Sometimes it’s the little things that matter. And for manufacturers, suppliers, and even professional service companies - one of those things is a quote request form. This feature, also called “Request A Quote” (RAQ), can be a valuable source of leads, funneling hand-raisers eager to buy your products right to your sales team. Or it can be a dead-end on your site, turning away potential business, frustrating users and lowering the overall perception of your company. Learn how to make yours better by focusing on a few key elements.
Start with the end in mind
First, think about what you want to accomplish with your quote request form. Can you close a deal with it, or are you just getting leads that your sales team needs to close? If you can close the deal or get to solid ballpark pricing automatically, go ahead and ask all of the necessary questions needed to build a quote. If you need to get a lot of info or consult with the client first, think about doing something simpler and easier to fill out. If the nature of your products and/or services requires a complex consultation process in order to get pricing to your client, stick with a simple contact form. It’s also a good idea to arm your potential customers with a list of the questions you’ll be asking in order to get pricing together.
How you ask is just as important as what you ask
There’s a high expectation on the web for clean, easy to use and intuitive forms. Make sure your forms are well-organized. Multi-part forms are ok but make sure that they are responsive to the users requests. This means that the questions asked at the beginning of the form should influence the questions that are asked at the end of the form. If you know a prospect isn’t interested in a particular product, make sure you don’t ask them about it. The customer should rarely, if ever, have to answer “Not Applicable” when filling out an effective RAQ.
Can you talk about pricing?
If you can talk about pricing in a quote request form, you should. Even if it’s in relative terms, arming your customer with an idea of what they’re getting into is important. It shows a high degree of transparency and also helps avoid your sales team wasting time with unqualified customers. They’re going to find out your prices sooner of later, best to tear that band-aid off early.
Let the form show the increase (or decrease) in relative cost as they select and deselect various options for your products. In fact, the more you position your Request A Quote feature as a pricing calculator and less like an lead-gathering tool, the more you’ll engage your clients. But it’s also ok to make them provide you with some contact info in order to get any real pricing info, even if it’s generated automatically.
Make sure you support desktops, tablets and mobile devices
Your website is responsive so your quote request form should be as well. Wait, your website doesn’t automatically support desktops, tablets and mobile devices through a responsive template? You need to stop working on a RAQ feature and turn your attention back to your website. Google is now penalizing site rankings for those sites that don’t support mobile devices. Get that particular house in order first before you start spiffing up your form.
Of course there’s responsive and then there’s responsive. Mobile devices often need to have a simplified version of the site’s content in order to be displayed effectively. Use the power of the desktop browser to present your client with a rich and effective array of controls like sliders, push buttons and other elements to allow them to easy craft their quote. But with the mobile browser, it’s ok to simplify this experience a little. Don’t try to replicate the desktop experience exactly because you’ll often do more harm than good with a tedious mobile interface that tries to do too much.
Arm your sales team with all of the data
Ideally, data from your quote request form should funnel directly into a Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM). Make sure that you’re capturing all of the data that the customer enters and all of the data they’re not entering directly as well. For instance, make sure your form captures the page from which the user came immediately prior. Also keep track of breadth of your products and services that they reviewed and any that they may have spent extra time on. To do this, you’ll generally need to employ the capabilities of advanced analytics, such as custom tracking in Google Analytics or via a marketing automation tool, such as Hubspot.
Make sure that your sales team has access to all of the information and make sure that it’s readily available to them. There’s nothing worse that a user having to repeat themselves when they’re on the phone with a sales person. You should provide a seamless experience from web to sales call.
Make sure the follow-up is comprehensive
What you ultimately send to the customer should answer all of their questions. The tactic of leaving out some bits so they’ll be compelled to call you back will only serve to irritate the prospect.
The quote itself should be reflective of the process that they just went through to request it. The design and branding should be consistent and cohesive. Take the time to craft a slick and effective response and automate the process wherever possible to make sure that the follow-up is quick and concise. Resist the urge to send out standard forms or docs that may be generated by your ERP system. These generally look like crap and don’t talk about your products in the same way that your Request A Quote feature just did. Regardless of what you have to go through behind the scenes, make the whole process from start to finish seem polished and rote.
The Request A Quote function of your website is an important lead driver. It needs a fair amount of care and feeding and you need to be in a position to learn from it as it functions in order to make it better over the long haul.