Allison Walters founder of Awscape had a very clear vision to grow her business. She had just employed her first team member and knew that in order to grow there had to be a shared way of working with more visibility. She was at the point of knowing she needed a CRM and reached out to Veronica, VK Business Consulting, to help her to implement Capsule CRM in her business.
A little about Allison Walters, Founder of AWScape
AWScape is an ethical landscape architectural practice. We’re into sustainability and biodiversity and we want everybody to be able to have access to nature, be that within new developments, or existing locations. We work with property developers, house builders, planning consultants, architects to create spaces that enhance biodiversity and create the experiences that people want in nature. Giving people the right to nature, it’s not a luxury. We are all about enhancement of the environment. So, we’re looking to work with people who are really keen on enhancing development for the benefits of nature.
Allison Walters is mission led to ensure that we all have a right to nature in our towns and cities. She offers regular workshops to professionals in this sector on this subject to ensure that our future environment has nature in mind both ethically and legislatively. Visit the Awscapes website
Can you describe the problems that you were facing before we started working together?
I was disorganised in relation to new prospects, in fact, not just my new prospects, existing customers too. It was tricky keeping track of fee proposals that were coming in and making sure I knew where they were up to and that I was delivering them on time. I was fearful not miss anything. I also conscious that repeat clients were not always getting my full attention.
What solutions did you try before reaching out?
I tried just flagging the emails, relying on memory and writing everything down in note pads. I was having to go back through emails to determine where the contact information was and things like that. It was a real troll.
How was that affecting you and your business?
There was always this constant worry in the background that I’d missed something. So there was this constant flurry all the time and occasionally I would I’d miss a fee proposal or miss a deadline or something like that.
This was going over in my mind all the time. Have I have I missed something? What have I missed? Is there more out there? Am I missing out on opportunities? It wasn’t until I realised that my business was expanding that things had to change, it had to move forward differently because it couldn’t continue in an ad hoc way.
I have always had a plan for the business growing steadily over the next five years. I envisaged that by the end of five years I’d have at least four or five people within the business. This plan of growth started in January 2023 when I employed my first team member and I knew that in order to be able to move forward as a team of two (both working remotely) that we would need to keep track of existing clients, future clients and track our projects in A CRM. This was a definite catalyst in reaching out to Veronica.
Did you have any reservations before you went ahead?
When we had the demo of Capsule, I hadn’t really considered the project board function in Capsule CRM. I just thought it would help to manage sales and ongoing customer relationship touch points. I wanted something to manage the projects and to be able to see the projects and their progress, so this was such a bonus because we were previously relying on Microsoft one drive to store client folders, but it doesn’t allow us to track where we are at with the projects.
We are still learning and developing the project board in Capsule CRM. It is really useful to have that visual tool of knowing what stage our projects are at and being able to move them to the next stages, because all our projects are based on staging. We follow the RIBA stage on design projects, and, to a degree on our planning projects so to have those to be able to know that we’ve reached that stage. It also helps with our fees, so you can actually bill at certain stages as well.
Can you quantify the results you have got from us working together to implement Capsule CRM?
What has been revolutionary for us is the QuickBooks integration because it also gives us a good understanding as to how much each client is bringing in for us and we now send all our branded fee proposal from Quickbooks. The combination of being able to issue proposal fees via estimates in QuickBooks and then having that link to Capsule CRM and seeing that interconnectivity has saved us time. Originally, I was in putting it all into a spreadsheet which was not giving me a real time view of what of where we’re at. I was doing a fee proposal manually, sending that off, then filling out the spreadsheet so I could see where we were at. If the project was won or lost, I was then having to go to that spreadsheet and change things. I have now ditched the spreadsheet and Capsule CRM enables me to visually track everything from start to finish, we know where we are, we know our forecasted revenue and that is significant to the business. The QuickBooks integration has helped enormously and I didn’t fully realised that until now. Wow!
What would you say to people thinking about going ahead with a new CRM for their business?
Look at what your processes are now and work out the time that it takes you to do all of those things in your business. If you want some time saving elements and tools, then this is definitely for you.
As an SME we don’t have the time to keep up with all those things all of the the time and it becomes very ad hoc. A CRM has allowed us to be a lot more proactive as opposed to reactive and I think that is critical if you want to expand your business, keep on top of things and be able to connect the dots.
In hindsight I would have probably started last year so it would have already been in place when my new team member started but equally it has been nice to work with Veronica and a new team of two on this project.