The 5 rules of Pardot-Salesforce Null value sync

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Has this ever happened to you?
You delete a field value in Salesforce or Pardot and it reappears minutes later?

With the standard sync settings, this will happen because the null value sync rules kick in. It can make data cleaning and management a frustrating task, and confusion when values keep coming back to haunt you. No matter how many times you go in and delete, the field isn’t going to stay blank for long; that’s unless you take some action to reconfigure your account and sync options.


This is why I’ve collated 5 rules on Pardot-Salesforce Null value sync. Throughout, I’ve tried to put emphasis on consequences for the data. Get these rules and options clear so you’re able to make the best decisions for the scenarios you encounter.

RULE 1: A filled field always trumps a blank

The fundamental rule to brandish into your mind is this: a field with a value will always trump a blank field.

What this looks like in action:

Scenario 1

Scenario 2

RULE 2: Unverify Connector before erasing Pardot values

I have values in Pardot I want to clear for some reason – maybe because Prospects were submitting poor quality data into forms. I also want to get rid of the values in Salesforce too.

People know how to get around validation rules these days – that’s if you even have them set up in the first place.

Clearly, this is bad data that’s clogging my account and skewing my form’s performance metrics by giving false conversions.

However, I know that if I go ahead and clear those Pardot field values, then when the next Pardot-Salesforce sync happens, my blank values will be populated with the Salesforce data.

So, what to do to ensure that these Pardot fields are cleared, and stay cleared?

  • First, unverify the Salesforce connector. You do this on the Pardot side because it’s much simpler – and easier to reinstate.
  • Second, mass delete the Salesforce field values using Data Loader (get your Salesforce Admin involved!). You may have to amend Data Loader settings to enable the ‘Insert Null Values’ setting.
  • Finally, go back into Pardot and remove field values using Automation Rules.
    (oh, and go back and reverify your Salesforce Connector from Pardot!)


RULE 3: Create Salesforce field ‘null’ values

It’s a struggle to continually unverify and reverify the Pardot-Salesforce Connector whenever there’s a null value clash. One common situation is when a Salesforce user deletes a field value, only to find it’s repopulated within a few minutes.

No, it’s not black magic. It’s because Rule 1 kicks into action.

To solve this problem, a null value has to be inserted. This could be:

  • Inserting ‘deleted’, ‘null’, ‘blank’ into the text field
  • OR Creating a ‘deleted’, ‘null’, ‘blank’ picklist option.

Whilst this has its limitations, at least the CRM fields won’t persistently be updated with out-of-date data coming from Pardot. This is why it’s best practice to be strict and only map the necessary fields between the two systems in the first place.

If this is a persisting problem, Rule 4 could be the solution you’re craving.

RULE 4: CRM blank values can win over Pardot values – an exception!

There is an optional setting that can be enabled, which allows Salesforce blank values to win over Pardot field values. Essentially, this puts Salesforce as the ultimate source of truth and pretty much throws Rule 1 out of the window.

The benefits are evident in cases like Rule 4, where deleted Salesforce field values will keep reappearing.

Take careful consideration of other scenarios! One obvious example is this:

  • A Prospect has submitted a form with updated information
  • However, a Sales rep has deleted the field values in Salesforce
    ! You will lose the newly captured data !

If you want to go ahead with this option, you have to contact the Pardot Support team to have it enabled for your account.

RULE 5: There are two fields that are always protected…

The two fields that remain untouchable are:

  • Email
  • ‘Do not email’

Email is a crucial field. The reason this field value remains even if deleted in Salesforce is:

  • A Prospect record must have an email address to exist.
  • It’s the unique identifier for non-AMPSEA accounts.
  • The Prospect record itself is not deleted (phew!). It will be marked [[crm_deleted]] (to say its tie with the CRM record has been severed).

It’s clearly important to respect Prospects marked ‘Do not email’:

  • Sending has caused a hard bounce or 5 soft bounces
  • Logic is to protect your sending IP reputation for future email deliverability.


Here’s a bonus rule for you:

Think before you act

As you’ve seen in the above rules, you need to think contextually, and on a field-by-field basis.

Can potentially become complex when you discover the trade-offs between Prospect data updates (eg. form submissions) and CRM user updates (eg. deleting their customer’s data that’s no longer relevant).

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand why the values you want to get rid of keep coming back to haunt you. As I said before, no matter how many times you go in and delete, the field isn’t going to stay blank for long unless you take some action to reconfigure your account and sync options!

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “The 5 rules of Pardot-Salesforce Null value sync

  1. Avatar

    About CRM blank values can win over Pardot values: I want to explore this option but before activating I need to know if this is be done on a field by field basis? That is, in Pardot, configure fields, where you select which value will win if there is difference between Salesforce & Pardot, is this where you select this option once Salesforce activates this feature upon my request?

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