Andrea Tarrell

About Andrea Tarrell

Andrea is a 12X certified Salesforce MVP and the founder of Sercante. When she's not Pardot-ing, she can be found playing with her German Shepherd Murphy, making homemade gin, or traveling with her hubby Buck.

How Pardot Admins Can FINALLY Bury the Hatchet with Sales


The relationship between sales and marketing departments is not always the stuff dreams are made of.

In fact, sometimes it can be a real nightmare with both sides pointing fingers at each other and a total lack of collaboration and alignment.

During my career, I’ve experienced both extremes of this relationship. This post is going to focus on the positive experience and some tips for strengthening your relationship.

First, Develop a Relationship

You don’t have to be best friends, but take the time to get to know your counterpart and understand what makes him or her tick. I’ve been in some situations where sales leadership had an immediate disdain for marketing (and I felt the same way about them) and these preconceived notions set the stage for failure.

My last role was quite the opposite, and it made all the difference in the world. We took the time to get to know each other as people first and then as sales and marketing professionals. We took the time at the beginning of each meeting to chat about our kids and maybe the score of last night’s game.

While this may seem unnecessary, I would argue quite the opposite. Because we genuinely like each other, we wanted to help the other succeed. We also had a strong enough relationship to disagree and offer constructive criticism.

The relationship between sales and marketing leaders is key – take the time to invest in it. While we no longer work together, Jonathan (the sales leader referenced above) and I still remain friends today and speak regularly.

Implement Lead Scoring and Grading ASAP

First, a truth for my friends in marketing.

Not every lead you generate is qualified and worth a phone call.

That guy who bent your ear for 20 minutes at the trade show booth is not a buyer. He simply enjoyed the free drinks a little too much and REALLY wants that t-shirt that you are giving away. He has no idea what your company even does at this point.

This is why lead scoring and grading is so important. Our friend from the trade show may be an ideal candidate for your services based on his job title (which would equate to his grade), but he has not shown any buying signals at this point and should not be sent to your sales team. Instead, take the time to nurture him until he engages with your marketing and shows buying signals (and meets a qualifying score). Only then should he be sent to your sales team.

Building an scoring and grading system that’s mutually agreed to and rooted in reality will go a long way towards building trust with your sales team and increasing the effectiveness of sales calls.

Collaborate and Share Knowledge

I work primarily with marketing teams in my current role, but I ALWAYS encourage collaboration with sales when it comes to the previously mentioned Scoring and Grading.

The truth is that marketing may THINK that they know what the perfect prospect looks like and engagement with which asset shows the strongest buying signal, but they don’t. The only way to know this information is through direct interaction with the customers – and that is something that sales has.

When doing scoring and grading, conduct a workshop with sales leaders and a few of the top sales representatives. Work collaboratively to prioritize marketing assets, engagements and scoring/grading thresholds. Both teams need to have skin in the game and agree to service level agreements to make the process work.

This collaboration should not just be limited to scoring and grading, however — it should extend to other areas of the business too. Just think of all the great reports and metrics that both teams have. Are they being shared?

Using Opportunities: Help Me Help You

Senior leadership looks to marketing to provide key ROI metrics and report on the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. While it’s true that Salesforce and Pardot can provide outstanding reporting on campaign influence, all these capabilities are negated if opportunities are not used properly by the organization and sales.

One of the most common issues that I see is contact roles not being associated with opportunities in Salesforce. Since marketing relies on campaigns to track attribution and there is no direct correlation to opportunities, sales MUST add contact roles to create the linkage. Without contact roles, there will be holes and inaccuracies in all your ROI reports.

(Side note: Realizing that the life a sales person is a busy one and associating contact roles may not the #1 priority, the team at Sercante Lab has developed the Automated Opportunity Contact Roles app to give your sales team a hand.

Help your sales team and yourself by checking it out today.)

Be Realistic with Tasks & Alerts

The automation tools in Pardot give marketing teams the power to create tasks and update notes fields in Salesforce using completion actions. Use this power wisely!

I’ll be the first to admit that I fell into the trap of:

“Not going to call my leads? I’ll create tasks for you – and send you reminders on top of it!”

The big danger here is that you could easily clutter the tasks assigned to your sales team and distract them from calling the hottest leads and contacts based on your agreed upon scoring and grading rules. You could actually hurt the number of opportunities being closed if you use this power with reckless abandon.

My advice is to again, talk to your friends in sales before creating tasks for them. Agree to what actions warrant a task and commit to a follow-up SLA.

By working together, tasks and alerts can be an excellent tool in getting the right people to sales – at the right time.

Celebrate the Wins – Together!

Sales routinely celebrates success in the form of SPIFFs, parties and sales awards, but it’s also important to recognize the contributions from the marketing team.

Like it or not, sales and marketing are related and can’t succeed without the efforts of the other. Sales needs the demand generation, brand awareness and lead qualification from marketing. In turn, marketing needs sales to close the business to demonstrate ROI and justify their budget.

Some of the best interactions that I’ve experienced are when sales and marketing come together to celebrate wins collectively. It can be something as simple as team lunch at the office or drinks after work.

Simply getting your sales and marketing teams together in a positive environment will help them come together as a team and provide motivation to better support one another.

There’s No Time Like the Present: Make the Effort for Better Marketing & Sales Alignment

There is no downside to better aligning your sales and marketing teams. A trusting relationship takes time to build, so why not start today?

Pick an item or two from this list and go to work – it’s sure to help.

Along the way, you are also going to develop your own set of alignment strategies and we would love to hear them. Share your successes in the comments below.

By |2020-04-13T19:40:46+00:00March 27th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|

How Pardot Admins Should be Thinking About Coronavirus

The economic ripple effect of everyone screaming “the
sky is falling” is making that a reality for many businesses.  Many B2B companies are experiencing drops in
sales and interruptions in their supply chain – and inevitably, one of the
first expense areas the finance team comes for in economically challenging
times is marketing.

