Til: Why Pardot Sourced Leads Have Company [[Unknown]]

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It’s a well-known fact that conversion rates plummet the more fields you include on your lead capture forms. It’s a smart decision to keep only the essential fields: first name, last name (for professionalism), and of course email address.

Email address: the golden key! You can derive a lot of information from an email address. The domain ending (eg. @salesforceben.com) spells out the company this prospect belongs to, so many marketers omit company from the form to reduce fields to the minimum.

If you’re using Pardot, you have the luxury data-enriched Prospect records, thanks to a number of built-in data scraping capabilities, and sources like Salesforce.

Therefore, you may be surprised when Lead records appear in Salesforce with a company [[unknown]]. Isn’t Pardot meant to work that out for you? There are 3 fields that support each other when trying to figure out who a prospect is:

  • Email
  • Company
  • Website

So why do you see company [[unknown]]? This is what I discovered when I began digging.

When a prospect is created in Pardot, and has no company/account field, Pardot will display the company’s website in the company field. Pardot has actually scraped this from the email address domain.

Great, we have something to go on! However, if the company field has been automatically populated with a website URL in Pardot, when it syncs to Salesforce as a Lead record, this URL won’t be picked up. The lead record, essentially, remains blank. Instead of a blank field, the Salesforce Connector for Pardot fills this in with [[unknown]].

Want to avoid company [[unknown]]? And ultimately improve the overall quality of inbound lead data?

Fix Using Salesforce Automation (New Records)

There’s two ways to build this smart automation in Salesforce:

a) Use a Workflow Rule
b) Use Process Builder

Right now, I am going to show you the Workflow Rule method, that will strip out ‘www.’ from the website value, and copy it into the company field.

Navigate to: Setup —> Workflow Rules

Create a New Workflow Rule, selecting ‘Lead’ as the object to which this workflow rule applies.

  • Add the Rule Name, eg. Lead: Populate Blank Company Name
  • Add a description, eg. Populates Company Name when it comes blank inbound from Pardot.
  • Evaluate the rule when a record is: Created
  • Run this rule if the: criteria are met. In the below image, you will see I have added a filter that tells the rule to fire if:

a) The company field is: blank or [[unknown]]
b) The website field is not blank

On the next page, Add a Workflow Action with type “New Field Update”.

  • Add the Field Update name, eg. Lead: Update Company Name with Website
  • Select ‘Company’ from the ‘Field to update’ dropdown.


Open up the formula editor, and paste this formula:
MID(Website, FIND(‘www.’, Website, 1)+4, (LEN(Website) – FIND(‘www.’, Website, 1)+4))

Click ‘Check Syntax’ to be sure your formula doesn’t contain any errors.

Once you come back to the overview screen, click ‘Activate’.

Fix Using Salesforce Automation or Imports (Existing Records)

You saw that the ‘Evaluation Criteria’ for the rule above is set for new leads only ‘when created’. You can choose to set this as ‘Created, and every time it’s edited’, but I don’t recommend this, as processing the automation each time a user or an integration is updating the record could send the system into overdrive especially if you have multiple workflow rules activated.

What you could do, is a classic export, Excel file manipulation to remove the ‘www.’ and ‘.com’ (or any suffix), then reimport. Just remember that when you pull the Salesforce report to export, ensure you have added the ‘Lead ID’ field.


18 thoughts on “Til: Why Pardot Sourced Leads Have Company [[Unknown]]

    1. Hi Cem, the easiest option is to create a Pardot automation rule to populate this field with a value – so it will work like: when a new prospect is created with a blank company/prospect account, ask Pardot to fill this with the website URL. Or, you could create a Salesforce Workflow rule that can strip out the ‘www.’ and ‘.com…’ of the website when copying the value into the company field. Workflow rules have more flexibility on the SF side.

  1. Hi Lucy, thank you for the reply. So I created an automation rule to catch all newly created prospects with blank Company field, and to change the default field value to %%website%% which turned the Company value to “%%website%%” rather than the prospect’s website URL. What am I missing?

    1. Hi Cem, ok apologies, I overlooked the capabilities of Pardot automation will filling in data dynamically. I recommend moving to a Salesforce automation, where there’s two ways (Workflow Rule / Process Builder). I’ve updated the post to use a Salesforce WFR to update the [[unknown]] company, that will strip out ‘www.’ from the website. Let me know if you need any help/guidance sorting out the data, more than happy to do so… sorry again!

      1. Hello

        That is great but I get UNKNOWN for the contact name also but the contact name is in Pardot, anyone come across this and a solution?

        1. Hi Jason, normally I see this on leads when there is first name and last name put into one field, leaving one blank. Maybe the prospect and contact record hasn’t synced?

          1. Thanks. We have first name, last name and email field as mandatory in Pardot forms and still get UNKNOWN in name and company when through into Pardot and also then into same in SF. We only use contacts not leads.

          2. Hi Jason, right I see, so you are struggling with the ‘orphaned contacts’ problem. I have a post coming out in 2-3 weeks that will explain this and how to solve – stay tuned 🙂

  2. Hi Lucy,

    Thanks for your work on this! Apologies may I clarify my understanding for the above “When a prospect is created in Pardot, and has no company/account field, Pardot will display the company’s website in the company field.”
    I have set company, first and last names on Pardot form as “Required”. Why is it that the Prospect is able to submit the form and still be “unknown” in these fields? Thanks!

    1. Hi Rina,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you here! It’s because the website wasn’t picked up from the prospect’s email address domain. So what Pardot does is:
      1. looks at the email domain
      2. turns the email domain into a website
      3. uses that website where the prospect doesn’t have an account name.

      Hope that resolves the confusion 🙂

  3. Hi Everyone,

    I am trying to make Pardot not populate this Company field at all. I don`t need the domain and I don`t need the Unknown text,
    because we then convert all those leads into Person Accounts and in order to convert into a Person Account you need the Company field absolutely empty. Any thoughts?

    1. Hmm, tricky one! I’m not sure, sorry – I will ask this to the Trailblazer Community and see what people say.

    2. Hi Yana,

      Here is a response I got:

      “You should be able to convert a Lead to a Person Account, even with that value. Person Accounts don’t have a Company field in Salesforce.

      When converting a Lead to a Person Account, you generally have to select a pre-existing Person Account record or create a new one.

      In this instance, the Person Account name replaces the default Lead field of Company.”

      Hope that helps…

  4. Hello, Why the formula not work MID(Website, FIND(‘www.’, Website, 1)+4, (LEN(Website) – FIND(‘www.’, Website, 1)+4))
    syntx error, please

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