Senior management – It’s important that management is aware of your Pardot project for a number of reasons. Firstly, it will ensure that budgets aren’t diverted from other marketing projects and this is treated as a company-wide investment. Secondly, it’s a good idea to make clear that developing Pardot is a process. If you break the project down into stages so that you can show clear progress, it will make life much easier in the long run. Finally, you will need to explain that key metrics are likely to change due to the marketing process and criteria being driven by Pardot. They may want to create new reports and dashboards to reflect the change.
- Technical set up
It’s not too difficult to become overwhelmed by the functionality of Pardot, so it’s best to list everything that needs to be addressed prior to carrying it out. For your convenience, I’ve helped you to make a good start below.
- Tracking Code: The webmaster will need a piece of code from you to place on each page of the website. When first starting out, it’s worth using the default campaign ‘Website Tracking’. You can find the code you need by heading to Marketing>Campaigns, clicking into Website Tracking and then selecting ‘View Tracking Code’.
- SPF & DKIM: This is incredibly important for email deliverability. These essentially act as a permission for Pardot to send via your domain, so make sure these are set up prior to sending any emails. You can find out the information you need within your Pardot Admin>Overview page.
- Custom Page Scoring: Right from the outset, you’ll want to identify the priority pages on your website. There will already be a baseline scoring system in place which is built into Pardot, but it’s important you set up custom scoring for these pages so you can see prospects who are showing obvious buying signals.
- CNAME: A huge benefit of Pardot is being able to build landing pages into the platform. However, as they’re hosted on Pardot you’ll need to create a CNAME (vanity URL) for brand continuity. For example, our website is www.marcloudconsulting.com so we might opt for www2.marcloudconsulting.com or wvw.marcloudconsulting.com as a CNAME. It’s up to you to decide what would work best.
- Whitelist your IP: To ensure all test emails don’t get caught up in your company SPAM filter, whitelist your IP within Pardot.
- Build your email templates, forms and landing pages into Pardot
Once the initial technical setup is complete, you can start migrating your assets over to Pardot. You might need some help from IT when setting up the form templates and landing pages as they may need to be re-coded. The benefit of hosting these assets within Pardot will become clear when you start to build complex automation programmes. For example, you can treat prospects who view your landing page and do not convert differently to those who never viewed it at all – this isn’t possible when you host a landing page outside of Pardot.
Think about the customer journey when setting this up and how you want to be treating each prospect when they complete a particular action. Do you want to use completion actions, change scores, send an autoresponder email, add to a list, assign or notify a user? The functionality is there, so you can achieve whatever objective you set out to.
- Import your prospects
This requires some thought prior to carrying out because it can be tricky to amend afterwards. Think about how you want to segment your prospects and whether you will be importing your current customer database as well. Set up static and dynamic lists so you can identify each segment of your database with absolute confidence. It’s a good idea to segment based on where each prospect is in the buying cycle so it’s easier to market to them more effectively.
Best practice for new prospects:
It’s important to understand how Pardot is best used for new prospects:
- Upload to Pardot and do not assign them to a user. Once a user is assigned, this will cause Pardot to believe that prospect is a MQL and will sync to the CRM. You don’t want to fill your CRM with brand new prospects who aren’t qualified.
- Using a blended lead scoring & grading strategy, assign prospects once they fulfil a certain criteria.
- Use a field within your CRM to identify when a MQL becomes a customer so that this can be fed back into Pardot and they can move into a customer list, segmented from prospecting and treated differently.
- Set up the CRM connector & Salesforce Engage
If you are using Salesforce, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics or SugarCRM, you can easily set up a connector within Pardot to connect them. If you are using a different CRM provider, then you will need to have a custom integration written using Pardot’s API. If you’ve purchased Salesforce Engage, it’s a good idea to get this set up now too. Check out Pardot’s documentation on this here.
- Upload your content assets
Whitepapers, checklists, guides, infographics etc. all should be hosted in Pardot so you can track downloads and views. That way, each time a prospect engages with your content, it will be logged in their activity history. You’ll also be able to trigger notifications and custom scoring when someone interacts with this content.
- Lead assignment and distribution
As I mentioned earlier, it’s important that you meet up with sales to discuss the best lead assignment and distribution process. Do you assign leads to sales based on a certain location or characteristic? Maybe you assign leads from a larger company to more experienced members of your team? Whatever it is, it can be automated within Pardot. Be sure to map out the process and have all teams agree on the process.
- Connect your other accounts
Whether it’s Facebook and LinkedIn or GoToWebinar and Google AdWords, you’ll want to start integrating your other platforms into Pardot to allow for a more succinct overview of your marketing efforts and an integrated approach.
That’s how to kickstart your marketing automation set up but if this Pardot implementation guide went a little over your head, feel free to take a look at our implementation services too.