Newbies to the Pardot platform face a steep learning curve. Despite its great user experience and ease of navigation, there are so many features and possibilities for sophisticated marketing automation within Pardot, it’s easy to be overwhelmed.
Perhaps you’re implementing for the first time and want to know the essentials of how to use Pardot (and adhere to best practices!), or you’re onboarding new team members who need to get to grips with your account. In either case, it’s helpful to have an idea of how long it typically takes to learn Pardot.
The answer is: it depends on your chosen method of learning.
Download the Pardot Implementation Checklist today for the steps to getting your account setup correctly.
Let’s look at your options:
- You go it alone, slowly uncovering features but doing a lot of Google-ing for Pardot resources, such as eBooks, blogs, and videos.
- You hire a certified Pardot consultant to upskill the team via traditional workshops or dedicated training days.
- You enrol in an online, on-demand Pardot training course developed by specialists.
All of these options assume the person learning Pardot first has a base-level knowledge of marketing automation theory. Without this, the learning curve is naturally even steeper! If that’s not the case, check out the general marketing automation courses and resources we recommend.
Learning option 1: Go it alone
So you’re feeling pretty confident you can pick up Pardot in no time, without experienced support? Granted, you may be experienced in other automation platforms, or simply have a knack for marketing technology, so you likely could learn the basics and get campaigns up and running.
But would they be set up correctly?
Would your integration with Salesforce and third-party platforms be configured well? Could you easily find and assign assets using a clear folder hierarchy? Will prospects be graded, scored, and assigned to team members correctly and efficiently?
There is much to consider when it comes to learning Pardot. It’s not as straightforward as importing data, setting up an email campaign and off you go.
Most importantly, though, how long would it take for you to go from being a Pardot novice to an expert?
In our experience, it takes marketers months, if not years to fully understand and master the many capabilities of Pardot. Let’s not overlook the fact that Pardot is designed to go hand-in-hand with Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud, so it’s not even a case of learning solely Pardot, but how to utilise these platforms with it too.
Learning Pardot solo is possible, yes, but it requires trial and error, troubleshooting issues that could otherwise be avoided, and generally consuming more time than necessary. As the saying goes, time is money.
Expected time to learn Pardot: How long is a piece of string?
Learning option 2: Hire a Pardot consultant
Now, there are obvious benefits to bringing in a certified Pardot consultant to train your team in Pardot.
Firstly, you have the chance to soundboard your strategy and use cases against a specialist and perhaps commission them to do some of the technical support work for you. We’re not against this, given we’re a team of consultants ourselves and we often do the legwork on behalf of our clients!
In truth though, training by a Pardot consultant is typically traditional in that it’s delivered via in-person workshops or webinar-style presentations. This can be useful if you’re after theory or general tips and best practices. What it’s not ideal for, is truly practical and actionable learning.
Learning Pardot requires being hands-on with your account. It means training needs to be highly instructional and allow you to be taking action whilst moving through the modules, rather than passively listening.
Additionally, a one-day training workshop is exactly that: your one-day-only chance to absorb all of the knowledge and advice shared with you. Your consultant may leave some physical or digital copies of their presentation, or some prepared training guides in basic text format, but you can’t hit replay and fully engage with what they said at the time.
Lastly, there’s a cost to consider for this option, and given the consultant will be dedicating time only to you and perhaps developing bespoke training for your team, the investment will likely be large.
This investment may be worthwhile for group training but what happens when you have another new starter? Will you go ahead and pay for the consultant each time you need to upskill somebody in Pardot? Or will the burden fall on your existing team to train this person and do their job?
Say you’re happy to allocate a marketing budget to this traditional style of training, in our experience users will still take a considerable amount of time to learn Pardot because the initial training is just an introduction.
Expected time to learn Pardot: Minimum six months to learn the Pardot basics.
Learning option 3: On-demand Pardot training
On-demand Pardot training basically means you have access to an online training course that’s available to you as and when you desire. The content modules are prepared ahead of time and when you enrol, you are drip-fed these but also have the ability to revisit them at any time.
It’s the most effective way to learn Pardot quickly for a few reasons:
- Immediate access as soon as you sign up, no waiting for a training date that works for everybody’s schedule!
- Predetermined time frame: our training course is delivered within 10 weeks, so you know at the end of this period your team will be ready for a Pardot certification.
- Ability to recap modules by jumping into your account as and when you need to.
In case you’re worried online training sounds too removed from actual consultants and personalised support, worry not. The MarCloud Pardot training course includes bi-weekly Q&A sessions with our team of specialists, plus access to a closed study group, providing an entire community of Pardot users learning the platform alongside you.
Want to train your entire marketing and/or sales team at once? No problem. Got a new starter who needs to join the course later? Easy.
Each member gets access to consistent, quality, and on-demand training, which also includes practical exercises and assessments to validate their learning! At the end of the 10-week course, trainees will be well-equipped to sit and pass the Pardot Specialist exam.
I can only apologise if this third option sounds purely self-promotional (it is) but honestly, the very reason we created our Pardot training is that we were frustrated with the lack of ways for users to learn Pardot effectively. The way we see it, the better our clients know the platform and understand best practices, and the better campaigns we can produce when we collaborate with them.
Expected time to learn Pardot: 10 weeks.
Ready to learn Pardot quickly?
The 10-week Pardot training course is ready and waiting for you! You can read more about the lessons (we prefer to call them ‘pitstops’) included and sign up here.