16 Pardot Tips for Salesforce Admins [Updated 2021]

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Pardot is the go-to choice for Salesforce customers looking for a B2B Marketing Automation tool. Not only is it tightly integrated to Salesforce core objects, Pardot’s reasonable price point makes it accessible to many organizations, and is appealing to new users as an intuitive tool with a minimal learning curve. 

From a Salesforce Admin’s point of view, the minimal ‘under-the-hood’ view can be unnerving. This simplicity can be a blessing, but a curse if you don’t know how the tool works beyond what you can see. Here are 16 tips I hope Salesforce Admins will find useful when getting started with Pardot best practice configuration, and general administration.

Note: There have been many updates to Pardot since this post was originally published, back in June 2017. You will find ‘Update yourself!’ sections throughout the post, that draw your attention to where there have been major changes.

1. Leads and Contacts are all ‘Prospects’

What is a Prospect in Salesforce? In the eyes of Pardot, all Leads and Contacts are created equal. All of the ‘people’ records stored in Pardot are one object called ‘Prospects’.

A Pardot Prospects can be associated with either a Lead record OR a Contact record in Salesforce. CRM ID is the magic tie (ie. Lead ID/Contact ID) between Prospects and the Lead/Contact record they sync with. 

Even when a Lead is converted to a Contact in Salesforce, the same Prospect record remains tied, just switching out the CRM ID to the newly created Contact ID, instead of the obsolete Lead ID.

A section of a Prospect’s record, with Salesforce ID fields.

In a basic setup, there is one single rule to remember: in order to sync to Pardot, a Lead/Contact must have an email address in the default ‘Email’ field. No email address, no Prospect record.

The ‘Prospect List’ displays Prospects in your Pardot account, where you can use the pre-built filters to quickly narrow down your selection.

A Prospect record.

2. Pardot Activities Appear as Engagement History

Engagement History’ is a collection of features that increases Pardot visibility across the Salesforce user experience. One way the term appears is for Pardot Activities that appear in Salesforce under the Lead/Contact. Engagement History could include: Email Sent, File Download, Form Success (submission), Tracked Link Clicks, amongst others.

The Engagement History Lightning Component displays Prospects activity. Add this to your Lead and Contact Lightning Record Pages. If there’s an associated Prospect, the activities will appear.

Engagement History is different from the Activity History related list; Tasks & Events and Engagement History are two distinct objects that do not work together, nor can they be configured in the same way. The Engagement History Lightning Component is part of the Pardot AppExchange Package. 

Read more:

Update yourself!  Previously, Prospect Activities appeared in Visualforce. Engagement History components give us a more aesthetically pleasing view. If you transitioned to Salesforce Lightning, Visualforce would not have been switched out for the Engagement History Lightning Component. If you are still seeing the old Prospect Activities list, you will need to switch this out yourself. 

3. Get to Grips with AMPSEA

Allow Multiple Prospects with Same Email Address (AMPSEA) is an account setting that allows more than one Prospect record in Pardot to have the same email address. Or, to put it another way, AMPSEA: 

  • CRM ID became the unique identifier (vs email address): when email address was the unique identifier, an email address could only be used by one Prospect record in Pardot. Any subsequent Lead/Contacts that had the same email address would be ignored by Pardot, considered duplicates. 
  • This creates a one-to-one relationship between the Prospect record and Lead/Contact record in Salesforce.

If you purchased Pardot after June 2016, then AMPSEA has been enabled by default, and it is irreversible. When AMPSEA was released, it pleased many Admins, but received backlash from others – let’s look at why: 

  • Duplicates: Salesforce orgs riddled with duplicate Leads and Contacts found their Pardot database limit was fast approaching.  
  • Matching Behavior: AMPSEA uses default matching behavior in situations where Pardot only has an email address to go on. The best example to illustrate this is a form submission. We have John, an accountant acting on behalf of two separate accounts in your org. He has two Prospect records in Pardot, both using his email address. However, when John submits a form, Pardot doesn’t know which John record the submission would be related to. Pardot will use the record with the Prospect record with the most recent activity, which may not always be accurate.

Read more:  10 Rules of AMPSEA: How Pardot Matches Same Email Address Prospect Activities

4. Pardot Campaigns are Read-only

Salesforce Campaigns and Pardot Campaigns have a one-to-one (1:1) relationship thanks to Connected Campaigns

Marketers only need to create and manage campaigns in Salesforce, which sync to Pardot as campaigns, available to link with campaign assets created in Pardot (emails, forms, etc.) 

Not only do Connected Campaigns make campaign management more efficient, they also support teams in following best practices – using Campaign Hierarchies, Campaign Influence, and ‘Multi-touch Attribution’ (a term you may have heard). 

Check your org has Connected Campaigns enabled

Update yourself! The relationship between campaigns in Salesforce and Pardot was once an age-old frustration among Consultants and Pardot Specialists, simply because they were two separate things. Luckily, we don’t have to duplicate campaign creation in both Salesforce and Pardot anymore!

