Lots of debate exists on whether website forms should be short or long. In 2015, we did a Website Usability survey with KoMarketing. The data showed that 69% of survey respondents are deterred by long forms – including forms where they expect to be contacted, such as RFQ forms (Figure 1).

B2B Web Usability Report
Figure 1: RFQ form research – 2015 B2B Web Usability Report, Huff/KoMarketing

This data still holds true today. Based on numerous tests we’ve run, shorter is usually better. Too short, however, and the information isn’t useful enough.

Whether it’s an existing customer placing a new or repeat order, or a new prospect contacting you for the first time, your RFQ form must present a smooth user experience – which is part and parcel of the overall customer experience.

What follows are a few Do’s and Don’ts for improving how users experience (or interact) with your RFQ forms. A smoother user experience means more form submissions over time.

DO: Keep required form fields to a minimum

We get it – you need information to provide a quote. But, do you need a person’s entire contact information or is Name, Title, and Email enough to get started?

DO: Remove almost all non-required form fields

This keeps the form shorter and less overwhelming – people initially see the length of the form, not which parts aren’t required.

For manufacturers needing detailed specs, dimensions, etc., for multiple product lines, create a conditional form. For example, use radio buttons for individual products; when the user clicks one, the action opens up new fields.

DO: Make phone field “not required”

Not everyone wants to provide their phone number – even when asking for a quote. You can still include the phone field, but make it “not required.” Then, if someone does include their phone number, have a new required field show: “Best time to contact you.” This trick helps reduce phone tag and puts the customer in control of whether he/she wants to share phone info or not.

DON’T: Force people to upload information they may not have (yet)

It’s good to give people the ability to upload drawings, but making this a required field slams the brakes on the sales process. Why? The person may not yet have a drawing – or simply wants to send you a photo to say, “We need something like this. Can you help?”

DON’T: Wait hours to respond

As one of our clients said, “RFQ inquiries are gold.” Indeed. This means that when one comes in, you need to respond immediately to let the person know you’ve received the form and will get back to him/her with any questions. This response can be handled with an automated personal-sounding email.

DON’T: Confuse the RFQ form with a Contact form
“Should we have both an RFQ form and a Contact form?” asked a client whose website we’re currently redesigning.

Quick answer: Yes.

A Contact Us form is used for general inquiries and should be as short as possible: name, email or phone, and the comment/question box.

An RFQ form, on the other hand, is for existing customers or prospects who want a quote for your products or services.