Whether you’re applying for your first ever consultancy position, or moving from one consultancy to another, interview questions can be daunting. The below is a round-up of the type of questions you might receive across implementation, features and technical setup – with personal development questions, as a bonus too.
Section 1: Implementation
Q1: What, in your opinion, are the three most important success factors in a new implementation?
There’s no ‘golden three’ success factors that would be the right answer, but here are some key things to consider:
- Client Commitment: so much of a Pardot implementation is dependent on the client, eg. asset creation, email authentication setup, and others. A Pardot implementation cannot be completed without buy in from the relevant parties, so this needs to be ensured early on – and you need a Project Manager on the client side to hold accountability.
- Project Management: this is true of any project. You need a clear summary of who is responsible for doing what and when, ensure you provide timely updates, plus the confidence to follow up when necessary.
- Training: setting up Pardot from a technical perspective isn’t the most important part of an implementation; it’s ensuring the client can go ahead and use the product afterwards. Proper training to ensure users can start building their Engagement Studio programs and sending emails as soon as implementation is complete is key.
Further reading: 10 Things you Should Expect from your Pardot Implementation
Q2: What advice would you give to a customer before they implement Pardot?
There are a few things businesses can do before the start of an implementation to ensure they’re ready to hit the ground running:
- Sort out Subscriptions: are these managed by lists? Are existing prospects organised into the correct lists?
- Materials & Resources: Identify what materials and resources you have, and what you need.
- Goals: Identify your goals and work towards those.
- Cross-team Involvement: ensure everyone who needs to be is involved. Don’t just involve marketing – this involves sales (and maybe other teams) too.
- Super Users: set one or two people to be super users and focus on getting them trained up
Q3: How would you help a customer who wants to start nurturing their prospects, but doesn’t know where to start?
The key thing is to show an understanding of getting to the bottom of the customer’s requirements and working towards their goals, whilst resolving any pain points. The best way to proceed, would be to suggest a workshop to understand what would benefit them most, eg. an automated onboarding program that allowed them to up-sell, and then help them whiteboard what that process might look like.
Further reading: How to use Pardot Engagement Studio to Improve Customer Onboarding
Q4: What steps would you take when migrating data from another Marketing Automation platform?
The biggest consideration here is to maintain subscription preferences, particularly keeping a reference of unsubscribes/opt outs. You might also want to take the opportunity for a general data cleanse, deduplicating, removing out of date information – a good time to consider deleting disengaged leads/prospects.
Ensure that you have mapped custom field data, and carried over any source, scoring or recorded activity where possible. Finally, create a separate campaign or list for the import so that you can clearly differentiate between this data and new prospects in the future.
Section 2: Features
Q5: What is your favourite Pardot feature?
Another one you shouldn’t need too much help on! Pick your favourite feature, and be ready to talk about how you’ve used it previously and the positive results you’ve seen. What makes that feature so great? How has it helped your company or previous clients before?
Q6: What would you say to a customer who is considering Pardot over other Marketing Automation platforms (e.g. Mailchimp, Hubspot, Marketo)?
It’s useful to have an understanding of what competing marketing automation platforms have to offer, as it’s likely you will be brought into pre-sales conversations as a consultant.
Key reasons customers choose Pardot include:
- Salesforce Sync: no other tool syncs as well, and this allows for deep reporting and automation capabilities
- User friendly
- Innovation: frequent developments and improvements, including user-sourced Ideas
- Community: very active community and support (user groups, helpful online forums)
- Scalability: it’s easy to scale Pardot from startup to enterprise
Q7: When would you recommend a business use Pardot, and when Marketing Cloud would be better suited?
It can be difficult to comment without the specific use case (there are always outliers!), but in general, recommend Pardot over Marketing Cloud for:
- Longer, considered purchases
- When web tracking, scoring and grading are required
- Ease of use
- Lower entry price point
Flags indicating a customer might be better suited to Marketing Cloud are:
- Advanced email personalisation (using data from external systems etc.)
