Supercharge Your BatchBook.com Web Forms

by Kurt Milam on January 18, 2010
http://xioup.com/s/202

Don’t miss our new post on BatchBook and Web Forms: Read about how you can integrate Formstack web forms with your BatchBook account with the help of our new service, WebFormGlue.

The BatchBook Web Form is a useful tool for small business owners using the BatchBook CRM to manage contacts and sales efforts. BatchBook’s Web Form generator makes it easy for a web novice to create a contact form for his or her website.

Data submitted via the form goes straight into the site owner’s BatchBook account, meaning there’s no data entry required to get a new contact’s data into the CRM system.

Unfortunately, the standard BatchBook form has a few drawbacks:

  • Your site’s users will either have to navigate away from your site in order to fill out the form, or you’ll have to put the form in an IFrame (yuck)
  • You have, at best, limited control over:
    • Your form’s styling
    • Types of controls used on your form
    • Default values for controls
    • Form validation
  • The BatchBook forms do not validate as XHTML 1.0 strict
  • You won’t have the ability to post your BatchBook form via AJAX
BatchBook Web Form

Screenshot of a sample standard BatchBook Web Form

Each of these points is a deal-breaker for us, so I set off to see if I could find any solutions that didn’t entail digging into the BatchBook API. With a bit of searching and effort I came up with a solution that allows us to address all of the drawbacks listed above, and do some really useful additional things, as well.

The Solution

It all started with this post on BatchBook’s corporate blog entitled “How-To: Give BatchBook Web Forms your own look and feel.” The gist: You can put your BatchBook form’s HTML directly on your site and control its styling by editing the CSS.

Do you need a customized web form that’s tightly integrated with a third party application like BatchBook? Contact us today!

That’s a great start, and it knocked out most of the drawbacks I mentioned above. Even better, it opened the door to almost unlimited customization options. If you’ve got the required HTML/XHTML, CSS, javascript and server-side scripting chops, you can make your form do just about whatever you want!

To see an example of a highly customized form that inserts collected data directly into xioup’s BatchBook account, click the “Contact Us” tab you see floating on the left side of this page. Go ahead, fill it out!

Annotated ScreenShot of a BatchBook record created via the Request a Quote Form

Click the image to see a full-sized annotated ScreenShot of a BatchBook record created via the Request a Quote Form with the user's Google Analytics data, location, browser, operating system, language and region settings, and more!

Features of the Request a Quote form:

  • All data entered into the form goes straight into xioup’s BatchBook account
  • We have complete control over
    • The form’s styling
    • The types of controls used on the form (including hidden controls)
    • Default values for controls, as well as the ability to set the values of any control via javascript or PHP
    • Form validation
  • The form validates XHTML 1.0 strict
    • I threw away the BatchBook HTML and started from scratch, being careful to make sure I kept the correct names for all form controls
  • The form is posted via AJAX
  • The form collects Google Analytics data with each submission and saves it in the new contact’s record
  • The form collects geolocation data (country, region, city, latitude, longitude)
  • The form collects the URL from which it was submitted, the date and time it was submitted (GMT), and the user agent string of the browser that submitted the form.

BatchBook is a nifty SaaS CRM tool that we’ve been using to manage our contacts for a while at xioup. Expect to see more posts about it as we become familiar with it.

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Related posts:

  1. WebFormGlue offers Formstack to BatchBook Integration
  2. Mail-Merge In the Cloud with BatchBook, WebFormGlue and Drawloop

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg Lynott January 25, 2010 at 15:20

I am having trouble moving around your site. You may want to check.

I have a client that is using BatchBook. I am interested in your approach to web forms.

I am most interested in required fields. My client is http://www.conduant.com

Can you give me an idea of your charge for a simple web form.

Thanks

Greg

xioup January 25, 2010 at 15:59
Follow on xioup Twitter Follow @xioup on Twitter.

Hi Greg,

Sorry for the trouble. We migrated our site to a new hosting company today and have had a couple of hiccups along the way.

Glad you like the form. I’ll send you an email with a few more details.

Jim September 9, 2010 at 21:03

That… is awesome.

Been customising the forms myself… didnt even consider some of your ideas possible. Love it.

Thanks for the insiration.

Jim

Kurt September 9, 2010 at 21:59

Hey Jim,

Thanks for the kind words. Glad you like the form. We had a fun time making it, and it works like a charm!

Kurt

fiona westby September 21, 2010 at 10:55

great.. i am just hunting to set up the base for our new online sales company.. crm, tickets app, and batch book was one of them, tender app another and wanting the forms online to be customizable is important. so can you integrate with tenderapp? as well

Kurt September 21, 2010 at 15:05

Hi Fiona,

We can theoretically integrate with any software or service that has an open API. So far we’ve integrated BatchBook, Formstack, FoxyCart and custom forms, and we’re always on the lookout for new services to integrate with.

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