Host your Virtual Events with Pardot and Zoom

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We have always used Pardot to host our monthly events. Like everyone else, we quickly turned these physical events into digital ones, which meant changing our Pardot setup to work with Zoom, our chosen webinar platform for virtual events.

In this post, I am going to show you how Zoom works with Pardot, the set up options you can use, and the pros and cons of each.

“Prodly”

–UPDATE–

Many people are asking how the Pardot authentication changes (and new Single Sign-On (SSO)) impact the Zoom Connector. Mid-January 2021, Zoom launched an update that enables you to connect using Salesforce OAuth instead of the Pardot-only login/API. Read Pascale Gieryn’s article for the full rundown.

–ORIGINAL POST–

Here are the two options:

  • Using the Zoom Connector for Pardot: the improved way, fewer steps, and less switching interfaces during setup.
  • Using Pardot form handlers: the original way, not as intuitive Note: this option is being phased out. It will still work, but Zoom will not troubleshoot or will be able to provide any technical support!

I’m not going to touch on how to set up Zoom webinars in general because I think it’s really intuitive – you will be able to yourself just by clicking around in the system. First, let me share our use case for how we host virtual events with Pardot and Zoom.

This talk was originally broadcast at the London Marketers (Pardot) Group. You will find the recording below so that you can follow along:

How We Host Virtual Events with Pardot and Zoom

Our use case:

We host a monthly coffee morning to stay in contact with our customers and to talk about topics like our favorite apps, common sticking points, and the new releases. We always used Pardot for managing this for our physical events, but like everyone, we had to turn these physical events into digital ones.

When we host physical events:

We send out an invitation email, which directs the customer to a Pardot landing page with a form. Once they fill out the form, they receive an autoresponder, and then I would send them a calendar invite.

When we host virtual events:

When we started hosting virtual events, we did the exact same process as the physical event, except we sent them the webinar link in the calendar invite. 

That was fine, but it became quite clear that we could do more than that! 

So the next time we set up the virtual event, we included the webinar link in the Pardot autoresponder. 

The time after that, we did most of the process directly in Zoom. We still sent an invitation email from Pardot using the normal lists we use – but rather than sending a link to a Pardot landing page, we sent the customer to a Zoom landing page, like this one here:

This Zoom landing page contains a form, which when filled out:

  1. Created them as a prospect in Pardot (if they weren’t already)
  2. Added them to an attendees list
  3. Sent a Zoom autoresponder, which contained the joining information and personalized links.

After the event, Zoom populates two other lists in Pardot: one for attendees, and one for your absentees (no shows). It does that automatically, which is really useful for reporting purposes.

Set Up Virtual Events with the Pardot Zoom App – Option 1

Using the Zoom Connector for Pardot is the newer, improved way. You can manage your event with just three lists!
It’s my preferred option because there are fewer steps involved, and less need to switch between interfaces during the setup.

Before you get started

So the prerequisites for this are:

  • Upgrade to a Video Webinar plan (100, 500, 1000 or 3000 participants).
  • Have Pardot admin rights.
  • Need pre-approval of the Pardot app from the Zoom marketplace.
  • Your Pardot edition supports API requests (otherwise, integration is impossible).

 

Step 1: Install the Zoom Pardot app from the marketplace

Find the Zoom marketplace by going across to the integrations tab in Zoom, and click on the ‘Pardot app in the marketplace’ button.

Then you just sign in and install the app.

A webpage that’s quite self-explanatory prompts you to fill in:

  • Your email (the same email for your Pardot account),
  • The same password for your Pardot account,
  • Your user API key, which you can find by going to: Pardot Settings → My Profile → scroll down to the ‘API User Key’.
  • (optional) set exclusion domains, which are any email domain that you want to block from being able to register for your events. It’s not a feature that I’ve actually used, but it could be useful for trying to block out any competition or things like that.


How to find your Pardot user API key.

Step 2: Add Event Details

Set up your event including the date, time, and other information like that:

Step 3: Generate Prospects in Pardot via Lists

Go to the “Integrations” tab and click on the top option: “Generate Prospects in Pardot via Lists”

This will bring you to another page, where you will select the lists for:

  • Your Registration List, so that when anyone registers for your event, they will be added to that Pardot list automatically.
  • Your Attendee List
  • Absentee List: then, it also generates a list for people that don’t make the event that registered, but don’t attend, ready for you to reach out to that audience in a different way.

Each is just a drop-down arrow that, when clicked, will display every list that you’ve ever created in Pardot. I don’t think you can search for them, so it does take some scrolling to find the right one.

Tip: Something that I did find slightly frustrating, is that you have to specify all three lists. You can’t just have your registration list and your attendee list. If all three of those fields aren’t filled in, you won’t be able to move on (it will keep coming up with an error message).
Ok, it’s not really a big deal, but having lots of lists with maybe just one or two prospects in them isn’t the best thing for keeping your Pardot account clean!