- Direct integrations with other systems
- Transactional communications
- Multi-channel marketing (SMS/push)
- Data manipulation
Further reading: Salesforce Pardot vs. Marketing Cloud: Which Should You Choose?
Q8: How would you explain Pardot to someone who has never heard of marketing automation before?
This is a tough one! The key here is to make sure you don’t just pitch Pardot as an email sending tool – it’s so much more than that!
An example could be:
Pardot is an online tool that allows businesses to communicate with customers and prospects in a tailored way, and empower their sales teams to close more deals. It allows you to capture prospect data from forms, send targeted emails to prospects based on their preferences, data, and activity, and gathers information for your sales team, as well as providing marketing and ROI reporting.
Q9: How do you stay on top of Pardot feature releases?
There are multiple ways to keep on top of releases – naming a few of these will sound impressive to :
- You can sign up for emails and webinars on the latest releases
- The page on the Pardot blog that records all release notes here.
- Independent blogs, such as The DRIP or The Spot for Pardot.
- Joining your local Pardot (B2B Marketing) user group is a great way to learn about what’s coming and what others have discovered about a feature – go to com to find one near you.
Q10: What are the main differences between editions in Pardot?
You’d never be expected to know all the differences, but it’s important to have a general understanding so you can help advise a customer on a pre-sales call if required, or so that you know whether a customer you’re working with has a particular feature available.
Pardot updated their editions just over a year ago to include new products. You can read a full breakdown of what’s available on each edition on the Pardot pricing page, but the features I’ve seen come up a lot during this discussion are:
- B2B Marketing Analytics (only Plus and Advanced)
- Advanced dynamic content (only Plus and Advanced)
- A/B testing (only Plus and Advanced)
- Custom objects (extra cost in Plus, included in Advanced)
- Custom user roles (extra cost in Plus, included in Advanced)
- Folder permissions (extra cost in Plus, included in Advanced)
- Business units (only Advanced)
Further reading: Pardot Editions Update Summer ‘18: Features and Pricing!
Q11: What are the limitations of Pardot training environments?
The key difference is that you can’t send emails from training environments (you can send test emails). They also don’t function as a sandbox – you can’t deploy anything from a training environment into a production environment.
Section 3: Technical
Q12: Can you give examples of when you would use a dynamic list vs a static list in an Engagement Studio program?
A dynamic list continuously updates, and anyone who no longer meets the criteria for a dynamic list would instantly ‘drop out’ of the Engagement Studio program; a good example might be a nurture campaign to get prospects to sign up for an event, where only prospects with the status ’Invited’ in a Salesforce Campaign would be included, meaning that as soon as their campaign member status changes to ‘Registered’, they will leave the list (and the Engagement Studio program).
Further reading: 7 Essential Pardot Dynamic Lists for Swifter Segmentation
Q13: What are some best practice tips around maintaining opt-in preferences?
Opt ins can be managed differently for different businesses, but some good examples are:
- use email preferences and subscription lists
- use a custom field recording opt-in
- use additional custom fields to record opt-in location and date
- consider implementing a double opt-in process (this is particularly important in Germany)
Q14: What would you recommend for a customer using Person Accounts in Salesforce?
Person Accounts should also be activated in Pardot – this can be done through Support. You’ll need to let them know what the record type name is in Salesforce for Person Accounts, and whether you’d like Pardot to create Leads or Person Accounts when pushing prospects to Salesforce.
Q15: What would you recommend to look for in a Pardot Health Check/System Audit?
There are many things that go into a Pardot Healthcheck, but some things to mention are:
- Sync errors: are there any? What’s causing them?
- Users: do users have appropriate levels of access? Are they connected to CRM users where necessary?
- Folder structure: is this set up in a logical way? Could it be used for category scoring or permissions?
