B2B Marketing
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Swooning for Short Forms

Published by in B2B Marketing

As a Marketing Advisor at Capterra, I serve as an outside marketing consultant for nearly 300 B2B software companies. I’m basically their own personal “Dear Abby”—only instead of giving advice to scorned lovers and angry neighbors, I help with marketing. I consult on demand generation and lead funnels, advise on website optimization, share account recommendations and field questions regarding pay-per-click. The Dear Abby column is a success because people love to learn from others’ mistakes and (let’s be honest) people are nosey. So I had an idea—I will, like Abby, take client questions, and share my response and perspective with our blog readers. And don’t worry; the names are changed to protect the innocent…Swooning for Short Forms Medium

Dear Kara,

Which will result in a higher volume of quality leads- long or short web lead capture forms? I’ve recently read a few articles that stress the importance of using short forms to generate leads, but my boss doesn’t agree. Our “Free Demo” lead form has 16(!) fields (including contact details, physical address, company information, and user size) but my boss believes that those who fill out the form are higher quality, more motivated prospects. I’d love to test a shorter form to see what impact it has on quality. But how can I convince her?

All the best,

Swooning for Short Forms


Dear Swooning,

Your suspicion is correct. Short lead forms will generate a higher volume of quality leads. But you’re not the one who needs convincing.

I think we can all (your boss included) agree on one point: The goal of a website is to generate leads. But to capture the most leads, you need to make it as easy as possible for a prospect to convert.  Using long forms to qualify will push away otherwise promising prospects.

There are two processes used to qualify leads; your form, and your follow up.

I’d suspect your boss’ love for the long form stems from past experiences with short forms generating junk leads. Unfortunately, this is not unusual. When you shorten your form, you will increase the volume of inbound leads—but that doesn’t mean the leads will all be a good fit.  That’s where step 2 comes in: you’ll need to do some legwork to qualify the leads.

Sound like a lot of work? It’s not so bad—especially once you start seeing results. Here’s how to start:

  1. Ask your sales team to define their ideal prospect. What is the action that buyer needs to take that is likely to result in a sale? Until you know what Sales wants, you certainly won’t be able to deliver.
  2. Use an auto responder email to start qualifying your leads. Ask a few additional questions. Response rates will indicate the level of commitment on the buyer end.
  3. Test your form. Adding text fields can deter a prospect from completing the form, but a few drop downs on your form can jump start your qualification process and help your team tremendously.
  4. Feeling overwhelmed? You might want to look into Marketing Automation software to help set up an automated lead nurture system. This will speed up your response time and free your team up to deal with the influx of leads.

Ever heard of the phrase “Happy wife, happy life?” well, here’s a new one: “Happy sales, happy boss”

And you’ll have just that, as long as everyone understands this simple concept:

  • Long form to qualify= Low volume, high quality
  • Short form without qualifying= high volume, low and high quality mixed together
  • Short form with post qualification- high volume, high quality.

Now go turn that Long Form Lover into a Short Form Swooner!


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

About the Author

Kara Dawson

Kara Dawson

As a Marketing Advisor at Capterra, Kara serves as an outside marketing consultant for nearly 300 of our B2B software companies.


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