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    What is Pardot?

    Pardot is a B2B marketing automation (MA) solution by Salesforce that enables organizations to track and measure the effectiveness of their marketing communications, gain insight into user behavior, and customize content across campaigns based on user-specified criteria. Salesforce Pardot offers a 360-degree view of all prospects of a B2B organization.

    The MA tool automates common marketing tasks such as digital marketing campaigns, website tracking, SEO, and social marketing. Pardot syncs with Sa’s popular customer relationship management (CRM) solution, making it easy to use for those familiar with Salesforce and easy to integrate into the organization’s business processes.

    Pardot offers four feature tiers:

    • Growth: for smaller companies needing less contacts and features
    • Plus: for small to midsize companies needing deeper marketing automation and analytics
    • Advanced: for larger companies needing artificial intelligence capabilities and analytics
    • Premium: for enterprises needing predictive analytics and support

    What is marketing automation?

    Marketing automation automates manual marketing processes. Manual data analysis, social media posting, and emails are time-consuming. Marketing automation allows businesses to create workflows and automate those processes with technological tools.

    Marketing automation is not specifically a CRM system, but it has many of the same elements. While a CRM solution functions as the go-to platform for sales departments because it gathers customer interaction in one central place to improve customer experience and satisfaction, marketing automation is designed to build and scale personalized and focused marketing efforts. Marketing automation builds customer relationships through specifically targeted campaigns and streamlines all aspects of company marketing such as:

    • Analytics
    • Email
    • Social media
    • Sales
    • Advertising
    • Phone call data analysis

    Marketing automation requires a specific, focused design and implementation before launching. Marketers can’t install software and immediately expect results—companies need a solid base of leads and specific workflow plans before successfully using an automation tool. This is partly why Pardot is so common among many Salesforce CRM customers; much of the needed information is already built out.

    Also read: 10 of the Best Options for Workflow Automation Software

    The 6 main functionalities of Pardot

    There are six main functionalities Pardot offers, with many features within these six sectors:

    Lead generation

    The first step in nurturing a lead is obtaining a user’s email address. With landing pages and drag-and-drop forms, along with user-produced top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content such as organic and paid search articles, Pardot provides a marketing platform equipped with tools and resources to collect email addresses.

    Users can create landing pages from templates and include forms that capture visitor data. A visual editor is available, and the landing page layout can be customized to the user’s preference.

    pardot lead generation
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    Pardot forms allow progressive profiling, meaning further data is collected each time a person returns and fills out another form. When a user fills out a form the first time, it may only ask for a name and email address. If the user returns, Pardot is able to verify from cookies that it’s a return user, and ask for their company name and job title.

    Pardot integrates with Google Ads to determine true campaign ROI. Features are also available to analyze keyword performance and track prospect interactions within a social campaign.

    Lead management

    Lead management within Pardot includes lead qualification, nurturing, segmentation, and dynamic content.

    Every time a prospect/lead has interacted with a company, Pardot gives the prospect a score. For example, filling out a form is 50 points, downloading a whitepaper after filling out the form is another 10, and signing up for a newsletter because of the whitepaper adds another 20 points to the score.

    pardot lead management

    The higher the score, the more likely it is that the prospect is ready to make a purchase. If the score is lower, it may indicate the prospect needs to be further nurtured. Automation rules can be triggered off of scores, and users can set up rule, page actions, or completion actions to add or subtract from a prospect’s score.

    Unrelated to scores, Pardot can be configured to automatically send emails based on custom-set triggers such as time or interactions. Some triggers for email sending include:

    • When a prospect downloads an educational offer
    • When a prospect views specific content
    • When a prospect mentions your company on social media
    • When a prospect has not engaged in a while.

    Use data to personalize the customer experience, and display targeted offers on a company’s website and landing pages.

    Email marketing

    Pardot supports up to 10,000 email addresses with its base package, and more can be bought to fit an organization’s needs.

    This system features out-of-the-box templates, custom design capabilities, and auto-responder emails for landing pages and forms. Organizations can personalize the emails they send out, such as having the recipient’s name within the email, customizing the ‘from’ address and signature to be a specific person, and automating the content within the email to change based on prospect criteria, such as industry.

    pardot email marketing

    With advanced email reporting, organizations can see open rates, click-through rates, and which prospects took action from the email. A/B testing will show organizations which email message works best, and Pardot offers spam filter check-ups to ensure emails are going to the right place.

    Sales and marketing alignment

    Since Pardot is an offering of Salesforce, it syncs seamlessly with the CRM, allowing sales and marketing teams to communicate easier.

    A sales team can see detailed prospect activity history against leads and contacts in Salesforce, allowing them to more personally engage with leads. They’ll know if a prospect has received an email, opened it, and clicked on the call to action or not and if they downloaded a specific whitepaper.

    pardot sales and marketing alignment

    Integration with Salesforce CRM shows how marketing efforts translate to sales dollars. As an added bonus, Pardot users can use Salesforce AppExchange, a cloud marketplace with ready-to-install apps, solutions, and consultants created for the purpose of extending Salesforce.

