Pardot Migration: Migrate Like A Boss And Avoid Common Errors

Eyeing a Pardot migration? Leverage these concepts
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Written by Alex Taylor

October 3, 2021

So, you’ve made the leap. You purchased Pardot and you’re excited to start enabling it in your company. The question is, how? How do you migrate from your old platform to the new?

We’ve got a few suggestions.

You need to think about this thoroughly before you take any action. Think about which emails you plan to migrate. While you’re at it, think about email and landing page templates, forms, programs, and campaigns. Just because something exists in your current platform doesn’t mean it should move to your new platform.

Don’t forget to consider all the platforms you are migrating to Pardot. Are there also forms from other sources and/or from other CRMs that need to be migrated as well?

A quick-hitting Pardot migration checklist - feel free to download!
Click for full-size image you can download!

You cannot just copy and paste everything from one platform to another – especially if you have hundreds of landing pages and emails. You need to map out what you want to move over and how you are going to move it over to the new platform.

Related: Read about getting started in Pardot with these best practices

Data

Focus on your data first by developing or modifying a standardized data dictionary. This dictionary should include fields that need to be moved into the new system and what fields that will be excluded so you may reference them for other purposes in the future.

This is a nice check to see which fields you’re missing and what needs to be added.

You want to have fields from your marketing automation and your CRM. In addition, any other sources of data should be included in this data dictionary that are relevant to marketing and sales. You want to include:

  • Field name
  • Length
  • Type
  • Its purpose
  • Values
  • Other relevant data / context that you feel is important

Another key element to note is whether the field should live in Pardot only or if it will need to sync to your CRM. If the field does need to sync, make sure you have access and document the CRM field name so you have that available to you when establishing the field sync.

Related: Our Pardot dictionary

Creative/Assets

Next, it’s time to dig into your inventory. Create a matrix (I suggest Excel) so you can track what the assets are and where they’re located.

In this matrix, include a column to Migrate/Don’t Migrate. Check for the following:

Emails

In your matrix, list the name of the emails you want to migrate, their location in the previous system, whether it is part of a program/campaign and if it is a marketing or operational email. Also note any emails that are autoresponders or that you’ll want to use in a nurture program.

Pro tip: a Pardot gotcha that one might run into when migrating between systems is autoresponder emails. Any email used in a nurture program will need to be built as its own email template – most other emails will be built as list emails in Pardot.

Landing pages

In your matrix, you’ll want to list the name of the page, its location in the previous system, whether there is a form associated with it and any other relevant details associated with your landing pages including the URL, images, and any relevant thank you content you want displayed (upon form completion).

Also, consider whether your landing pages and emails are responsively built. If they’re not, why bring them over?

Pardot forms allow you to display thank you content upon form completion!

Pro tip: Pardot forms allow you to display thank you content upon form completion. This means you may not have to migrate an additional landing page into Pardot!

Instead, save the body copy from that thank you landing page and plug it into the thank you content in the form wizard so it’s one less landing page you to worry about! Of course, if you prefer to keep the thank you landing pages over the form thank you content route, that’s perfectly fine too.

Forms

When migrating forms, there are a handful of key pieces you will want to capture in your matrix. Form name and fields are the more obvious items, but don’t forget…

  • Field API names
  • Field types (if it’s a dropdown or radio button, don’t forget to include the values needed)
  • Is it required or optional?
  • Does it use progressive profiling or any dependent fields?

All those are important items needed for your migration. Also, note if there are any actions the form should take once its successfully submitted – for example, is the person added to a CRM campaign or a list if they successfully complete the form?

Maybe you want to send them and autoresponder email or notify a user. Is your form using any styling? What do you want the submit button text to say?

All of these are important considerations when building out a form post-migration.

Segmentation (Static vs. dynamic vs. test)

There are three kinds of lists you’ll need to make sure you’re tracking in your migration matrix:

Static lists are pretty straightforward. You’ll need to document the name of the list, any associated field values needed for that list, and of course make sure you include email address as Pardot primarily uses email address as the unique identifier.

Alternatively, you can use CRM ID as the unique identifier when loading static lists, but email address should still be included in that scenario.

Dynamic lists are a bit more complicated.

First and foremost, understand that list numbers might not match exactly what’s in your system today – but they should be very close. Different marketing automation platforms and CRMs handle data … well … differently.

This means there will rarely be an exact 1:1 match between systems. Also remember, until all your data is synced into Pardot, dynamic lists won’t be able to populate the expected prospects fully.

Once you understand that, the task of collecting all needed information can begin. You’ll need your list name, match type details (match all/match any), and the actual criteria you’ll be using to setup the dynamic list.

Much like static lists, test lists are quite simple. You’ll want to track your test list name, and at a minimum have the email address for everyone who should be included.

Pardot test lists can only contain up to 100 people, so plan accordingly in your migration!

