The demand for Pardot expertise continues to grow, helped by the Salesforce economy’s overall growth. With Pardot becoming ever more closely involved with Salesforce core activities, these professionals find themselves in a good position.
Pardot is known (and admired) as a relatively simple marketing automation app; however, it’s deceptively simple. Organizations seeking to push Pardot further will need the knowledge around best practice configuration that only seasoned Pardot experts can offer. Pardot Admins and consultants need to understand how Sales Cloud functions in order to maximize their tech stack. This makes hiring a critical job.
As a certified Pardot Consultant, I have been working with Pardot and Salesforce for years, optimizing it for a diverse range of clients, and witnessing its evolution.
In this guide, I will share Pardot interview questions you could expect – whether you’re aiming to become a Pardot Consultant, or going for an in-house Salesforce Pardot interview.
After warm-up questions, the topics covered include discovery, Pardot/Salesforce configuration, email marketing, reporting – and finally – personal development.
If you haven’t done so already, read what a typical Pardot Consultant job description requires from candidates to give yourself some direction.
1. What about Pardot (and marketing automation) interests you?
Why did you decide to specialize in Pardot/marketing automation? Could be another way this question is asked.
Talk about your career path, the first time you encountered Pardot, and how it made you feel. Tell the interviewer about what “hooked” you; it could be the value you delivered when you “hit the ground running”, how Pardot functions, or that Pardot boosted your productivity compared to other tools you used – it’s your call!
2. Describe a successful marketing campaign you were involved in.
Little explanation is required from me here! You should always have an example use case in your ‘back pocket’.
Talk about the purpose of the email campaign (why you did it), the target audience (who it was for), the elements involved (email, and eg. landing pages, e-commerce). Which metrics were you tracking? How did you perform relative to the metrics you set out (your goals)?
3. How do you keep up to date with the latest Pardot and marketing trends?
There are countless information sources for Pardot marketers to keep up to date.
- General marketing automation news sources (eg. HubSpot, Martech Advisor).
- Pardot-specific blogs (eg. The DRIP).
- You can sign up for Salesforce-led webinars on the latest releases.
- Join your local Pardot (B2B Marketing) user group is a great way to learn about what’s coming, and what others have discovered – find one near you.
4. How do you organize your workload? / Project management techniques?
Marketing automation moves fast. There’s always a deadline, something to troubleshoot, or reports to analyze. With so many tasks to juggle between team members, organizing your workload is an essential skill. You may have used a project management platform, such as Asana or Monday, for effective collaboration to ensure campaigns are delivered, on time.
Discovery and Pardot Implementation
This first section may seem like it’s more geared towards Pardot Consultants, but almost everyone has to adopt a “consultant” mindset nowadays. Everyone will have “stakeholders” – the people that care about the outcomes Pardot can deliver – who will hold you accountable to design Pardot to best support the team’s objectives. With great power, comes great responsibility. That’s why this section is so important (even if you do not get asked these questions directly, weave the theme into your other answers).
5. Who would you consider the most important stakeholders when it comes to Pardot operations – the people you would consult/keep front-of-mind when solutionizing?
Pardot is an app that spans marketing and sales teams – after all, Pardot’s mission is to align these two (often) disparate teams.
There are multiple personas you will find in most organizations that need to be involved. How well Pardot works according to their needs/aspirations will ultimately determine whether Pardot “works” for your organization (or not).
In the session we co-presented, Jaime outlined the two types of stakeholders you should encounter (technical and non-technical):
You wouldn’t usually include both of these groups in a discovery session. In the image above, you’ll find some advice on the angle you should take, to make the information you’re presenting the most appealing to that audience.
6. Have you run a discovery (requirements gathering) session to engage stakeholders? What was the outcome?
Talk about a session you ran with one or multiple of the personas (listed in the previous answer). How did you prepare for it? How long did it last? What was on the agenda?
And the outcome – was everyone engaged with what you were discussing, or did some people seem distracted? I have been in many workshops with unengaged stakeholders (and worse, people deliberately looking to derail the project) – you may think to avoid mentioning these types of experiences initially, however, put a positive spin on it (“what I did/learned was…”) and you will prove yourself to be more resilient.
