Hello.

I help architectural practices and other consultancies across the built environment with their strategies and activities to win the right work and develop their organisations.

Rachel Birchmore

My strengths lie in the strategic side of marketing; helping to set out answers to problems such as ‘What next?’, ‘How can we raise our profile?’, ‘How could we get into this new sector?’ I then help to get organised and implement solutions.

Having recruited, led and managed some exceptional people and teams over the years, I can also support marketing team recruitment and development and act as a coach for marketing and project staff.

I am a generalist and enjoy working in great teams so I collaborate with a range of talented specialists in communications, graphics, photography, business development and press relations, as required for specific commissions.

What do you need?

Whether you are seeking growth, a change in direction or need to address a specific challenge, I believe it is important to have a clear understanding of where you are now and where you want to be. Every organisation has a different starting point - different in terms of track record, opportunities, skills, connections and resources. These things usually form the basis of an effective strategy.

I can help clarify aspirations, cast an experienced, external eye over current activity then make recommendations to help you achieve your aims.

Marketing is everything which connects your organisation with those who could commission you, or influence decision making, for the type of work you want to do. Most companies do more marketing than they think; very few get it all right. Your reason for investing in your marketing activities may be to win more work, raise profile or engage with existing or new contacts.

Having clarified aspirations and reviewed your current position we can work together to formulate a suitable strategy. I can then act as part time marketing director to help with implementation.

Whether you’re wondering how to generate a steadier pipeline of opportunities, what to do next or how to enter a new market, I can help. Usually all the skills needed to do this are already in-house but everyone’s busy or the skills are well hidden.

I help to bring some focus, market knowledge, structure and support to use those skills better to achieve what you want to achieve. I also provide support on research, the best way to build relationships, who to build relationships with and how to increase your team’s skills, together with support on bid management, processes and writing.

Having invested in the recruitment of the very best people, those ideally suited to your organisation and values, you want to nurture that talent. This is particularly important when individuals have been promoted into new roles and/or have new responsibilities such as work winning. Despite these best intentions, time constraints can often mean this doesn’t happen.

As an experienced manager and trained coach, I can provide 1-2-1 coaching and mentoring for project and marketing staff to develop their confidence and skills and so improve business development and marketing effectiveness.

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  • I'm an architect not a flippin' salesperson...

    Coachee: I have recently been promoted and am now expected to win new business but I’m too busy. I’m an architect not a salesperson!
    Coach: OK what do you envisage being involved in winning new business?
    Coachee: Well, I don’t know – events, networking, ringing people up, selling…

    It’s a familiar scenario: a highly talented architect/engineer/project manager is promoted through an organisation and quickly reaches Associate or Associate Director level. Often, they reach this point without having received any networking or business development training and are now expected to bring new work into the organisation.

    In my experience, a small number of this group will win new business naturally. The majority could, with the right support and direction but the time needed to provide that is limited. Without this direction, individuals don’t know where to start, put it in the too hard pile and then excuse their lack of involvement in a variety of ways – I’m too busy tops the list.

    Everyone should develop their own way to develop new business, a way which suits their strengths, personality, interests, availability and circumstances. For this reason, 1-2-1 coaching, giving individuals support and the opportunity to air and overcome their concerns privately, can be the best way to build confidence and help them contribute to work winning.

    What’s a blog post without a few tips?! Here are five:

    Forget about selling – no one wants to be sold to.
    Make connections and build relationships – people work with those they like, trust and/or think can help them – incorporate this into your project day.
    Start ‘close to home’ – those most likely to commission you on your next project are probably among, or known to, those you already know.
    Be curious and informed – about the worlds and interests of your clients
    Share information internally – opportunities arise when several pieces of information are linked.

    I am a trained coach and experienced marketing adviser and have supported, mentored and coached individuals and teams to improve effectiveness of business development. I have also worked with practice principals to better define aims, create strategy and to make sure essential complementary marketing and communications activity exists.

    Please get in touch if you would like to talk about how I might be able to help you or your organisation.

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