We've been going back and forth on this too.
One way to settle it is to capture the minimum amount of information it takes to route the lead to the right seller/team.
If lead routing is general, like a queue, or there is an internal person assigning leads, then you can settle with fewer fields.
If you have the budget for it, Reachforce and Ringlead can append the data for you so you can receive in-depth info while only asking for a few data points like name and email address.
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Of course, the lower, the better, but in reality, one cannot always follow that rule.
We usually adapt the number of fields to the position in the funnel of the marketing offer that is behind the form. Typically :
- a blog newsletter registration will be a very short form (even only the email address).
- A TOFU white paper about market trends, will be a short one as well (email, name, company)
- A MOFU ebook about setting the buying criteria right will be longer (all the above + company and position)
- A BOFU action such as a product trial, demo request or quote request will be long one, including a phone number.
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With Sales, my first question to them is would you rather more leads or to know their job title? Suddenly sales becomes more resourceful with Linkedin and other tools to find out some missing information in my experience. Gregoire is right with regards to being able to get more information based on the value of the information you are giving.