So how should marketing ops folks navigate this?

1. Focus on long term planning

I graduated from college right around the “Great Recession” of
the last decade.  It was not a great time
to be job hunting in the wonderful world of marketing, to put it lightly. 

I was fortunate to join a relatively stable business that
was around $15M and 40-some years old.  People
thought the CEO was crazy for hiring me and giving me a budget to start an
inbound marketing program.  Their bottom
line had taken a beating, and rest of their industry was hunkering down and
going through rounds of layoffs.

But the competition cutting spend meant we had a massive
opportunity to grab mindshare at bargain prices.  The economy came back around, as it always
does.  When customers started spending
again, we had fantastic brand awareness and a lead generation engine that was
ready to handle a spike in demand. 

The business grew to $32M in the 2-3 years following the recession
– and the strategic investment in marketing is one of the things the CEO has frequently
touted as the reason we were able to come out ahead and grow at the fastest
rate in the company’s history.

When tempted to react to the latest headline or from a place
of fear, remember we’re playing the long game.

2. Use ROI reporting to fight for your budget

You will most likely be held to a higher standard when
asking to increase or maintain marketing spend. 
Your company may be pushing to eliminate “non-essential” expenses – don’t
let them mistakenly put marketing in this category. 

Have you implemented connected campaigns and campaign influence
reporting?  This is the best weapon in
your arsenal to ensure marketing is viewed as a revenue driver and not a cost

The ability to show that “THIS initiative” influenced “THAT
pipeline” and to back your recommendations up with data is critically
important.  If you don’t feel confident
in your ability to do this kind of reporting today, let’s chat.

3. Re-evaluate your marketing mix

It’s going to be fascinating to watch companies continue to
transition conferences and events to a virtual format this year.  Coronavirus forced our hands on this one, and
it’s pushing marketers to think critically on:

  • What are the key goals of the events we host,
    and how can we best achieve those digitally?
  • How do we capture the attention of a virtual
  • What are the best ways to measure engagement?
  • How do we build online communities that facilitate
    connection and loyalty?

If these online events go well and drive value, perhaps we
will see a great longer-term focus on digital channels.  Getting really good at online collaboration –
both internally and externally – has the power to provide a major competitive advantage. 

4. Don’t let people sit idle

If you have marketers that suddenly have unexpected time or
budget on their hands, consider where else their time could add value.  Consider:

  • Shadowing your sales team to gain insight and
  • Focusing on creating content in-house to fuel future
    marketing efforts
  • Working on internal processes and “backburner”
  • Leading team training on social selling,
    marketing automation basics, or any number of other topics
  • Cross-training or upskilling team members on
    Salesforce via Trailhead
  • Enrolling in Code School for Pardot Admins or
    Pardot Admin Bootcamp

5. Shore up process automation and technical infrastructure

It’s likely going to be difficult for marketers to get
approval to add headcount before the Dow starts moving up and to the right
again.  Now is a great time to focus on
doing more with less and exploring ways to make internal processes more efficient.
 Evaluate opportunities in the platforms
you have available to you (Pardot, Salesforce, and other martech), for example:

  • Automating lead assignment processes
  • Lead scoring & grading
  • Alerts, reports, and dashboards that help your
    team focus on what’s most important
  • Conversational marketing for lead capture and appointment
  • Engagement Studio programs for customer onboarding,
    nurturing cold leads, managing renewals, etc.

6. Emphasize retention

The old adage of “it’s cheaper to keep a customer than to
get a new one” is constantly repeated for a reason – it’s true.  Explore ways to leverage Pardot to support
customer service use cases, for example:

  • Suppressing customers with open cases from
    promotional emails
  • Analyzing closed cases to inform content marketing
    & training to develop
  • Routing online support requests as efficiently
    as possible
  • Measuring CSAT and NPS using Pardot
  • Recording customer engagement and reporting back
    to their account team

7. Keep things in perspective  

It sucks that conferences we’ve looked forward to are
getting canceled.  That budgets may shrink.  That our metrics may take a beating.

But at the end of the day – what’s most important is our
health and taking care of those around us.

The craziness will subside. 
The economy will recover.  Continue
to rock your job the best you can and fist bump/elbow tap the people you love.

How are you seeing marketing evolve with coronavirus?

Marketers, what are you noticing?  Has anything changed yet with internal
attitudes and mindsets toward marketing? 
How are you customers reacting?

This is new and rapidly evolving territory, so I’d love to
hear your thoughts in the comments.

By |2020-03-13T02:46:47+00:00March 13th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|

4 Tips for Avoiding Email Fatigue in Pardot


Congratulations! Your email campaigns are rocking – engagement and revenue are up. Your boss has also noticed your handiwork and, in the spirit of “no good deed goes unpunished”, has asked you to increase the number of email being sent.

Here are 4 tips that will help you honor her request, while smartly protecting against email fatigue.

1. Proper Segmentation

Making sure that you are sending the right email to the right prospects is the first step in ensuring a happy database. Proper segmentation is not just a good good idea – it’s critical.

One of the easiest ways to segment your data in Pardot is through completion actions. Available on forms, form handlers, files, custom redirects, emails and page actions, completion actions allow you to directly add prospects to lists, apply tags and update field values (among many other capabilities) based on their actions.

My personal favorite is using the Add to list action in conjunction with page actions to turn identified website visitors into actionable segments. Here’s an example:

In this example, a page action was created on the Green Bay team page. The completion action adds prospects to a targeted list named Packers Fans. This list can now be used for promoting merchandise, tickets or anything related to the Packers. The same methodology can also be applied to your products, services or any page on your website. 

2. Give ‘Em a Break!

Managing how many emails a prospect gets over a set period of time can be a real challenge. Actually, it’s quite easy if you build out frequency based suppression lists.