7. Which elements are essential to have in place before starting an implementation/feature roll-out?
What advice would you give to someone starting out or making an operational change? Remember, what may seem like a minor update technically could have significant change management considerations.
Here are a few things to flag:
- Subscriptions/consent management: Are subscriptions managed by lists currently, and are existing records organized into the correct format?
- Licensing: do you/the client have the correct licenses provisioned to go ahead with the implementation you want?
- Migration: if an organization is moving from another marketing automation tool, do you have access to it?
- Integration/connectors: same goes here – you need access to all platforms.
- Goals: where are the team/organization falling short? What exactly would they like to improve? Examples: lead acquisition, supplying higher quality lead for faster qualification, proving marketing influence customer retention.
- Timeline: the scheduled start and predicted end date for the work. Any tasks dependent on other teams will need the timelines communicated to also (so the project doesn’t get held up)
- Super users: who will be the one/two super users? They will be responsible for light admin tasks, and support the team day-to-day. They will go through additional training, so factor that into the project and their own schedules.
8. What are three important success factors in a new implementation/feature roll-out?
There’s no right answer here, but you may find it useful to remember the 3 P’s: product-process-people.
- Setting expectations (product): it’s important that everyone understands what Pardot is, what the project entails, and what outcomes can be expected. I found it useful to continually talk about Pardot’s benefits (within the scope of the project!)
- Project Management (process)
- Training (people): setting up Pardot technically isn’t the most important part – it’s ensuring users can go ahead and use the product afterwards. This is known as “user adoption”, ie. how well users adopt Pardot into the day-to-day work. Remember the additional training for super users (mentioned above)!
9. Which factors could potentially disrupt an implementation/feature roll-out? How would you attempt to prevent them from happening?
- Lack of stakeholder commitment: Pardot implementations require input from several people. You need buy-in from the relevant parties – which could be management buy-in for it to trickle down to all team members effectively (this could also include uncooperative team members who don’t feel like they have been listened to).
- Lack of content prepared: every marketer knows that it’s nice to have the tech, but it’s of little use without content to fuel it! Yet, somehow, there are people who think Pardot is magic, and can produce content on your behalf. Make sure there’s enough usable content to showcase the best of Pardot for the business.
- Not aligning schedules: holidays, tight workloads on other projects – there are many reasons schedules change unexpectedly.
- Scope creep: changes to requirements and extra tasks create additional work. By allowing scope creep, you’re moving the project goalposts increasingly further away from you.
10. How would you explain Pardot to someone who has never heard of marketing automation before?
No doubt you would have been in this situation before. The key is to make sure you don’t just pitch Pardot as an email sending tool – it’s so much more than that! It’s all about the wider picture, tying other marketing touchpoints and Salesforce processes other teams are involved with. So, you could say that Pardot is a tool that taps into Salesforce data and listens for prospect engagement behavior, in order to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
11. What are your top tips for training non-technical marketers?
You’ll likely work with non-technical marketers, having to explain concepts and train them on new things. These tactics can help smooth their learning curve:
- Don’t use jargon,
- Go slowly and check for comprehension,
- Use real-life examples applicable where possible (“walk through” an example),
- Don’t get caught up in explaining technical concepts when you don’t need to – keep things high level and focus on best practice.
Pardot Configuration (+ Salesforce) Questions
12. How much Salesforce configuration experience do you have? Was that in relation to Pardot projects?
With Pardot functionality becoming ever closer to Salesforce, organizations are going to be interested in your Salesforce knowledge. Be honest with what you’ve done in Salesforce – whether that be configuration, or simply enjoying being an end-user – even non-Pardot related tasks could prove you’re adaptable and have a holistic view of Salesforce beyond solely Pardot.
13. What are the key elements of a Salesforce Campaign?
- Campaign fields
- Campaign members (and member status)
- Campaign hierarchy
- Connected campaign (visible in the Pardot app)
- Marketing assets
14. What purpose do Campaign Members serve?
Campaign Members are Leads and Contacts related to a Salesforce Campaign. When you want to add someone to a Salesforce Campaign, a new Campaign Member record is created.
Each Campaign Member has a ‘Member Status’, which describes the level they have engaged with a Campaign (Campaign Touchpoint).
