Congrats to Our Own Lara Black on Becoming a Salesforce MVP!

We're super proud to congratulate our own Lara Black, who today became the newest Salesforce MVP! We're elated Salesforce agreed that Lara's Pardot Expertise is unmatched!

Lara Black, Salesforce MVP
Lara Black, Salesforce MVP

Lara, the first employee at Invado Solutions, is a top contributor in the Salesforce Pardot B2B Marketing Automation Success Community. On the Community site she answers questions tirelessly. To date, she has provided over 5,000 community answers! Lara is also the leader of our local Austin, Texas B2B Marketing Group (aka the Austin Pardot User Group). If you’re looking for amazing Pardot insights, be sure to follow her on Twitter where she goes by @PardotPro. (A well-deserved name, indeed!)

She blogs frequently for us at Invado Solutions, covering topics like Connected Campaigns, and how and when Pardot and Salesforce Sync, as well as sharing many of the Pardot tips and tricks she has learned over the years.

As a Pardot Consultant and valued member of our team, Lara brings her enthusiasm for Pardot and marketing automation to every client project. We’re busting at the seams to see her earn this well-deserved recognition.


Some of you may be asking, "What is a Salesforce MVP?"

The Salesforce blog explained the MVP award best when it described Salesforce MVPs as lifelong learners who, in turn, share their expertise with the broader Salesforce community, and help others to ‘blaze their trail’ to success.

Salesforce MVPs contribute to the Salesforce Ohana by answering questions and leading and participating in discussions in the Success Communities, in the Answers forum, in local community groups, on their numerous blog posts, and on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social channels. Some MVPs have even written their own books!

Congratulations again, Lara! You’re an invaluable member of the Invado Solutions team.

Pardot Dreamforce Sessions

Five Pardot Dreamforce Sessions We’re Most Excited About

In case you missed it, Dreamforce Agenda Builder recently went live and the Pardot sessions are filling up Quickly!  We highly recommend you login to Dreamforce agenda builder and reserve your seats. With over 100,000+ attendees I’m guessing seating may be somewhat limited.

In order to make things easier for our clients and future clients, we took the time to dive into fray and identify some great sessions that we’re most excited about.  

In regards to Dreamforce h/t to our own Lara Black who was asked to work at the Pardot “Genius Bar”.   We’re super proud to have her represent our team! Way to go Lara! If you’re an Invado news subscriber  – you can skip the Genius Bar line. Just email me direct at and we’ll make plans to get your questions answered one-on-one while we’re out there.

Top sessions we recommend you check out:

Session 1:  Full-Funnel ABM Aligning Across Your Tech Stack

Inherently, marketing automation platforms like Pardot market to individuals – not companies.  Account based marketing (ABM) works to shift the paradigm so that marketers have the systems and processes in place to market to an entire company with messages that are unique to individual personas and where the company and/or individual is at in the decision-making process.  

Demandbase is leading the charge in delivering the solution to make this happen.  During this session Demandbase will share how Pardot, Salesforce and Demandbase come together to enable a great solution for ABM.  If you’re not familiar with ABM or Demandbase, I strongly recommend that you check this session out.

Session 2:  Enterprise-Level Marketing Automation with Pardot

As of several years ago Pardot had a market reputation as more of a SMB solution along the lines of Hubspot.  Over the last several years that reputation has shifted. This began with its acquisition by (via ExactTarget).  Development of features such as Engagement Studio has moved Pardot closer and closer to full enterprise readiness.  Today, Pardot has some marquee enterprise customers, including Amazon.

During this session, Amazon will be sharing how it’s using Pardot across the enterprise – including multiple business units.  In the session description they hinted that they will be discussing the forthcoming release of what they’re calling Workspaces.  

We’re really, really, hoping this gives enterprises with multiple orgs the ability to more effectively keep data separate and manage access rights from division to division.  This functionality would fill a huge gap in the product and make it fully enterprise ready.

Join us at the session to find out!

Session 3:  Pardot’s Product Roadmap:  The Future of B2B Marketing and Beyond

We’re always excited to learn about where Salesforce is going with Pardot – aren’t you?  

