Over 54% of marketing professionals report an increase in their lead conversion rate after switching to Pardot. Ok, I don’t know if that is true—it could be true—but it at least gives you an initial idea as to why people use Pardot: To convert more quality leads. For those wondering what Pardot is all about, this is the one-sentence answer. Pardot is a marketing automation tool that connects to your Salesforce CRM and is engineered to dramatically improve the quality of your Salesforce leads.
If you are even loosely familiar with Pardot and believe it could be a worthwhile marketing resource for you, or if you are someone who just wants more information on one of Salesforce’s most popular software, I’m Salesforce Pardot certified and can explain what it is and why it is so widely used.
Here’s what you need to know about Pardot…in 5 minutes.
What is Pardot for?
It’s important to note that Pardot is its own platform separate from Salesforce, meaning access is not included to Pardot with your Salesforce subscription. Pardot offers a slew of unique dashboards, automation rules, datasets, and various functionalities that are separate from what can be found in your Salesforce CRM.
How does it work?
So improving the quality of leads is what it does, but how does it do it? Pardot uses web sign-up forms, landing pages, automated emails, tracking tools, dynamic content, and analytics to generate leads and improve lead quality.
Here are a few more specific examples of what you can do when you log into Pardot. You can:
- Send an email from 1 to 100,000 people.
- Track how many times a lead has opened an email in the past 2 days or 2 years
- Create trackable links that allow you to determine which of your current leads clicked a certain article, post, or video
- Convince an unknown user on your website to give them your information (i.e. get a visitor to sign up through a web form)
These are just a few quick hits. In short, Pardot captures and curates leads. When a lead shows sufficient buying interest, it can then be imported into your Salesforce CRM.
How expensive is it to implement?
Pardot access starts at $1,200 a month and includes the ability to keep 10,000 leads in your database to start. The cost can increase with each additional 10,000 people you include in your database. Again, this subscription does not include Salesforce CRM. In fact, you can use Pardot without Salesforce. For instance, you could capture leads in Pardot and then send them to Microsoft Dynamics if that were your CRM of choice.
Are Pardot leads the same as Salesforce leads?
Good question. The best way I’d answer this is “no.”
- The database count I referred to above is priced according to your Pardot database, not Salesforce Database
- The crux of Pardot is to NURTURE leads, making sure a lead is qualified and “ready to go” before being imported into your CRM. Given this, you’ll inherently have more leads in Pardot than Salesforce as some Pardot leads won’t “make the cut.”
Is Pardot difficult to learn?
Good news: Pardot has a ton of tools that can improve your Salesforce leads dramatically.
Bad news: this means a person has a lot to learn in order to justify the cost of a subscription. And while there’s a lot to unpack, I started with zero experience and and am now certified, so it’s not impossible. These are the best ways to learn in my experience.
Use Salesforce’s training tools (Trailblazer)
Trailblazer is a well-branded, colorful tutorial on the ins and outs of every front facing product that Salesforce offers. It is largely the only resource you would need to develop a practical understanding of how to use Pardot, Salesforce, or Marketing Cloud.
Hire a freelancer to do 1-2 projects
To learn how to use Pardot for your own use cases, I recommend hiring a freelancer to start. Freelancers are plentiful on sites like Upwork, or you could just hire me. I could show you how to build out a drip campaign, landing page, or segment certain audience opposed to just doing them. But learning firsthand can save you money in the long run and is one of the best ways to grasp the tools within Pardot, assuming that’s something you’re interested in accomplishing.
How much do Pardot freelancers cost?
An agency will likely charge $200 an hour to provide a Pardot consultation, which is fine but more than you need to pay. Most competent consultants working under their own roof should charge you around $100-$125 an hour. I start at $125 an hour and base that off my experience and the successful use cases I’ve been able to build.
Should you become Salesforce Certified?
Would I recommend becoming Pardot Certified to someone who uses Pardot on a regular basis? Not really. Each Salesforce exam is $200, which is not an insignificant cost for many people.
The Certification in my experience is more of a nice to have but not imperative. There is no substitute for using the actual program, and it’s possible some of the exam questions will focus on use-cases outside of your company’s scope.
Pardot vs. Marketing Cloud
To complicate all of this bit more, Salesforce offers marketing and analytics tools that are separate from Pardot. These tools fall under their “Marketing Cloud.” Even though I’m not nearly as experienced with these tools, I can give a brief overview of the more prominent Marketing Cloud tools:
Salesforce Ad Studio allows you to re-upload your salesforce reports onto your social media channels and subsequently “retarget” your Salesforce leads on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. For more on the effectiveness of this tool, you can message me here.
Pardot is a great tool for emailing large numbers of leads that exist in your Salesforce database. Email Studio is usually the best option for creating emails and sending them to lists pulled from your Salesforce database. Email Studio is a good fit if you don’t want to pay and take advantage of Pardot’s marketing automation and behavior tracking features.
A few resources meant to make managing all of your social media accounts easier are Hootsuite, Sprout, and Monday. Social Studio is a Salesforce’s product that tries to compete in this space, and basically allows you to manage your social media postings without leaving your Salesforce database.
There would be next to no chance that any sales team would log into Facebook or Twitter to look at social insights. Social Studio is integrated with Salesforce, which makes it easier for sales reps to stay engaged as it keeps them on the platform they’re accustomed to. Outside of that, it has next to no benefit beyond Facebook Creator Studio or other native social media insights and publishing tools in my experience.
So, with all of this being said, who should use Pardot? I’d recommend it to:
- Companies who want to convert more leads into opportunities
- Smaller teams with less bandwidth for marketing and/or are subsequently more reliant on automation
- Email marketing professionals looking to get creative with on-site lead activity and to build cadences around them
- Anyone currently with at least a high five-figure marketing budget who feels their overall prospecting efforts are falling flat