Sync Error Workaround: Dynamic Dependent Picklist Fields and Pardot Forms

An issue faced by many marketers using Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot) is how to find a workaround for dynamic dependent picklist fields and Pardot forms that will reduce sync errors in Salesforce. Specifically, Pardot admins are often looking for ways to collect and sync values from Pardot forms and form handlers to Salesforce restricted picklist fields. 

Out of the box, Pardot’s handling of dependencies between fields is virtually non-existent. This leads to sync errors when values passed from Pardot cannot be accepted by Salesforce. 

The workaround described below aims to mirror the dependencies between dynamic picklist fields so that values can be passed cleanly to Salesforce without error.

The Challenge: Syncing Dynamic Dependent Picklist Values

Using dynamic dependent picklists in Pardot is a great way to cut down on otherwise lengthy lists of values from which your audience can choose. Here’s an article from Marcos Duran that describes how to set up this use case for dynamic dependent picklists. So how do you sync this data to Salesforce CRM?

Example: Country and State Global Picklists

One very common example of this type of dependency is found between the Country and State global picklists in Salesforce. For example, a country of the United States may only accept values matching one of 52 allowable states, while the country of Canada may only accept one of 13 provinces or territories. 

If a Pardot prospect has a country of Canada and a state other than one of those 13 allowable values, a sync error will result — even if the state value matches one of the 52 allowable U.S. states.

Example: Dependencies Between Custom Salesforce Fields

Another common example involves dependencies between custom Salesforce fields. For example, dependencies can exist for product lines and SKU. 

In this example, a candy company might sell products that fall into one of 3 product lines: 

  1. Chocolates
  2. Hard Candies
  3. Gummies

Within the Chocolates product line, available SKUs include chocolate bars, truffles, and hot chocolate. Each SKU can belong to only one product line — in other words, a chocolate bar can only belong to the chocolate product line, and cannot qualify as a hard candy or gummy. 

Requirements for Setting Up Dynamic Dependent Picklists in Pardot

For the purposes of this blog, I will focus on the candy company’s use case, described above. The below solution assumes that a prospect can only belong to one Product Line at a time and that a prospect cannot be interested in multiple SKUs within that Product Line simultaneously.

Salesforce Dependencies

The candy company’s Salesforce org utilizes two restricted picklist fields:

  • Product Line (Product_Line__c)
    • Data type: Picklist
    • Values: Chocolates, Hard Candies, Gummies
  • SKU (SKU__c)
    • Data type: Picklist – dependent on value selected on Product Line field
    • Values: Chocolate Bar, Truffle, Hot Chocolate, Lollipop, Candy Apple, Mints, Gummy Bears, Gummy Worms, Wine Gums

A dependency has been set on the “Product Line” field to control which “SKU” values can be accepted under each Product Line: 

An excel document showing how to edit a field dependency in Salesforce using an example of a list of products in two columns.

Pardot Dropdown Form Fields

The candy company’s marketing team is using a Pardot form to collect new leads. That form collects both “Product Line” and “SKU” values:

An image of a product line drop down field with a check mark selected.
A SKU dropdown field showing a list of candy products and a check mark symbol.

Because the prospect fields in Pardot are not dependent on one another, a prospect is able to select any SKU value regardless of the Product Line selected. This is resulting in sync errors when a newly generated prospect tries to sync from Pardot to Salesforce with a SKU value that does not align with their selected Product Line.

The Solution: Custom Fields + Dependent Fields + Engagement Studio Program

To help the candy company solve their data syncing woes, we will use a combination of tools available within Pardot. We will create custom Pardot prospect fields, dependent fields on the Pardot form, and an Engagement Studio program to translate values from one Pardot field to another. 

The entire solution should take less than 2 hours to implement.

STEP 1: Create new custom prospect fields in Pardot

Create a new custom prospect field for each of the three “SKU” value subsets. These will be Pardot-only fields and should NOT sync to Salesforce:

  1. SKU1_Chocolates
    • Data type: Dropdown
    • Values: Chocolate Bar, Truffle, Hot Chocolate
  2. SKU2_Hard Candies
    • Data type: Dropdown
    • Values: Lollipop, Candy Apple, Mints
  3. SKU3_Gummies
    • Data type: Dropdown
    • Values: Gummy Bears, Gummy Worms, Wine Gums

STEP 2: Update your Pardot form to include the above fields

  1. Edit the existing “Product Line” field on your Pardot form to display dependent fields based on the criteria shown below. 

During this step, you can allow Pardot to automatically create the 3 dependent fields by following the prompts provided:

An image of a dependent field in Pardot.
  1. Edit each of the 3 new “SKU#” dependent fields to display as dropdowns and load in your pre-defined SKU values by clicking the “Load Default Data” button.
  2. Add a completion action to your form to add prospects to a static list on form submission.

    NOTE: You will need to create the static list before completing this step.

  3. Save your new form — and voila! The new dependent “SKU#” fields will now appear or disappear based on the “Product Line” value selected.
A candy company dropdown form showing a SKU2 Hard candies drop down with a selection of candies and a check mark.