During this session the Pardot product team will be sharing their roadmap for the rest of the year and beyond.  While the timelines during a Salesforce roadmap session are always questionable, seeing what’s coming up is always a highlight.  

We expect to hear a lot about Pardot and Einstein, as well as Workspaces.  There’s always a surprise and we’re keen to find out what it will be this year.

There are two sessions available for this – be sure to check out one.  You won’t be disappointed.

Session 4:  Make Data-Driven Decisions with B2B Marketing Analytics

As many Pardot customers know, earlier this year, re-packaged Pardot into 3 new Editions: Growth, Plus and Advanced.  The Plus and Growth Editions now include the powerful B2B Marketing Analytics (B2B MA) package.  If you have a need for strong reporting capabilities – this is the stuff for you.

During this session you’ll get a tour of what can be done with B2B MA to give you in-depth reporting on marketing’s impact on the pipeline and campaign effectiveness.  If nothing else, it will give you a broad understanding of how B2B MA can be leveraged within your organization so when your contract is up for renewal you can make sure that B2B Marketing Analytics is included.  It’s great stuff. Be sure to learn about it during this session.

Session 5:  The Power of Three: Connecting Pardot, Marketing Cloud, and Salesforce CRM

This is an interesting topic.

As a Pardot AND Marketing Cloud consulting company, we’re often getting asked for guidance around which platform (Pardot or Marketing Cloud) is the right choice for any particular organization.

Sometimes the choice is clear.  Other times, not so much.

What if it’s both?  Marketing Cloud and Pardot each have areas where they excel and where they fall short.  We’ve definitely seen cases where it makes sense for our client to use both platforms. During this session we’re really excited to learn about the use case where our friends at Appirio implemented both Pardot and Marketing Cloud to drive client success.

Bonus Session:  Pardot Party – Thursday Night!

Who doesn’t love when Uncle Mark is buying!  Register here for Pardot’s Dreamforce party.  We’ll see you at the bar!

Salesforce Connections 2018: Day 3 Recap

Day 3 of Salesforce Connections 2018 is here.  

The crowd is dragging after an awesome night with The Killers.  But the coffee is flowing and there’s sessions to take in.

If you haven’t seen our recaps for Salesforce Connections Day 1 and Day 2, check ‘em out for a summary of some great content.

Much of the content I’ve seen so far this morning is a bit recycled from Day 1 and 2 so I’m not going to rehash it.   I’m just going to share some unique tidbits.

Pardot + Get Feedback

Today, Pardot announced integration with GetFeedback.  This is a great addition to the Pardot solution set.  For those of you that aren’t aware, GetFeedback is a simple survey tool that allow you to get input from your prospects and customers at any point in time through engagements.  It can be as easy as giving content a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to a piece of content. During a demo, Pardot showed how the integration allowed feedback to be directly collected from within an email.  Be sure to check out the solution.


Einstein is king of the show.  It’s being integrated into part of the product suite.  From a marketing perspective I was really impressed with some of the nuggets of information the solution was able to surface during the demo.  I’m keen to see how this plays out in real-life with some of our clients.

Salesforce for B2B Marketers

Kevin Baldacci, Sr. Manager of Product Marketing Salesforce Pardot, gave a interesting talk on a Salesforce solution set that’s being framed as Salesforce for B2B marketers (Get the whitepaper here).  The solution set includes:

  • Salesforce Ad Studio
  • Pardot
  • Sales Cloud Einstein
  • Salesforce Engage
  • B2B Marketing Analytics

I really appreciate the way this solution is being framed up for buyers.  As Salesforce has grown exponentially over the past several years, companies are being bombarded with product names and various products and ISV solutions. Event to a partner that lives in the ecosystem it can be overwhelming.  This approach frames up a killer set of products that fit together well to deliver value to customers.

Texas Dreamin’ 2018

For those of you that are headed for Texas Dreamin’ in Austin today and tomorrow, be sure to check out the Friday session:  5 Pardot Features You Might be Overlooking with our very own Lara Black.

Signing out from Salesforce Connections in Chicago.

Salesforce Connections 2018: Day 2 Recap

This is part 2 of our Salesforce Connections event daily recap.   Be sure to check out our recap of Day 1 here.

