Salesforce Campaign Member Sync for Pardot Prospects: What It Can and Can’t Do

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Salesforce Campaign Member Sync was a new feature in the Winter ’19 release, publicised with the heading “Create Salesforce Campaign Members from Prospects” (pp. 180).

We presented the new Winter ’19 features at the London Pardot user group while the release notes were hot off the press; I remember we proceeded with some caution over what information we were presenting, and what was yet to be confirmed.

Luckily, this post covers clears up that ambiguity. Here you will find what you need to know about the ‘Campaign Member Sync’ feature – how it works, its advantages, and its current limitations.

The Sync is One-Way

I think the majority of readers are well-versed on the differences between Pardot and Salesforce campaigns – but it’s worth recapping if you’re a little rusty.

First of all, you must have Connected Campaigns enabled. Then you can enable ‘Member Sync’ in your Pardot Account settings.

The ideal Campaign Member Sync flow goes like this:

  1. A new Prospect is created, associated automatically with a Pardot Campaign. For example, if the Prospect converted by submitting a form, their source campaign will be the campaign associated to that form.
  2. The Prospect will get assigned to a user.
  3. The Prospect record syncs with Salesforce as a Lead / Contact.
  4. With Campaign Member Sync enabled, the Lead / Contact record will be added to the Salesforce campaign as a campaign member with status ‘Connected’.
  5. The Lead / Contact’s ‘first touch’ will be updated to that campaign – the first interaction with your brand.

It’s a Pardot to Salesforce sync: one way from Pardot Campaign to Salesforce Campaign.

Seems neat? It’s not always that simple. Often data is added from Salesforce, or marketing assets in Pardot have the incorrect campaign associated to them. These are just a couple of examples!

Connected Campaigns are not Enough!

As Campaign Member sync is one way, adding Leads / Contacts to Salesforce Campaigns will not add their associated Prospect record to the Pardot Campaign – regardless of whether the Salesforce and Pardot Campaigns are connected.

A Pardot Prospect can only be associated with 1 Pardot Campaign. Therefore, it makes sense that Campaign Member Sync is one-way, in order to preserve the Prospect’s ‘first touch’ that Pardot Campaigns are responsible for recording. If a Prospect’s Pardot Campaign was allowed to change each time a Lead / Contact was added as a Campaign Member on the Salesforce side, it would result in chaos.

Remember: a Pardot Campaign is not the same as a Pardot list, which are what marketers use in Pardot to collect and segment Prospects for use in marketing campaigns.

In short, if you add a Lead / Contact to a Salesforce Campaign, in Pardot you will see the Campaign, but the Prospect record will not be part of it.

Member Sync beyond the First Touch

However, pushing prospects from Pardot into Salesforce Campaigns beyond the first touch is a challenge that remains.

The automatic Campaign Member sync won’t kick in because you will not be adding the Prospect to the Pardot Campaign. The prospect will already be part of 1 Pardot campaign – their source campaign.

Multi-touch attribution is possible with Salesforce Campaigns because Leads / Contacts can be members of multiple Salesforce Campaigns, therefore you can track (and attribute) them to multiple marketing touchpoints.

To add Pardot Prospects as Salesforce Campaign Members, you will need the support of Pardot automation. Completion actions and Automation Rules do the trick. Here’s an example:

  1. You would like to add a Prospect to a Salesforce Campaign when they download a file.
  2. You have set up the file with a completion action: ‘Add to Salesforce Campaign’.
  3. When the Prospect clicks to download the file, the Completion Action will fire each time, thereby adding the Prospect to the Salesforce Campaign.


I lured you into reading this post, with a title that promised you’ll find what Salesforce Campaign Member Sync can and can’t do – it’s the perfect takeaway.

Can do:

  • Sync Pardot Campaign Prospects to Salesforce Campaigns.
  • Automatically create Salesforce Campaign Members

Can’t do:

  • Sync Salesforce Campaign Members to Pardot Campaigns
  • Sync unassigned Pardot prospects
  • Multi-touch attribution (beyond the ‘first touch’)
  • Use Member Sync on non-Connected Campaigns.
  • Use this on Salesforce Professional Edition (Enterprise and above only!)

This is certainly a feature Pardot admins should consider enabling, a step in the right direction for the Salesforce-Pardot integration. However, my advise is maintain your expectations, and ensure you are using Pardot Connected Campaigns properly to not skew reporting, or spend your time troubleshooting something that isn’t actually broken!

13 thoughts on “Salesforce Campaign Member Sync for Pardot Prospects: What It Can and Can’t Do

    1. I have not tested this, but I am quite sure if you have need to do so, you can disable the Campaign Member Sync by simply deselecting the checkbox without issue. And, the system will simply stop the one-way Pardot > Salesforce campaign member creation for first touch campaigns.

      You likely may already be aware but just for additional info for any others perusing the comments here….it is only the last checkbox named “Use Salesforce to manage all campaigns” within the “Campaigns” section containing Connected Campaign config options (Location: Pardot Settings > Connectors > Edit Settings > Campaigns) which is “irreversible” and should only be enabled once you are sure you have the write campaign hierarchy within Salesforce. Only you and your your team are capable of ultimately determining how that ideal hierarchy is structured, since you could be missing opportunities to surface actionable insights relevant to your business if the hierarchy is structured in such a way where the reporting aggregation feature isn’t optimal for the various activities/marketing efforts that constitute your campaigns (which can vary greatly from business to business) .

      1. The option “Campaign Member Sync” is actually in fact irreversible as well… not just the last option in the list named “Use Salesforce to manage all campaigns”. This is an important point to emphasize that I’ve learned the painfully hard way, so be wary before selecting ANY of the Campaign section checkboxes within Pardot Settings until you’re sure your solution is sound and should incorporate this functionality. There are very few “work-arounds”, depending on the scenario, to get around this once Campaign Member Sync is enabled (and, again, irreversibly so)

    1. Hi Margo, thanks for reaching out. That’s correct – Prospects that belong to a Pardot Campaign (the default ‘first-touch’ behaviour) will sync to the Salesforce Campaign. Any campaigns that Prospects engage with following that first-touch will not be marked as their Pardot Campaign (as Pardot is still first-touch only) 🙂

  1. When ‘Enable Campaign Member Sync’ will this overwrite any current Salesforce campaign member status to ‘Connected’ if they are already in the campaign with a different status?

    1. Interesting question, and one that isn’t specified online. I know that the campaign member sync is retroactive (ie. prospects in campaigns you already connected start syncing to Salesforce). Let me do some digging and come back to you in a few days!

      1. No worries. I was able to figure it out by testing in a sandbox environment. Only those records that are new to the campaign, aka do not already have a status in that campaign, are given the campaign member status of ‘connected’

  2. When I add pre-existing prospects to a new Salesforce campaign, the contact/lead is added to the salesforce campaign member list… and then about ten minutes later it’s gone. Please help 🙂

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