Simply determine the max number of emails that you would a prospect to be sent over a designated time period, build a dynamic list using the criteria and then apply to all your email sends.

In this example, a dynamic list that selects prospects emailed at least 3 times in the last 7 days was created. When applied as a suppression list to email sends, it will allow you to manage the number of communications being sent and ensure that you are not bombarding your prospects. Since the list is dynamic, prospects will be continually added and removed from the list as they meet (or don’t meet) the criteria.

3. Keep it Relevant

Nothing bores prospects more than irrelevant content. Keep your subscribers engaged by incorporating content and images that are related to them and their interests with dynamic content.

The more data you have the better, but you can get started with something as simple as state or country. Remember that segmentation data that we spoke about earlier? That information can also be used to power your dynamic content.

In this example, dynamic content has been used to customize the text related to local weather forecasts based on city name. Remember, dynamic content can also be used to customize images and entire blocks of HTML based on Pardot default fields, custom fields, scores and grades. Don’t overlook this powerful feature.

4. Make it Personal

Personalization has really become an expectation as the amount of data available to marketers has continued to increase. However, you don’t need a ton of data to get started.

Simply inserting a first name into the body of your message or subject line using a variable tag is a start. If your data is sparse, using progressive profiling is an excellent way to build more complete profiles – without creating obnoxiously long forms.

When using variable tags, don’t forget to set default mail merge values in the field properties – nothing is more embarrassing than a failed attempt at personalization.

Handlebars Merge Language (HML) is a simple upgrade to your Pardot account and provides even more flexibility when it comes to personalization. HML gives you the ability to check whether a field is populated (using #if statement) and allows you to provide the best content based on the result. Learn more about HML in this post from Skyler Nakashima – How Pardot’s New Handlebars Merge Language Improves Personalization.

Share Your Tips & Learn More

These are just a few of the ways that Pardot can help you combat email fatigue. Share your favorites in the comments section.

Learn more about the topics addressed in this post in our Pardot Admin Bootcamp Course. This interactive online course will teach you everything needed to become a Pardot Pro.

By |2020-02-20T02:38:00+00:00February 20th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|

Pardot Scoring Category Basics: What, How & Why


Have you updated your scoring & grading recently? This is one of the most impactful and often underutilized areas of Pardot.

In a recent blog post, I broke down Pardot Grading 101: How to Rate The Quality of Your Prospects. This article will do a deep dive on another critical area: Scoring Categories.

What are Scoring Categories?

Pardot scores show a prospects interest and intent with marketing materials. Over time, a prospect’s score will increase as they interact with more marketing assets. 

Scoring Categories allow you to break this score down to identify which solution, service, or topic the prospect is most interested in so you can tailor your messaging based on their interest. 

An Example of Scoring Categories in Action

Let’s say ABC Food Co sells two types of products:

  • Candy
  • Hot Sauce

A new prospect comes to the ABC Food Co website and watches a video on how their Hot Sauce is made, and then they look at a pricing page for the Hot Sauces ABC Food Co sells. One day later, your Marketing team sends a follow up email to this prospect.

Since the prospect’s actions the day before raised his score in the Hot Sauce scoring category, the Marketing team knows that this prospect is interested in Hot Sauce, not Candy, and can tailor the message accordingly. 

How Scores are Assigned to Pardot Scoring Categories

Each Scoring Category has its own folder within Pardot. All assets must be stored within the Scoring Category folders in order for the action taken on the asset to count towards the Scoring Category. Actions taken with assets not stored in Scoring Category folder will count only towards the overall, or general score. 

An Example of Scoring Category Points Assignment:

  • John Doe visits a Candy Landing Page and fills out a form about his favorite candy flavors. The landing page and the form are both stored in the Candy Scoring Category folder, so John Doe’s Candy score will increase.
  • Jane Smith visits and reads about 3 different hot sauces. Since there is no physical asset and no page actions for the pages Jane visits, we cannot tie this activity to a Scoring Category. Therefore, the points for each page visit will go to Jane’s overall score. 
  • Joe Jones opens an email about new Candy offerings and clicks a link to an infographic about how new candy flavors were developed, these actions raise his Candy score. Joe then proceeds to visit a landing page about ABC Food Co’s latest hot sauce flavors, this action raises his Hot Sauce score, reflecting he is interested in both offerings. 

How to View Scores by Category

Category scores can be viewed in both Pardot and Salesforce. Let’s break this down.

Viewing Scoring Categories in Pardot

To view a prospect’s scores in Pardot, open the prospect’s profile. The overall score and the scores for each Scoring Category can be seen in the Insight Section of the prospect’s profile. 

If the score for the Scoring Category equals 0, that Scoring Category will not be listed in the Insight section.

You can view the Prospect’s activities and how the activities have affected the prospect’s score in the Prospect Activities section. Use the Prospect Activities Icon Glossary as a quick guide for what each icon means.

You can also filter the Prospect Activities section to only include the activities for a specific Scoring Category by using the Any Category drop down.

You can also filter the type of activity using the Any Type drop down. Use the Any Type and Any Category dropdowns together to further customize your view, for instance if you wanted to see how many Hot Sauce Landing Pages this prospect has visited. 

