To get some data on effective lead forms, we found the 100 fastest growing SaaS companies (according to saas1000.com) and analyzed their lead forms.
We only analyzed the forms that are meant to capture leads, not ones that are part of a self-service signup option.
Our hope is that this data will help marketers create the most effective lead forms for their companies.
Below we discuss key findings such as:
- The average number of fields that were seen in the lead forms
- What fields were the most common (and how different some were)
- How many used a lead form and a self-service option
- How many forms were single-page vs. multi page vs. popups
- What kind of tracking and A/B testing software was on the forms
- And more
An important decision for SaaS companies to make is: Do we offer lead forms and a self serve signup option or only one or the other?
Our analysis found some of each option in the 100 companies we analyzed. Here is what we observed from the data and the pros and cons of each option.
As would be expected, most of the SaaS companies have some type of lead form on their site. Of the 26 that had no lead form, all were completely self-service.
But, of the 74 that did have a lead form, 22 had a self-service option. This shows that the marketing departments of these 22 companies came to the conclusion that they should have a self-service and a lead form flow.
Just to be clear, an example of a self-service option is when you can sign up for a SaaS without having to talk to a human being. An example of a self-service option is this form from Algolia:
A lead form collects contact information so that a salesperson can reach out to conduct a demo or finalize a sale. An example of a lead form is this one from Chatmeter:
Companies with self-service and lead-form-only flows made that decision for different reasons. Some companies, like Eventbrite, have a cheaper self-service product:
But, they require a company to submit a lead form for a customized, more expensive product:
Other companies, like Gitlab, only have a cheaper product. They have a self-service option for people who are ready to get started:
But, they also have a lead form in case a prospect wants to contact a real human before buying:
Some of these companies in this list offer multiple products, yet nearly all of the companies decided to only have one lead form. In fact, only two companies, Erecruit and Bombora, had multiple lead forms.
What we found interesting is that 52 companies made it impossible to sign up for a self-service option. If you want to use their product, you have to contact them directly and wait for someone to get back to you.
While it’s probably true that companies with expensive products require leads to use a form and companies with cheaper products want leads to get started right away, that isn’t always the case.
Look at the pricing page of Sift Science. Their product starts at $1,000 per month and goes up to $25,000 per month:
Though they have salespeople and are willing to demo their product, they give you the option of spending thousands of dollars a month without talking to anyone. This is strikingly unusual from what we saw.
While you don’t need to be as bold as Sift Science, it’s helpful to know your options. Depending on your business, it’s possible for any combination of lead forms and self-service options to work.
Unless you have a good reason not to, the safe choice is to have a lead form, regardless of whether you have a self-service option. That way people who want to get started immediately can do so, and those who want hand-holding can talk to someone personally.
If you’re looking for an easy way to 1) create high-converting, responsive lead forms and 2) automatically sync the leads you receive to your CRM or email marketing software, then take a look at Fieldboom.
The only field that was in every lead form was email. 72 of 74 lead forms asked for either first name, first and last name, or had just one field for name. Phone and company name were the only other fields that appeared in over 50 of the analyzed lead forms.
What stuck out to us was how standardized and simple most of the lead forms were. Most did not ask for anything that a prospect would need to think too hard about.
However, 30 of the lead forms had a freeform text box where a lead could type in any concerns or questions and 27 lead forms had a unique field specific to that company. It would be interesting to understand if the companies with these more “difficult” or time-consuming fields saw an increase in lead quality or even an increase in conversion rate.
A collection of conversion expert opinions on ConversionXL found that most agreed that reducing form fields would increase conversion. But, there were notable exceptions. Michael Aagard, a CRO consultant, gave an example where removing fields decreased conversion rates by 14%. All the experts emphasized the need to measure your conversions and test your assumptions.
Also notable was that only five of the lead forms had any way to book an appointment time with a salesperson. While the technology has existed for a long time to book an appointment directly onto a salesperson’s calendar, very few of these SaaS companies take advantage of it.
