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  • Gram Bischof

Capturing Pipeline: The Evolution of Lead Forms

In today's marketplace, the method with which businesses capture leads can make a world of difference. As the landscape evolves, so does the sophistication and efficiency of lead generation techniques. Join us on a journey through the transformative world of lead forms, from the basics to advanced marketing automation.

The Web-to-Lead Approach

Starting out can be hard when you’ve purchased a CRM (namely, salesforce) and you don’t have a marketing automation system to spit out forms that are easily built with the exact fields and submit buttons in a drag and drop format. In this case, you’ll need a tried and true original with web-to-lead. It’s a simple html output that allows leads to easily move into salesforce. There’s just a few catches, like, you’ll need to program the UI on your site rather than have it look nice from the beginning. Let’s get into some pros and cons.


  • Speed: Salesforce promptly generates leads.

  • Integration: Perfect for developers familiar with HTML.

  • Flexibility: Admins can adapt, tailoring fields as required.


  • Limited Functionality: Only captures raw leads without advanced features.

  • Duplication Issues: Multiple submissions can create duplicate data.

Marketing Automation Systems

Once you’ve been able to master your pipeline to the point that ingestion is no longer a problem, you might see a few others crop up. Handling spammers, duplicates and other unruly side effects of web-to-leads will leave you yearning for a Marketing Automation System. There are quite a few: Pardot, Hubspot, Marketo and Eloqua just to name a few.


  • Spam Filtering: Offers a solution for the perennial challenge of spam.

  • Email Matching: Simplifies data by identifying and updating duplicate entries.


  • Rigid UX: User experience is often confined to the design of the MAS tool.

  • Integration Limitations: API limitations and CSS templates might leave your team frustrated by being locked into the products way of doing things

Creating Custom HTML Forms with APIs

Once enough developers and web designers make a fuss about the limitations of the out of the box forms, it’s time to upgrade and venture back out on your own. You’ll still be push a lot of leads through the Marketing Automation but this time with a more sophisticated look and feel. It will allow you to A/B test or add any UX you desire on form submissions. But that does come with a cost.


  • Tailored UX: Enables a personalized user experience.

  • Flexibility: Greater control over form design and functionalities.

  • Data control: APIs allow you to determine what additional data (if any) you’d like to include or exclude from your product.


  • Complex Integration: Requires expertise to link custom forms with MAS via APIs.

  • Maintenance: Custom solutions might need regular updates and checks.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

A Seamless Fusion: The final evolution often sees businesses integrating their MAS into their CMS. At some point, after your engineering team gets tired of trying to maintain software that isn’t their core product, they’ll opt to cut the world in half and let Marketing back into the lead form world. This means allowing them to concentrate on the application side while Marketing gets an upgraded tool set and full control over the Marketing site.


  • Control: Marketing teams can take charge without relying on developers. Ditto for developers

  • Customization: Forms can be fine-tuned as per business needs using the CMS.

  • Ease of use: Forms are still easy to create and iterated on faster than before


  • Coordination for large initiatives: Coordination between teams increases as they become more specialized

  • Dependency on CMS: The experience becomes tied to the capabilities and constraints of the chosen CMS.

From basic web-to-lead methods to the nuances of marketing automation tools, businesses have a spectrum of choices. By understanding the pros and cons of each stage, operations and IT teams can collaborate more effectively, streamlining lead collection and management.


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