Viewing Scoring Categories in Salesforce

To view a prospect’s score in Salesforce, open the Contact or Lead view. You can view the Overall Score in the Pardot Section:

You can view the score for each Scoring Category in the Pardot Category Scores section

Actions that Can Be Linked to Scoring Categories

What activities can be tied to a Scoring Category? Here’s a cheat sheet to get you started:

Prospect Activity Can it be tied to a Scoring Category?
Ad click to a general webpage No
Ad click to a Pardot Landing Page Yes
Asset Download Yes
Custom Redirect Click Yes
Email Click Yes
Email Open Yes
Event Attendance Yes, if the event is specific to one category
Event Registration  Yes, if the event is specific to one category
Form Fill Yes
General Opt in No
Opt Out No
Webinar Attendance Yes, if the webinar is specific to one category
Webinar Registration Yes, if the webinar is specific to one category
Webpage visit – General (non pardot, no page action) No
Webpage visit – Pardot Landing Page Yes

Pardot Scoring and Scoring Category Considerations

There are a few nuances about scoring categories to keep in mind if you’re creating, editing, or troubleshooting these:

  • An activity score may not be tied to the Scoring Category if the activity took place before the Scoring Category was implemented.
  • Deleting an asset that has an assigned scoring category removes all activity tied to the associated points from an affected prospect’s category score.
  • When you assign a scoring category to a folder, all assets in that folder and its subfolders are used to calculate the score for that category.
  • You can assign a scoring category to multiple folders, but a folder can have only one scoring category.
  • Each Asset will be assigned to only one Scoring Category, but a campaign can use assets from multiple scoring categories. 
  • If a form is on a landing page, the landing page’s folder determines the scoring category.
  • You cannot manually edit category scores on a prospect record.
  • If you assign a scoring category to a folder, you cannot assign another category to its parent folders or subfolders.
  • Scoring category scores are included with Prospect CSV exports (full export).
  • When you move assets between folders in the following ways, the applicable category scores are recalculated for affected prospects.
    • From a folder with no assigned scoring category to a folder with an assigned scoring category
    • From a folder with an assigned scoring category to a folder with no assigned scoring category
    • From a folder with an assigned scoring category to a folder with a different assigned scoring category
  • You can have a maximum of 50 scoring categories.

What Else Do You Want to Know About Pardot Scoring Categories?

What use cases have you found for Scoring Categories? Any roadblocks or lessons learned that you’ve come across? Let’s hear it in the comments!

By |2020-02-05T13:15:58+00:00February 5th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|

5 Tips to Make Over Your Pardot Email Templates


New year, new… email marketing game?

This article covers a few quick tips and tools to level up your email marketing game with Pardot.

1. Use Custom Fonts

Custom fonts are — as the name implies — fonts that do not come out the box with Pardot.

The default fonts available in Pardot include:

  • Arial
  • Comic Sans MS (a crowd pleaser, for sure)
  • Courier New
  • Georgia
  • Lucida Sans Unicode
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana

These are default fonts because considered they are considered “safe” fonts for email marketing. They are most likely to consistently render in a wide variety of devices and email clients.

Custom fonts, however, can seriously elevate the design aesthetic of your emails and help you stand out in the inbox.

If you decide to use a custom font (you can find instructions on how to set those up here) in your emails and/or landing pages, you need to make sure you set up a backup font, otherwise people with *cough* Outlook *cough* will see Arial as the default font. This may not be a big deal for you (if it isn’t, skip to the next paragraph) but it is something to keep in mind especially when you want branding to be consistent.

Pro Tip:

One huge caveat about custom fonts in regards to reporting — if this font is not setup properly, your email report will see an artificially high click through rate from the way some email clients load fonts.

2. Upgrade Your Email Preference Centres

Email preference centres (EPC) are pages that include options for prospects to opt in or out of individual public lists — for example, newsletters, white papers, events, etc.

If you’re using an unbranded preference centre — or heaven forbid, just an unsubscribe page — move this to the top of your to do list. Using an EPC link helps you avoid getting false unsubscribe link clicks due to spam filter activity.

Every account comes with 1 default email preference centre that includes all public lists across the account. You can also create different preference centres for different audiences or for regions like APAC, AMER, EMEA. If you only operate in the United States and Canada, perhaps a French/English option is more practical. This way, the options your prospects will see are tailored to their language or region.

If you have multiple EPCs, be sure to update the link in the footer of different templates so that each prospect always gets the correct regional email preference centre.

Alternatively, the email preference centre options could include frequency based options instead, as this is consistently a top reason for why people unsubscribe. Giving prospects the ability to reduce the # of emails you send out may encourage them to stick around. If you use this option, you need to prioritize which customer communications are important for example Tier 1 = Customer Communications, Tier 2 = Quarterly Updates and Tier 3 = New White Paper Update.

Pro Tip:

Public list options are categorized by alphabetical order. You can use numbers or other prefixes to get them to show in a specific order.

3. Try Dynamic Content

Dynamic Content is one of the best ways to simplify template bulds and standardize your email sections across emails. In the previous example of having multiple EPCs, you could create a template for APAC, one for AMER, and one for EMEA. But what if you could use one template across EVERYTHING!

Use dynamic content to update headers (for regional personalization) and footers (for updating the links for EPC, office address, and additional legalese). This way you can update in one place and it will always be up-to-date.

Pro Tip:

To execute the above, you have to make sure the COUNTRY field is up to date with the right information. Very important.

4. Personalize with Variable Tags or Handlebars Merge Language

In this day and age, you should be collecting at a minimum an email (required for Pardot) and a first name. With just these two data points, you can start personalizing your emails.

For example, you can include these in the subject line to personalize the experience a little more. Another low hanging fruit is using variable tags in signature to pull the lead/contact owner. This can be simplified especially by setting up User Sync.

In the TESTING tab of the email building process you can use the preview options when using variable tags. You can also use yourself and your team’s individual prospect profiles to see if the options are working.

Pro Tip:

Ensure that you don’t have an awkward white space by editing default merge value at the field level.

5. Experiment with Solid Backgrounds & Optimize for Dark Mode

The ability to set this up is a fairly recent development by Gmail. The use of dark mode helps readers draw better contrast for readership and saves energy on your phone. Ultimately, it makes some traditionally white backgrounds in email to black. This can alter designs quite a bit.                  
If you don’t set up your images correctly you could end up with files that have an obvious white background. These operate just fine on a white background. But in dark mode, you would see the white block (view below) and it would look off.

