Quick Introduction to Pardot Marketing Data Sharing Rules

By Lucy Mazalon

Marketing Data Sharing Rules are what determine which records should sync to Pardot from Salesforce. Use these rules to restrict which data is sent to Pardot, perfect for organisations who want only a subset of their Salesforce Leads or Contacts to exist in Pardot, or who want to route records to specific Pardot Business Units.

Fortunately, Pardot Admins can build these Marketing Data Sharing Rules using ‘point-and-click’, and are much more appealing than the trickier Salesforce Connector user permissions (field-level security, sharing rules etc.) that were previously the way to go. Yes, now in one place, you can see the record criteria that are allowed to sync!

Why Use Marketing Data Sharing Rules?

As I mentioned, it’s typical for organisations to only want a subset of their Salesforce leads or contacts to exist in Pardot. The rules mean that you control:

  • Which records sync between Salesforce and Pardot overall
  • Which record sync between Salesforce and specific Pardot business units (if applicable to your organisation).

Which Object Sync Can Marketing Data Sharing Rules Control?

  • Leads
  • Contacts
  • Opportunities
  • Custom Objects

Ensure you read the ‘Considerations When Using Marketing Data Sharing Rules’ section because there are some quirks for rules referencing leads and contacts!

Can You Use Marketing Data Sharing Rules?

First things first, you must have:

  • Migrated to/implemented the Pardot Lightning app
  • Pardot Advanced and Premium Edition
  • Purchased or upgraded after February 12, 2019

Create Marketing Data Sharing Rules

Go to ‘Pardot Settings’ → ‘Connectors’, and edit your Salesforce connector settings.

Along the top, there is a tab labelled ‘Marketing Data Sharing’ (highlighted below):

You will find rules have been created as default. Click on the drop down arrow to launch the edit screen (highlighted above).

You can switch to ‘Use explicit criteria’, and select the field and allowed values:

Considerations When Using Marketing Data Sharing Rules

There are considerations you need to take into account when planning and building Marketing Data Sharing Rules, including some limitations.

One rule:

You can only create one rule per object, for example, region is ‘EMEA’.

Salesforce fields:

Rule criteria must be Salesforce fields (and be editable)

What if there are no rules?

If we don’t define a rule for an object, for example opportunities, then the connector will fallback on the connector user’s object level permissions (defined by their profile, and extended by permission sets if necessary).

Leads and contacts:

If you create a rule for leads or contacts, the criteria used in that rule must be applied to both objects. The criteria used in a rule to define lead sync will be applied to contacts too, and vice versa: the criteria used in a rule to define contact sync will be applied to leads too.

Multiple Pardot Business Units:

If you create a rule referencing leads/contacts for one business unit, all other Pardot BUs must have a Marketing Data Sharing Rule for lead/contacts too.

Records no longer matching criteria:

If a field update on a syncing record means that it no longer matches the criteria in your rule, Pardot will automatically send that prospect record to the Pardot recycle bin. For example, if a rule is syncing leads with region ‘EMEA’, and a Salesforce user updates the region field to ‘LATAM’, that prospect record will be recycled.

Importing into Pardot:

If importing directly to Pardot, and the newly created prospect records do not match the Marketing Data Sharing Rule criteria, these records will Pardot will automatically send that prospect record to the Pardot recycle bin.

These are the most important considerations – read the full list here.

Have you tried Marketing Data Sharing Rules? What’s your experience been like so far?

The Author

Lucy Mazalon

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


    August 12, 2020 4:59 pm
    If you are importing Pardot Prospects that will only remain in Pardot (and for the time-being, not be added to Salesforce as a Lead or Contact due to other project constraints); do you need to consider Marketing Data Sharing Rules? Another way of asking this would be: do you need to consider Marketing Data Sharing Rules for records that are ONLY Pardot Prospects? It seems like the answer is "no" since the purpose is including records from Salesforce to Pardot, but it would be helpful to get another opinion. thank you!
    Lucy Mazalon
    September 01, 2020 8:37 am
    Hi Rae, yep you're right! You will have other ways (eg. automation, completion actions) to control assignment on the Pardot side, which of course determines whether a prospect record syncs to Salesforce from Pardot. So you would use both, and the marketing data sharing rules will be responsible for determining whether a lead/contact added to Salesforce should be added to Pardot (and which business unit if you're using those too). Take care!
    Ilayamaran D
    April 09, 2021 4:54 pm
    We are facing a block in setting up Market Data sharing rules. Below are our scenario. We have two business units and MDS is set in such a way that it syncs prospect with Lead/Contact. Business unit one – Lead field BU = A and Contact field BU = A Business unit two – Lead field BU = B and Contact field BU = B The field used for MDS is not created and synced in any of our Pardot Business units. Now, if from our business unit one a form submission happen and we assign a user and it willl try to sync with Salesforce, Once it got synced, the Lead field BU will be null, So in this case will our prospect be moved to recycle bin, which is a regular process, but we need to retain our prospect. How will you update the prospect’s lead/contact MDS field when syncing to Salesforce. Can you please suggest how you handled this scenario. Thanks
    Tom Bassett
    July 13, 2022 11:02 pm
    Marketing Data Sharing Rules are now available in Advanced and Premium editions. Would it be possible to update the article to match this ?
    Lucy Mazalon
    September 15, 2022 12:59 pm
    Done! Thanks for flagging, Tom. I wonder how many people are on Premium edition since it's release 2-3 years ago. Would be an interesting insight.
    January 24, 2023 2:55 pm
    Is MDS case sensitive?
    Lucy Mazalon
    February 11, 2023 4:17 am
    Hi Rajeev, I can't find any information online, however it's best to assume that the rules are case-sensitive before creating/deploying them. That may require data clean-up/transformation.
    Rehan Kapoor
    June 12, 2023 10:06 pm
    Can we have multiple values within one explicit criteria for the Object? For example, I want the region to say 'EMEA' or 'LATAM' only and do not want any other regions to be flowing in. How can I write the explicit criteria for that?

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