The exhaustion of your typical Salesforce event hasn’t yet set in.  Everyone is here early, energized, and ready for some Salesforce Marketing love.

Let’s get to it:

Session 1:  Five Key Traits for High Performing Marketing Organizations

This was a really insightful session.  Salesforce evaluated the marketing performance of 7,500 different organizations across industries to identify key factors that made high performing organizations successful over low performing organizations.  They walked away with 5 different insights.

Insight 1 – Marketing Tactics don’t matter

At first this one caught me off guard.  I expected that high performing companies would be executing a set of hidden tactics that separated them from the pack.  Nope. They’re doing the same things but they’re seeing 2-3 times the return.

But, while they were using the same tactics, they did have executive buy-in across the organization.  As marketing was focused on creating experiences – not just messages. So, it’s not the tactics that matter, it is creating a brand experience that stretches across the company.  In summary, the modern brand is the sum of experiences – marketing, sales, product, customer support. Great marketing can’t make up for bad experiences in other parts of the organization.  

Insight 2 – Bigger Marketing Budgets

High performing companies are increasing digital marketing investments 70% year over year.  In addition, they’re increasing their budget in tools by 59% every year.

When we work with clients they quite often ask for benchmarks on marketing investment by industry by customer size and industry.  I’ve often cited numbers developed by Sirius Decisions.  While Salesforce didn’t cite breakdown by industry, they did share marketing investment benchmarks by company stage:

  • Maintaining brand:  2 – 6% of yearly gross revenue
  • Average growth:  7 – 12% of yearly gross revenue
  • Fast growth:  13% – 30% of yearly gross revenue

Insight 3 – Better Technology

High performing marketing organizations use on average 14 tools to create a cohesive customer experience.  On the high end, some were using up to 30 tools.

The number one area of investment – marketing analytics and web personalization.  The example around web personalization quickly turned into Account Based Marketing.  An example was shared when a company personalized the web experience based on the website visitors IP address.  Based on the address a company was identified based on the industry and other segmentation data. Content was served up that addressed the segments pain points as well as call to actions that would move them along the buyer's journey.

Insight 4 – Agile Marketing

Many high performing organizations have moved to an Agile methodology to develop and implement marketing programs.  For those that aren’t in the know, the marketing agile methodology consists of developing stories, testing hypotheses, reviewing results and executing.  Personally, I’ve hear of mixed results of agile methodologies within marketing, but this research leads me to believe that I may need to do more research.

Insight 5 – Collaboration

High performing organizations are 17x better at collaborating across the customer lifecycle, meaning various organizations within the corporate structure are working together to ensure a cohesive brand experience (see Insight 1).  The big recommendation here was that companies need to look to create a Chief Experience Officer (CXO) to ensure experience consistency across the company. The CXO would need to have sway over product, marketing, advocacy, and support.

Keynote: We Are All Trailblazers: Customer Success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

This talk was the Standard Salesforce presentation where they share various product announcements as well as customer success stories.  The overarching theme through the Keynote is that we’re now in a new revolution called the Connected Customer, where customers expect personalization and engagement by companies based on who they are and their individual needs and desires.

In order for companies to make the Connected Customer a reality, they need a single view of the customer – (See your AE to purchase today!).

From a product perspective, Salesforce announced that the Interaction Studio is now GA.  Interaction Studio allows you to track the real-time performance of campaigns in Marketing Cloud so that changes can be made on the fly to optimize campaign performance.

From a new feature capability, Marketing Cloud will now be seamlessly integrated with Google 360!  Currently, if you want to integrate G360 with Marketing Cloud, it requires a massive amount of cut and paste work on every email.  The integration between the two platforms is completed with two simple clicks (At the time of posting, I’m not sure when the integration will be GA).

Session 3: Push, SMS and Email – Integrated or Independent?

Spoiler alert: It’s Integrated.