So how do you design for dark mode?

  • Enable solid color tables/sections so the background is consistent
  • Use PNGs for logos with transparent backgrounds — this way the background color doesn’t matter
  • Ensure links read well in black/white backgrounds

Pro Tip:

When in doubt about how something will display, TEST IT!

Bonus Round: Other Tips from Around the Blog

Last, but not least — here is a roundup of my personal favorite email enhancements we’ve blogged on recently:

Email marketing can be daunting (and very exciting), and knowing your options with Pardot can allow you to make simple changes that will go a long way with your prospects.

Want to Build Better Templates Using Pardot?

Looking for more ways to take your emails to the next level? Sign up for our Code School for Pardot Admins, beginning February 20th.

This 6-week course is built specifically to give you the skills to create the perfect emails in Pardot. Whether you’re pretty new to HTML & CSS or self-taught and looking to level up, we’ve got you covered.

Questions? Best practices to share? New experiments? Let’s hear ’em in the comments!

By |2020-01-07T02:07:14+00:00January 7th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|

How Knowing Pardot Saved My Bacon… Twice


I’ll admit it. As a marketing professional, I was a bit nervous the first time that I heard the term “Marketing Automation”. My first thought was that somebody was trying to automate my role and that I would soon be looking for a job.

This fear was not unique to me – many in my department had the same thoughts. However, these fears were completely unfounded and marketing automation, specifically Pardot, actually saved my bacon – twice.

What is Marketing Automation?

According to Salesforce:

Marketing automation is technology that manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across multiple channels, automatically.”

Marketing automation is basically a tool that streamlines and simplifies many tasks within marketing and sales organizations leading to greater efficiency. It frees teams from performing many processes that have traditionally been done manually (if they are even getting done) and allows them to be more strategic. It is NOT the equivalent of replacing workers with robots.  

Score One for Pardot

I worked in a leadership role in the marketing department of a mid-sized organization for over 20-years. Along the way, the concept of marketing automation was introduced. After some initial skepticism and limited success with with other platforms, we adopted Pardot and I became a huge fan. Working in Pardot quickly became the favorite part of my job and we were able to do some amazing things with lead scoring, grading and nurturing.

Our organization had a great run, but eventually ran into some challenges. After several rounds of layoffs, my number came up. While this was a business decision, an abrupt change in employment is never a fun thing. This was the first time that my Pardot knowledge came to my aid.

Since I was the Pardot expert within the organization and we had an extended contract, we were able to agree to a transition plan that was mutually beneficial for both parties. I was afforded more time to find my next career and the extended transition ensured that operations continued uninterrupted. Score one for Pardot!

Second Act  

When I first started using Pardot, I saw all the stickers and t-shirts emblazoned with:

“I ♡ Pardot”

I thought it was a bit funny, but soon found myself echoing the same sentiment. I decided very quickly that I wanted to transition from a marketing leadership role and that Pardot would be the focus of my new career.

I began reaching out to friends, colleagues and organizations that I knew used Pardot. This and the skills that I had developed led me to Sercante and my current role. I now get to utilize Pardot every day, work with a team of awesome Pardot pros, and help my clients succeed on the Salesforce platform. How cool is that? Score one more for Pardot!

Ready to Write Your Story?  

Marketing automation is nothing to fear. In fact, you should embrace it and take advantage of every opportunity to build and enhance your skills. At the end of the day, tangible technical skills are what employers need and they will also keep you relevant.

The team at Sercante is now offering two Pardot training courses to help you build your skills. Our Pardot Admin Bootcamp and Code School for Pardot Admins courses are taught by Pardot pros who work and innovate in the platform on a daily basis.

If you are looking to take control of your career and write a success story of your own, I highly encourage you to take a look. You’ll be glad that you did.

By |2020-01-03T13:43:57+00:00January 3rd, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|

Creating Complex Rule Logic in Pardot Engagement Studio


When people ask me why I want to work in the Salesforce and Pardot ecosystem, my answer is always the same — automation! Workflows! Personalisation! (And usually with that many exclamation marks.)

If you already thought Engagement Studio was the best thing to happen to Pardot, it’s recently got dialed up to 11.

As we all know, personalisation is super important when identifying which prospects to contact. In the past, if you wanted to get really specific in tailoring your nurture programs to each prospect, you’d usually have to build multiple rule steps into your program to identify each criteria.

Sound familiar?

Well, enter Complex Rule Logic — new in the August Pardot release.

Here are some reasons I’m SO EXCITED about this new feature:

  • We’ll save a ton of time when building nurture flows
  • Our Engagement Studio Programs will look way less cluttered
  • Our reports will be clearer (so our bosses will love us)

How To Use Complex Rule Logic: The Super Easy Guide

Let’s say you want to send an email in your Engagement Program, and you have 3 different criteria to decide whether to send it to a particular prospect.

Something like…

  • Prospect score is greater than 100
  • Prospect grade is greater than a B-
  • Job title contains “Marketing”

In the past, that would be 3 different rule steps you’re adding into every point of qualification in your Engagement Studio Programs. But now, you can wrap these rules into a SINGLE step — just look for the “+ Add Condition” button on your rule in Engagement Studio, which allows you to create up to 5 total rule conditions on every Complex Rule step.

Remember to tell your rule to take action when “All Conditions Are Met” for AND conditions, or when “Any Conditions Are Met” for OR conditions.

3 Examples When Complex Rule Logic Swoops in to Save the Day

Think of the possibilities!

We’ve even thought of some for you. Check these out:

The Conventional Example: My Engagement Studio Program is Out of Hand. Help!

We love seeing creative and complex Engagement Studio Programs, but sometimes even the most badass program can turn into overkill (see also: 10 Engagement Studio “Gotchas” to Watch Out For).

There are plenty of ways to simplify an extensive nurture flow, like adding more controls to the lists feeding the program. You can also make a head start by implementing Complex Rule Logic to pare down the required steps and make your reports easier to read.