Step 4: Registration Form Fields

The next thing you will want to do is go across to the “Invitations” tab:

That’s going to bring up a screen that looks like the one below. Here, you’re going to map across your fields, so that you can select the fields you want to include on your registration page.

Zoom will map default fields to Pardot automatically.

Yes, Zoom does let you create custom fields, which is obviously useful! It is a bit of a complicated process, so I recommend you read this resource before you start. When you complete those steps, your custom fields will also map across automatically from Zoom to Pardot as well.

Using Pardot Custom Fields and Zoom: What you need to know

You don’t have the ability to feed data from a custom Zoom question into an existing Pardot field. Note how we emphasised existing; every custom question you create in a Zoom registration form creates a new field in Pardot.

This Zoom data ‘living’ in a separate field can clearly cause issues – duplicated fields with the same name, data not syncing to Salesforce, and others.

Thanks to Lydia for telling us: “there’s another option that will bring all of your custom field responses over in a single, mushed-up field you’d need some coding smarts to parse through it and get your data where you need it.”

Pros & Cons of the Pardot List Option

That’s pretty much it for the list method! As you will see by the end of the post, it’s a much simpler process than the form handler method.

1. Submissions Don’t Show in Prospect Activity

The first downside I found, is that form submissions won’t show up in the prospect’s activity – in other words, if they complete that Zoom form, there’s no way for Pardot to realize that. Although the Zoom forms will create a new prospect and add them to the list, doesn’t show up on the prospect’s activity or impact Prospect scoring.

2. Which Assets in Pardot, which in Zoom?

Another issue I did run into, was trying to chop and change between which marketing assets I created in Pardot for and which marketing assets I used Zoom for.
My conclusion? I found this doesn’t really work – you have to commit to one or the other.
An example: when we ran the first webinar, people were registering through a Pardot form. We sent them gave a generic joining link, which I could add to the calendar invite for anybody to click on. This meant we didn’t need them to register via Zoom as well.
When people register through Zoom, however, Zoom gives them personalized links. The only way for the attendee to get that link is either: it would appear on the confirmation screen, or you have to send it to them using a Zoom autoresponder. In my opinion, it doesn’t look as good as what you could create in Pardot – it’s functional, but it just doesn’t look as nice.

How To Set Up Zoom with Pardot Form Handlers – Option 2

Using Pardot form handlers to connect Zoom to Pardot is the option that was originally the only way available. For our digital brains, it’s too repetitive, and it’s too much time to dedicate to one task. Nevertheless, enjoy this tutorial on how you can set up your Zoom webinars, with Pardot form handlers.

  • Note: this option is being phased out. It will still work, but Zoom will not troubleshoot or will be able to provide any technical support! Based on that information, consider how you should proceed if you want to ‘future-proof’ your set up.

Before you get started

Before you get started, you need to:

  • Upgrade to a Video Webinar plan (100, 500, 1000 or 3000 participants).
  • Have Pardot admin rights.

Step 1: Add Event Details

Once you’ve done that, you’re going to set up your event just like you did before, including the date, time, and other information like that:

Step 2: Map Your Fields

Go across to the “Invitations” tab, and click edit.

That’s going to bring up a screen that looks like the one below. Here, you’re going to map across your fields, so that you can select the fields you want to include on your registration page.

Zoom does let you create custom fields, which is obviously really useful! (but read our warnings to admins we discussed in option 1)

And of course, you need to have the exact same fields here that you’re going to be using on the Pardot form handler. Plus, you need to make sure that the required fields are ticked as well so that it matches what will be on your form handler.

Step 3: Create Your Form Handler

Go and create your form handler in Pardot, just like you normally would for any other form handler.

You can create two: one for registration, and for attendees to use when they enter the virtual event.

Step 4: Connect Your Form Handler to Zoom

Back in Zoom, move across to the integrations tab, and select configure (it’s next to the generate prospects with form handlers section).

Then copy and paste the form handler link across, and click save. That’s basically it!

Pros & Cons of the Form Handler Option

Although it isn’t a hard process, the first time you do it you will probably be jumping in between Pardot and Zoom to get all the information you need.

Once you’ve done it once or twice, you work out that it’s much easier to start with setting your Zoom fields and then set it the form handler fields in Pardot, and then mapping those across.

I guess the only friction is that you’re making the same form twice – once in Zoom, and once in Pardot – plus, if you want to set up both the registration and attendee form handler, then that’s two form handlers and a Zoom form you have to create.

Finally, there’s no harm in repeating that this option is being phased out. It will still work, but Zoom will not troubleshoot or will be able to provide any technical support!

17 thoughts on “Host your Virtual Events with Pardot and Zoom

  1. Lydia

    Hi there! I just finished putting a Zoom/Pardot integration into place for my org, and there are some big “gotchas” that made it a deal breaker for our organization, mostly regarding custom fields. The documentation, as of late September, was out of date and Zoom support admitted as such.