5. Pardot Objects in Salesforce

Over the past few releases, Pardot has made big moves to transform Pardot marketing assets (forms, emails, landing pages, campaigns) into Salesforce records. 

The following objects are related to the Salesforce Campaign object:

  • List Emails 
  • Marketing Forms 
  • Landing Pages
  • Marketing Links
  • Files
  • Snippet Assignments

These can be added to Salesforce Campaign page layouts as related lists:

Marketing assets have to sync from Pardot to Salesforce (and vice versa) through the Salesforce Connector, just like Prospect records do. This is known as the Asset Sync Queue; you can check if specific assets have yet to sync from Pardot to Salesforce.  

Update yourself! Previously, these objects didn’t even touch Salesforce, and activities were read-only, trapped in Visualforce Components (point #2).

6. New Drag and Drop Builders

Although some marketing assets are still managed from Pardot, a growing number are now managed from within Salesforce. From the Salesforce Campaign, marketers can now create and update:

7. Reporting for Pardot

Reporting in Pardot itself in WYSIWYG, and inflexible; the most you can do with it is filter the graphs using pre-defined date filters. The Pardot reports are great for a quick snapshot of one metric, for example, submissions for a specific form; however, they won’t allow you to grasp a birds-eye view of a campaign. 

Now there are alternative options for reporting on Pardot data:

  • Salesforce reports and dashboards: now that marketing assets are Salesforce records, we can leverage Salesforce reports! As an Admin, you will need to set up Custom Report Types for ‘Engagement History’, like this example here.  
  • Engagement History Dashboards: out-of-the-box dashboards that show campaign performance over time, how prospects have interacted with your campaign. Available for Campaigns, Accounts, Opportunities, Leads/Contacts/Person Accounts. 
  • B2B Marketing Analytics (B2BMA): a ‘restricted’ version of Tableau CRM. B2B Marketing Analytics comes with a surprising amount out-of-the-box that people don’t always dig into – I recommend taking a look at this series on The DRIP that outlines what dashboards come out of the box, then goes into further customizations in later posts. If you are a Pardot Plus or Pardot Premium customer, B2BMA is included.

8. Pardot Connectors (and Marketing App Extensions)

Pardot offers a number of native connectors, such as webinar connectors, analytics platforms and social media accounts.

Be aware of data

These plugins are designed to be ‘plug-in-and-play’, but beware of what data is being attributed in the reports before sharing with your users. A good example is the Google Ads Connector for Pardot – while it is eye-opening for teams that were previously blind to lead quality coming inbound from Google Ads conversions, they are also at risk of following these metrics without being aware of what’s happening behind the scenes. Always look at WYSIWYG reports with a critical eye. 

Update yourself: Marketing App Extensions are where you connect Pardot to external platforms, using the Pardot API (available through Marketing Setup). This allows you to create custom activity types in Pardot, and spell the future of connecting third-party apps to Pardot.

9. Pardot Licensing and User Access

Salesforce licenses are paid on a per-user/month basis, whereas Pardot is a “bucket” license where one amount is paid for the subscription per org/month. This means your users can get access to Pardot without impacting your license cost.     

Update yourself! Pardot-only logins (Pardot’s user authentication) were discontinued as part of the Spring ’21 release. All users logging into Pardot will be required to use Salesforce single sign-on (SSO) – in other words – everyone needs a Salesforce license.

Read more: 

Changes to Pardot Login and Salesforce Identity Licenses

Salesforce Identity Licenses for Pardot

10. Pardot has Different User Permissions

Pardot users can have one of the following Pardot User Roles: Administrator, Marketing, Sales Manager, or Sales. If you have Pardot Advanced or Ultimate editions, you can create custom roles.

With Salesforce User Sync enabled, you can map Salesforce Profiles to Pardot User roles. It’s worthwhile enabling, but note that any roles currently set for your Pardot users will be overwritten (so take an export before you enable Salesforce User Sync!)

Update yourself! Previously, users had to be set up in both Salesforce and in Pardot, then mapped with their CRM user ID. Now all user management happens in Salesforce. Salesforce User Sync eliminates this duplication of admin work and significantly improves security.

11. Prospect Account Limits

Pardot is a service that is paid per org/month (point #9), which is based on a Prospect database of 10,000 mailable Prospects. That’s right, mailable Prospects count towards your limit, whereas unmailable Prospects don’t – those that are marked “Do not email”, “Opted out”, have caused an email bounce, or are in the Pardot recycle bin

Update yourself! There were big Prospect mailability changes in 2021. These changes introduced new fields, changed field behavior, and added a whole host of data management considerations

Ensure that the new prospect mailability changes don’t cause you to exceed your limit; if you suddenly make prospects mailable that were previously unmailable, then you could find you’re getting dangerously close!

Read more:

What to Do When You Hit Your Pardot Prospect Data Limit

What is a Mailable Prospect in Pardot? Do Not Email vs. Email opt-out

Pardot Prospect Mailability: Actions for Your Database After Upgrading

12. Marketing Setup is designed for Pardot Admins

Pardot Lightning App features have migrated to the core Salesforce platform so that more configuration is required from Salesforce Setup (vs Pardot Settings in the Pardot Lightning App).