We found that this worked great for cleaning up Engagement Studio Programs that decide whether to send a prospect to Salesforce, based on specific criteria.

In this example, we have multiple steps enabled to send a prospect to Salesforce if:

  • Their Prospect default field for “Country” is US
  • Their Prospect default field for “Opted Out” isn’t Opted Out
  • Their Prospect default field for “Do Not Email” isn’t Do Not Email
  • They are not a member of the list “Partners”

Three of our rules fit into a single step (remember, you’re only allowed up to five conditions per step) so we’ve just decreased the number of steps in our program from 4 to 2.

The Practical Example: I Want My Prospects to Download Something Different Based on Their Form Selection

If you thought the first example was cool, imagine what you could do with an even bigger program!

For example, say you want to use a form on your landing page to invite prospects to sign up to a training seminar.

But your seminar is taking place in 3 different cities, and you want them to download a different calendar invitation based on whether they choose to attend your New York, Atlanta, or Seattle event.

You could do this in a number of ways:

Create an autoresponder to email the correct invitation to your prospects based on their selection (aka form field-based completion actions). These are SUPER useful as they allow for field value changes if the form is submitted a second time, unlike repeating an automation rule. You’ll need to use a simple script in your Pardot form’s thank you code, but this is a great option if you don’t want to redirect the prospect to a new page.

Utilise dynamic content in your autoresponder email. We love dynamic content — it’s so underrated! By setting the content in your autoresponder email to display variations based on the field values you set up to capture their chosen city, you can rest easy that they’ll always get the response you want. You can automate this further (YAY) as part of an Engagement Studio Program — more on this later.

Create dynamic content on your thank you page that allows them to download the invitation. You’ll need a dynamic content variation for all three invitations, but this is a great option if you want to redirect your prospect to either a Pardot landing page, or to a page on your website — you can embed the code in your page’s HTML source code.

Create a thank you page that displays links to all three invitations, so your prospect can choose which one to download — but they could accidentally download the wrong one!

We’re going to explore option #2 and how Complex Rule Logic makes this more powerful than ever.

First, set up dynamic content in your autoresponder email to change the content based on your prospects’ city selection. We based ours on the prospect default field for “City”, but the sky’s the limit — you could add a custom prospect field called “Preferred Location” that you can use in case a prospect works in one city but prefers to attend events in another, for example.

Now comes the fun part! If your form is part of an Engagement Studio Program (but make sure you use a landing page trigger, not a form trigger — see 10 Engagement Studio “Gotchas” to Watch Out For), you can now add multiple rule steps before your trigger.

Trailblazer tip: if you’re new to Pardot, remember to create email templates for both your Engagement campaign emails and your autoresponder. You can’t use list emails!

What next?

If you wanted to automate your nurture flow further (who wouldn’t!?) you could add more steps to route your prospect to the appropriate salesperson as part of a wider campaign.

For example:

1. Add another set of completion actions to your form (or an action in your existing Engagement Studio Program) to feed your prospects into a list.

2. Create an automation rule to assign prospects on this list to a salesperson, or a user group if there are multiple people in your sales team.

3. Create an Engagement Studio Program (or a branch on your existing program) with this list as the recipient list. Tell it to create a Salesforce task for your salesperson or team when a prospect is assigned. You could also send them an email if you wanted to.

We especially loved seeing this process in action in our guest post by Brittany Rhyme, How to Round Robin Prospects in Pardot without Salesforce Lead Assignment Rules.

The Out-of-the-Box Example: Can I Use Complex Rule Logic to Improve My Data Quality?

If you have a monster of a Pardot instance, and you’re getting close to hitting your automation rule limit… or you just want to visualise your data cleansing process in one place… you could try putting Engagement Studio to work to solve this.

And if you checked out our recent post, Junk Data in Your Pardot Org: Why it Matters and How Admins Can Mitigate & Manage It, you’ll know how important data quality is.

This Engagement Studio Program is a small one, but it’s special. We used all four of Erin’s “Junk Finder” dynamic lists, so we could put them all in a single step (remember, you’re only allowed five conditions per step).

Our favourite thing about this example is that is can be used in any Engagement Studio Program. Any time you’re using a program to filter prospect data that is entering your system through your forms and form handlers, it’s a good idea to put some restrictions in place to prevent those pesky junk form fills.

What Are You Excited About Improving With Complex Rule Logic?

What questions do you have about Complex Rule Logic in Engagement Studio? And if there’s something you’re excited about improving with Pardot’s new features, let us know in the comments.

By |2019-12-18T01:33:00+00:00December 18th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|

Pardot Grading 101: How to Rate The Quality of Your Prospects


Pardot Grading is a great way to identify prospects who meet your ideal buyer persona, but I find a lot of Pardot users neglect to set up their Grading profiles and automations because they don’t know where to begin.

This article provides a step-by-step guide on setting up your initial grading, as well as some best practices and considerations for customizing grading to your unique needs. 

Understanding Grades in Pardot

Pardot grades range from A+ to F. All prospects begin with a grade of D, however, the initial grade will not show up on the prospect record until the prospect has matched or unmatched at least one criterion.

Grades can be increased or decreased by ⅓, ⅔ or 3/3 of a letter grade. Automation rules should be used to look at the prospect’s data and automatically mark the prospect as a match or not a match for each criterion, or this can be manually done on each prospect’s record (but who has time for that!?). 

Best practice is to have your grading profile look at both prospect fields and company fields to identify ideal fit prospects at ideal fit companies.

No matter how much you love that prospect with the perfect title and the perfect budget, if they are in the wrong industry for your product, chances are they aren’t going to buy from you.

Also, remember Pardot grades should reflect how much you like the prospect, so it should look at implicit data (i.e. Job Level) rather than explicit data (i.e. product of interest) or prospect activity (i.e. last activity).

