Questions to Ask Before Enabling New Features – Pardot (Account Engagement)

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Salesforce releases come three times a year: Spring, Summer, and Winter. The Salesforce platform is evolving at such a rate – and Pardot (Account Engagement) is no exception.

While new features and enhancements are great, we have to set priorities for what we roll out, and when. Marketers and Admins don’t have huge bandwidth on top of their BAU work (business-as-usual). Sometimes, we even find ourselves in a balancing our responsibilities with an overzealous manager who wants all the ‘shiny new toys’. 

The following questions provide a structure for prioritizing new features, how to get a grip on the functionality benefits, and whether there are good reasons not to go ahead with the idea. 

‘What’, and ‘Why’?

With each new feature enablement that’s proposed for your organization, the first questions to ask are:

  • What: A one sentence definition of what the new feature is. Avoid jargon, so that anyone can understand (a layman’s point of view).
  • Why: The business case as to why you should use the new feature. Also take into account why Salesforce released it – the long term product vision.

This is the structure I use to lay the foundation. Let’s take an example – the Pardot (Account Engagement) Lightning App. Reading this now, it’s almost certain that you’re already using the Pardot Lightning App, however, this is an excellent example.

  • What: Use Pardot (Account Engagement) within the Salesforce interface. Users can switch between Pardot and Salesforce easily, without even realizing these are separate tools.
  • Why: The Pardot Lightning App’s navigation is an improvement to Pardot Classic’s, and will be familiar to any users who have used Salesforce Lightning. The Pardot (Account Engagement) engineering teams are now placing all their attention on enhancing the Pardot Lightning App. They have stated that the majority of future features will need the Pardot Lightning App to be enabled as a prerequisite. This is the effort to move Pardot on to the Salesforce platform in the long term.

Let’s now cover the questions that will help you to prioritize what features your organization needs:

  1. Is it a ‘gateway’ feature? I term a ‘gateway’ feature as one that Salesforce says is a prerequisite for (or hints at) other future functionality. We’ve mentioned how the Pardot Lightning App was a prerequisite for multiple features. Connected Campaigns are another good example, required to then be able to use Engagement History, Snippets, and others. If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, you can eliminate the other questions (and time-consuming discussions!)
  2. Are there prerequisites? Similar to the first question, but flipped on its head. When you propose a new feature, the project timelines could end up having significant time added to account for prerequisites to be implemented. If the case is strong enough, the prerequisites will be willingly swallowed into the implementation – you just don’t want to have a nasty surprise down the line.
  3. What are the use cases? Some would argue that this is the most important question – and I agree. You need to understand how the feature is intended to be used. Usually, big projects will start with this business analysis; however, we’re talking about relatively contained feature enablement in this context. You’ve started to build a compelling use case (technically speaking), but you need to ‘cover your back’ with the business reasoning, should the project go awry, you want to bring everyone back to its importance. Can you see your team using this feature? Is there an immediate need, or is it more of a nice to have? You can use the categorization below to help guide you:
    1. Productivity: Users will be able do a task faster.
    2. Campaign: Will make improvements to how engaging campaigns are for prospects (personalization, etc.)
    3. Reporting: Will improve the insights reports can give the business.
  4. What’s the setup effort? Predict workload for you/your team, before starting each setup. A little foresight will avoid having to abandon an implementation partway through due to capacity issues, or conflicting projects.
  5. Do you need the Salesforce Admin’s support? If you are not experienced in Salesforce administration (or that’s not your remit, due to role divisions or access restrictions), then you will need to run everything past the person who ‘holds the keys’ to your org. As many Pardot (Account Engagement) features require Salesforce skills and knowledge of how your connected Salesforce org is configured, you’ll need to get the designated Admin involved before you even touch anything in Pardot (Account Engagement).
  6. Are there any further considerations? (‘Gotchas’) Gotchas are things that cause user confusion, frustration, and extra work for Admins. Article written by Pardot pros are a great source for unearthing these; whenever I write a guide, I share gotchas that I’ve bumped into while working with clients, having rolled out features in different scenarios. See Bonus Connected Campaign Tips as an example.
  7. What’s the expected training effort? Training can be a ‘big ticket’ item in roll outs that, sadly, is underestimated. What may be obvious to you is not obvious to everyone potentially using the new feature – put on ‘their shoes’ and take a walk in them! If this change will be disruptive to users’ routines, add extra time to consider their needs.
  8. Have you checked your campaign calendar? It goes without saying – don’t roll out features during the busiest times in your team’s marketing calendar.

Summary

There are multiple features coming out with each Salesforce (Pardot) release, so it comes to a point where we need to set a priority order for when to roll out new features.

The questions in this guide provide a structure for prioritizing new features, how to get a grip on the functionality benefits, and whether there are good reasons not to go ahead with the idea. 

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