The Advantages of Using Pardot Forms – and the Risky Alternatives.

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When Pardot was brought into your organisation it was agreed, either explicitly or implicitly, that Pardot would be used as the core marketing tool that generates, nurtures and converts prospects. Generating new leads via form completions likely played a large part of this marketing agreement. Building your lead capture forms in Pardot has many benefits, but is not always the default decision. So, this leads us to ask: why do organisations overlook Pardot forms?

The Alternatives to Pardot Forms

Organisations may overlook Pardot forms for a number of reasons, but often it’s in favour of Salesforce Web2Lead forms.

Web2Lead forms are integrated with Salesforce Sales Cloud, and therefore, a form submission generates a lead record immediately in Salesforce. Unfortunately, people approach the subject of switching to Pardot forms with the view: ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’. However, this goes against the aforementioned agreement (that Pardot would be used as the core marketing tool) and is detrimental to the overall marketing strategy.

Here’s why: by skipping Pardot, you’re removing the vetting process and assuming that every Tom, Dick or Harry is a lead that needs to be in Salesforce. Salesforce becomes full of leads over time, that may or may not be possible for sales to convert and without intention, it can subtly change the sales team’s way of working the data. Instead of a sales team that’s excited to see new leads and confident they’re workable, there will be skepticism. A bad culture of distrust builds, leading Sales prioritise their own leads, as in their eyes, it’s what will win them their commission, not marketing generated leads direct from a form completion.

Pardot Forms to the Rescue

By using Pardot forms, you gain control. Lead records are generated when they should truly be leads, and are sent to the right salespeople at the right time. Ultimately, your Salesforce database remains clean and full of leads so the sales team can feel confident in their marketing team.

Note: If you require a form that asks a user to create a password, upload a file or give sensitive information, then a Pardot form shouldn’t be used. Form handlers should be used instead, but a form integrated with Pardot nevertheless!

Pardot Forms: Extra Advantages

Further to the control you gain with Pardot forms, they’ve actually got a whole range of high quality features that are well worth utilising. After all, you’re paying for a top of the range tool so you would be foolish not to consider taking advantage of the features. Pardot forms have the following features:

  • Prevents data duplication in Salesforce – Until you go through the painful process of cleaning your Salesforce account, you won’t appreciate how useful this actually is.
  • Validated email addresses – If you don’t want @gmail, @msn or @hotmail etc. email addresses and only want real, business emails, then this setting can be a huge help.
  • Progressive profiling – As mentioned above, this is an amazing feature to use and ties in with your grading strategy to work out which prospects to prioritise and how to target them. This will help build out a clear picture of your prospects over time.
  • Bot protection – As spammers and less scrupulous people get smarter, so do Pardot forms. Let Salesforce, one of the biggest B2B tech companies in the world, look after you here.
  • Provides reporting on views/completions – This enables you to build automation around actual prospect activity. If a prospect has been looking at your contact form regularly, should someone be notified? Once a form is completed, what automation should be triggered in Pardot?

Form settings – Send autoresponder emails, redirect to thank you pages, display dynamic thank you messages, Kiosk mode (for events), add custom script and more.

! GDPR Tip: With the upcoming GDPR regulation, some companies are setting up landing pages for their sales team that include 2 Pardot forms. One form opts the prospect in to marketing and the other opts them out globally. This process is simple to set up, with Pardot forms.

Summary

Pardot Forms help you gain control over your marketing strategy, especially when it comes to lead qualification. As well as mitigating the risks caused by Web2Lead or externally-hosted forms, Pardot Forms come with many advantages to sharpen-up your lead capture process.
Of course, every business situation is different, therefore, it’s always best to ask your designated Pardot expert, who will always be able to say when it’s best to use a Pardot form or form handler.

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