“Default” Grading in Pardot

Pardot accounts come with a default grading profile that looks at five criteria:

  • Company Size
  • Industry
  • Location
  • Job Title
  • Department.

Pardot’s default scoring works “out of the box,” so many people assume that grading does too. Not so — you do have to take some time to configure this to fit your definition of an ideal buyer.

Defining Your Grading Criteria in Pardot

The next step in setting up grading is deciding which characteristics make up your ideal buyer. This is a great time to bring in your Sales and Inside Sales teams as well as look at your current and past clients. Try answering these questions:

  1. What Job Titles do we target?
  2. Which Job Levels do we target (Managers, Directors, C-Level etc.)?
  3. Which departments do we sell to?
  4. How big or small are the companies we sell to?
  5. Which industries buy our products?
  6. Are you customers restricted to certain locations?

One pitfall to avoid at this step is the “We will sell to anyone” mindset.

Of course you will sell to anyone who has the budget and wants your product — but remember, we are looking for ideal prospects here. We’re looking for people you could essentially cold call and they would likely be interested in your offering (although they won’t be cold for long if you start nurturing them effectively in Pardot!)

Once you have an idea of your ideal buyer persona, look at the data you are collecting in Pardot. Fields with picklist or pre-determined values work best, but you can use free text fields in your grading criteria. If you’re using free text fields, make sure you take into account:

  • Common variations
  • Abbreviations
  • Frequent misspellings that may be entered as a value in this field

For example, if you want to target C-Level job titles, look for Chief, Cheif, CTO, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Tech Officer…etc.). You may need to do some data clean up and standardization here, or add in new fields to collect additional data.

Let’s walk through an example using the following 4 criteria:

  1. Job Level
  2. Department
  3. Account Size
  4. Account Type

Setting Up Pardot Grading Profiles

When you first go to set up grading, all prospects will initially be assigned to the “default” profile, that I mentioned earlier. It is best to edit this default when setting up your own initial grading profile. 

To edit your Grading Profile:

1. Go to Marketing, Segmentation, Profiles

2. Select the Actions wheel next to the Default profile and click Edit

3. Enter the name of each criterion in the Criteria Name boxes, add or remove additional criteria as needed

You can leave all the criteria at equal weight (2/3 by default), or you can select higher or lower values depending on what is import to your company.

For this example, we are going to set Job Level at 1 (3/3 of a letter grade), Department at ⅓, and leave Account Size and Account Type at ⅔

4. Click Save profile.

Automate Your Grading

In the last steps, you told Pardot how important each criteria is when evaluating prospect fit. Next, we are going to automate prospect matching or not matching each criterion of the grading profile — in other words, telling Pardot ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when it grades each prospect against the criterion.

For each criterion, you’ll want to decide what is a match and what isn’t, but keep in mind that not all of the values available for that criterion need to do one or the other! Let’s take Job Level for example, my dropdown values are

  • President/Vice President
  • C-Level
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other

Anyone who has the Job Level of “President/Vice President” or “C-Level” matches our ideal buyer persona. “Manager” and “Other” Job Levels don’t tend to buy, so we’ll make those as not matching the Job Level Criterion. “Director” is neutral ground, so we won’t have that effect the Job Level criterion. 

Don’t be afraid to mark certain values as does not match — it is not disqualifying prospects that have those values, it is simply saying they are not the absolute perfect prospect on all fronts.

Having criteria that does not match is crucial to a good grading profile. Without it, all your prospects can end up with high grades, making it difficult to differentiate between prospects that are great and ones that are just okay.

Using Automation Rules to set rules to “match” criterion:

To automate our first criterion, evaluating fit of Job Title:

1. Go To Marketing, Automation, Automation Rules

2. Select + Add Automation Rule

3. Name your automation rule

I recommend including “Grading” and “Matches” or “Does Not Match” in the automation rule name so it easy to locate and edit your rules later. My rule is named “Grading_Job Level_Matches”

4. Select Repeat Rule

Your prospect’s data may change, so it is good to have repeating Automation Rules to re-evaluate the prospect when they are updated. As a rule of thumb, I recommend setting the rule to be eligible to repeat every 30 days and allow unlimited matches.

5. Under Rules, select Match Any then + Add new rule

6. Select Prospect custom field, Job Level, is, President/Vice President

7. Select + Add new rule

8. Select Prospect custom field, Job Level, is, C-Level

9. Under Actions, select + Add new Action

10. Select Change profile criteria, Default, Job Level, Matches

11. Select Create Automation Rule and resume this rule

Using Automation Rules to set rules to “does not match” criterion:

1. Create another new automation rule

2. Name your automation rule

3. My second rule is named “Grading_Job Level_Does Not Match”

4. Select Repeat Rule

5. Under Rules, select Match Any then + Add new rule

6. Select Prospect custom field, Job Level, is, Manager

7. Select + Add new rule

8. Select Prospect custom field, Job Level, is, Other

9. Under Actions, select + Add new Action

10. Select Change profile criteria, Default, Job Level, Does not match

11. Select Create Automation Rule and resume this rule

Repeat the steps above for each criterion in your grading profile. You may want to also record this information in excel or a word document so it is easy to share with Sales and upper management later. Here is how my data looks:

Testing Your Pardot Grading

If you already have a wide variety of prospects in your Pardot instance, you may be able to let your automation rules run and then review a handful of prospects with differing grades to make sure the grades accurately reflect how close these prospects are to your ideal buyer.

However, if you are new to Pardot or if some of your grading criteria does not have data yet, I recommend adding some mock prospects for testing. 

You’ll want at least 4 prospects who fit your grading criteria in a variety of ways. 

  • Where the account fits, but not the prospect
  • Where the prospect fits, but not the account
  • Where they both fit
  • Where neither fit

I also like to record this in excel to it is easy to share.

