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Why contact forms can destroy sales leads
21.06.18 | 0 Comments | Author: Stefan Knecht

In B2B markets, the most widespread way to generate sales leads is through contact forms on web pages. Although producing such leads is one of the main objectives of marketing managers, few seem aware of how many prospective buyers are put off by poorly devised or wrongly implemented contact forms – they will not contact the company at all. So let’s take a closer look at online contact forms.

A website analysis to reveal weaknesses

I recently had the opportunity to give a presentation to general managers and marketing directors on the subject of lead management in the laboratory and analytics industries. Before doing so, I looked at how well the corporate websites of the participants were suited for lead generation – and discovered some surprising things.

Online contact forms are rarely put to proper use

Of the 30 companies, six (19%) had no online forms at all for prospective buyers. This surprised me because this makes it impossible for these companies to assess how much their own corporate websites contributes towards the contacts and potential buyers they generate.

The analysis revealed that two types of contact forms were being used. 42% of the websites offered just a general contact form, one that allows a website visitor to write a message to the company without being able to express a specific interest in a particular product. Such contact forms are therefore a sort of substitute for conventional e-mails.

General contactform Mettler-Toledo used as a replacement for e-mail requests


Only 39% of the companies used product-specific contact forms. Potential buyers on a product web page can click on a conspicuous “Request information” or “Request quotation” button, whereby such a contact form opens. This should already contain the product name, so the potential buyer doesn’t have to remember whether the product name is “XPE105” or “XE-P67”.

Product-specific contact forms of Mettler-Toledo already contain the product name and make it easy to the interested party

If you consider that almost all marketing departments in B2B markets regard lead generation as their main marketing objective, contact forms aren’t receiving the attention that they deserve. Ambition and reality seem to be worlds apart.

Contact forms tend to contain too many input fields

Where contact forms were being used, I looked at what information the companies ask for from enquiring website visitors. And again, I was amazed. The number of input fields in a contact form ranges from 5 to 16. On average, each form contains 12 fields, of which 8 are mandatory and thus must be filled in for the request to be forwarded.

Why does it matter how many fields a contact form possesses? Basically, the more fields, the longer it becomes and the more people won’t bother to fill it in at all. This has been confirmed in a number of studies and is in line with the experience I have made in our day-to-day operations at LUMITOS.

Conversion rate in dependence on the number of the form fields

Optimising contact forms

To improve your contact form so that it deters fewer website visitors, it is important to know first where you currently stand. An important performance indicator can help: the conversion rate. To determine it, you need to find out how many visitors open your contact form online and how many of those actually submit a filled-in form.

What conversion rate should you expect to achieve? Like so often, this depends on many factors. If the contact forms on your product web pages score conversion rates of less than 10%, there is probably an urgent need for improvement. This means that 90% of all the contact form’s visitors leave it without contacting your company.

Most contact forms contain unnecessary input fields

So far we have only looked at the number of fields and thus the length of the contact form. But how do you cut it down to size? The first thing to do is remove all the fields asking for something that your sales representatives do not need in order to contact the prospective customer. Scrutinise each input field individually. In my brief analysis, 32% of the companies wanted to know their prospective customers’ fax number. Do your sales reps contact potential buyers by fax?

Personal data often incomplete

What data to ask for in a contact form depends largely on how your sales leads are further processed within your company. Are prospective customers first called by phone or do you start with supplying them further information

Wouldn’t 50% more leads be great?

There is tremendous potential for improving your contact forms, something that is often overseen in B2B industries. For operators of e-shops, it is a matter of course to optimise the forms they use in the purchasing process because this immediately translates into increased sales. But what can you expect from optimising your B2B industry contact form? If, for example, you increase the conversion rate of a contact form only from 10% to 15%, you will receive a substantial 50% more sales leads. My personal experience gained over the past 15 years is that this would also increase your sales volume significantly.

How does your company go about lead generation? Is the process transparent and measurable? Are your contact forms lead destroyers or lead generators? I would be happy to advise you on optimising your contact forms. Your feedback, also on the experiences you have had, would be much appreciated.

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