STEP 3: Create an Engagement Studio program

  1. Create a new Pardot Engagement Studio Program. This program will translate the SKU# values collected via your Pardot form into the SKU values that will sync to Salesforce.
  2. Edit the program’s “Start” step – add the static recipient list referenced in Step 2 as your “Recipient List.”
  3. Add a “Rule” step to check for each of the available SKU# values, as below.

    Note: based on the candy company’s defined requirements, you will need a total of 9 Rule steps:

    • “SKU1_Chocolates” is Chocolate bar, or
    • “SKU1_Chocolates” is Truffle, or
    • “SKU1_Chocolates” is Hot Chocolate, or
    • “SKU2_Hard Candies” is Lollipop, or
    • Etc…
  4. On the YES branch beneath each Rule, add an “Action” step to update the prospect field “SKU” based on the value found on the SKU# field – for example:
    • If “SKU1_Chocolates” is Chocolate bar, then change prospect field value “SKU” to Chocolate bar
    • If “SKU1_Chocolates” is Truffle, then change prospect field value “SKU” to Truffle
    • Etc…
  5. Add an “Action” step just above the End step on your program to remove the prospect from your recipient list. This will allow us to re-enter the prospect into the program at a later date, if desired. 
  6. OPTIONAL: Add an ‘ELSE’ condition on the leftmost NO branch to catch any prospects whose SKU# value cannot be translated. This is a failsafe to catch any prospects who might have entered this program by accident or who were not able to be processed. 
    • In the example below, I have added a step to notify a specific user (i.e. the Pardot admin) who will then review and update the records that could not be processed via the Engagement Studio. 
    • I also added an additional “End” step following this ‘ELSE’ action so that prospects who cannot be processed by the Engagement Studio will remain on the recipient list for review by the Pardot admin.
  7. Start your Engagement Studio Program!
A chart of a step by step custom program in Pardot Engagement Studio.

Solve Your Salesforce Sync Error Woes

That’s it! You’ve created custom and dependent fields and set up a new Pardot Engagement Studio Program. Now the source of your sync errors should be resolved! 

Continue to monitor your sync error queue over time to determine whether adjustments to your Engagement Program are needed. For example, does the program need to repeat for returning prospects and, if so, how often?

And if you still have troubles, reach out to the team at Sercante for guidance.

Original article: Sync Error Workaround: Dynamic Dependent Picklist Fields and Pardot Forms

©2022 The Spot. All Rights Reserved.

The post Sync Error Workaround: Dynamic Dependent Picklist Fields and Pardot Forms appeared first on The Spot.

By |2022-09-02T15:18:00+00:00September 2nd, 2022|Categories: Forms & Form Handlers, Getting Started|

Getting Started with a Pardot Email Preference Center

An email preference center creates a happy medium for you and your audience. 

It’s a place where your people can let you know what interests them so you can work with them to deliver relevant content. And it also fulfills that all-important duty you have to provide a way for your readers to opt out from all non-operational email communications.

Here are the basics you should know when building your email preference center in Pardot.

Why should you build an email preference center?

In Pardot, any email you send must include either an option to unsubscribe or manage preferences via PML or HML tags (%%unsubscribe%% or %%email_preference_center%% for PML or {{Unsubscribe}} or {{EmailPreferenceCenter}} for HML). Read this post for more on that.

While an option to simply unsubscribe will get the job done, an email preference center will give your prospects the option to limit (or potentially even increase) correspondence from your marketing team rather than opting out entirely. An email preference center allows prospects to select just the correspondence they want to receive.

Depending on whether your company is only getting started with Pardot, you’ve been sending Pardot emails for a while, or you’ve inherited a hot mess of a Pardot org (been there, done that), the process of setting up an email preference center will vary in complexity, but once you see those opt-outs decrease, it will be worth it!  

How Pardot email preference centers work

Let’s go through the basics of a Pardot email preference center and some tips to get you started.

Add subscribe list to existing email preference center

To add a list to an existing email preference center, create or edit a static or dynamic list in Pardot. When creating or editing a list, select the “Public List” checkbox to display said list in your email preference center. 

You can then give your list a label, which is the option that prospects will see on your email preference center, and an optional description that will appear underneath the label. (Prospects will not see the Pardot name for the list; they will only see the label and the description.)

Here is a list’s basic information in Pardot: 

And here is how it appears on the Sercante email preference center: 

Using static and dynamic lists in email preference centers

You can use both static and dynamic lists for email preference centers. But there’s a catch. 

Any prospect will be able to see a static list and opt into or out of that list by checking the box next to that list. Only prospects who are already members of a dynamic list will be able to see a dynamic list on an email preference center. 

If a prospect is a member of a public dynamic list, the prospect will be able to opt out of communication from that list by unchecking the box associated with that list on the email preference center. Prospects cannot opt themselves into a public dynamic list, only opt out. 