The overarching theme of this session was really focusing on your target customer and delivering content that’s personalized, in the moment, and with context.  There are obviously strengths and weaknesses with each channel:


Strengths: High societal acceptance, broad reach (90% of Americans have an email address), great for persuasion and high impact visuals

Weaknesses: We’re on email overload! (overused) therefore often disregarded


Strengths: Familiar, 98% of messages are read, reaches 46% of Americans, can be 2-way conversation

Weaknesses: Intrusive into recipient’s life, primarily text based


Strengths: Unregulated, geo-targetable, can include graphics, can persist in inbox, strong potential reach (77% of those who download an app accept push)

Weaknesses: iOS messages disappear post unlock, smallest reach or all channels.

A key point to remember is all 3 of these channels are accessible via a mobile device.  33% of ALL humans have smart phones - 66% have mobile phones. 60% of web traffic is from mobile and during this past holiday season 41% of orders were from mobile devices.  

As I mentioned at the beginning, all campaigns need to be integrated, ideally using each of these channels.  For organizations looking at this fully integrated experience, it’s critical that there’s awareness across groups, coordination, and general cohesion in the effort to drive overall campaign success.  

That’s it for today.  Off to the Connections Party to see The Killers at Wintrust Arena.

Salesforce Connections 2018: Day 1 Recap

Salesforce Connections 2018 kicked off today in Chicago.  For those of you who aren’t aware, Connections is Salesforce’s yearly event that highlights all things marketing in the company’s product platform.  This includes Pardot, Marketing Cloud (Email Studio, Journey Builder, Ad Studio, Social Studio and much more!), Wave Analytics, Einstein DMP, etc.

If you are are attending Salesforce Connections (or you just happen to be in Chicago on Tuesday June 12th - Thursday June 14th) and want to connect with me please reach out or send me a message on LinkedIn.

Our posts over the next several days are our meager attempt to share takeaways and highlights of the event.  I am but one man and, with an event boasting hundreds of sessions, I’m bound to miss tons of great material. Nonetheless, below is a best effort at sharing everything you need to know to sound like you were there whenever the subject comes up at your next cocktail party.

Session #1 - Automating your Workflow with Pardot

Like any great Salesforce event, the sessions are packed with massive lines down the hall.  If you’ve been to Dreamforce or any other Salesforce event before, this is par for the course.  I was hoping things would be different this time around. Dare to dream. My first session “Automating your Workflow with Pardot”, was a discussion on automation best practices and strategies you can implement with Pardot to simplify and organize daily life.  The speakers discussed uses for Engagement Studio, Automation Rules, Dynamic Content, Progressive Profiling and Tags. The session was pretty crowded and I realized that I already knew most of the material. I gave up after 20 minutes and made a break for the exhibit hall where there’s a lot more room and I could network before heading on to the next session.

Session #2 - Hidden Gems: Marketing Cloud Features You may Not Be Using That You Should

The speaker shared several “gems”, but I felt that two were most compelling.

Einstein Engagement Scoring

First was Einstein Engagement Scoring.  This feature was released last year at Dreamforce and it is obviously a big new feature for marketing cloud as it came up during several other sessions.  Einstein Engagement Scoring takes all your email performance metrics from the previous 90-days and the provides 4 predictions on all emails you execute for the next 14 days.  

The 4 predictions include:

  1. email click rate
  2. email open rate
  3. likelihood to convert
  4. un-subscription rate

You can watch a quick 3 minute video on Einstein Engagement Scoring (ESS) here:

For more info visit the FAQ section devoted to ESS in the Salesforce help and training portal.

Automated Persona Development

The second interesting feature is automated persona development.  Einstein will evaluate all your email performance data and classify recipients into 5 personas:

  1. loyalists
  2. selective shoppers
  3. window shoppers
  4. win back
  5. dormant

With this data you can then deliver selective content to your customers based on the Einstein developed segmentation.

Marketing Cloud Content Block SDK

The third “gem” is the launch of the Marketing Cloud Content Block SDK (software development kit).  The SDK allows third parties to create widgets that make email more engaging with prospects and customers.  During this session they shared an example where a ski company can embed a real-time weather report so that when a customer opens the email it shares the current weather.  One company currently making widgets is called Liveclicker.  Their app allows you to embed live video in an email.  It is available for both Marketing Cloud AND Pardot. You can learn more in this press release about Marketing Cloud’s new SDK features.

