Lara Black is a Pardot expert, Salesforce MVP and author of PardotPro, a blog dedicated to tips and tricks for Salesforce and Pardot. Lara is also co-leader of the Austin, Texas B2B Marketer’s Group and she’s the largest contributor to the Pardot B2B Community (over 5,000 posts and comments about Pardot), as well as a speaker and presenter at several conferences.
We sat down with Lara to talk about the latest Pardot release, B2BMarketing Analytics and, finally, what is the best way for someone to learn the basics of Pardot implementation. Let’s jump right in.
Latest Pardot Release
Invado: On February 15, Pardot delivered its Spring ‘21 Release where, among other items, it retired Pardot User Authentication. Now, all users must use Salesforce single sign-on (SSO). Even though this change had been months in the making, some users still got caught with broken links and issues within Pardot. Do you have any recommendations moving forward?
Lara: I recommend getting involved and staying involved in a Pardot community (aka the Pardashians ) as a way to stay up-to-date with the latest news from Pardot. The February 15 release was a big one, and Pardot started notifying users in Summer 2020 about the changes that would be coming. But, for those of us in the Pardot community, we didn’t hear of many hiccups. We knew what was coming and were prepared.
Also, I think some of the people that were caught off guard may have been unaware of all of the third-party connections that were tied to their Pardot instance. For example, I use a third-party RSS-to-email tool to publish company newsletters. So, when a new blog post or whitepaper is published, the RSS feed is activated and then a newsletter is sent to our Pardot database featuring that new content. If I hadn’t had this RSS feed integration documented, I may have been caught off guard and the RSS feed would have broken with the February 15 release.
A good best practice to keep track of the services that are connected to your Pardot account is to use one of the Salesforce identity licenses (each Salesforce org is now bundled with 100 Identity licenses at no additional cost) to create a user for each integration. For the RSS feed, I use FeedOtter, so I created a Salesforce Identity user, named it “FeedOtter Integration User” and used the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. This gives me a Salesforce login that I can use to sign in to the service, authenticate it and get a Pardot API key for that special user. I do a dedicated integration user like this for all my integrations. Now, when any of those integrations make a change in my Pardot account, I can see in the prospect audit history which service changed a field, or which service created the prospect, and if something breaks, I know which service broke.
B2B Marketing Analytics
Invado: That’s a great tip and best practice. Thank you! Now, let’s talk about B2B Marketing Analytics (B2BMA). What are the pros and cons of using B2BMA vs Salesforce reporting? And, are there certain types of companies that would benefit from using B2BMA?
Lara: The main benefit of using B2B Marketing Analytics is to report on records in Pardot that aren’t in Salesforce. Basically, the pre-MQL leads and contacts in Pardot that haven’t made it into Salesforce. You can create customized reports in B2BMA and use your Pardot tags to filter results. So, it’s much more advanced reporting than basic Salesforce reporting. And, all companies can use it – as long as they have one of the Pardot editions where it’s included.
However, it is complicated and you may not be able to create the customized reports without training or help from a Pardot consultant. There is a compilation of DIY training that you can use as a starting point, though.
Invado: Finally, let’s talk about setting up Pardot. As you know, Invado offers Pardot consulting and Pardot training, but some of our clients want to learn on their own. What is the best way to learn Pardot?
Lara: I definitely think hands-on training is helpful – and nothing quite replaces it – either through a Pardot consultant or a course. However, there are no free accounts offered by Pardot. So, you must use your company’s environment or take a course offered by Salesforce where you will be given a fully functional Pardot environment to train in. (Note that the environment you are given during a class is fully functional, but will not let you send emails. It will let you train on every other aspect, though.) There is a three-day Pardot course offered by Salesforce that will go through pretty much everything you need to pass the Pardot Specialist exam.
There are some great free Pardot training sites and courses available, too. The Pardot Specialist Credential Trailmix (a series of modules) on Trailhead is free, self-paced and will give you good basics of Pardot. However, if you want to become Pardot certified, taking and passing the certification exam may be difficult if you rely only on the modules on Trailhead. The free training sites will show screenshots of Pardot and walk you through scenarios, but it may be difficult to pass the certification exam without hands-on experience.
Once you know the basics of Pardot, there are some great communities that will help with ongoing questions. Below are the few that I recommend:
Pardot B2B Community from Salesforce – this is where Pardot users of all levels come together to ask questions and get answers. The experts who hang out here will tag other experts who can give deeper answers as needed. Pardot also has daily webinar sessions for customers.
Trailblazer Community, Pardot User Groups – These user groups are sponsored by Salesforce, and they’re great ways to connect with users of all levels. Right now most of us are virtual (which means you can join any meeting!) but they do meet in person in normal times. I’m the Austin Pardot User Group leader and there are many user groups. Just search for your area.
Pardashians Slack – Pardot informal Slack channel owned by a Pardot consultant (Sara McNamara). People of all levels join this non-Salesforce-sponsored Slack group and ask questions and get answers. Fill out the form and agree to the terms and conditions to join.
Invado: Lara, thank you so much for your time and these great Pardot tips!