Is Your Content Management System Hindering Your Lead Generation Efforts?

There are numerous areas that marketing teams look at to help improve lead generation. In this article, I argue that page speed is an oft-overlooked cause that should always be considered upfront.

Alan Gleeson - CMO Contento

Alan Gleeson

Co-Founder / CEO

February 27, 2023

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5min read

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Lead generation is a crucial focus for sales and marketing personnel in B2B SaaS startups with a significant percentage of leads typically being generated through the website. 

Several factors determine the conversion rate on a webpage, including:

  • The volume of visitors 

  • The quality of visitors (i.e. how closely aligned visitors are with the Ideal Customer Profile and whether or not there is buying intent) 

as well as on-page elements such as:

  • The strength of the value proposition

  • The persuasiveness of the messaging, and 

  • The appeal of the call to actions (CTAs). 

The primary Call to Action (CTA), represents the main goal on a B2B SaaS website and is typically achieved via a successful form completion e.g. "Sign up" for a demo or to gain access to an application through a "Get Started" CTA.

However, as this article will indicate, alongside these factors is an oft-overlooked one which negatively impacts lead generation capability: the underlying Content Management System (CMS). If your B2BS SaaS website is run on a slow CMS, then all the tinkering with image compression, page copy, or page redesigns will only get you so far. 

Lead Generation and Key Pages

When it comes to lead generation, not all web pages are equal. The key pages for generating conversions on most B2B SaaS sites tend to be the following:

  1. Home Page

  2. Pricing Page

  3. Product Page

  4. Landing Page(s) for paid acquisition

These are the “high value” pages, and a key initial objective for most B2B SaaS businesses is to increase the volume of good quality traffic to these pages (as per above not all traffic is equal).  

Good quality” traffic is traffic that aligns with one of your personas / Ideal Customer Profiles especially when there is buying intent. It is thus crucial to have a ‘quality measure’ alongside the count of the form submissions for the main CTA’s e.g. the number of Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) to verify that conversions are of the appropriate ‘good quality’ type, such as a ‘targeted percentage of leads’ that the sales team has a ‘positive discovery call’ with. You are thus focusing on both the quantity and the quality of the prospect.

Improving Conversions

Alongside increasing traffic to these key pages is a focus on improving conversions from the actual page. A typical approach to achieving improved conversions is to:

: create a duplicate landing page,

: change some elements on it,

: and to A/B test it.

However, there are some challenges associated with this approach:

  1. Many B2B/SaaS companies experience low traffic volumes, making it challenging to obtain statistically significant results within a short timeframe.

  2. The marketing function typically comprises generalists, particularly in the early stages of a startup's life, so their ability to conduct rigorous A/B tests is rare (e.g. what changes to make on the page will likely increase conversions materially?).

  3. Paid acquisition methods, such as Google Ads, may be required to increase the traffic volumes to the target pages if traffic is low, resulting in additional time and expense.

Start with the CMS

However, before you commence down the route of creating A/B tests and looking to spin up new pages and pay to get traffic to them, it is firstly worth running speed tests to ensure that the right foundations are in place. 

Traditionally, many marketing teams would first attempt to determine which on-page elements are causing the website to slow down e.g. starting with the images. However, there may be a more significant underlying problem to address initially. Perhaps the CMS powering the website is a priority area to focus on when seeking to remedy poor conversion rates.

The Speed Tests

Page speed tests can be undertaken using tools like Pingdom, and PageSpeed Insights (Google) which helps to give you a rough guide as to the current health of the key pages in terms of performance.

Pingdom enables you to test the site speed using servers in your core geographies and not just from where you are located. This is often overlooked by junior marketers. Speeds may feel fine “in the office” but depending on how the site is set up / configured the scores in your core market may be poor. 

What level of site speed should you aim for?

Ideally, speed tests on your high-value pages (key converting pages) deliver load times of less than 1 second. Anything above 3 seconds and your bounce rate will be unacceptably high.

According to Google: 

The probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds, 1s to 5s the probability if bounce increases to 90%.

Google uses three metrics to measure your Core Web Vitals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP),

  • First Input Delay (FID), and

  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

In short, slow sites get penalized from an SEO perspective but also negatively impact your conversion rates. I’d thus be seeking to target a page load time of under 1 second. 

Speed and the CMS

Can speeds of under 1 second be achieved on a traditional CMS like a WordPress-based site?

It is unlikely that a typical deployment of WordPress can get you down to this level. As referenced above, the higher the page load time the higher the bounce rate, so a key determinant is how far the scores are deviating from this target. Under 2 seconds is probably acceptable but if it is nudging 3 or 4 seconds then I’d argue that the CMS may be an issue worth looking at.

WordPress can result in painfully slow loading times for several reasons:

  1. Over time as more pages are added site speed can be negatively impacted e.g. Website bloat

  2. Various team members may have added WordPress PlugIns over the years

  3. Poor image deployment e.g use of large uncompressed images. A single un-optimized image on a page or bloated coding can negatively impact page speed. 

  4. Unreliable or cheap hosting can also materially impact load times

Taken in tandem, WordPress is gaining a reputation for poor performance in many circumstances with the knock-on effect being depressed conversion rates and poorer SEO ranking.

All the while, the new emergent SaaS Headless CMS category is gaining popularity. 

Again it is worth offering some clarity here. WordPress remains a very popular choice of CMS - supported by a significant base of supporters (especially amongst the developer community). The context here relates to a CMS choice for growing B2B SaaS businesses. 

What is a Headless CMS?

The curiously named category of Headless CMS relates to a relatively new approach to building websites based on a decoupling of the front-end and back-end of the website. It is an API-first approach where the CMS acts primarily as a content repository feeding multiple heads be they websites or apps. In the context of B2B SaaS websites, there are several resultant benefits that particularly appeal. 

Headless CMS backed websites tend to be high-performing fast websites, with exceptionally quick load times (by dint of the use of Static Site Generators (SSGs) and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and more secure than the likes of WordPress. Many developers familiar with the Jamstack enjoy the flexibility and scalability of Headless CMS sites also. Of course, hyper-fast sites appeal to everyone - including the marketing function tasked with delivering:

  • Improved SEO performance (speed is a ranking factor)

  • Improved Conversion Rates (form submission rates are higher on faster sites)


There are numerous areas that marketing teams look at to help improve lead generation. In this article, I argue that page speed is an oft-overlooked cause that should always be considered upfront.

Page loading speeds are often impacted by the page design, how image heavy the page is, how well-optimized the images are, and how focused on performance the front-end developers were. 

However, the underlying CMS can also be a major contributory factor and should be assessed firstly, prior to setting in play A/B tests. This is especially the case for WordPress sites, which partly explains the emergence of Headless CMSs as a fast-growing category. A Headless CMS will deliver a superior performance to one that can be achieved compared to sites run on the likes of WordPress. 

Alan Gleeson - CMO Contento
Alan Gleeson

Co-Founder / CEO

Alan Gleeson has 15+ years extensive B2B SaaS experience working with several VC backed Startups & Scaleups in the UK, US & Ireland.

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