If you plan to use customization (hopefully the answer is yes), it’s also a good idea to make sure folks in your test list have values for common customizations, such as first name, so they can properly test the asset customizations upon receipt.

Pro tip: while unlikely you’ll reach this cap, it’s important to note test lists can only contain up to 100 people. So, make sure your test list is under that limit or you’ll need to create multiples for what might have previously been a single test list.

Images/Content Files

Arguably the most important image you want to account for is your logo. Be sure to note any image that you’ll need to use in your day-to-day emails and landing pages, including social images, or regularly used icons, as well as any you plan to host natively in Pardot (such as whitepapers, brochures, and infographics).

Templates (Email/Landing Page Templates)

Consider whether old templates need to be migrated over, or if you’d rather build from scratch.

Migrating from one system to another often causes problems with coding, which ultimately impacts rendering. As with any marketing automation platform, you want to do things that are repeatable and scalable as opposed to building custom HTML every time. (Don’t confine yourself because you want to do things a certain way!)

And if you haven’t done so already, make sure you build responsive templates to accommodate for the often used mobile-driven audience.

Pro tip: If you are curious how your email templates render in Pardot, there is a cool and easy way to test it! Pardot is one of the few platforms that offers render testing to their customers at no additional cost.

Simply click on the Testing tab after you’ve completed your template build, scroll down to the bottom, and select the +New Render button then checkout all the renders Pardot displays for your convenience.

Dynamic Content

This is content that changes depending on who the customer is. For example, anyone who has industry=retail is going to see a different email banner than people who have industry=marketing.

You’ll want to include your dynamic content in your creative asset matrix. Include the content, content type and how you’ve segmented this. Keep in mind, Pardot only allows each piece of dynamic content to be segmented by a single field, prospect score or prospect grade – so there is no all/any functionality here.

Campaigns/Programs

In bringing these over, think about the goals each campaigns is meant to achieve.

Are there nurtures you want to reproduce and replicate? Do you have program templates for events, webinars or newsletters?

Get the general purpose and document the flow of steps so you can match it as closely as possible in the new tool.

  • Are any of these associated with campaigns in your CRM and do they need to migrate together?
  • Is it a highly personalized program using dynamic content?
  • Or is it a static program using the same content for everyone?

Be sure to focus on any connected campaigns, as well. If you’re using them, you’ll need to map your Pardot campaigns to your CRM campaigns. They essentially become one in the same with connected campaigns, so you very well might not have any Pardot only campaigns, and that’s not a bad thing!

Connected campaigns create greater alignment between Pardot and your CRM, so definitely consider that when factoring your campaigns as part of your migration process.

All prospects require a campaign association when first imported into Pardot, so make sure you map this when planning your migration

Pro tip: All prospects require a campaign association when first imported into Pardot – think of it as their Pardot Source campaign. Be prepared with this information when doing any list imports.

Related: Syncing Pardot lists to Salesforce campaigns

Workflows

Workflows are a little tricky because they are typically unique to an instance, so it’s important to document them for migration.

Consider what you are trying to achieve with a given workflow. It’s not about the individual steps; it’s about the end result. More than likely, you’re not going to get a carbon copy of your old workflow on the new platform, but with thorough documentation, you can build something close enough to create a seamless transition.

Database/Prospects

You’ve determined everything you need to migrate your assets, but what about your database?

Before you enable your Pardot migration, get rid of all unnecessary information - you will thank yourself so many times over the next few years because you did!

The most important thing to do before moving your database into Pardot is to scrub, scrub, scrub. Ensure you remove any junk, duplicates, or information you no longer need.

Depending on how you set your Pardot up, you may sync all your prospects from your CRM. If this is the case, the same idea applies – make sure you’re regularly reviewing your data to keep it clean in your new instance.

The last thing you want is a shiny new Pardot instance with muddied data!

Tracking Compliance

This includes do not email.

Be sure when you’re moving prospects from your old instance to your new, you’re capturing everyone who was marked as do not email as well as brining over any and all compliance (GDPR, CAN-SPAM, etc.). You do not want to get slapped with fines or inadvertently blacklist yourself by emailing the wrong folks!

Finishing Thoughts

Pardot Foundations Offers The Perfect Starting Point For Beginners
Train new users the right way with our getting started course!

One of the most important things to manage during a major transition is change. You’re making a major move from one platform to another. You need to make sure your people are on board with the move and are ready to adopt and use the new platform.

You’ll need to provide your people with training in the new platform so that they will feel confident completing their day to day tasks (such as our Pardot basics class). If you carefully and thoughtfully plan your transition, moving from your old system to Pardot will be a success!

And don’t forget about lead management: how you handle lead processing and the handoff process to sales. Every platform tackles this topic in its own way and Pardot is no different. Strategize and document what you currently have in place so that migrating this process is smoother!

Ready to nail this migration? Our expert Pardot consulting can help!

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