How to Capture Product Interest in Pardot

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Setting up Pardot automation to send relevant emails based on a prospect’s product interest gives you a great foundation for lead nurture. This is a popular tactic, especially for B2B marketers, who look to narrow down a prospect’s interest.

What may sound simple on paper can quickly become complex in reality, as your Salesforce org, Pardot account, and website combination will vary from the next marketers. With multiple options for capturing prospect product interest, choosing the right one will depend on your set up.

Populate Product Interest: Explicit vs. Implicit Ways

Before we head to Pardot for the set up, let’s take a look at the two categories of data capture in marketing automation.

You can capture product interest through:

  • Explicit ways: the prospect telling you/your organisation they are interested in a product. eg, they select the value from a dropdown field on a form, or they are related to an open opportunity in Salesforce.
  • Implicit ways: the prospect makes signals that they are interested in a product. eg, they complete a whitepaper download form on a topic related to the product, or they have visited a specific website page multiple times.

Question: Which stage of the prospect lifecycle will you capture product interest?

Do you plan to send product-specific nurture from day 1, or will these emails kick-in later in the lead lifecycle?

This is often referred to as the ’top of funnel’ vs. the ‘middle’ or ‘bottom of funnel’. Prospects filter down the funnel as they become more serious about buying your product or service.

It’s worth noting that your answer may depend on how the sales team works, too; I have worked in organisations that want to keep prospects open-minded until someone in sales has had a discovery call to evaluate their needs.

Generally, the rule of thumb is:

  • Top of funnel: you will be relying on implicit signals based on activity, as the prospect will be largely unknown to your organisation.
  • Bottom of funnel: there will be more information available for accurate segmentation (explicit interest)

5 Ways to Capture Product Interest in Pardot

    1. Add a Product Interest Form Field
    2. Sales Team Input
    3. Opportunity Data
    4. Whitepaper Download
    5. Product Page Visits on the Website (Page Actions)

I will come back to each of these later. The way you decide upon will dictate how you set up your ‘product interest’ custom field.

Create the Product Interest Field

Setting up the field to populate with product interest – surprise, surprise – can be done in more than one way. The custom prospect field type can be either a dropdown or a text field. Let’s take a look at when to use which option:

Dropdown: good for when you have neat product categories, that don’t change often, and where you are not looking for granular detail.

You will need to use this option for:

  • Forms
  • Sales team input

A dropdown field can be used with the other data capture methods, providing your requirements fit the three characteristics I outlined above.

Text: good for capturing product names in granular detail, for product catalogues that change often.

Only use this field type when capturing product interest without any human intervention (ie. not on a form, nor users in Salesforce)

Set up Engagement Studio Programs by Product Interest

It may feel like we are jumping around but stay with me, and it will begin to make sense.

Engagement Studio is designed for sending email nurture campaigns. For a prospect to start on the Engagement program, they need to be added to the list that is the start list of that specific program.

Dynamic lists are favourites for savvy marketers. These lists automatically add or remove prospects when they match/unmatch the criteria you have defined on the list. There are plenty of examples in this post.

Set up dynamic lists for each of your product interest categories:

Use these as the start lists for Engagement Studio programs: 

Now, let’s circle back to each of the ways I outlined before.

1. Add a Product Interest Form Field

  • Best suited for top-of-funnel.
  • Use a dropdown custom field. 
  • Good for when you have neat product categories, that don’t change often.

Allow prospects to indicate their interest when they submit a form. Organisations use this when collecting data at trade shows (for effective follow-up), or if prospect assignment to the BDR team is closely related to product areas. 

Here’s the fields added to a Pardot form from the backend:

2. Sales Team Input

  • Use a dropdown custom field.
  • Good for when you have neat product categories, that don’t change often.
  • Good for when your sales team like to evaluate a prospect’s requirements before proposing the best product fit.

When a sales person receives a lead, the process in some organisations makes it a priority to discover what the prospect’s product interest is. The product interest field on the lead may be required, or only required when the lead reaches a certain status in the lifecycle, eg. a ‘Contacted’ lead needs to have a product interest, but not an ‘Open’ lead (achieved using a Salesforce validation rule).

The dynamic list for the Engagement program will be the same as we saw in #1.

3. Opportunity Data

  • Best suited for middle-of-funnel.
  • Use a text custom field.
  • Good for when your sales team prefer to evaluate a prospect’s requirements before proposing the best product fit.

This all depends on whether the Salesforce admin can pass the product interest value into an opportunity field. Once that’s set up, then the opportunity field will be available in Pardot (you may notice that my demo account is missing this).

Note: a prospect will only be related to an opportunity if they are added as a Contact Role to the opportunity in Salesforce. Read up on this ‘gotcha’ to ensure that you are not skipping prospects in your segmentation.

You can add product interest using an automation rule (then create a dynamic list, as shown in #1):

Or, you can skip straight to the dynamic list, using opportunity segmentation there:

4. Whitepaper Download

  • Best suited for top-of-funnel.
  • Use a dropdown or text custom field.
  • Good for when your marketing assets align with your product categories.

Your content, such as whitepapers and ebooks, aim to educate a prospect on a topic and lead them to identify with their pain points. For example, whitepaper A talks about the pain points that product A solves.

Set a completion action on the form/form handler to update the product interest field:

 

Then, create a dynamic list, as shown in #1.

You may pick up on the obvious flaws of this flow. The product interest will update each time a prospect downloads a whitepaper, which means they could switch from program to program. The flow can also be too simplistic for some organisations, or marketing assets cannot be neatly grouped with product categories.

5. Product Page Visits on the Website

  • Best suited for top-of-funnel.
  • Use a dropdown or text custom field.
  • Good for when your website pages align with your product categories.

If a prospect continually visits the same product page of your website, surely something has caught their eye? Capitalise on these behavioural signals using page actions.

Page actions allow you to set completion actions based on a page view. Here’s how a page action gathering product interest would look like:

Again, you would create a dynamic list, as shown in #1.

Summary

Setting up Pardot automation to send relevant emails based on a prospect’s product interest gives you a great foundation for lead nurture.

As you have seen throughout this post, there are multiple options for capturing prospect product interest. Hopefully you will now know more about how to choose the right one for your Pardot set up.

2 thoughts on “How to Capture Product Interest in Pardot

    1. Lucy Mazalon

      Great question! I would say you need to then look to adding people to lists. If your product interest field is a picklist, then you can look to convert that to a multi-select picklist, but read up on how Pardot (especially completion actions) will work when using multi-select picklists – they are not the friendliest!

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