15. Explain what Campaign Influence is.
Salesforce Campaign Influence is how Salesforce Opportunities are associated to the Campaigns that helped generate them. It’s all about joining the dots between sales revenue (stored in opportunities) and marketing data (stored in campaigns) – and therefore, the fundamental connection in measuring Marketing ROI (return on investment).
16. Explain what Engagement History is.
Engagement History is a collection of features that increases Pardot visibility across the Salesforce user experience. You should explain some of the ways Engagement History can appear and its benefits for different personas using the Salesforce org.
- Salesforce Engagement History: The Complete Overview [Infographic]
- Tips for Maximizing Salesforce Engagement History
17. Have you ever worked with Pardot Business Units?
This question won’t be required for everyone. Pardot Business Units are separate databases within a Pardot account that mean organizations can partition their prospects, campaigns, and assets (eg. by regions, products or services).
It depends on how large and complex the organization is. Implementation is notoriously challenging to partition data correctly when syncing between Salesforce and Pardot.
Currently, two Business Units are included with Pardot Advanced Edition (and Premium).
18. What would you recommend for a customer using Person Accounts in Salesforce?
Again, not applicable to everyone, but useful to know as Person Accounts have unusual behavior (a hybrid of Salesforce Accounts and Contacts). This was Salesforce’s answer to how organizations could store B2C contacts that didn’t need to be a separate Salesforce Account and Contact record.
If Person Accounts are activated on the Salesforce side, they need to be activated in Pardot. This can be done by the Pardot admin; however, you’ll need to specify what Salesforce should do when receiving new prospect data from Pardot – whether that’s to create Leads, or create Person Accounts directly.
(Beware this can also result in “private contacts”)
19. Give some examples of how you would use Opportunity data in Pardot.
One of the greatest benefits of purchasing Pardot is to tap into Salesforce Opportunity data. You can use this data to align closely with your sales team, segmenting prospects who have an associated opportunity for the correct campaign. You should understand how Opportunities work, and the stages your team goes through to win a deal.
Example: an Engagement Studio program could include prospects at a certain Opportunity stage. When the Opportunity progresses to the next stage, they drop out.
20. What are the limitations of Pardot sandboxes?
- The key difference is that you can’t send emails from Pardot sandboxes (you can send test emails).
- Don’t function the same as a Salesforce sandbox. There are no change sets, so you can’t deploy anything from a Pardot sandbox into a Pardot production environment, meaning you must re-create any changes.
- One Pardot sandbox per Salesforce full sandbox is allowed.
- Don’t support Salesforce Engage or B2B Marketing Analytics.
21. Have you ever worked with the Pardot API?
Again, this won’t be required for everyone. If the job description requires you to work with the API, or describes that you will be integrating third-party platforms, then better get clued-up!
22. Describe what a Marketing App Extension is?
Marketing App Extensions are where you connect Pardot to external platforms, using the Pardot API (available through Marketing Setup). This allows you to create custom activity types in Pardot, and spell the future of connecting third-party apps to Pardot.
Pardot Email Marketing Questions
23. How would you help a marketer who wants to start nurturing their prospects, but doesn’t know where to start?
The key thing is to get to the bottom of the marketer’s goals. Proceed by collecting information on:
- The audience they are targeting.
- What would make someone eligible for nurturing (eg. time based, field data?)
- Which part of the customer journey? (eg. an automated onboarding program that allows them to up-sell.
- Help whiteboard what that process might look like.
24. What are some best practice tips around maintaining opt-in preferences?
Depending on the organization, opt-ins (marketing consent) can be kept simple, or become complex quickly. Best practice tips could include:
- Use an email preference center (or subscription lists at the very least). Email preference centers are the best way forward to avoid accidental unsubscribed.
- Create a custom field to record opt-in source and date.
- Implement a double opt-in process.
- The Secret to Building a Double Opt-In Mechanism in Pardot
- How to Set up Pardot Double Opt-In for Newsletter Forms
- Optimising your Pardot Double Opt-in Process
25. What is the difference between “Do not email” and “opted out”?
“Opted out” is controlled by the prospect themselves via the unsubscribe link or by using your email preference center. While Pardot users can edit this, it’s not recommended for compliance reasons (which I will revisit later).