    ROI reporting

    Efforts can’t be successfully evaluated if they aren’t measurable. Pardot offers ROI, lifecycle, and advanced email reporting so that organizations can understand how all their channels work together to generate leads and accelerate pipeline. Any interaction that takes place within an organization’s website or other Pardot-tracked platform can be measured. Examples include campaign reports, points of conversions, landing page clicks, email open rates, and engagement paths.

    pardot roi reporting

    The marketing automation tool provides a set of built-in reports that can be accessed directly from the Pardot dashboard. These reports cover all the basics, but they lack the customization Salesforce CRM reports offer since a majority of users are combining the two tools.

    Artificial intelligence

    Pardot Einstein is a set of AI-powered features such as Behavior Scoring, Lead Scoring, and Campaign Insights. The goal of Pardot Einstein is to find patterns buried in a company’s engagement data, recognize themes, and report them so marketers can take the appropriate action. Artificial intelligence is only available for the Advanced pricing tier and above. There are three main features of Pardot Einstein:

    • Behavior Scoring: Uses machine learning to identify buying signals and intent in prospects. It identifies sequences in engagement activity and determines if and when prospects will convert to a contact or opportunity. It can also determine the types of actions that are the most or least likely to create an opportunity. Scoring is a scale from 1 to 100.
    • Lead Scoring: Gathers data on the lead within Salesforce to gauge how effective nurturing the lead will be. It analyzes historical data fields about the lead and finds which current leads have the most in common with previously converted leads. In doing this, leads that are more likely to convert are prioritized. Scoring is also 1 to 100.
    • Campaign Insights: Uses machine learning to provide meaningful insights about campaigns. Campaign Insights analyze engagement data of campaigns on a global and local level. Users can drill into specific campaigns to discover anomalies and segments of audiences that are highly engaged and determine what makes them unique.

    pardot artificial intelligence

    Also read: Lead Generation Tools

    Key benefits of Pardot

    The marketing automation market is saturated with products similar to Pardot. Here are some advantages that set the tool apart.

    • Sales and marketing are in sync: Because Salesforce CRM users can integrate Pardot into their existing processes, sales efforts are more aligned with marketing efforts.
    • Measure the ROI: Organizations can calculate the ROI of all marketing efforts with customizable reporting. Users are able to analyze campaign success by channel and initiative, and tie individual closed leads back to marketing efforts.
    • View success in context with driving revenue: Wave and visual reporting for B2B marketing dashboards allow users to view success in context in order to make adjustments for driving more revenue.
    • Progressively track prospects: Pardot offers in-depth, progressive prospect tracking to track readers even before they sign up to a database. Pardot also integrates with social platforms, so users can track what a common customer journey looks like.
    • Track campaigns: Users can keep records of how many individuals have accessed their email to track engagement. In most cases, sending out impersonal emails is no longer adequate to keep engagement up with a customer base. Pardot offers the functionality to customize messages to retain customers and make them feel engaged.

    Pardot vs Marketing Cloud

    Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a provider of digital marketing automation and analytics software and services. Marketing Cloud has a lot in common with Pardot, with similar functionality such as email automation, lead nurture journey mapping, and social media marketing, but it is not the same tool.

    Pardot is positioned for B2B and account-based marketing and selling, while Salesforce Marketing Cloud is popular for B2C customer journeys across multiple channels. The main difference between the two is the buying cycle. Smaller databases with higher value are a better fit for Pardot, while larger databases with smaller value sales would do better with Marketing Cloud.

    Pardot is an email marketing platform and is generally used together with Sales Cloud, whereas Marketing Cloud has other functions such as Advertising Studio and Mobile Studio and typically not combined with Sales Cloud. It’s used on its own.

    Overall, Pardot requires a lower buy-in and is best suited for mid to large sized B2B companies looking for a marketing automation tool that is built for enterprises yet doesn’t take a lot of effort to implement.

    Salesforce Marketing Cloud is better suited for B2C organizations looking for highly-personalized, multi-channel customer journeys. The platform has a steeper learning curve and buy-in. Setting it up requires technical resources, but it does have more CRM capabilities than Pardot, so it’s able to stand alone.

    History of Pardot

    In 2006, co-founders David Cummings and Adam Blitzer purchased the domain for $8 and launched the marketing automation software tool the following year. Pardot is Latvian for “to market” or “to sell.” It’s commonly mispronounced as pardeaux, but the name is pronounced exactly as it’s spelled.

    In 2011, Salesfore acquired Radian6, a social listening software tool. One year later, it also acquired Buddy Media, a social media marketing platform. Salesforce combined these two tools to create Marketing Cloud.

    In October of 2012, Pardot was acquired by ExactTarget, a marketing automation and analytics provider. Nine months later, Salesforce acquired ExactTarget. The combination of Radian6, Buddy Media, and ExactTarget formed the foundation for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

    In 2014, Radian6 and Buddy Media were merged to create Social Studia, a social marketing tool. Four years later, the Pardot Lightning App was created, moving Pardot to the core platform and allowing the integration of Pardot into the Salesforce Sales Cloud.

    If you’re interested in investing in Pardot or another marketing automation tool for your business, check out this buyer’s guide to marketing automation software. It offers comparison charts, feature sets, and other information to help you make the right decision in choosing a tool.