This has had an unintended consequence: Pardot Admins rely more heavily on their Salesforce Admins to implement new Pardot and Salesforce features related to marketing. Luckily, the Marketing Setup Admin experience gives marketers a guided admin experience, customized to the needs of the Pardot Admin (simplifies and focuses on the highest priority configuration needs).

Read more: Salesforce Marketing Setup Experience: A Guide for Pardot Admins

13. There are two Versions of the Salesforce Connector

The Salesforce Connector for Pardot usually required support from experienced Pardot specialists, such as consultants. 

With the Salesforce Connector v2, Salesforce aimed to simplify the setup (with a Setup Assistant), eliminate the need for a ‘connector user’ (now using a Pardot integration user instead), and help day to day management of Salesforce to Pardot syncing. 

Read more: Salesforce Connector for Pardot v1 vs. v2: Key Differences

14. Monitor your Sync Errors

Sync Errors between Pardot and Salesforce can cause any admin headaches. These are commonly caused by:

  • Salesforce validation rules being more strict than Pardot field-level validation
  • Blocking duplicate rules 
  • Apex limits in Salesforce

Unfortunately, there’s no way to get notified about these errors, except by coming across one on a Prospect record – that’s why it’s important to monitor your queue regularly, by navigating to: 

Pardot Settings → Connectors (find the cog symbol by the salesforce.com connector) → Sync Errors

Read more: Solve Prospect Sync Errors: Fix the Salesforce Connector Sync Error Queue

15. Salesforce Engage – a separate license

Salesforce Engage brings more Pardot functionality into Salesforce with the aim of enabling Sales users to utilise Marketing material in campaigns and receive alerts about what their assigned Prospects are up to. They can also enhance their email (Gmail) insight by enabling clicks and opens tracking.

Salesforce Engage is a separate, add-on license. The pricing on the Salesforce Engage page has always been transparent.

Read more: What is Salesforce Engage? Learn in 10 Points

16. Pardot is Enterprise-ready

Pardot was Initially considered a product for the SMB (small-medium business) market, hence why many considered it a ‘stepping stone’ product for organizations to dip their toes into marketing automation before moving to other platforms. 

Pardot’s has proven itself enterprise-ready, with its ever-growing large-customer base. After all, Pardot is a sensible choice, due to the tight integration with Sales Cloud. Pardot’s newer features such as B2B Marketing Analytics, Business Units, among others, are building its legitimacy.

Be sure to check in with how much you are using Pardot, and whether you are truly maximizing your investment; using Pardot merely as a glorified emailer is not an ideal position to find yourself in.

7 thoughts on “16 Pardot Tips for Salesforce Admins [Updated 2021]

  1. Jonathan Anspaugh

    Reply

    One thing not mentioned here is the NULL value sync issue. Since Pardot has a “data keeping” mentality it will not allow the sync to overwrite a field with a null value if a value already exists. This can be very troublesome if you use a reason / sub-reason field but do not require a sub-reason for all reasons. For example:

    Reason 1
    – Sub Reason 1
    – Sub Reason 2
    Reason 2
    – Sub Reason 1
    – Sub Reason 2
    Reason 3

    Pardot will not allow the sync to overwrite any of the sub-reasons for 1 or 2 resulting in a bad picklist value / correlation if Reason 3 is activated and synced across.

    Great article just something that is frustrating if you dont know what is happening.

  2. Hi Lucy, what a wonderful article thanks a lot for that. I only have one question if I may to your number 3 activities. I understand that the details are listed as a visual force page, nevertheless if I look at my records on SF we actually have entries under the standard related list Activity History on SF. Only for emailing though and they will be marked as Pardot List Email for example. Is this the first step of having activities from Pardot listed in Salesforce? Thanks, Stefanie

    1. Hi Stephanie, thank you so much – I really appreciate your kind words. Yes, so if you are seeing those activity records appear in the SF Activity History, it’s most likely because you have the ‘Sync emails with the CRM’ SF-Pardot connector setting enabled (an optional setting). It’s applicable for list, drip, autoresponder, one-to-one emails – so basically all types! I know that some people love, some people hate – it’s a balance between storage vs. usefulness of having that info at the lead/contact/account level. Regarding your remark about it possibly being the first step is a hard one to answer – it’s more a case of if and when Pardot develop on this area (currently a siloe), we could potentially see Pardot activities leveraging the standard Activities object, use a different record type, or have a separate object…. (disclaimer: I’m just speculating). Anyway, I hope this answers your question. Take care, Lucy

  3. Another key issue that many admins are unaware of is that you can only use Opt-in email addresses in Pardot. This is a huge problem for companies that do a lot of prospecting. Salesforce has shut down many companies after switching to Pardot because sales adds leads they are chasing and the are automatically sucked into Pardot. AND, of course, this means no trade show or purchased lists….

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