“Do not email” is intended as a marketing suppression field, for admins/marketers to globally suppress specific prospects (preventing them from receiving emails).
- What is a Mailable Prospect in Pardot? Do Not Email vs. Email opt-out
- Getting to the bottom of the ‘Do Not Email’ field in Pardot [Infographic]
26. Which steps would you take to improve email deliverability?
If you’re having email deliverability challenges, there are a few things you can investigate and action:
- Check email authentication is correctly set up.
- Check the quality of email addresses that are being sent to. Are they old and out of date? Have prospects opted in to these emails? You should send emails to opted in, actively engaged prospects – particularly when IP warming for a new account!
- Check the quality of HTML and fix any issues. Are there broken links? Do images have alt tags? There are a few free tools out there that will help you do this, such as mail-tester.com.
Ensure you’re also sending a text version of your email alongside any HTML.
- Run a Spam Analysis on your email, and check the subject line and email content for spam flags. Are you using the word ‘free’ too much? Is there a good text to image ratio?
- Check whether your sending IP has been listed on any blacklists. If it has, reach out to the blacklist to request removal, or contact Pardot Support for further advice.
- Check If Your Email Domain Is Blacklisted: Here’s What to Do About It
- Email Deliverability Audit: Quick Domain Health Checks for Pardot Users
27. What would you recommend to look for in a Pardot Health Check/System Audit?
There are many things that could go into a “Pardot Health check”. Here are some checks you could mention:
- Prospect sync errors: check the Salesforce Connector sync error queue
- User permissions: do users have the correct level of access? Have syncing profiles caused their access to change unexpectedly?
- Folder structure: is this set up in a logical way? Could it be aligned to scoring categories, or permissions?
- Inactive automations: are there inactive automations that could be deleted or merged? There is an account limit on the number of active automations (don’t forget Engagement Studio programs & dynamic lists!)
- Deliverability (see previous question and answer)
- Segmentation: is segmentation reflective of the data, ie. are lists pulling in the same data as Salesforce reports?
- Assignment: are prospects being correctly assigned at the right time? Could the process be simplified?
- Email best practices: are emails responsive? Do they have clear CTAs and follow general best practices?
- Subscription preferences: are subscription preferences set up, and are they being honored?
- Source and campaign tracking: how is this being tracked? Is it working correctly? Could it be improved?
- GDPR: are forms GDPR compliant?
- Scoring and Grading: is this being used? Does the setup make sense for the way the organization qualifies leads?
28. What would you recommend if we start approaching our Pardot database limit?
First things first: only mailable prospects count towards your Pardot database limit. Prospects in the recycle bin don’t count either.
You will want to practice good data hygiene by reviewing whether inactive prospects should be sent to the recycle bin.
Failing to reduce the database limit, you’ll need to reach out to the Salesforce Account Executive to purchase additional mailable prospects (which could end up being costly).
- What to Do When You Hit Your Pardot Prospect Data Limit
- What is a Mailable Prospect in Pardot? Do Not Email vs. Email opt-out
29. Describe the steps to take when migrating data from another marketing automation platform?
- Maintain subscription preferences (unsubscribes/opt-outs).
- Ensure column headings in the CSV. file are mapped correctly to Pardot field names.
- Ensure data is in the correct format (eg. data for dropdown fields align to values)
- Carry over any source information.
- Activity cannot be migrated to Pardot. Prospect activity history starts over, so adjust scoring to reflect previous engagement in the other tool.
- Keep a backup of the old data. Store it securely.
- Data cleanse: take the opportunity to deduplicate, remove outdated data, deleting disengaged leads/prospects.
- Finally, create a separate source campaign or list for the import so that you can clearly differentiate between this data and new prospects in the future.
Pardot Reporting & Analytics
30. Which marketing objectives and KPIs are important for teams to track?
There can be plenty of debate around this topic.
While marketers have traditionally focused on metrics such as open rate and click-through rate, these are increasingly unreliable with the general trend towards privacy in the industry. Take Apple’s MPP update, as one headline example.
Even form submissions don’t paint a complete picture. So what if 100 people submitted a form – what happens next?
Your job, as a Pardot champion, is to prove your efforts play a part in revenue generation. Better KPIs to track are:
- % of customers who renew/purchase another product/service.
