potential clients. These SEO features help your site climb the search engine ranks.
Appearing on the first page of search engines is crucial if you want your ideal clients to find you. Think about how often you click to the second page of search results—you probably can’t remember the last time you ventured past the first few search results. Your target leads are no different; they search for a key phrase like “architecture firms near me” and browse through the top results. If you’re one of the lucky few sites they click on, you can significantly increase your chances of bringing in an organic inbound lead.
5. Using Social Media as Decoration, Not Structure
Social media is the perfect place to share pictures of your latest project, but that’s not all it’s good for. You can use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to independently generate qualified sales leads. To do so, you need an organized social media marketing strategy that incorporates established lead generation strategies, such as:
- Optimizing your profiles: The quality of your social media profile is a reflection of your work. A few high-resolution images mixed with short paragraphs about your company history and awards can go a long way in attracting leads.
- Posting regularly: The best way to engage your network is by posting informative content. Your connections will share your posts if they find them insightful, increasing your visibility in the process.
- Sending direct messages: Is a key decision-maker from your ideal target company active on social media? Don’t wait for them to message you—get in touch with a direct message. They might message back and express interest in a partnership.
- Expanding your network: The more followers you have, the more potential leads see your content. One of those leads might turn into your next client.
When you use social media as a lead generation tool instead of an afterthought, you can capture leads that would have never entered your outbound marketing pipeline on their own.
Build a Strong Foundation for Lead Generation
You can’t grow your architecture firm without a solid foundation of lead generation resources, skills, and research. As you round out your sales program, you have to account for every potential issue and tweak your process accordingly. Reaching lead generation success can take months of hard work.
If you don’t have time in between completing client calls, design mockups, and project specification documents to focus on lead generation, Abstrakt can step in as your outsourced appointment setting and marketing services provider. We use proven sales strategies to attract your target leads and turn them into clients, and we know how to avoid the classic missteps in B2B lead generation.
Contact us today to learn more about our architecture lead generation services and take the first step in growing your firm.
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