    One important thing to note — the Form handlers option is being phased out. To quote the support tech I talked to at Zoom: “The form handlers Zoom does not support anymore, in other words it may still work, but Zoom will not troubleshoot or will be able to provide any technical support for the form handler Pardot.” Based on that, I wasn’t confident about setting up my integration using form handlers in that manner, knowing that they’re being phased out and could at any point be removed.

    Second, the custom questions — You don’t actually have the ability to feed data from a custom question into an existing Pardot field. Every custom question you create in a Zoom registration form creates a NEW field in Pardot. So let’s say you are gathering data in a field labeled “Product of Interest” on a Zoom reg form. But you already have a field in Pardot for this, which syncs to Salesforce. Too bad, so sad — now that info is in a NEW field in Pardot. And never the twain shall meet. There’s another option that will bring ALL of your custom field responses over in a single, mooshed-up field, but you’d need some coding smarts to parse through it and get your data where you need it. There’s a video that explains the integration and custom questions more clearly: https://success.zoom.us/rec/share/v-B_IZXQrzlIS4nx6V6ES_4xAajCX6a823Ue-vJZmh3-OPCFFDm7Ibx69nGUoEt4

    It’s possible that there are enterprise-wide settings that I’m missing — so if someone knows something I don’t about how to make custom questions work better, do let me know.

    1. Lucy Mazalon

      Hi Lydia,

      Thanks for another insightful comment! I will replace out the documentation linked in the post (technology, always a changing reality!)
      And of course… we will flag the form handler option as a legacy setup. I’m not surprised, when I did it a few years back it was a tricky one to wrap my head around!

      Let’s hope there are some items on the Zoom-Pardot roadmap to address these gotchas.

      Thanks a mil,
      Lucy

    2. William Tennison

      Hi Lydia,

      Yeah the Zoom Integration is far from perfect and you’ve addressed some really good points. Technology moves so fast that at the time of writing my presentation everything was correct.

      A really simple work around for the custom fields is you can export a CSV after the event which will have first names, last names and all the answers to their custom fields. You can upload back into Pardot and map the fields across.

      Hopefully that helps in some way. Thanks for reading

  2. Avatar

    The key issue we’re having with it is that you cannot set the source campaign. So any prospects that get created are automatically added to the oldest pardot campaign 🙁

    1. William Tennison

      Hi Allan, yeah this is a weakness which got missed off my presentation! Like I said below you’ve got a couple of solutions but neither are perfect fixes.

      If you’re managing a relatively low number of signs up you could edit this manually on the prospects record.
      For a larger audience you could create a list of new prospects and use an automation rule to update the source campaign.

      Personally we don’t and just assign them to a CRM Campaign using automation rules which generally does the job for tracking purposes. Hopefully Zoom look at fixing this in the future as it is a real weakness. Sorry I couldn’t help more!

  3. Avatar

    Hi Lucy, thanks so much for this post, very topical. One thing I ran into is that I couldn’t set the source campaign for net new prospects converting on Zoom.

    I’ve asked Zoom and they did mention it would probably just work with the form handler integration but not with the list integration. Any other ways this is possible to share?

    Many thanks,
    Claudia

    1. Lucy Mazalon

      Hi Claudia, it’s our pleasure, glad you found it useful! Although, full credit to Will who shared all of this at our meetup 🙂 I will see if Will has any thoughts on your predicament.

      Thanks,
      Lucy

    2. William Tennison

      Hi Claudia, I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Yeah this is a bit of an issue. You’ve got a couple of solutions but neither are perfect fits.

      If you’re managing a relatively low number of signs up you could edit this manually on the prospects record.
      For a larger audience you could create a list of new prospects and use an automation rule to update the source campaign.

      Personally we don’t and just assign them to a CRM Campaign using automation rules which generally does the job for tracking purposes. Hopefully Zoom look at fixing this in the future as it is a real weakness. Sorry I couldn’t help more!

  4. Avatar

    Hi there! We tried to get the Zoom connector option set up a few weeks ago, however realized that our version of Pardot does not support API requests which made the integration impossible. Not a gotcha that I had found in any documentation, might be worth adding!

    1. Lucy Mazalon

      Hi Desiree, before you get started, you need to upgrade to a Video Webinar plan (100, 500, 1000 or 3000 participants). Hope that helps!

  5. Avatar

    Hi Lucy and William! Thanks for sharing this. You’re articles are really useful.

    I have a question, can you populate the registration list with a Pardot form or form handler instead of a the Zoom registration page?

    Thanks!

    1. William Tennison

      Hi Jose, this is possible. My advice around this is if you use a Pardot form/form handler then you should only use Zoom to host the event. For example send your autoresponder or reminder emails through Pardot as well.

      When setting up the event inside of Zoom make sure you leave the ‘Registration Required’ box unticked and then at the very bottom of the page you should get a joining link which you should include in your autoresponder or calendar invite. I’ve used this method in the past and it works perfectly well. If you any issues get back in touch!

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