- Lifetime value
- Campaign ROI
- MQLs/SQLs produced
31. How would you be able to measure these KPIs using Pardot (and Salesforce)?
As a Salesforce/Pardot customer, you’re lucky to have many tools and methods to help you in your investigation.
- Salesforce reports & dashboards: lead conversion, opportunity reports, campaign influence.
- B2BMA dashboards
- Field data stored in Pardot key fields (score, grade, behavior score)
- Website analytics
- A Marketer’s Guide to Salesforce Campaign Influence Marketers,
- Your Salesforce Leads Do Suck – Here’s How To Define Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
32. Have you ever worked with B2B Marketing Analytics?
B2B Marketing Analytics is a Pardot add-on product that enables you to “slice-and-dice” Pardot data and blend it with other datasets (from Sales Cloud, and other sources). This goes beyond Pardot reporting that hones in on the performance of specific activities/assets.
B2BMA is included in the most common edition (Plus) as well as the edition above (Advanced). Chances are high that you’ll come across it, but use it to boost your Pardot game. There is a steep learning curve, but you can talk about the out-of-the-box dashboards that will show you have a high-level understanding of what the tool does.
Career and Personal Development
33. What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of the role?
Be honest here – this is the chance for you to address any experience you may be lacking and frame it positively.
Perhaps you could be:
- Moving from a smaller/larger team.
- Going to be working in a new industry.
- Your first consultancy role – then chances are working on multiple projects simultaneously may be daunting.
- Moving from one consultancy role to another, think about the types of clients you’re used to, or whether your new employer will have a different way of working.
- Aware of the new challenges marketers will face in the future (such as email marketing privacy trends)
Self-awareness and not being afraid to be open about areas you will need to work on are great attributes in a consultant!
34. What is the biggest mistake you have made in a project, or as an end user?
This is a classic interview question. The key thing here is to show self-awareness and talk about what you learned from the mistake, such as warning signs, or the preventative measures you put in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
35. Which Salesforce certifications do you have? Are there any others you plan to work towards?
There are others that can be very beneficial, namely the certified Salesforce Administrator certification. If you want to go even further into Sales/Marketing Ops, Sales Cloud Consultant ties in a holistic approach to consulting from both a sales and marketing perspective.
Bonus: Pardot Consultant Questions
38. What would you say to a customer who is considering Pardot over other marketing automation platforms (e.g. Mailchimp, Hubspot, Marketo)?
It’s useful to have an understanding of what the competition has to offer. You’ll likely be brought into pre-sales conversations. The main reasons why customers choose Pardot include:
- Salesforce sync: no other tool is aligned as closely to Salesforce Sales Cloud objects. This allows for more sophisticated automation and deeper reporting capabilities.
- User friendly
- Innovation: frequent releases (3x per year), user-sourced ideas.
- Community: active community and support (user groups, helpful online forums)
- Scalability: Pardot can be used by startups all the way through to enterprises.
- HubSpot vs Pardot – What are the Differences?
- Pardot vs. MailChimp: Evaluating Side-by-side
- Pardot vs. Marketo – What are the Differences?
39. When would you recommend a business use Pardot, and when Marketing Cloud would be better suited?
Pardot (Account Engagement) is used for ‘considered purchases’ where there are long sales cycles and multiple decision-makers – which is typical of B2B, but not exclusively.
Marketing Cloud is best suited to transactional purchases across multiple marketing channels – which is typical of B2C, but not exclusively.
They can also be used together, as each provides separate and vital features that the other one lacks.
40. What are the main differences between Pardot editions?
Editions are the levels of Pardot licences. There are four: Growth, Plus (most popular), Advanced, and Premium.
You’d never be expected to know all the differences, but it’s important to have a general understanding to:
- Advise a manager/customer whether upgrading to a higher edition would pay off for the company, given the extra cost.
- Know which features you have at your disposal when putting together solutions.
Pardot is known (and admired) as a relatively simple marketing automation app; however, it’s deceptively simple. Organizations seeking to push Pardot further will need the knowledge around best practice configuration that only seasoned Pardot experts can offer.. The right answers will prove you are the right person for the role.
If you haven’t done so already, read what a typical Pardot Consultant job description requires from candidates.