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Scoring Categories and HML: The Peanut Butter and Chocolate Moment

BY MIKE MORRIS

Let’s start by saying that if you’re not using scoring categories in Pardot, you probably should be. If you offer more than one solution or service or have multiple topics represented on your website, scoring categories are for you. These little gems allow you to break down your total score and identify your prospects’ specific areas of interest. This is huge when it comes to tailoring your marketing messaging and directing your sales team’s efforts.

To get started with scoring categories, check out Erin Duncan’s post Pardot Scoring Category Basics: What, How & Why.

Another super cool feature in Pardot that you may not be utilizing is Handlebars Merge Language (HML). HML, rolled out in August 2019, expands the personalization capabilities of Pardot well beyond Pardot Merge Language (PML) and introduces the ability to use conditional statements (among other capabilities).

To learn more about HML, check out Skyler Nakashima’s post How Pardot’s New Handlebars Merge Language Improves Personalization.

Now for the peanut butter and chocolate moment!

Using Scoring Categories + HML to Power Dynamic Content

A client recently asked me if we could use the scoring category data we built into her account as criteria for her dynamic content. While there are lots of options that you can use to inform the variation of dynamic content out of the box, including score, scoring categories is not one of them. However, with a bit of ingenuity and HML, scoring categories can be used to fuel dynamic content. Here’s how.

The Process

Step 1 – Create custom prospect fields (checkbox) in Pardot that align to your scoring categories. I also like to use a standardized naming convention so the fields are 1) grouped together and 2) easy to identify.

Step 2 – Create automation rules to update the checkbox value to “True” based on the achievement of a defined category score. You’ll want to set the score to a value that is high enough to show significant interest in the topic. This number will vary based on your scoring model.

Step 3 – Create dynamic content for each of your topics. When doing this, you’ll also need to consider how you want the content to display in your message. If a prospect has an interest in multiple topics, do you want to display a block of dynamic content for each in the email or would you prefer to only show one? In this example, we are going to choose to prioritize our topics as 1) Dogs 2) Cats and 3) Birds and display only one piece of content in the body of the email. 

Note: The default content for Dogs is blank. This was done intentionally and is necessary to ensure the proper functionality of the “else” HML statements. Only add default content into the final topic in your list of priorities – Birds in our example (see below).

Step 4 – Now the HML magic! The code below is essentially a conditional statement based on the dynamic content that we previously created.

{{#if dynamic_content_1789}} {{{dynamic_content_1789}}}
{{else}}{{#if dynamic_content_1791}} {{{dynamic_content_1791}}}
{{else}}{{{dynamic_content_1793}}}{{/if}}{{/if}}

It helps to have a decoder ring to see exactly what’s going on here. In this example, the dynamic content aligns to the topics as follows:

  1. Dogs – {{{dynamic_content_1789}}}
  2. Cats – {{{dynamic_content_1791}}}
  3. Birds – {{{dynamic_content_1793}}}

Based on this, the plain English behind our statement is:

  1. If Dogs is Yes, show Dogs 
  2. else if Cats is Yes, show Cats 
  3. else if Birds is Yes, show Birds 
  4. else If Birds is No, show Birds default content

Take Your Dynamic Content to the Next Level with Scoring Categories & HML

Scoring categories and HML are very powerful features in Pardot. While both add tremendous value independently, they can be combined to open up even more possibilities. If you need a hand getting started with scoring categories, HML or have questions about how these features can work together, drop us a note or add your questions below in the comments. 

By |2020-05-14T11:18:13+00:00May 14th, 2020|Categories: Experiments|

5 Fab Functions of Salesforce Formulas

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “formula”? If you are anything like my 13-year old daughter, the quadratic formula and other dreaded mathematical functions come to mind. While formulas in Salesforce can be used to do calculations, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Below are five cool things that you can do with formulas.

Keep Data Clean

Is poor data derailing your marketing efforts and making your reporting impossible?

Hey – I’ve been there and feel your pain. Fortunately, formulas in validation rules can save the day!

Here’s a good example. Let’s say that you are in charge of marketing a product to individuals in the USA and Canada and that state or province is needed for your marketing segmentation. Your organization also does some business in other parts of the world, so state is not required when entering leads into Salesforce. Formulas to the rescue!

The simple formula below checks the country of leads upon entry and will not let the record be saved if the country is USA or Canada and the state field is blank.

Nothing too fancy, but effective. When users try to save the record with missing data, they are greeted with a friendly reminder at the top of the page.

Build Picklist Dependencies

One of my favorite Pardot form functions is dependent fields. This feature allows you to shorten forms and only show select fields based on the response to a dependent field. You can build very similar dependencies in Salesforce using formulas.

Let’s put our marketing hat back on for a moment and consider the situation below. As the marketing leader of an organization, you know the personas of your customers quite well and have determined that job function is one of the most critical factors in identifying future buyers. Based on customer analysis, you have created picklists in Salesforce to capture this information in a consistent manner when leads are entered (nice job!). You also had the foresight to include “other” as an option in your picklist to capture titles that may not be in your list or may be associated with future product releases. 

After creating “Job Function” as a required field (with picklist values) and creating a non-required “Other Job Function” field, the formula below can be added as a validation rule. This rule will require that the “Other Job Function” field be completed prior to records being saved if the “Other” option is selected in in the picklist.

Here’s the error message that users will see if “Other” is selected and the “Other Job Title” field is not populated.

Add Images

If your Salesforce org is any like the ones that I work in, there is a lot of data on your lead and contact page layouts. While the data is needed and serves a purpose, finding key information can often be a challenge. We’ve all heard the expression “a picture is with a thousand words” – you can leverage this concept by adding images with formulas. 

The example below is used to apply visual indicators based on lead rating. If the lead is Hot, five stars are displayed. If the lead is Cold, only one star is displayed.

Simplify Complexity

One of our core values at Secante is to “simplify complexity” and formulas can help us do that too. Sometimes we don’t need all the data presented on a page layout. The information needed can be conveyed through the humble checkbox.

Let’s say that your organization has a list of target accounts that are treated differently than other accounts. Asking the sales team to memorize a list of accounts that may be in a state of perpetual change, is just not scalable. However, the addition of a simple checkbox on the contact page layout to serve a visual indicator would easily address the need.


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Simplify Other Formulas

We’ve started off with some pretty simple formulas, but the reality is that formulas in the real world tend to get much more complex. In this example from the Advanced Admin Trail, a text formula named Case_Category _ _c was created to color code cases based on the length of time that they have been open.


While technically accurate, this formula has a lot of redundant components. Sticking with the “simplify complexity” theme that we mentioned earlier, a helper formula can be used to make this formula a bit more efficient.

In this case, the logic for calculating the case’s age can be defined in another formula called Case_Age_In_Days_ _c. We can then insert this formula field into our original formula and eliminate the need to do the age calculations within the “IF” statements. The result is a streamlined formula that’s much easier to read and understand.

Learn More

Check out these great resources from Salesforce to build and expand your formula skills.

By |2020-05-02T17:45:03+00:00May 2nd, 2020|Categories: CRM, Salesforce, Uncategorized|