One thing we did not expect to see was a captcha. Yet, eight of the 74 forms had a google reCaptcha:
Captchas are notorious for causing conversion rates to fall. Gary Robinson of It’s Digital Marketing added a Google reCaptcha to a form and conversions dropped 73%.
At least we didn’t see any of those old-school, hard-to-read captchas. Seeing something like this would scare off a lot of leads:
The Lead Forms Had an Average of 6.3 Fields
60 of the 74 forms had five to eight fields, and the lead forms had an average of 6.3 fields. Most of the forms were pretty standardized. They just asked for name, email, phone, company, and a few other fields.
CB Insights had the only one-field lead form. Just enter your email:
And you’re done:
(Apologies to the CB Insights team for accidentally submitting the form. We honestly thought that there would be another page.)
While you don’t need to make your lead forms as short as the one by CB Insights, the data shows that most companies didn’t want to make their lead forms too complex and lose some prospects.
When making the tradeoff between having a smaller form and getting lots of prospects versus having a complex form and getting fewer, more qualified prospects, the fastest growing SaaS companies chose to have simpler forms and more prospects.
60 of the 74 Lead Forms were Single-Page Forms
As expected, most of the forms were standard one-page forms like this one from Total Expert:
Thirteen of the forms were a pop up. An example is this lead form from Simple Legal:
Only one SaaS company, pax8, used a multi page form.
There were two SaaS companies that had completely unique lead forms.
Gong.io requires you to give your email address before you can move onto the actual single-page form:
They might do this as a hindrance so only the best prospects reach out to them. Maybe they do this so they can capture your email address and remarket to you if you don’t make it through the form. Then again, remarketing like that would be a GDPR violation…
All Lead Forms Had Google Analytics and Other Tracking Software
We analyzed the tracking software on each of the lead form pages using BuiltWith. BuiltWith showed us that these companies used quite a few different technologies, so we only listed the ones dealing with analytics and tracking.
Unsurprisingly, every single page had Google Analytics on it. What was surprising was that 21 of the 74 pages had Bing Analytics on them. Maybe some of these companies are investing into Bing Ads?
The major social networks Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter appeared on 55, 40, and 28 pages, respectively. This makes sense as marketers would want to track who comes onto the page and drops off. These would be excellent targets for remarketing.
36 of the 74 Lead Forms Had A/B Testing Software
We looked for the presence of several A/B testing tools on the lead form pages. BuiltWith only detected four different A/B testing tools: Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer, Mixpanel, and Kissmetrics.
Wanting to A/B test makes sense, since improving your conversion rate even by a little can have huge effects. For example, improving a conversion rate from 3% to 4% increases your growth rate by 33%.
There are reasons not to A/B test. It can be a huge time commitment and a lot of the time, your changes may make no difference. My experience at a startup showed me that unless you have a statistically significant amount of traffic and conversions, A/B testing is probably not worth it.
Only 16 of the 74 Lead Forms Had Click-Tracking Software
We looked for several different click tracking technologies. But, the only click tracking software we detected with BuiltWith were Mouseflow, Lucky Orange, Crazy Egg, Clicktale, and Fullstory.
While click tracking can be useful to see how users interact with your site, you probably won’t need to have it on your lead page site.
It seems that most of the marketers for these SaaS companies agreed. Maybe they thought that click tracking isn’t worth the effort or that they don’t have enough relevant traffic to justify it.
If there’s one consistent trend among all these forms, it’s that the lead forms are usually small and focused.
While most of the lead forms analyzed are simple, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t important. For a lot of companies, email and lead forms were the only methods for leads to start the buying process.
Capturing leads is vital to your business. If you struggle to get your leads to fill out your lead forms, then the rest of your marketing will be less effective.
It’s vital that you make sure that you do what you can to make sure prospects are converting. That may mean tweaking the fields on your lead form, using tracking software, or changing your form to a simpler, cleaner design.
If you’re looking for an easy way to 1) create high-converting, responsive lead forms and 2) automatically sync the leads you receive to your CRM or email marketing software, then Fieldboom can help.