- Inactive automations: – are there any inactive, or active-but-no-longer used automations that could be deleted or merged? (don’t forget Engagement Studio programs & dynamic lists)
- Deliverability: has the client had any deliverability issues? What’s caused them?
- Segmentation: are emails being sent to tailored, segmented lists?
- Assignment: are prospects being correctly assigned at the right time? Could the process be simplified?
- Email Best Practices: are emails responsive? Do they have clear CTAs and follow general best practices?
- Subscription preferences: are subscription preferences set up, and are they being correctly honoured?
- Source and campaign tracking: how is this being tracked? Is it working correctly? Could it improved?
- GDPR: are email sends and form sign-ups GDPR compliant?
- Scoring and Grading: is this being used? Does the setup make sense for this client?
Q16: What would you recommend to a customer who is approaching their mailable database limit?
The first thing to mention, is that your limit is only affected by mailable prospects, which won’t count anyone who has unsubscribed (opted out) or is set to ‘Do not Email’. Prospects in the recycle bin also don’t count towards your mailable total either.
Your customer will want to take a look at their database and identify whether they have any inactive prospects who they could delete or set to ‘Do not Email’ (if doing the later make sure you save the prospects in a list so you can revert them back later if necessary).
If they’re sure that they want to maintain all of their prospects as active, they’ll need to reach out to their Salesforce AE to purchase additional mailable prospects.
Q17: Give some examples of how you would use Opportunity data in Pardot.
Opportunity data is particularly useful in Pardot for segmenting prospects who have an associated opportunity. For example, you might want to set up an Engagement Studio program based on a dynamic list that includes only prospects at a certain stage of an opportunity; if the opportunity progresses to Closed Won, they drop out.
Opportunity data is of course integral in ROI reporting, so you’ll be using it a lot in reporting and B2B Marketing Analytics!
Q18: What steps would you take to improve email deliverability for a customer?
There are a few things you can do if your customer is having email deliverability challenges:
- Check email authentication is correctly set up.
- Check the quality of email addresses that are being sent to. Are they old and out of date? Have prospects opted in to these emails? Email opted in, actively engaged prospects – particularly when IP warming for a new account!
- Check the quality of HTML and fix any issues. Are there broken links? Do images have alt tags? There are a few free tools out there that will help you do this, such as mail-tester.com.
- Ensure you’re also sending a text version of your email alongside any HTML.
- Run a Spam Analysis on your email, and check the subject line and email content for spam flags. Are you using the word ‘free’ too much? Is there a good text to image ratio?
- Check whether your sending IP has been listed on any blacklists. If it has, reach out to the blacklist to request removal, or contact Pardot Support for further advice.
Section 4: Consulting
Q19: What advice would you give to a Pardot end user who wants to move into a consulting career?
End users and Pardot Admins often make great consultants as they’ve really spent the time getting to grips with Pardot, and understand the pain points customers may have. That said, understanding how to advise clients on the best solution for them and learning how to manage projects require different skills. Key points to bear in mind here are:
- Get your Pardot Consultant certification: this will help you identify which features are best in different scenarios
- Focus on learning best practices: there are often multiple ways to get something done, but there’s generally a ‘best practice’ way that will save you problems in the future
- Understand what your customer needs: blindly following a customer request often isn’t the right approach. Understand why they’re asking for something and think about whether there is a better alternative.
Q20: What are the fundamental differences in skills required to be a consultant over an end user, in your opinion?
We touched on this in the question above, but in addition to knowing the software well, great Pardot consultants have these skills:
- Analytical: able to identify issues and draw conclusions, both from looking at an org and from speaking to the client
- Communication: You’ll be understanding pain points and relaying solutions back to the client
- Project Management: Not all consultancies will require you to PM, but it’s common in Pardot implementations as they are often smaller, quicker projects.