Session #3 - Amplify Your Advertising with Your CRM Data

As many of you may know, Salesforce has been making a big push with its Advertising Studio.  It’s one of the marketing products that can be used with Marketing Cloud AND Pardot. In fact, Pardot recently launched new pricing where, if you buy Pardot Ultimate Edition, you can get Salesforce Advertising Studio for 50% off.

A couple of tidbits and recommendations came out of this session.

Advertising Studio + LinkedIn

First, as you may know, Salesforce Advertising Studio audiences currently works Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google.  In the coming months, you’re going to be able to use your segmentation to serve up targeted ads on LinkedIn.  For our B2B clients this will be a huge opportunity worth exploring.  I’m trying to identify if there’s a Beta in place that you can use today.

Suppression Lists in Advertising Studio

One of the big best practices that the presenter made was using Advertising Studio segmentation for suppression list.  She shared that this is a use case that is often overlooked by customers. A typical use case for this may be building a list of your customers and then setting them up as a suppression list within Google so that you’re not posting your ads to them  - they’re an active customer!

Session #4 - ROADMAP: The Future of Marketing Cloud Einstein

My final session for the first day of Salesforce Connections left me pretty excited for what is to come.  Did you know that Salesforce Marketing Cloud is currently making 2,000,000,000 predictions everyday. Pretty impressive!

Here’s what’s coming down the pike for Salesforce Marketing Cloud Einstein:

Data, DMP, and Ads

Einstein segmentation, will be expanded to look at attributes and identify other personas that may be hidden under the surface makes persons.  This will offer marketers significant opportunities for improved personalization. Einstein reach is an effort to make sense of all your acquisition data and buying signals and identify the “golden path” that buyers need to take to maximize the conversion rate.  

Messaging and Journeys

This appears to be the next iteration of personalized content.  With this improved functionality you’ll be able to deliver content based on location or other factors about the recipient’s location.  For example, imagine sending an email where the images are based on the weather of the recipient’s location at the time of email open.

Two more quick mentions:

Campaign Insights

Einstein will dig into all your campaign metrics and point out interesting factors that you should consider in your next campaign.  For example – subject line “A” is the winner – avoid subject line “B”.

Text to Object Search

When searching your assets Einstein will associate words with images that you have in your library to make searching much easier.

That’s all for today.  Time to rest up for day 2.

Pardot Campaign Attribution Models - A Big Step?

As many of us in the Pardot marketing automation world know, getting hold of valuable campaign effectiveness data can be challenging.  On one hand you have Pardot Campaigns, which paint a picture of the campaign that generated a leads.  For any of us with sales cycles beyond a day or any sort of multi-touch campaigns, this number can be virtually meaningless.

On the other hand is the Campaign object.  This allows for deeper reporting across campaigns that touched a particular opportunity.  For many of our clients the campaign object is kind of like a multi-purpose swiss army knife, being used for many purposes, so campaigns that have no relevance need to be removed from any campaign attribution.  We typically accomplish this through a standard naming campaign naming convention which allow us to use report names to ensure we get reports with the applicable campaigns included.

Pardot recently announced that they're adding Pardot Campaign Attribution Models which will allow users to automatically identify which campaign are building pipeline.  While the feature announcement is high level and the details are sparse, there are a couple of key words which jump out at me.  The campaign attribution models are basically 3 out-of-box reports which identify opportunities associated with campaigns in 3 different scenarios:  first campaign touch, last campaign touch, and even distribution models where every campaign that touched an opportunity receives part of the attribution.

This is a big step forward to Pardot in that it represents an option by the current "first touch" option that is offered  natively by Pardot.  But you still need a word of caution when working with them.  Equal campaign attribution is a great option but it means that you really need to be cognizant of how you're using campaigns and ensuring a certain level of campaign cleanliness.

A recent client we worked with was using campaigns to track when their call center touched a opportunity.  With the new marketing campaign attribution it appears that a certain percent of the opportunity will be associated to this call center activity.  This may be good - or maybe not.    You'll need to keep it top of mind so you don't find yourself in a sticky situation.

Perhaps there's more to this story.  We'll find out when the new Pardot Campaign Attribution Models are released on Nov 14, 2017.  We'll keep you posted.

