Short Arms Technologies Logo
Tips & Strategies

Get the Most Out of Your CRM Forms

Tim Rexer
A person holding a cell phone in their hand

CRMs are an essential tool for businesses. They help businesses identify potential clients, connect with them, build relationships, and choose where to reinvest their time to drive additional revenue. One of the ways they do this by tracking the source of leads, whether it be by marketing campaigns, in person contact, or an email.

As a result, CRMs have become a core tool for businesses of all sizes, and there are a lot of choices on the market with wide ranges of features. However, if you’re a small company or a non-profit, you’re likely limited in revenue as well as what features you can leverage from tools like a CRM. So, the smaller you are, the more it matters to squeeze everything you can from your tools.

So, how do you, as a small business, get the most out of your CRM? Today I’ll be talking about one of the ways to do this is, which is with CRM Forms. We’ll be reviewing the following items:

Overview of Forms

All of the leading CRM solutions, i.e. Salesforce, HubSpot, & Monday, all provide access to forms as a way to collect contact information. You’re likely used to seeing some of these forms as the Contact Us, or Contact Sales pages on a website. If you can use forms to capture information, then how can you use them to keep track of different sources for the lead?

Most CRMs have Marketing tools that allow you to keep track of ad campaigns & tie them in as the source. The problem is, that they don’t always apply to all incoming leads, and usually these features cost more. This can sometimes be a hurdle to small businesses or nonprofits as every dollar matters. The real question then becomes, is there a way to record the source for all links without paying extra?

Overview of Form Fields

First thing you need to do is define a form, with what you want to capture. This can be name, email, company, etc, but it can also be other things like how did you hear about us or even shirt size to send swag. These are direct questions you ask the lead, but what about indirect questions that they can’t answer, questions like how did you get to our page? While how did you hear about us is important to find out what first piqued their interest, it doesn’t tell you how they then found you to engage. This also isn’t a question that users would understand. Some may be able to answer if it’s something like social media, but what if it was an email, or even in person?

An easy way to do this is through the use of custom and/or hidden fields. Most CRMs allow you to create custom attributes you may want to track. An example from above is shirt size, not everyone will need that, so it won’t be included out of the box for all users, but you’ll be able to add it yourself. Another one to keep track of is the source of the lead. Sometimes this is a built in field, such as a campaign, sometimes it’s not. The other issue though, is that you don’t always want the user seeing some of these fields as they may not understand as we discussed above. The way to prevent the user from seeing it is by hiding the field. This means that the field is loaded onto the page, but is never shown to the user.

Filling Hidden Fields

You may be asking yourself, if the field isn’t visible, then how do we get the data? There are 2 ways to do this, first is one of the easiest to do quickly. This is setting the default value on the form for the hidden field, which means that when the form is loaded, it will include this value unless it is changed by the user. Since the field is hidden, the user will not be able to change it, which means that will be the value that is saved. The downside to this is that you then need to make a new form for each source. This becomes difficult to keep doing in the long term as any change you need to make will need to make in multiple places.

The easier way to do it in the long term is to leverage a tool called a query parameter. It sounds a bit complicated, but it’s actually easier than you think. It is used by the webpage when loading in order to change how the page may behave. It is easy to add as well, it just involves adding a question mark followed by the name of the hidden field and set it equal to the value you want. So, as an example, you could say that the source field should include the words email. To do this, you can just include ?source=email. You can add this to the end of any link to your form, such as < domain >/form?source=email. This means that you’ll be able to use the same form repeatedly, while changing the source information based on where they came from. This could be email, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Yelp. If you want to do this for multiple fields, they can be separated with an ampersand (&). There is a trick with it though, you have to make sure that the text you are putting in is safe to be in a URL.

Wrap Up

In addition to being able to include these on all links, you can also use them for in-person leads as well. Thanks to the increased growth of QR codes, most users are used to scanning them to be able to do an action. This means that you don’t need to just put your site on a business card or flier anymore, you can directly drop the lead into the form & pre-populate your hidden fields. If you’re doing an conference, you can build a custom QR code that puts the user in < domain >/form?source=conference_name & track how many leads came just from that conference.

This is one of the ways that you can get the most out of your CRM forms. This is especially important when you’re a small business or a non-profit where every cent matters. You can leverage these tools as a way to improve your insight on the source of your leads, while still keeping your costs low. Since these are all built-in features for either the CRM or webpages, there is no cost to provide this extra insight.

To view a practical example of how to do this with HubSpot, check out our next blog post. The reason I’m using HubSpot is because they have an always free tier available for all companies. Included in this free tier is everything we need to do forms, along with both hidden and custom fields.

If you’re a small company or non-profit looking to improve your improve your digital space, contact us at Short Arms Technologies. At Short Arms Technologies, we believe that custom software doesn’t have to be expensive. That’s why we offer affordable solutions for businesses with tight budgets. Each business has its own unique needs and requirements, use our expertise to develop a solution that meets those needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you build the perfect software solution for your business.