Lead Pipelines: How Architects Can Organize Their Client Outreach

December 18, 2022

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

I once asked a professor of mine, “How do you find your next client?”

“It seems that every time I need a new client, someone walks through the door,” they replied.

I’ve thought back to that response so many times. And I’ve got to tell you…

I think it’s a load of BS.


The worst thing you can do for your business is sit back and wait for clients to come to you. We all like to dream that’s how it works but, for most of us, that’s not the case. And even if it were, I’d prefer to be in control of my own clientele rather than hoping that each one that comes through the door will be the right fit.

What about you?

Whether you’re a freelancer or a principal at a 50-person firm, you should be managing and maintaining a pipeline of leads for your business.

This will help you control the flow and quality of clients and work as well as provide a safety net when times are tough.

(cough cough 2023 cough cough impending recession cough cough I’m not an economist I have no idea cough cough)

Sorry, I had something in my throat.

The goal is to convert your leads into opportunities for your business. Pretty simple right?

Never built a lead pipeline before? Have no idea what I’m talking about? No problem!

Let’s jump into it.

(BTW, I have a little gift for you at the bottom of this email. Don’t peek!)

01 // Fields

We’re basically going to create our own quick & simple CRM using a rusty and trusty spreadsheet. We want to be able to track contact information, status, and steps so that we can easily build a pipeline of leads that can be converted into opportunities.

Here’s a basic list of fields to include on your spreadsheet:

  • Company Name

  • Contact Name

  • Contact Email

  • Contact Phone #

  • Lead Status (I’ll discuss this below)

  • Last Contacted (Date)

  • Contact Next (Date)

  • Next Steps

  • Notes

When you’re done, it should look something like this 👇

02 // Status

The status of your lead is the most important field here. It defines your pipeline and the nature of your relationship with a lead.

Here are the statuses you can begin with:


  • Parameters: A lead that you have not tried to contact.

  • Example: ABC Builders is a local contractor that you’d like to work with, so you add them to your lead list.

  • Next Step: Begin to call and/or email to introduce yourself and see if there’s an opportunity for business.


  • Parameters: A lead that you have tried to contact, but haven’t yet connected with.

  • Example: You’ve sent an email to Steph Builders from ABC Builders introducing your firm but you haven’t received a response.

  • Next Step: Keep reaching out regularly (a couple of times a week) until you make contact or get a response.


  • Parameters: A lead with which you have connected that requires more attention.

  • Example: Steph Builders responds to your email and asks you to send some more information about your firm.

  • Next step: Continue the conversation to determine if there’s an opportunity for business.


  • Parameters: A lead with which you have connected but the timing isn’t right.

  • Example: Steph Builders responds to your email and tells you that, although they like your work, they don’t currently have any need for an architect but might in the future.

  • Next Step: Touch base with the lead regularly (once a month or once a quarter) to share learnings and see if an opportunity for business has emerged.


  • Parameter: A lead that has expressed interest in working with you right now.

  • Example: Steph Builders responds to your email by saying that they have a new project that might require some help from your firm.

  • Next Step: Add this lead to your sales pipeline to evaluate the opportunity.


  • Parameter: A lead that isn’t interested in working with you or that you determined isn’t a good fit for your services.

  • Example: You discover the ABC Builders only builds restaurants, which isn’t of interest to you or your team.

  • Next Step: Make note of why the lead was rejected and stop contacting the lead.

Now it looks something like this 👇

03 // Execute

Now that you have all of the information and tracking in place, all you have to do is fill and manage the list.

Yea, that’s easier said than done. But guess what? This doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated.

10-20 minutes of pipeline attention per day can have a massive impact on your business.

Not sure where to start?

  • Week 1: Focus on filling your spreadsheet with leads of potential partners (builders, GC’s, consultants) and clients (businesses, organizations, individuals, etc.).

  • Week 2-3: Call or email at least 5 a day. Not sure what to say? Check out my issue on cold calling from a couple of months ago.

  • Week 4: Schedule meetings with any of your interested leads for this week. Introduce yourself, learn about their needs, and develop a working relationship.

As you build more partnerships and speak with more prospective clients, you will be able to better identify and focus on clients that work best for you.

Plus, you now have a safety net of client leads to protect your business. Need work now? Reach out to all of your “engaging” leads. Worried about an empty schedule 3 months from now? Contact your “nurture” leads. You get the idea.

After you convert a lead, you have an effective discovery to identify whether the opportunity is right for you and your team.


10 minutes of focused attention on leads for your business will help to provide a safety net, build partnerships, and better identify high-quality clients.

How do you build and track your leads pipeline?

  1. Create fields to track contact information and status.

  2. Update the status based on your outreach.

  3. Execute with 10-20 minutes of attention each day.

Oh and I didn’t forget your gift! Want this spreadsheet? 👇

You can grab it for free here. After you open it, just go to File > Make A Copy so that you can have one for yourself 🙂

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