Pardot Campaign Attribution Models
screen shot of Pardot Campaign Attribution Models

Marketing Automation ROI - Vision Into Reality

According to Raab Associates the marketing automation market is now well in excess of $1.2B in annual revenue (2014).  That’s a lot of automation!  From having working in the marketing automation space for close to 15-years now, or most companies that ROI on marketing automation can be elusive.  Quite often people would be better sticking with MailChimp.  It’s a lot more affordable but it gets the job done for basic email.

Your Marketing Automation Journey

For those of you that really want to get the true ROI on marketing automation, here’s a recommended approach for your journey:

  1. Target low hanging fruit – Go after those quick wins. Get some runs on the board.  We recommend building out some easy lead nurturing campaigns around dead deals or deals stuck in the pipeline.  If you can add impact here, sales will love it.  Its always great to have an advocate in sales
  2. Think incremental. Remember this  is a journey.  Build a roadmap with timelines, goals and budget requirements.
  3. Build a business case. At the end of the day, marketing automation is fundamentally changing the way your company markets.  You’re going to need a consensus from leadership to do this.  This kind of change needs buy-in.  Business buy-in requires a business case.  Gartner and Forrester have some good numbers on Marketing Automation business impact.  If you’re looking for an all-in-one resource, Marketo has a great whitepaper on building a business case.  You can download the guide here.
  4. Measure, measure, measure. It can be a challenge to measure business impact.  But if you really want to get the budget and buy-in to move the ball down the field you’re going to have to prove your impact.  Document your results.  Open rates and registrations won’t cut it.  Use campaign reports to measure the impact you’re having on campaigns.  Get your hands dirty with the data.

Remember - much like CRM, marketing automation is a business tool.  It takes planning and process to go on a journey.  Get going!

Are you My Marketing Campaign?

My youngest son likes us to read books to him – lots of books.  A new one which dated back to my childhood has recently entered circulation, its called “Are you my Mother?”.  In the read, a young bird is born while its mother is out looking for food.  Let on its own, without a clear vision or definition of what’s its mother is, the chick is left to figure out who or what it’s mother actually is.  After questioning many other creatures, the bird and his mother are happily reunited, bringing the book to close (and hopefully the day for my son).  This story reminds me of some of my clients where I see marketing teams wandering the halls asking "Are you my Marketing Campaign?"  Let me explain.

As I was reading it the other night, witnessing the little bird try to identify that it was a bird,  I couldn’t help but think about how we as marketers struggle with definitions and how we define them.  Just like the little bird, if a team doesn’t have an imprint of how something is defined, a team is left to wander trying to figure out what something means.  Worse yet is when a team THINKS they agree on nomenclature, when in reality, they aren’t even close.

Case in point:  The simple words Campaign.

Marketing Campaign

We throw it around all the time thinking everyone knows what it means (as we all shake our heads in agreement).  In my experience, if 5 marketers are at the table, there is a good chance that each of them will define it differently.

Definition examples:

Pardot is one of the hottest marketing automation platforms on the market today.  (anecdotally I’ve heard they’re closing well over 250 new customers/month).  Within Pardot, every prospect must be a member of a Pardot Campaign.  This is the first campaign that a prospect was touched by.  A prospect can only be associated with one campaign (a one to one relationship)

Now, let’s look at Pardot’s mothership,  Salesforce has campaign functionality as well.  I love to use campaigns for great reports. (this topic for another day).  A prospect within Salesforce can be a member of many campaigns (one to many relationship).  Additionally, a prospect doesn’t have to be a member of a campaign at all.

There is absolutely no relationship between a Pardot Campaign and a Campaign.  This is a common point of miscommunication when talking about these two platforms.  I’ve often found myself in conversations with Pardot/Salesforce customers, discussing Campaigns in a technology sense, but later realizing that we were talking about two totally separate uses of Campaigns.

Another way to look at campaigns is in regards to marketing outreach.

A campaign can be the umbrella by which you’re using many channels to reach out to engage your audience.  Alternatively, a campaign can be each of the outreach components by which you’re engaging your audience.

Everything clear?

