6 Pardot Org Confessions (and How to Solve The Horror Stories)

By Lucy Mazalon

Becoming a Pardot admin or consultant comes with responsibility, and oftentimes, a dose of unpredictability. Marketing automation has clearly bettered organisations but not without mishaps (and drama).

Do you ever get the feeling that something spooky is happening in your Pardot account?
Noticed something has gone wrong only when it’s too late? I’m sure we all carry our fair share of stories.

The Org Confessions movement by calls Salesforce professionals to share their “Org Horrors”, now reaching over 1000+ confessions. The submissions are worrying, anxiety-provoking, and hilarious (we shared our favourite picks here).

I wanted to share some Pardot ‘confessions’ related to the common ways Pardot administration can go wrong (or the unexplained mysteries you can’t get to the bottom of), plus some guidance on how to investigate and troubleshoot.

1. Prospect Custom Fields

When every user create prospect fields

I was called in to do an audit of a Pardot org belonging to a very large organisation. I knew that they were using the one account for multiple business units (in the days before Pardot Business Units). I wasn’t able to get temporary access to prospect data in order to scope out the time required for this audit, however, because security was so tight.

As a solution, I asked: “can I have a screenshot of a test propsect record” (this tells quite a bit of information about how many fields they have and what kind of data they are collecting). The response came with some hesitation because it was going to be: “ difficult to fit it on one screen”.

They had over 300 custom fields, the text so tiny I wasn’t able to deduce anything.

2. Render Email Templates for Outlook

When one forgets to check every email render, especially Outlook

A nicely designed email can go a long way in getting prospects to take the desired action. Operational campaigns, such as double opt-in or permission passes, are no exceptions.

Before sending the email to the whole database (especially one with an operational purpose), ensure the button can be viewed on Outlook. That person will never forget email rendering testing again.

3. Field Labels on Pardot Forms

When your colleagues weren’t aware they can use Pardot form field labels to translate forms

When you want to include a dropdown (picklist) field on a Pardot form, you have the option to overwrite the values in the back end with vanity labels. This is useful for a number of use cases, but necessary for translations because means you won’t need to recreate the dropdown field as a custom Prospect field for each language. That was a fun task to unpick those forms…

4. Sync errors

When a new admin hasn’t heard about the sync error queue (or you walk into an admin-less org)

Sync errors. Need I say more. There’s a bit of competition amongst consultants for the biggest sync error queue they’ve seen.

For context, when a sync error occurs between Salesforce and Pardot for a number of reasons (data in the incorrect format, Salesforce detecting a duplicate, a Salesforce automation timing out). As a result, Pardot cannot update the Salesforce Contact/Lead with updated data. Nada.

5. API Field Names

Keep API field names on Salesforce leads and contacts the same, or the prospect sync will exclude one.

When creating custom fields in Salesforce for the lead and contact objects, do yourself/your Pardot admin a favour, and keep the field names the same.

It will cause confusion when two Salesforce fields appear in the dropdown when mapping Pardot fields to Salesforce fields. Choose any one, and your prospect data will only sync to one object (only leads, or only contacts). You’ll be in quite a sticky situation.

Read how not to fall into the API field mapping trap.

6. Keep Full Visibility on Field Sync Behavior

Changes to field sync behavior can slip past, unnoticed.

For weeks something ‘spooky’ was happening with the Pardot-Salesforce sync that left me at a loss. Pardot was updating the Lead Source field, Pardot was the most recently updated (the master), but Salesforce indiscriminately cleared the field data – every time!

We were losing valuable data day after day. I combed through the connector settings and multiple incidences of this happening but had no luck.

After contacting support, we demystified why. It turns out there’s a ‘special’ connector setting that considers Salesforce the master when the field is blank, but not a setting you can see enabled in the Pardot interface. Another team member had asked the support team to enable it…


Becoming a Pardot admin or consultant comes with responsibility, and oftentimes, a dose of unpredictability. Marketing automation has clearly bettered organisations but not without mishaps (and drama).

I hope you found these stories both entertaining and useful! Let’s learn from our past mistakes and take control of our Pardot orgs with a touch of governance, account audit, and foresight.

The Author

Lucy Mazalon

Lucy is the Operations Director at Salesforce Ben. She is a 10x certified Marketing Champion and founder of The DRIP.

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