Using Pardot: Maximizing Your Marketing Automation

August 23, 2023  |  
By Cathy Veri and Evan Gullborg
  |  Technology
August 23, 2023
By Cathy Veri and Evan Gullborg

Here is the classic scenario: Your company has a Salesforce instance and purchases Pardot. You hire a trusted consultant or integrator to stand up Pardot and initiate a couple of campaigns and lists. Your integrator conducted some basic Pardot training, and now you are on your own to figure out the rest. Sound familiar?

If you feel like you’re not fully leveraging your Pardot investment to its maximum potential, you’re not alone. Pardot offers a wide range of powerful marketing tools that can significantly impact your business. It’s like owning an iPhone but only utilizing a fraction of its capabilities.

In this article, we share 13 valuable tips on how to maximize your Pardot automation.

Before diving into the list of tips, it’s essential to establish three key foundational steps that will enable you to make the most of any Pardot recommendations.

Foundation #1: Data and Data Hygiene

  • Your data needs to be clean. Nothing works in Pardot without clean data! 
  • Fields and forms need to collect accurate, normalized data.
  •  You need buy-in from the sales team so that Salesforce fields are complete and accurate.
  • Make most fields required to ensure data integrity.
  • You want data cleansing, daily record appending, and duplicate removal so your data is optimized for reporting at all times.
  • Your company needs to put systems in place to make data hygiene happen.
  • Hiring an experienced Pardot/ SF administrator is key to data integrity.

Foundation #2: Segmentation

  • You want to build dynamic lists based on automation rules and/or values and automatically add contacts to lists.
  • Segments can be built based on industry, interest, geography, product line, and more. 
  • General lists get general messaging and generally, poor to average conversions and poor results.
  • Be sure your forms ask for the required data fields and that you use them in automations for accurate segmentation.

Foundation #3: Use Pardot Funnel Reports for Sales Operations Review

pardot funnel 1

Use the funnel report in your sales meetings and share all Pardot reports with the sales team weekly. The Pardot funnel report combined with Salesforce pipeline reports make for powerful insights. We suggest a weekly SOR meeting, which stands for Sales Operations Review. The pipeline funnel report in Pardot gives you a simple but excellent view as to which accounts have reached MQL status and which have an Opportunity. Salespersons can see at a high level what is moving through the funnel and view which accounts are at the opportunity stage. Every week, it’s easy to see stats such as what percentage of MQLs have hit Opportunity YTD. (Seeing this report weekly naturally focuses your team on using Pardot and Salesforce fully so that their deals are up-to-date and visible.)

Here are 13 tips from the TPG technology and strategy teams, for maximizing Pardot automations:

  1. Hire a qualified Pardot marketing user or certified Pardot Administrator to fully maximize Pardot’s benefits. An easy mistake to make is to invest in Pardot and then fail to invest in hiring someone experienced and/or fail to get training for team members to maximize and use Pardot in your organization.  Some companies cannot afford to have this person in-house, so look for a Pardot contractor/consultant who can work with you part-time, every month. (There are good resources for marketing contractors such as The Pedowitz Group. Or, post a job on Upwork, LinkedIn, or Dice)
  2. Use Salesforce Sync to allow for two-way communication between Salesforce and Pardot.
  3. Nurture leads with thoughtful content and planning, using short- and long-term campaigns in Pardot using Salesforce Engagement Studio. Plan to review results and make tweaks to programs every 30 days to improve messaging and engagement. Set it and forget it is true, but only until a point. You don’t want to let engagement campaigns that are not working continue to run for too long.
  4. Don’t forget to assign new prospects to a campaign AND to a salesperson. In SF Engagement Studio, you can assign MQLs to a queue, and when Salesforce resolves, the prospect can be assigned using the queue or SF assignment rules. Active assignment rules run & sync back to Pardot. SMBs typically set up an automation rule that sends an alert to a salesperson via email when a new prospect enters Prospect and is assigned to him/her.  (Pardot allows you to assign prospects via the existing Salesforce Assignment Rules in Salesforce easily.) Always remember to assign Pardot-created leads to both a campaign and a salesperson. In Salesforce Engagement Studio, you have the option to assign Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to a queue, and once Salesforce resolves the lead, you can assign them using either the queue or Salesforce assignment rules. It’s important to note that active assignment rules run and synchronize back to Pardot. For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), it’s common to set up an automation rule that triggers an email alert to the assigned salesperson when a new prospect enters the Prospect stage and gets assigned to them. Pardot easily allows for prospect assignment through the existing Salesforce Assignment Rules in Salesforce.
    • Remember, a Pardot record owner needs to map to a Salesforce user in Salesforce. If the owner is in Pardot but not in Salesforce, the lead will go nowhere and remain unassigned. It is crucial to remember that a Pardot record owner must be mapped to a corresponding Salesforce user in Salesforce. If the owner exists in Pardot but not in Salesforce, the lead will not be assigned to anyone and will remain unassigned, resulting in a potential loss of follow-up or engagement.
  5. Use the Pardot Funnel (Sales Ops Funnel Report) each week and conduct a formal “SOR” review each week with your sales team. This handy report can be used with the usual Pipeline dashboards in Salesforce so that you can get a holistic view of leads and MQLs. Using the Pardot funnel report and campaign analyses = a detailed sales meeting.
  6.  In Pardot, you can create dynamic content for forms and email content, allowing you to tailor the experience based on the prospects’ statuses or scoring. This feature proves to be time-saving as you can avoid building multiple emails or forms for each segment. Instead, using dynamic content, your Pardot builder can create a single form or email with customized content that dynamically adjusts based on the prospect’s characteristics.
  7. Data Hygiene- Your data needs to be updated and has to be clean. Pristine, really.  Your prospect records need to be appended daily. Required fields and standardized drop -down drop-downkey to data being clean, less spelling errors, and data variations.
    • Connect your Pardot-Salesforce instance to a real-time or daily appending software like Hoovers Online, 6Sense, or Zoom Info.  Remove duplicates with Ringlead or other apps. Normalize and append data on day 1 so that your firmographic data is near perfect and your scoring/grading is accurate sooner.
  8. Integrate intent software and know more. There are so many tools on the market now to measure ICP and intent.  Hire a Pardot Consultant to learn how to integrate intent software with Salesforce. To gain deeper insights and enhance your marketing efforts, consider integrating intent software into your strategy. With numerous tools available in the market today for measuring Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and intent, it’s essential to explore these options. Hiring a Pardot Consultant can provide valuable expertise in integrating intent software with Salesforce, allowing you to harness the power of intent data to refine your targeting and drive more effective marketing campaigns.
  9. Recycle prospects who don’t respond to marketing in one of two ways: create a re-nurture series or send the prospect info in an alert to the sales team, for a new effort to use the phone or Outreach with personal messaging. The sales team can try using some type of personal invitation, phone call, a piece of special content, or a custom email. Especially if the firmographic score is good and/or the prospect has intent, don’t give up just yet.
  10. Set up long-term nurtures for prospects and assess them every 60 days. Tweak and refine after 4-6 weeks of results and data. Resist the urge to change the cadence and messaging daily or weekly—give it time and use data to make a better decision on changes.
  11. Track where leads come from correctly with Pardot. First-touch attribution is possible with Pardot and the Built-In AI Engine. Learn how to attribute paid media and paid social so you can see the winning sources for the best prospects who convert. The data inside the Engagement history dashboard is pushed into Pardot Einstein, Pardot’s built-in AI engine. You can gain access to scores and insights on the most engaged prospects and effective campaigns. Here’s how Pardot Einstein helps with identifying and scoring:
    1. For campaign insights: Optimize campaign assets and find new audiences. Einstein uses Machine Learning to find data related to engagement activity, content, and audience characteristics to offer marketers real-time insights on their running campaigns, including emails, landing pages, and marketing forms.  Your Guide to Optimising Salesforce Pardot: Maximise your Returns from B2B Marketing Automation – Salesforce Blog
    1. With Einstein attribution, you can identify which inbound marketing campaigns are most effective at generating sales pipelines. Einstein analyzes a collection of campaigns that influenced a sales opportunity to identify the most rewarding campaigns and touchpoints.
  12. Revisit your lead scoring in Pardot.  Should you weigh intent and firmographic score more than website activity? Is a page view really worth 5 or 10 points anymore? Do email open rates matter anymore? Why or why not?
  13. Add contacts automatically to lists using the list option, Add to List. Set up a simple “add to list,” so that certain prospects are added to specific lists.
add to list

In the screenshot above you can see there’s an add-to-list option when setting up prospect fields in the back-end as well as using those fields within forms to automatically add a prospect to a list.

Do you have a field such as product interest and ideally a prospect should become a member of the list upon choosing their interest? Did you know that that’s possible without setting up automation rules?  Just use values, not Automation Rules.

Find more Pardot tips: Become a Pardot Whiz With These Helpful Tips | Greenkey – Jen Kazin (

If you think you’d benefit from Pardot consulting with a 3 to 12-month engagement, contact our team today. Pardot support on-demand is a service you can get started with right now.

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