Completion Actions are one type of Pardot automation that fires each time a prospect makes an activity on a marketing asset. You add Completion Actions to each individual email, form, landing page, page action, or custom redirect – which yes, gives you flexibility – however, once you add a Completion Action, the action will fire blindly.
In short, you cannot add criteria to say ‘if prospect is X, then do Y’ or ‘if field value is X, then do Y’; Pardot just does whatever ‘Y’ is each time.
This has frustrated the Pardot for years; 9 years, if you are looking officially on paper. “Conditional options for completion actions” was submitted to the IdeaExchange 9 years ago, racking up 1,000+ votes, 75 comments (and counting!)
When will conditional completion actions become available?
Conditional Completion Actions are one of the most requested ideas for the Pardot roadmap.
They found their way onto the IdeaExchange Prioritization cycle (read more about how it works). What this indicates is product managers are seriously considering dedicating more product development resources to make them a reality.
Not only do we have to campaign for votes against highly requested features from all corners of the Salesforce platform, but conditional Completion Actions have also been marked as ‘high’ effort, meaning we would have to spend more of our dedicated coin pot to boost the idea (vs. a ‘low’ effort idea).
This is wrapped up in ‘extensibility’ for automation, which is why there may be dependencies placed on its delivery (and why it’s marked ‘high’ effort on the IdeaExchange prioritization).
While there is no confirmed timeline, there are some things to keep in mind:
- Salesforce product engineers had started on the technical designs a long time ago.
- This could be re-added to future prioritization cycles.
What are Conditional Completion Actions?
Conditional Completion Actions fire only when the prospect making the activity meets certain criteria. When the rule criteria matches (“is true”, “equals value X” etc.) then the Completion Action will fire.
You can think of it as taking a Completion Action and merging it with an Automation Rule. We are all familiar with the concept of rule criteria when building Automation Rules – first you define the ‘criteria’, whether it be a prospect’s score, field value, profile etc. – which enables you to narrow down which prospects the action should be applied to.
There are plenty of examples where you don’t want the Completion Action to fire every time. As you will see, conditional Completion Actions will go a long way to keep these automations neater in your Pardot account (vs. requiring both the marketing asset and a disparate Automation Rule)
Routing Form Submissions
Ensuring a prospect gets assigned to the correct user/the correct users notified – I put my bets on this being the most popular use case. For example, if a prospect’s country is ‘Germany’, assign them to the German SDR, or the Germany lead queue.
Populating Lead Source
Sometimes you may want to force a specific lead source value on a prospect (when they submit a form, click on a custom redirect), however, you want to limit this to first time submissions only. You need to add a rule condition to only fire when a prospect’s lead source field is blank first in order to not override existing any lead source value.
It is possible to keep strangers off the guest list for invite-only events you are running. There is a DRIP tutorial coming soon which shows you how to achieve this using Automation Rules, however, you can avoid the automation overhead with a conditional Completion Action.
Conditional Completion Actions – Short-term Solution
If you really can’t wait for conditional Completion Actions to be delivered (if they are even added to the roadmap), then there are a few fixes to try out:
- Repeat Automation Rules
- Repeat Engagement Programs
As always with custom workarounds, consider the longer term. Make a trade-off in terms of immediate need and gains for your users vs. your admin overhead (and possibly costs to get specialists to implement).
The first method involves creating multiple form handlers, replacing IDs in some provided script with your own, and pasting this script to your Pardot form’s Thank You Code.
Full details can be found in this Salesforce Knowledge Base article.
This solution won’t suit everyone. It’s best to seek help from a technical specialist, or stick with clicks (not code) where possible – otherwise, you will regret your decision whenever your team requests changes!
2. Repeat Automation Rules
I compared conditional Completion Actions to Automation Rules, so here’s a viable code-free workaround! (If you know how to build automation rules, you can skip this section)
Automation Rules are evaluating all the prospects in your Pardot account (remember these automations are not tied to a particular asset!) therefore, the first criteria should tell Pardot to look for only prospects that have submitted the form. This is set by using:
Prospect form — [select the name of your form] — was completed successfully
Next, tell Pardot to single out the prospects you want to apply this specific action to. I’m going to use the German example again, which would work as:
Prospect default field — Country — is — Germany
It’s so important to make sure you have ‘Match All’ selected so that it will only pull in prospects that have submitted the form AND are from Germany.
Set which actions should happen to them, eg. assign to user, add to list…
Finally, ensure your automation rules are allowed to repeat (you’ll find this checkbox higher up on the page):
The downsides: it requires multiple individual rules, and will soak up a lot of processing. Plus, you need to know the ins-and-outs of the Pardot account, it would not be so simple for someone new to make an edit.
3. Repeat Engagement Programs
Perhaps the 2nd alternative will be better for mapping out your conditional completion actions.
Engagement Studio has a visual interface that you can take advantage of to build operational automations (as well as automated email campaigns). Most people can open up a program and quickly get an understanding of its purpose.
Moving conditional completion actions into Engagement Studio was not possible before Repeating Engagement Programs (back in the day, once a prospect went through an Engagement Program, they could not re-enter).
Every Engagement Program must start with a list, so the form must add prospects to the list. Set a normal Completion Action on your chosen marketing asset for this.
Once a prospect submits the form, they are added to the list and will start to flow into the Engagement Program. Use Rule steps to send them down different paths. Here is an example of what a Rule step would look like:
A ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ path will appear when you click save, where you can define your actions for criteria match, and criteria no match!
Summary – vote now!
Conditional Completion Actions fire only when the prospect making the activity meets certain criteria. You can think of it like taking a Completion Action and merging it with an Automation Rule – which would be beneficial in multiple use cases such as routing form submissions (eg. by country), populating specific lead sources, or invite-only forms – to name just a small number!
VOTE NOW: you have until Jan 31st to vote in this prioritization cycle – we have our work cut out looking at the current rankings:
Live rankings as of 07:00 am GMT, Jan 27th!
We will find out the final rankings after February 1.
Conditional Completion Actions came up when product managers were asked: “what do you want to work on, but can’t?”, painfully aware they’ve put this off and wish they could deliver sooner (read the summary: True to the Core: Pardot Edition).
It’s worth repeating that before jumping into building custom workarounds, you should consider the longer term. Make a trade-off in terms of immediate need and gains for your users vs. your admin overhead (and possibly costs to get specialists to implement).