10 Ways Salesforce Automation Maximises Marketing Ops

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Pardot is so closely connected to Salesforce (relative to other marketing automation vendors) that Pardot can leverage Salesforce automation capabilities. This opens up a world of opportunity for Pardot admins to take their marketing automation processes to the next level – be that finally solving a tricky, unconventional use case, or experimenting with all that CRM data.

What do we mean by ‘Salesforce automation’? Automation Rules, Completion Actions, and Engagement Studio actions enable Pardot marketers to build ‘if-this-then-that’ rules without using code. On the Salesforce side, you’ll find Salesforce Flow, Process Builder*, Workflow Rules* – and Apex, for developers who can code. (Note: Salesforce have announced Workflow Rules and Process Builder will be retired. I’ll be working on updating the tutorials) I’m not going to go ‘into the weeds’ on the differences between each and when to use them (read up on that in this handy Salesforce Automation guide!)

This post will list out ways your Pardot app could benefit from an injection of automation from Salesforce. While some of the use cases will link out to tutorials, always consult your Salesforce Admin before becoming set on a specific solution.

1. Lead Queues

Marketers are passing leads from Pardot to Salesforce, and remember – a prospect must have an assigned owner in order to sync across. While there are a number of options available to Pardot marketers, what if the exact owner isn’t known? Or, what if you want to still send prospects to Salesforce for complete reporting visibility, but not have them actioned by the sales reps?

“Salesforce Queues prioritize, distribute, and assign records for teams who share workloads. Queues are like holding areas in your CRM, where records wait for a user to pick them up, assign them to an owner and work on processing them.”

Using Queues for Salesforce Leads are incredibly useful for Pardot marketers:

  • Lead assignment rules haven’t been set up,
  • Queues can be the ‘catch-all’ as the last entry on the assignment rules, which leads without sufficient data will trickle down to,
  • Assign leads to a team who can pick them up when they have capacity,
  • To route leads away from the sales team’s attention, for example, siphoning leads into a ‘marketing nurture’ queue.

2. Pardot Prospect Reassignment

It’s a known fact that Salesforce is the master for the ‘Lead or Contact record owner/Prospect assigned user’ field. Once that value has been set, the assigned user cannot be changed from the Pardot side; if you attempt to, it will be overwritten with the Salesforce Lead/Contact record owner on the next sync.

Instead, you need to leverage Salesforce automation to make that happen.

‘Assign using Active Assignment Rules’ is a popular option. Pardot marketers choose this as a popular completion action because Salesforce Admins use these rules as the single place to manage assignment.

! However, something I found out that was a real ‘spanner in the works’. As it stands, you can’t automatically trigger Lead Assignment Rules for leads that already exist (this needs to be achieved via Apex code, not my most favourite project to date…)

3. Add Leads and Contacts to Salesforce Campaigns

Having trained many users on Pardot and Salesforce, it occurred to me that there are so many ways to add Leads and Contacts (/Pardot prospects) to Salesforce Campaigns – I managed to capture 8 ways to create Campaign Members!

Most methods involve manual user actions, some are automated. One that you may not have heard about is the Mass Action Scheduler App (option 7). This worked a treat! The app can be set to add or remove campaign members from campaigns based on a Salesforce report. You are able to set the schedule by day and time, to keep the process recurring week after week, eg. run the process every Friday at 10am.

4. Adding Contact Roles

Opportunity Contact Roles are essential for accurate segmentation and Campaign Influence reporting.

“They’re used to indicate that “this person was involved in this deal” – but sales rarely takes the time to enter them”, Andrea pointed out. She showed us that Admins can enforce a Primary Contact for each Salesforce Account, using a combination of a validation rule and Process Builder to create the Contact Role when this field is populated.

It’s not a perfect solution because the Contacts involved from one opportunity to the next will differ. With no decent solution available, the Sercante team built an app for Automated Opportunity Contact Roles.

5. Calculating Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is the revenue a business has gained from a customer, in other words, the total revenue amount from all sales opportunities. Use LTV to influence your marketing segmentation, campaign messaging, defining your target accounts, or form the basis for a customer loyalty campaign

All you need to do is create a custom field on the Account object in Salesforce. Here’s how: Calculating Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) with Salesforce.

6. Data Enrichment

An incredible amount of data enrichment can be done in Salesforce for Lead/Contact/Account records, which will improve marketing segmentation, personalization, and the list goes on.


  • Data enrichment tools: these import data from external databases (a couple of popular examples are Dun & Bradstreet, ZoomInfo).
  • Salesforce Formulas: formulas can be used within Salesforce automation to update a field value.

7. Customisable Pardot Prospect Lifecycle Report

Knowing the number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) you have captured, and how many within a specific period of time, are fundamental marketing KPIs.

Follow the tutorial: “Customisable Pardot Prospect Lifecycle Report: MQL Reporting How You Want It” to customise your MQL/SQL checkpoints, a solution that is relatively light-weight and easy to set up.

You will no longer be misled with skewed reports because you have defined exactly what an MQL and SQL means to your organisation.

8. Birthday Campaigns

Another use case for datestamps (Salesforce automation populating a field with a date) are for campaign automation. I wrote about setting up a ‘birthday campaign’ to touch prospects on their special day (after all, even just a simple greeting with a discount makes an impact!)

As you can see from the formula below, it wasn’t the easiest solution to figure out…

There will be other ways you can use Salesforce to create the datestamps that will drive other campaigns, where these complex formulas can’t be met by Pardot’s capabilities.

9. Campaign Approvals

There is so much that marketers could be doing with the Salesforce Campaign object that they’re not. One thing you are missing out on is Approval Processes.

Unlike Content Builder in Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Pardot doesn’t come with an approvals feature out of the box – which can be irritating for larger teams who need to align assets and messaging through the eyes of an approver.

Check out the tutorial to get started: Build Your Campaign Approval Process Using Salesforce

(Also use automation on the Campaign object to send notification emails to your team. Remind them to update key fields, eg. to update the ‘actual budget’ field 1 week after the campaign end date, with their final spend).

10. Identify Duplicates

Ever since AMPSEA (allow multiple prospects with the same email address) was introduced, Pardot marketers have had duplicate prospect records as a worry in the back of their minds. There’s the “Email Uniqueness” field as part of the mailability upgrade (Summer ’21) but aside from that, there’s no easy way for admins to monitor duplicates in their Pardot database (until you find a sync error, then it’s too late).

Read more: Quick Check for Duplicates in Your Salesforce Marketing Database

Duplicate sync errors are caused by Salesforce duplicate rules. Salesforce duplicate rules are great to have set up to block (or flag) records that are identified as duplicates. What does a duplicate mean to your organisation? That’s going to be different criteria depending on who you ask. Salesforce duplicate rules can be configured to match those definitions. There are also third-party tools that take Salesforce deduplication further, such as DemandTools or Duplicate Check (check out the reviews to get a flavour).

What have I missed?

These are only 10 use cases that came to mind for me, having worked with Pardot and Salesforce accounts for the past few years – obviously there will be many more ways your Pardot app could benefit from an injection of automation from Salesforce. Let me know what you have one with Salesforce automation in the comments below:

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