- Training: You’ll probably be asked to train users
- Willingness to learn: You must be able to keep up with the latest releases, and you’ll find yourself having to learn a lot – and quickly, when a client has a specific problem!
Q21: What are your top tips for dealing with non-technical clients?
You’ll likely work with non-technical Marketers, having to explain concepts and train them on new things. There’s no hard and fast rule here, but a few things can help:
- Don’t use jargon
- Go slowly and check for comprehension
- Offer training
- Use real-life examples applicable to the client where possible
- Don’t get caught up in explaining technical concepts when you don’t need to – keep things high level and focus on best practice
Q22: How would you support a client that is resisting to change?
Every consultant will come up against this at some point, hearing statements like: ‘but this is how we’ve always done it’, or ‘but that’s how it used to work with [insert much-loved pervious tool]’.
It can be hard for a client when they’ve been used to doing things a certain way, but the key here is to focus on the benefits of change and to understand what the client really needs in order to achieve their goal.
For example, a client has asked for a very specific report that isn’t possible, dig down into why they want that report and what they plan to do with that information. Most of the time there is a simple alternative that will help them make decisions and meet their business goals – just structured slightly differently to how they’re used to!
Q23: What would you say are the most common causes of scope creep? What measures do you put in place to help prevent these from happening?
Scope creep – when a project grows bigger than initially planned – is the bane of a Project Manager’s life. Sometimes something out of anyone’s control causes it, but often it could have been prevented. Common things that can cause it are:
- Not clearly defining scope in the beginning
- Being a people-pleaser: once you let something extra slip in, the client tends to ask for more…
- Not keeping track of the project (and other team members)
To prevent it from happening, consultancies should make sure:
- There are clear limits stated in the proposal.
- That formal change requests are made for any additional work not mentioned in the proposal
- The project is frequently reviewed to check that tasks are being completed on time and to estimates.
Q24: What marketing KPIs do you recommend measuring in Pardot?
This one’s an interesting one and there can be a lot of debate around it. Marketers tend to love reporting on metrics such as click-through rate and form submissions, but this doesn’t paint an accurate picture of how your marketing efforts are performing overall. Have any of these activities actually brought in sales?
Better statistics would be:
Section 5: Personal
Q25: How is your experience relevant for the role?
If you’re moving from one consultancy role to another, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
If you’re moving into consultancy from end user for the first time, however, you still have plenty of relevant experience! Think about how you’ve worked previously and frame it from a consultancy perspective. How did you manage and prioritise requests from multiple stakeholders? What changes and campaigns did you roll out? Did you have to train other users?
Consultancy is a mix of technical skills and functional skills, so make sure you address both your Pardot know-how and your analytical and management skills, with real-life examples.
Q26: Tell me about your previous projects.
With this question, be sure to demonstrate a range of experience and also tailor your answer to the consultancy you’re interviewing with – do they have a niche industry you’ve worked in previously?
Q27: What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of the role?
Be honest here – this is the chance for you to address any experience you may be lacking and frame it positively.
If this will be your first consultancy role, chances are that the prospect of working on multiple projects simultaneously or project management may intimidate you. If you’re moving from one consultancy role to another, think about the types of clients you’re used to, or whether your new employer will have a different way of working.
Self-awareness and not being afraid to be open about areas you will need to work on are great attributes in a consultant!
Q28: What is the biggest mistake you have made in a project, or as an end user?
This is a classic interview question, and to reiterate #27, the key thing here is to show self-awareness and talk about what you learnt from your mistake.
Q29: What Salesforce Certifications do you currently hold? Are there any others you plan to take/work towards?
There are others that can really help though – the Admin certification is a huge help to any Pardot Consultant, and if you want to go even further, Sales Cloud Consultant ties in a holistic approach to consulting from both a sales and marketing perspective.
Q30: What are you most looking forward to about the role?
Hopefully, you won’t need too much help here! The best points about a consultancy role are the variety of clients and projects, and the opportunity to learn.