How to Measure Your Pardot Prospect Data Quality, Fast

By Matt Lincoln

Data quality is important for improving marketing personalization, identifying dormant Prospects, and finding untapped potential in your Prospect database. As a Pardot admin, we want to be making decisions about segmentation and account cleansing based on real data insights.

Did you know that you can benchmark your Pardot database health using a standard feature, available with every Pardot edition? I’m talking about Dynamic Lists, which I use to get important data quality indicators while carrying out Pardot audits.

Dynamic Lists are your secret weapon. I will show you how to use this type of Pardot list to get the following:

  • The number of mailable prospects who have never been emailed,
  • Never active prospects or prospects not emailed in last 6 months,
  • Prospects missing their first name.

Note: this was originally a session called “Benchmark Your Pardot Database Health” a hands-on session where the audience followed along click-by-click, delivered at ParDreamin’ 2020. View the slides here, and the video below:

Why Use Dynamic Lists for Data Quality?

Admittedly, it took me some time to appreciate the capabilities of Dynamic Lists. As I mentioned, I use them to get important data quality indicators while carrying out Pardot audits for my clients.

There are a number of reasons why you should use Dynamic Lists for this purpose:

  • Use rules-based criteria, which reduces human error in data management (vs. manual filtering, selecting/deselecting prospects),
  • All inside Pardot, no time wasted with CSV imports and exports,
  • Always running in the background, you can refer to a refreshed figure quickly when required.

If you haven’t created a Dynamic List before, here is how:

1. Mailable prospects who have never been emailed

Prospects in your Pardot account that can be emailed are ‘low hanging fruit’ – an opportunity available to you that you are not taking advantage of. You need to be aware of the extent of this untapped potential.

To find this number, use the following criteria on your Dynamic list:

(Match all)

  • Prospect has been emailed — at least 1 time(s) — in the last 999 week(s)
  • Prospect email status — isn’t — Do Not Email

Why 999? This is the maximum number of weeks (and days) you can input in Pardot. With this rule, you must input a specific numeric value – so here, we can use the maximum possible which is a safe option, seeing as 999 weeks is just over 19 years!

If you are wondering about the difference between ‘do not email’ and ‘opted out’, then check out this infographic.

Bonus: you can easily copy this dynamic list multiple times and tweak the rule criteria by reducing the number of weeks in your filter. This is the easiest way to get metrics on who you’ve emailed in the last 3, 6, and 12 months.

2. Never active prospects or prospects not engaged in last 6 months

The Prospects that lie ‘dormant’ in your database are also wasted opportunities. You may have once run a campaign that targeted a specific segment but never repeated it – not to mention those prospects that have no recorded activities on their record! Again, you need to be aware of the extent of this untapped potential.

To find this number, use the following criteria on your Dynamic list:

(Match any)

  • Prospect time — last activity days ago — is empty
  • Prospect time — last activity days ago — is greater than — 180

By using the ‘Match any’ option, the list will pull in any prospects that match one or both of the rules.

3. Prospects missing their first name

We all know that personalisation in email marketing and across other marketing assets gives engagement a significant boost. Rather than addressing your prospect as ‘Dear customer’ (or worse {{{Recipient.FirstName}}}). You should make it your mission to enrich this field and keep an eye on the gaps.

To find this number, use the following criteria on your Dynamic list:
(Match all)

  • Prospect default field — First Name — is empty

The First Name field is a popular example which many of my clients use for personalisation – of course, you can copy this Dynamic List multiple times, change the filter, and check the health any fields critical to your own personalisation and segmentation efforts.


As I mentioned, this article is based on a hands-on session at ParDreamin’ 2020 where the audience followed along click-by-click. We had around 120 participants enter the results from their Pardot org.

Here are the results worth highlighting:

  • The average number of Prospects was 118,962 (!)
  • On average, 75.6% of Prospects in Pardot accounts are mailable,
  • 77.2% of mailable Prospects have been emailed from Pardot,
  • A whopping 66.8% of Prospects have never been active (!) The range was huge from <1% into the high 90’s.
  • Around 5% of Prospects have their first name missing.

You can view the results here.

Prospect Data Quality FAQs

1. My org seems different than others. Are we making mistakes?

Every Pardot org and sales process is different – there are no right and wrong answers, but this session is just to help you benchmark against your peers. Any concerns can be discussed on the Trailblazer community group.

2. My % of Mailable Prospects is low. What can I do?

It’s not necessarily a negative – unmailable Prospects don’t count towards your database limit. Consider doing the following:

3. We’ve not emailed a large proportion of my database. What can I do?

Ask yourself the following:

  • Why are these prospects in your database and should they still be there?
  • Are they missing key segmentation fields?

4. A large proportion of my database has never been active. What can I do?

Ask yourself the following:

  • Have you actually been emailing/engaging them?
  • What’s the source of the Prospects?
  • Should they be “spring cleaned”?
  • Before you do this, is a re-engagement campaign appropriate?

This talk was featured on “10 Cool Pardot Tricks I Learned at ParDreamin’” – a round-up of the most interesting things shared by ParDreamin’ speakers that I hadn’t heard before. For more tips like Matt’s, read the full article.

The Author

Matt Lincoln

Matt is a certified Pardot Consultant, Salesforce Marketing Champion 2020 and UK Chartered Marketer

Leave a Reply