This blog was written before Pardot was renamed to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. You can read more about the name change and what it means here.
First, you got the C-suite on board for an investment in marketing automation software. Then, you purchased Pardot and you’re ready to get going with this wonderful new way of automated marketing and lead generation. The last thing you want to do right now is waste time and money partnering with a Pardot partner, be it agency or a consultant, that fails to put you in the best position possible to recoup that major cost.
For the most part, the service levels of Pardot specialists are fairly good. However, as marketing automation software is unchartered territory for many, you may not be completely confident in what to look for and ask of your Pardot partner. How do you choose between an agency and an independent specialist? What kinds of questions do you ask? What do you expect to be delivered?
Today, let’s cover the basic things you should expect from your Pardot partner, whether that is an agency or a solo consultant.
Do they specialise in Pardot?
Some agencies are marketing automation specialists who cover a range of software, including Pardot, whilst others are set up exclusively for Pardot support. It goes without saying, that the latter will likely have a better knowledge of and experience with Pardot specifically. They have also likely worked with a broader range of businesses in setting up and managing Pardot so may have greater insights and value to share with you as a beginner. If a Pardot specialist is really serious about the software, they will be a certified Pardot Partner.
Will they pay attention to your unique business needs?
It’s typical practice for a marketing automation agency to take your brief, cost it up and map it out into a somewhat formulaic project plan. However, the ways that Pardot can be implemented and used for your specific business may differ from others using the same software, so what you really want from your Pardot partner is the ability to design a bespoke plan that is best for your business. This makes your relationship more of a partnership/colleague kind of feel and when you have that kind of working relationship you are bound to see better long-term results.
Are they marketing experts?
There is an abundance of self-professed Pardot experts who are actually from the Salesforce CRM discipline. It's of far more benefit working with someone who can understand the marketing context than to work with someone who knows how to turn something on and off, or understands the tech but can’t link this into real content and marketing strategy. You don’t want an IT team advising you on how best to use a marketing tool.
Can you rely on your Pardot partner long-term?
You need a consultancy you can fully trust, not someone who will set something up and disappear into the sunset. You need someone who is willing to answer ad-hoc emails or calls when you need help the most. The support needs to be top class and it needs to help your team not only get to grips with Pardot but to provide ongoing, long-term support so you can do your best to put efficient processes and tactics in place.
Will they react quickly?
Similarly to above, can your Pardot partner react to new campaigns, objectives, or nightmarish tech issues? It’s often the case with large marketing agencies that given the large capacity of work they take on and the high profile of their clients, reacting to ad-hoc requirements is difficult. This isn’t the case all of the time, of course, but something to check as you recruit your Pardot partner.
Is there an internal development team?
If you can find a Pardot partner that can also offer development of email, landing page and form template, this is ideal. You don’t want the development side of things to become a bottleneck or let you down when it comes to converting strangers to known prospects, or prospects to customers. A great Pardot agency will be able to give you the whole support package, from theory guidance to implementation, to development.
Do they have tangible results to share?
Before you invest in a Pardot partner, don’t you want to see examples of how they’ve not only implemented and supported other businesses but played a pivotal role in getting the results that are needed? It’s all very well to say you’ve done something, but to prove you have done it well is a whole different matter. Look for case studies with productivity and efficiency improvements, increases in leads or sales-qualified leads, and of course, rises in revenue and ROI.
Perhaps you’re reading this having already partnered with a Pardot specialist and you kind of wish you’d been able to read these pointers beforehand. If that’s the case, apologies this information has only recently made it into internet land and perhaps these other Pardot articles may help.
However, if you’re able to switch Pardot partners, or you’re in the market for a Pardot partner right now, we’d love to be on your shortlist. Feel free to contact us for an introductory chat.