Ecology Training UK Ltd - Case Study


Sue Searle (BSc, PGDip, MCIEEM) – Principal Ecologist, Senior Tutor and Managing Director of Ecology Training UK Ltd (ETUK), is widely considered to be one of the foremost experts in the field of ecology.

Sue started ETUK in 2019 and quickly built an ecommerce website using WordPress and Ecwid. The enterprise grew rapidly thanks to the popularity of Sue’s online and face to face courses. The site was a little rustic and Sue quickly realised, to keep up with the scale of her growth, she would need the help of a professional website development company and specialists in the field of CRM, data management and automation.

The Collaboration

Sue engaged Ben Stirling and the team from Made with Maturity to design and build the e-commerce and learning platform website, and for the CRM/Data Automation side of things, Ben recommended CRM specialists, Gathering Momentum Ltd, (now trading as CRM Champion).

The Starting Point

Sue and her administrative team ran the whole business using a series of complex spreadsheets, this led to lots of repeated data entry and difficulties in tracking student journeys and bookings. Despite this, the spreadsheets were well maintained and provided a strong blueprint for configuring the new CRM.

The Challenge

For Gathering Momentum (CRM Champion), the challenge was multifaceted…

  • Identify the best CRM platform for a training organisation, which best suits the required suite of integrations.
  • Identify a CRM which delivers high quality email marketing, quality webforms and has the functionality to email clients directly from the CRM.
  • Configure the system so customer product purchases are recorded and converted to a student/course relationship.
  • Configure the system so every student learning journey can be recorded and managed for both on-line and face to face courses.
  • Migrate data from several disparate sources.
  • Complete the above without affecting business as usual.

What did we Achieve?

  • All email marketing is now delivered via the CRM and analysis performed on open and click rates.
  • Multiple webforms on the website now populate the CRM directly with diverse prospect and student information.
  • All mass student communication is delivered via the CRM – automated wherever practicable.
  • All individual student email communication (sent and received) is stored in the CRM against the student record, and emails can be sent from the CRM.
  • All sales are captured automatically, with courses and sales orders being assigned to the correct student automatically.
  • All student journeys can be mapped through the CRM and bespoke reports generated.
  • Students receive feedback surveys automatically when they complete a face to face or webinar course.

In addition…

  • We have integrated a computer telephone system which pulls up the appropriate student record (from the CRM) when an existing student calls the ETUK number.
  • Sue receives an automated monthly report, incorporating several visual graphs, which display up-to-date; sales figures, campaign analysis, subscriber numbers, student feedback/promoter scores, lead source statistics and much more.

The Impact

  • 60% increase in annual turnover following the introduction of the CRM and new website.
  • Sue feels much more relaxed and is able to focus on high value business tasks which are improving the company’s performance, and improving her lifestyle!
  • Sue is able to do more of the things she loves – teaching ecology in a live setting and travelling.


The team at Gathering Momentum (CRM Champion) are dynamic, attentive and highly professional. Their CRM selection service saved me countless hours of frustrating research, and their marketplace report presented information in a way which made it easy to compare options relating to my business needs.

The implementation was extremely well managed, and the team worked hard to ensure my e-commerce website integrated beautifully with the CRM.

The ongoing support is great, I’ve taken advantage of their back-office service and continuous development cycle, which means I barely have to perform any admin tasks and my business seems to grow automatically.

As a result, our turnover is projected to increase again next year and the sky’s the limit for the future.

The monthly reports and strategy meetings give me the confidence to focus on the things I love; teaching and travelling in my motor home.

In short, Gathering Momentum are Worth Every Penny!

– Sue Searle (BSc, PGDip, MCIEEM)

Did Anything Go Wrong?

Yes, let’s be frank, a project of this nature is never plain sailing, and this was no exception. The first CRM platform adopted (identified as the front runner from the perspective of the marketplace report) performed well through testing and into the live environment, but alarm bells started ringing about future stability and the availability of customisation resource, and after doing some deeper research we received an email from an organisation advertised as a ‘Certified Partner’ telling us they no longer supported the platform and advising us not to use it. A decision was made to migrate to and configure the second-choice option and (we like to think) due to the strength of our documentation, this was completed within a week with little or no disruption to service. Fortunately, we had not become too entangled in the integration process. A valuable lesson was learned.

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  • “Dynamic, attentive and highly professional. Their CRM selection service saved me countless hours of frustrating research, and their marketplace report presented information in a way which made it easy to compare options related to my business needs. The implementation was extremely well managed, and the team worked hard to ensure my e-commerce website integrated beautifully.”

    Sue Searle, Ecology Training UK Ltd.

  • “These guys are methodical and detailed, a very safe pair of hands and a great resource to know when implementing more sophisticated systems. Would highly recommend.”

    Ben Stirling, Made with Maturity Ltd.

  • CRM Champion is an inclusive and diverse employer that supports students and new graduates to flourish at the early stage of their careers. The team are dedicated professionals who actively engage with the university to create meaningful opportunities that supports growth on all sides.

    Andrea Hodges, Employment Schemes Manager, University of Exeter

  • The CRM Champion team provided expert guidance in mapping our CRM requirements to meet BIT Group objectives including our BIT Training and BIT Security divisions. The team’s insightful approach, analytic mindset and industry expertise created us a phased approach to achieving CRM success. Highly recommended.

    Sam Snowdon, Chief Marketing Officer, BIT Group

  • “[They] were brilliant at pinpointing what our needs were, they produced a thorough marketplace report and as a result we have adopted a CRM system which has totally changed our way of working and made our lives so much easier.”

    Lucy Thomas, Linggard and Thomas Accountants Ltd.

  • “[They] were instrumental in leading a challenging CRM project – taking time to understand our business and helping us to become more profitable.”

    Henry Massey, Clystnet Ltd

  • “CRM Champion were instrumental in getting us organised and working effectively…their strong work ethic and deep knowledge will bring any project to fruition.”

    GR, Airport Direct Travel Ltd.