Crash Course: How to Get an “A” in Website Lead Gen

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Is your website holding you back from making the software honor roll?

It could be if you’re missing these two key elements: a strong offer and a short form. For more than a decade,Capterra has studied B2B software websites, and we’ve found that these two elements will get a company 80% of the way toward a successful website: one that will convert web visitors into known prospects and deliver a steady stream of leads to the company.

How do we know? Well, we’ve always been particularly interested in these two key elements because they help us determine whether a software company would easily be able to convert the leads we send them into customers (which is the end goal of our service). So we started assigning a grade to every software website listed on Capterra’s online directories.

Curious to see how that grade is calculated? Here’s how:

A – Site has both a Strong Offer AND a Short Form

B – Site has EITHER a Strong Offer OR a Short Form

C – Site has neither of the two

D – Site has not been updated since the Dot Com bubble… the first one, in the 90’s.

For an offer to be considered strong and compelling, it must draw the buyer’s attention and offer them something worthy of their contact information.  Some examples of strong calls-to-actions (CTAs) include:

  • Free Trial;
  • Free Demo, and;
  • Live Demo.

We consider a form to be short if it has five fields or less.  Forms with more fields are too cumbersome for a prospect to fill out and can cause people to drop off unnecessarily. I mean, c’mon, do you really need their full mailing address? Probably not. Some studies suggest that for every field you add to a form above 4, there is an 11% drop off in the number of conversions. So the moral of the story is: don’t ask for information you don’t need to capture the prospect’s contact information!

Let’s look at a few examples of real software websites to see this grading theory in action:

A website:

Panopto has a strong CTA.  They use a bright green button that stands out from the rest of their site’s color scheme, guaranteeing that the buyer will notice it.  They also offer a “Free Trial,” which we have found to be the most compelling offer a software company can provide. Plus, they put this offer on every page of their site so the buyer doesn’t have to look for it.  (Don’t worry, if you’re in an industry where a free trial is not possible, “Free Demo” can work just as well).

Nutshell’s form is concise, ends above the fold, and removes all unnecessary content so as not to distract the prospect from completing it.

B website:

(Not that there is anything wrong with being a B site, but from here on out, we’ll be blurring out company names as we continue to analyze the websites)

Our next software company scored a B because they buried their offer in the bottom right corner of the page, and the color doesn’t immediately pop out at you.  They could easily improve this page by moving their button to the top right (above the “Latest News” section) and making the Product Demo button a brighter color.


This website was very sharp looking, but still scored a B.  It had a nice offer in the top right corner with “Get A Quote”, but the form is very long.  Even though only five of the fields are required, a buyer still sees all 20 of them, and their first reaction will be to click away and go to another website.  A great workaround to this problem is to transform this into a two-part form and just ask the initial five questions. Once they have submitted this first page, you can reach out via email with a link to another form to ask a few more questions and better tailor the quote.

C website:

This site is a C because there is no strong or compelling offer.  The offer is at the bottom of the text and simply says “For more information please contact us at”  This is the weakest offer possible because the buyer doesn’t see this as a good tradeoff for their contact information; more importantly, a buyer doesn’t want to have to write an email from scratch. Give them a short form to fill out that only takes 20  seconds, and you’ll get the lead.

D website:

This website scored a D because it’s not focused on the user experience; it doesn’t have either of the two key elements and still resembles many features of a website from the 2000s.

Curious how you can become an A?


Looking for software? Check out Capterra's list of the best software solutions.

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About the Author


Danny Zadoff

Daniel Zadoff is Director of Business Development at Capterra, where he helps software companies reach out to buyers and better meet their needs. He travels around the country so look for him at a tradeshow or event near you.


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