There is no right or wrong answer, this is simply a matter of communication.  Words matter.

As an organization its imperative that you define what key terms mean.  As a best practice, make a glossary for your team to make sure when you’re discussing a campaign, you all mean the same thing.  During that meeting, take a moment to clarify.

The last thing you want is that marketing associate walking around the office with a glazed look on his face saying “Are you my marketing campaign?”

Inbound Marketing – Beyond the Hype

Unless you live under a rock, you will have noticed that the category Inbound Marketing has rocketed to the top of the marketing buzzword list over the last several years.  This positioning was invented by Hubspot in 2005 in response the the term Demand Generation which was created by Eloqua around 2004 (many moons ago).

I’m going to go bold and say, with Inbound Marketing, you need to think beyond the hype.  For most B2B marketers, this approach is just one piece of the puzzle.

The promise of Inbound is to continuously serve up high quality content in the web-o-sphere and opportunities will magically appear, ready to buy your product.  As any experienced marketer of complex sale products will tell you, pragmatically, this is impossible.  Buyers are going to going through a journey which can take months or even years.  Under the inbound premise, buyers would be continuously searching for info and serendipitously find your content which would move them along the funnel.  Serendipity isn't a strategy.

It is the job or marketing to engage prospects in a meaningful dialog that will generate continued interest in your product or offering.  Are  you willing to risk your job by letting an inbound lead, just wait, identify some more of your content on the web that generates more interest with hopes that they’ll come back to your website?  How would your sales team respond to that?  They’d be livid! (and rightfully so).  Inbound is passive - marketers have to be active.

Yes, you obviously want to generate inbound leads and which point the principals of lead nurturing and scoring come in.  Hubspot even admits this through their offering of a Hubspot Marketing Automation solution.

Stick with the tried and try approach.  Generate leads through a robust content marketing (inbound) and outbound marketing strategy then engage them in a meaningful dialog through lead nurturing.

Ignore the hype

What’s New with Pardot Winter ’16 Release

I’ve been really impressed with some of the latest changes Pardot has made. With Winter ’16 six major enhancements were made. We took a deeper look so you don’t have to go through 400+ pages of notes.

Here’s what we found:

  • 400% Improvement in Salesfore/Pardot Syncing

Before this latest release, Pardot/Salesforce syncing could be a bit slow, taking up to 10 minutes. With this release they’ve shortened that time to 2 minutes – a whopping 400% improvement. Well done! On the downside, you need to contact the Pardot support team to cut this time. Get on the phone ASAP.

  • Support for Changes to Google AdWords URLs

In July 2015, Google AdWords upgraded the URLs to split the landing page URL and the tracking parameters into two fields: the final landing page URL and the tracking template. In reaction to this change, Pardot’s Google AdWords Connector has been updated to support this change.   If you use Pardot Google AdWords Connector, you need take action to ensure that your ads are properly tracked. Have your Pardot admin switch to the new URL system in Pardot and insert new tracking template into your ads.

  • Automatically Create Prospects with New Emails

This one is killer. As you know, previously, when an email address was added to a lead or contact, the new Prospect would NOT be added to Pardot. With Winter ’16 this is solved. Administrators can choose an option so that whenever email addresses are added to Salesforce leads and contacts, a prospect is created in Pardot. To activate this, visit the salesforce connector configuration settings.

  • Personalize emails to prospect tags using Variable Tags

Sales reps can now insert both standard AND Pardot tags in emails (as opposed to just standard tags prior to this release). This is a great addition to the Salesforce Engage. If you haven’t had a chance to, I recommend checking it out.

  • Email Editor Usability Updates

This latest release made some nice usability updates to the email editor. You can now open the editor to full screen giving you better visibility as you’re designing an email. You can also now resize the side bar on emails you’re building. This is long overdue.

 Logging Engage Emails

As you know let’s you log TONS of information, so organization is key. Prior to this release, Engage email activity was logged together with Pardot marketing emails. With a simple update to the Salesforce connector, these will now be logged separately.

What’s missing: Lightening! I was hoping this release would create integration with Salesforce Lightening for some killer reporting capabilities. We’ll have to wait…Perhaps Spring ’16?