With the 4 test prospects, we can see that prospect who only match at either the prospect level or the account level will be in the C range, ideal prospects will be in the A range, and prospect that don’t match on either level will be an F. 

Revisit Your Grading Profiles

Your ideal prospect will likely change as your business and products change, so plan on reviewing your grading profile with the Sales team at least once a year. When reviewing your profile:

1. Review your grading automation rules and make sure they are regularly matching prospects. If they are not, the criterion may no longer be relevant or you may have issues with the data the automation rule is looking for.

2. Review your recent closed won deals. Do the grades of the prospects related to those deals reflect that they were a good match?

3. Review the recently added fields and new field values in Pardot. Can you add or adjust any criteria?

More on Grading Prospects in Pardot

Some additional handy resources on Grading to learn more:

What questions do you have about grading? What’s worked well for your organization? Any lessons learned?

Let’s hear it in the comments!

By |2019-12-10T01:07:00+00:00December 10th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|

Sercante Celebrates 2nd Birthday

Today is a special day.

Sercante is celebrating its second birthday.

What an amazing ride the last two years have been.

Our team has grown to 27 strong, with full-time team members in the US, UK, and Canada. Our clients come from equally diverse geographies – 23 US states and 10 countries.

I’m incredibly proud of the talent that has come together under one virtual roof, and so grateful for the people who have supported us since the earliest days – Nate Skinner at Pardot, Jill Carpenter at Cirrus Insight, Alan Littman at Agile Frameworks, to name a few of the very many people who have supported and encouraged our growth.

Because this is the Salesforce ecosystem and we are all particularly fond of forward looking statements… I’d like to share some of our plans for our third year in business. Here’s what’s next for the Sercante team in year 3:

  • We are going to work on the gnarliest, geekiest client challenges on platform
  • We will show up hard and bring brains, heart, and hustle to every client interaction
  • We will passionately champion Pardot on platform and integrations with 3rd party tech
  • We will embrace opportunities to add new value to the Pardot ecosystem — with apps, packaged solutions, training, and more
  • We will continue building an amazing culture where our remote team is empowered to do their best work

Onward and upward!

P.S. — we’re hiring.

By |2019-11-19T11:56:30+00:00November 17th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|

How to Update Salesforce Picklists & Keep In Sync with Pardot


A question I come across a lot in the Pardot and Salesforce Success Community is how to change Salesforce picklist values on a field synced with Pardot.

A recent example:

Do this wrong and you’ll see the sync errors start flooding in.

This process may sound tedious, but it’s actually not that bad. The keys to a successful field value replacement are updating both systems simultaneously and updating the field everywhere in Pardot to avoid sending over old values later.

This blog post will walk you through the steps of replacing Salesforce field values to ensure you’ve covered all your bases!

1. Confirm Requirements for the Picklist Update

Before you get started, map out the values on the field to ensure all your stakeholders are on the same page. There is nothing worse than finishing this process and then realizing something was miscommunicated and values are missing or were mapped incorrectly.

For example, let’s say we are going to update the “Product of Interest” field. 

Your values might look something like:

Current Product of Interest
Product A
Product B
Product C
Product D
Product E

You might want to replace them with something like:

Future Product of Interest
Product 1
Product 2
Product 3
Product 4

When the team is aligned on the final set of new values, map the old values to the new ones:

Product of Interest Mapping
Product A Product 1
Product B Product 3
Product C Product 1
Product D Product 2
Product E Product 4

2. Add the New Values to the Salesforce Picklist

Now that you have confirmed the new values and how the values will map, add your new values to your Salesforce field so you have both your old and new values. 

3. Replace Old Salesforce Values with the New Ones

In Salesforce, use the “Replace” button to begin replacing the old values with the new values.

When you’re viewing the field in Setup/Object Manager, you can find this button at the top of the list of picklist values:

The replace function looks like this:

Once you have replaced all of your old values with the new values, deactivate your old values by clicking the “deactivate” link. These will then show up on a list of “inactive values”:

Alternatively, you can also delete the picklist value. If you do this, the value will be removed from all records and Salesforce will prompt you to go through the replacement exercise again.

If the picklist exists on both Leads and Contacts, make sure to update both fields in Object Manager or update the Global Picklist Value Set.

4. Use an Automation Rule to Update Any Remaining Prospects

After completing Step 3, your Salesforce Leads and Contacts will be ready to go. You may, however, still have Pardot prospects that have old values in the fields.

The simplest way to update this is to create automation rules to begin move over values. You may need to use “Other” and type in the value as shown below. Make sure the value you type into Pardot matches the new Salesforce value exactly.

5. Update the Field in Pardot Setup

Once your automation rules have run, open the field in Pardot and select the “refresh” symbol next to “Salesforce Field Name”. This will resync the field and pull in the new field values from Salesforce. 

Ensure only the new values now show up in the “Values” section.

If you want to skip this step in the future, make sure this checkbox is selected:

6. Update the Field on Pardot Assets

Finally, check the “Usage” tab of your field to identify any forms, automation rules, completion actions, or lists that may need to be updated to include the new values.

If you need to update the field values on any forms, go in to edit the form, and click the “Load Default Data” button next to the field. This will pull in the correct values so you don’t have to manually add them.

7. Keep an Eye on the Error Queue

After you’ve completed steps 1-6, that’s pretty much it!

Note that if you’re using a restricted picklist in Salesforce, any picklist values that don’t match up will cause a sync error.

It’s always a good idea to check your sync error report a few days after any change like this to ensure you’ve updated the values everywhere and don’t run into any issues later. 

Questions About Updating Picklist Fields in Pardot?

Any questions or other things you’d like to know about updating picklist fields in Pardot?

What other Salesforce and Pardot processes are you curious about?

Let’s hear it in the comments!

By |2019-11-11T06:30:00+00:00November 11th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|
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