By Jennifer Esty, Sharp Ahead
My CRM system has nothing to do with online conversions I hear you say. And that should be true.
But have a look at your lead capture forms and take a good hard look at the mandatory (and non-mandatory fields) on them.
Are you asking for first and last name separately? Are you asking for separate address and postcode lines? Are you asking prospects for their company name or job title, their phone number when you have no intention of calling them or their email address when you have no intention of emailing them?
And then ask yourself—are you doing this because your CRM system ‘needs this information’? Or because someone told you the CRM system can’t create a record without them? Or that the information needs to be formatted to make it compatible with your CRM system?
Then your CRM system is killing conversions—because form fields kill conversions. You add more fields you get fewer conversions. You make those fields mandatory you get even fewer conversions.
You don’t have to take my word for it, loads of conversion experts have looked into this issue. (Check out Hubspot’s blog post for starters.)
How do you rein in your CRM system?
A few practical steps to take:
- Verify that the claims about your CRM system are true, most systems in the market have different set ups for leads and customers—so the data you need for a lead can be much less rigorous than for a fully-fledged customer
- Speak to your sales team—what do they need as a bare minimum for a lead? Can they find out some of that information in other ways?
- Put yourself in the customer’s shoes—what does a customer get out of giving you the information? If I ask for a report to be sent to me, asking for email address is sensible. If I ask for a free catalogue, asking for my address is hardly a surprise. If I want to watch a video giving you my first name, last name, job title, industry sector, phone number and an email address is, well, you lost me at job title.
- Consider marketing automation—these systems help nurture leads through the process of getting to know your brand, of establishing trust and giving you relevant information at appropriate points in the funnel. A marketing automation system can hold lead data until it is sufficiently qualified to be passed over to Sales, and into the CRM system.
- Think mobile—long forms are worse on mobile, if you can’t give up those extra fields on desktop at least consider dropping them from the mobile version.
Optimise, Optimise, Optimise
And while we’re on the subject, here are a few more pro tips for form conversion optimisation:
- Make the form friendly to browser-based tools like autofill in Google Chrome (note that separate first name/last name fields are less likely to work with autofill).
- Facebook and LinkedIn both have ad products that allow forms to be pre-populated.
- Some marketing automation systems, like Act-On, support progressive profiling.
Now go have a look at the fields on your lead generation forms. Remove one or two. Analyse conversion rates before and after. And let me know how you get on!