Pardot Consultant Certification Guide & Tips [Updated 2020]

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  • Senior Level
  • 1 year
  • Pardot Specialist
  • 200

Table of Contents

Introduction

For consultants working the full project lifecycle of Pardot implementations.

Prove you can design, build and implement Pardot, and advise on B2B marketing automation strategy.

The Pardot Consultant Certification is aimed at consultants who are implementing new Pardot orgs, or are designing solutions that involve a combination of Pardot features – as opposed to the Pardot Specialist Certification, which is designed to get you up to speed as a Pardot Power user.

Before we go any further, here’s some context:

  • Pardot has two user experiences/interfaces: Pardot Classic and the newer Pardot Lightning App.
  • The Pardot Consultant exam is likely to be updated very soon (it is currently in Beta testing as I write this in March 2020).
  • The Pardot Specialist certification exam was updated in 2019 to include questions on the Lightning interface, new features (eg. Engagement History), new related (add-on) products (eg. B2B Marketing Analytics, Pardot Einstein).

The exam will test your knowledge on:

  • Evaluation (17%): assessing a customer’s current Salesforce and Pardot landscape, identifying business needs,  
  • Account Configuration (20%): importance of technical setup, data migration plans, access strategy, 
  • Automating Business Processes (17%): automation tool(s) recommendations for a given scenario, a sequence of events (assets, automations, notifications, etc.), lead nurturing strategies, 
  • Email Marketing (10%): best practices,
  • Lead Management (14%): lead generation strategy with Pardot assets, route qualified/unqualified prospects,
  • Personalizing the Prospect Experience (8%): recommend personalization features to use, consent management requirements, 
  • Reporting, Metrics & Analytics (11%): reporting in Pardot (marketing assets), B2B Marketing Analytics (B2B MA)
  • Salesforce Engage (3%): high-level configuration, benefits.  

Who's the Ideal Candidate?

Just to recap on how the certifications are split: 

  • Consultant = new implementations, designing solutions combining multiple features.
  • Specialist = for Pardot Power users, day-to-day marketers.

Safe to say, you really have to know Pardot intimately to be a suitable candidate for this exam. ‘Parroting’ (the method of learning by pure memorisation) is highly unlikely to get you a pass. 

If you are a Pardot user (day-to-day, BAU) then this is not necessary. This exam tests your application for multiple different business contexts. If you are weighing up whether to change to a consultancy/agency side role (from an in-house role), this article summarises many crowdsourced comments from the Salesforce community.

Practical experience will be your loyal companion here. I took this exam with 1.5 years consulting experience, and I have heard a similar story from other Pardot Consultants that did not rush to take their certification. 

Key Topics

Automation

Pardot Automation covers a sizeable chunk of the exam (around 15%). It may not sound like a large part, but automation finds its way into many questions on the other topics. Automation is like blood that pumps through the veins of the other questions!

Know which automation to use when.You will expected to know what combination of automations are required (automation rule, segmentation rule, dynamic list, completion actions – and don’t forget custom redirects, page actions etc will show up in these questions also).

! Beware: these questions are perfect for catching you out. There may be two answers in the exam that both give combinations of automation features that would get the job done, but only one of them will be ‘best practice’.

Here’s related content on choosing the right Pardot Automationrepeat Automation RulesAutomation Rules vs. Engagement Studio – oh, and interesting things you may not know about Automation in Pardot!

Salesforce Connector

Know this inside out, especially field sync behaviour. 

B2B Marketing Analytics (B2B MA)

Not a heavily-weighted topic* but a sneaky one. B2BMA is not mentioned in the exam outline – but read closer, and you will see that you will need to ‘Set up and interpret reports/dashboards in B2B Marketing Analytics‘. 

(*’Reporting, Metrics & Analytics’ makes up 11% of the exam, so around 6 or 7 questions on all reporting, which won’t only be on B2BMA).

I highly recommend reading the B2B Marketing Analytics Implementation Guide  and Jen Contino’s series ‘Demystifying B2B Marketing Analytics‘ on The DRIP. She covers topics such as What’s Out-of-the-box?, Datasets, Lenses, and Dashboards

Study Strategy

Do you remember earlier I said that ‘practical experience will be your loyal companion’? I say this because studying for this exam is tougher than other ‘specialist’ certifications that offer Trailmixes and specific Trailhead modules. 

That being said, there are a few resources that are worth noting. Salesforce MVP Ines Garcia is working on a collaborative study guide, which anyone from the ecosystem is invited to contribute to. Be aware of any reference to legacy features, such as Drip programs (superseded by Engagement Studio). 

Like me, if you are struggling to study what’s ‘best practice‘ or ‘Given a scenario‘ (both are frequently mentioned in the exam outline), then take a look at blog posts written by members of the community. These posts can have amazing knowledge bites in them that are otherwise not documented – of course, I am biased towards my blog The DRIP, because I know that I have written extensively about best practice with Pardot (reads like a diary sometimes!)

When studying for the exam, I first decided which topics I should prioritise. Looking at the topic breakdown, the ones with the heavier weightings made the most sense to prioritise (which you’ve just read about in the above ‘Key Topics’ section). A topic like Salesforce Engage, that you may not have worked with much plus has a lot of recommended material to cover, actually may not be worth it, as only 3% of the questions will come up on this add-on product (1 or 2 questions.

Question Format

The exam is designed to test your knowledge of Pardot to the limit, and – crucially – how to use it to drive marketing best practice. The longer, scenario-based questions can mean you won’t immediately know the answer without digging into the wording. 

Exam Strategy

When exam day finally hits, there are a few things you can do to give yourself the best chance of passing with flying colours.

Firstly, if there are any concepts that you are struggling to get to grips with, then print off a cheat sheet and memorize just before the exam, so they are fresh in your memory.

When taking the exam, pay particular attention to the question, and read it through a few times. Don’t rush! Read the question two or three times over. Even as a native English speaker, I was still finding clues in the long paragraph-style questions that I missed the first time I read the question.

When deciding on the answer, be sure to use the process of elimination to get rid of the answers that are definitely incorrect. Salesforce likes to throw in answers that are made up! They also like to throw in curveballs – as I mentioned, questions on Pardot automation are perfect for catching you out. There may be two answers in the exam that both give combinations of automation features that would get the job done, but only one of them will be ‘best practice’.

You also have a the “Mark for review” feature at your disposal. On each question, it’s a checkbox that you can mark if you cannot think of an answer right at that moment, or if you doubt your answer. At the end of the exam, you will have a chance to review these questions. Depending on the amount you have selected, this will give you a good idea of how likely you are to have passed the test! Regardless of the questions marked for review, I would always recommend to go through every question again.

Resources

Tips

  • Download the study guide. Always your first port of call! Prioritise the topics with heavier weightings (see 'Topic Breakdown' at the top of this page).
  • You won't find a neatly packaged Trailmix for this certification! You will need to rely on your experience and read around community content to learn from other consultant's best practice tips, how they approached a specific scenario, and even their mistakes!
  • Don't rush! Read the question two or three times over. Even as a native English speaker, I was still finding clues in the long paragraph-style questions that I missed the first time I read the question.

Final Thoughts

The Pardot Consultant Certification is aimed at consultants who are implementing new Pardot orgs, or are designing solutions that involve a combination of Pardot features – which makes it a harder exam to study for. 

The best advice is to read wider (community blogs, implementation guides) and when in the exam itself, eliminate wrong options before choosing the solution that follows ‘best practice’. 

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