When you view a public list in Pardot, you’ll be able to see the opt-in status for each prospect: 

Dynamic list use case for email preference center

Personally, I prefer using static lists on email preference centers, but there are valid use cases for dynamic lists. 

For instance, let’s say you have specific communications, like a newsletter, that you want to send to current clients. You could have a prospect field for “persona” on the prospect record, and then create a dynamic list that looks for everyone with a persona of “current client.” 

You can then use that dynamic list on your email preference center and as your distribution list for client communications. Only those with the persona of “current client” would see the list option on the email preference center and be able to opt out of that specific dynamic list. 

Always follow privacy laws

Of course, regardless of whether you use static or dynamic lists, you must abide by opt-in and privacy laws

This is the part where I tell you I am not a lawyer and this blog post is not legal advice. Consult your lawyer on who you have the right to email, folks.

What preferences should prospects have? 

Now that we understand the basics of list membership, let’s talk about what list options we can provide for prospects. Consider how you typically segment your audiences for email marketing. Do you have blog subscription options? Do you email certain people about certain products? 

Here are a few options you to consider: 

  • Lists by product category (ex., chocolate, cookies, candy)
  • Lists by service offering (ex., private chef, cooking classes, private cooking lessons) 
  • Lists by type of event (webinars, conferences, etc.) 

When you’ve settled on the options you want to include on your email preference center, start building your lists. 

If prospects have opted into specific contact previously, be sure to honor those preferences and only include prospects on lists that respect those preferences. 

How do you honor prospect preferences? 

Once your email preference center is up and running, you need to be sure you can abide by the preferences that a prospect has expressed. That means if they’ve opted out of receiving blog communications, you need to exclude them for all future blog sends. 

The easiest way to do this is to use an EPC list as the send list for your email. If someone is opted out of the list, they will not receive an email. 

However, let’s say you are creating a different send list based on other, more specific prospect criteria because you want to send an email to blog subscribers who have expressed interest in a particular topic. 

You have two options: 1) look for public list opted-in status when creating your send list or 2) create a dynamic suppression list that looks for public list opted-out status. 

Option 1: Look for public list opted-in status when creating your send list

When creating a send list for an email, include the following parameter: 

Prospect public opt-in status > is not opted out > [EPC LIST NAME]

Option 2: Create a dynamic suppression list that looks for public list opted-out status

For this option, create a dynamic suppression list for the relevant EPC list using a single criteria:

Prospect public opt-in status > is opted out > [EPC LIST NAME]

Then, use this list as your suppression list for your email. 

Staying organized and documenting everything 

There are a lot of moving pieces when you stand up an email preference center. If you are not the only person in your Pardot org, or if you just want to do your future self a favor, stay organized and document everything. 

Here are my favorite tips.

Create a spreadsheet to track your list decisions

When working on email preference centers, create a spreadsheet that documents all of the details for every public list. 

Here are the columns I typically include on my own personal tracking spreadsheet: 

  • Internal List Name
  • List Label
  • List Type (static or dynamic) 
  • List Description
  • List URL
  • Notes (Typically, this includes how you decided which prospects to include on this list when initially creating the list)
  • Completion Actions & Automations that Populate List
  • How is consent for list membership handled? 

Make it easy to find your EPC lists 

If your Pardot org is anything like mine, you have a lot of lists. It can be difficult to weed through and find the lists that are included in your email preference center. 

When looking at all current lists, you can quickly sort by “public list” to see any public lists that are included on an EPC: 

However, I like tagging all of my public lists “epc” and all of the dynamic suppression lists mentioned above “epc suppression” so I can quickly see all lists related to my email preference center. 

Create a how-to guide for your Pardot users

Be sure anyone who sends emails in Pardot knows how to honor prospect preferences. If filling out a form or form handler should add a prospect to a public list, instruct your team on the appropriate completion action to use. 

I created an eight-page guide for my team. It’s located in our Google Drive, on our team Asana board, and pinned in our team Slack channel. Is that overkill? Probably. Does it help me sleep at night to know everyone knows the ins and outs of emailing from our Pardot org? Absolutely. 

Email preference center example

We used several elements of the Sercante email preference center in this blog post. To help you pull our examples together, here’s what the Sercante email preference center looks like.

Email preference center example

Get help with your email preference center

Setting up an email preference center can be daunting. There are a lot of considerations, both in terms of marketing strategy (how will I segment my database?) and legal compliance (how do I avoid a lawsuit?). 

Ultimately, by providing prospects with the option to select the communication they want, you’ll limit the amount of prospects that get frustrated by yet another email they’re not interested in and unsubscribe. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and want support from a team of experts who can also guide you through compliance questions, getting more list subscribers, and designing something on-brand, drop us a line.

The post Getting Started with a Pardot Email Preference Center appeared first on The Spot for Pardot.

By |2022-02-21T21:00:18+00:00February 21st, 2022|Categories: Emails & Templates, Forms & Form Handlers, Getting Started, revive, Setup & Admin|