Pardot and Sales Cloud Highlights from the Spring ‘19 Release

When I last wrote about the Salesforce Winter ‘19 Release, I covered 8 new features across all cloud products. This time around I’m taking a slightly different approach. This post will review the Sales Cloud and Pardot highlights, but with a deeper analysis. With plenty of useful updates across both Salesforce products, I’m sure you’ll agree there’s a lot to get excited about for your 2019 marketing strategies.

This list of updates is not an exhaustive; if you want to read more about the entire release, you can reference the Spring ‘19 Release Notes or take the Spring ‘19 Release Highlights Module in Trailhead, which is broken into units specific to Salesforce products.

High Velocity Sales for Inside Sales Teams

Salesforce has capitalized on the Lightning Sales Console, integrating some awesome new functionality with proven existing tools like Lightning Dialer and Einstein Lead Scoring. Everything your inside reps need to effectively nurture their leads is provided in a clean, tab-based workspace.

Sales Cadences

Sales cadences help in situations where you anticipate a lot of demand, or to better streamline your sales methodology. Using a flow builder similar to Pardot’s Engagement Studio, you can build an automated campaign to work leads, which feeds directly into reps’ daily work queues. Reps will get a prioritized list based off various cadences, so they will know exactly how to spend their time. If I were a sales manager, this feature is where I’d look to collaborate with my marketing counterparts to develop successful cadences.

Work Queues

The prioritized list of outreach items including emails, calls and tasks, can be found in the new Work Queue window. These activities are defined by the Sales Cadences referenced in the previous paragraph. Additionally, reps can create their own list of activities in the “My List” tab.


Late last year, Pardot announced a new Release Schedule, which will offer new updates and features six times annually. These bi-monthly updates will coincide with the three Salesforce seasonal releases (Spring, Summer and Winter), plus three additional Pardot releases. As a certified Pardot Nerd™ this new schedule got my glasses all fogged up.

That said, there are lots of useful Pardot updates coming in the pipeline. They focus on simplifying the Pardot implementation process and record syncing, expanded marketing campaign tracking in Salesforce with connected campaigns, and perhaps the most exciting update, Einstein Behavior Scoring.

Salesforce-Pardot Integration

I’ve completed a handful of implementations and consider myself well-versed in the process. With the new Pardot Setup Assistant though, implementers’ jobs got a whole lot easier. Now you can provision and complete the initial configuration tasks for Pardot accounts, like mapping fields, mapping users, and updating page layouts, right from Salesforce.

If you have Pardot Advanced edition, you can create multiple Pardot business units for a Salesforce account without contacting support. This feature is helpful if your enterprise has marketing goals based on geography or product lines, helping each division focus on their own custom marketing objectives. Additionally, business units give you added control over which prospects and assets your users have access to. This way, divisions can work independently, but still have a global view with B2B Marketing Analytics, which you can now set up more easily than ever.

Additionally, the Salesforce-Pardot connector page has been redesigned with you in mind, so you can now configure connected campaigns, Salesforce user sync and marketing data sharing.

Pardot: Einstein Behavior Scoring

I recently watched the Pardot Product Roadmap Webinar and Einstein Behavior Scoring was one of the most exciting new features reviewed. Using artificial intelligence, Einstein is able to take advantage of users’ engagement information, such as recent website visits, email opens, link clicks and completed forms, to provide a more accurate score of prospects’ buying intent. It also clearly identifies the reasons behind that score so your reps understand what makes prospects more likely to convert and eventually close.

I think Einstein is yet another advancement by Salesforce and Pardot that helps to close the gap between sales and marketing. I’m really excited for this feature, which says a lot coming from someone who understands the sales and marketing gap is a huge area for improvement in a lot of organizations.

Just to clarify, this feature is separate from Einstein Lead Scoring, which uses a predictive model that factors in prospect information like industry, interests, job, and engagement history. For Pardot users who are familiar with the difference between Grading and Scoring, this feature is like a supercharged combination of the two.

Salesforce Engage

Even though I’ve only worked with a couple of clients who use Salesforce Engage, they all asked for a folder hierarchy to help organize their assets. Before this release, all we could recommend is strategically naming each email template to structure them in a specific order or grouping. Now, while composing an email, users can browse the Pardot folder hierarchy and search for a template by folder, as long as they have permission and the email is marked for 1:1.

Salesforce Essentials

Earlier this year Salesforce Essentials was released. At $25/month and ready to use out of the box, it’s release provided a whole lot more access to the world’s #1 CRM. There were a ton of updates that are apart of this update as well.

Sales and Service Essentials are now combined under one product, providing an even better value than before. Updates were made to the user management system, so administrators will be able to make adjustments to licenses on the fly and manage team information and permissions on the redesigned users page in Setup.

Customize Sales Stages

The most useful feature release in Essentials is the ability to customize sales stages. Now you can tailor lead statuses and opportunity stages based on your unique business needs. For the users with Professional, Enterprise or Unlimited, this functionality isn’t breaking news; but for those businesses just starting out, it’s a game changer.

Out of the box, you’ll see a setup wizard. It will suggest pre-configured sales processes for different types of organizations, taking some of the guesswork out for users. In the next window, you’ll be able to add/edit pre-populated lead statuses and opportunity stages. Pretty easy, right?

Expanded Integration with Gmail

I get requests all the time from clients about the ability to log emails on lead and contact records, access Salesforce data, create new records and much more–all from within Gmail. These requests are far easier to fulfill today with the recent investments Salesforce has made into integrating one of the world’s top email clients.

Lightning for Gmail and Salesforce Inbox Chrome Extension

Using the updated Chrome extension, sales professionals can now leverage customer contact and account information and Einstein AI in real time. If users want to stay in the same interface, they can use the Salesforce panel to access whatever record or object they need. Additionally, you can use productivity tools to add an email template, availability calendar, tracking and scheduling.

Einstein Activity Capture

Einstein Activity Capture connects any email to related Salesforce records, which includes accounts, opportunities, and custom objects. Einstein can even create new records if you want.

What was your favorite Spring ‘19 Release update?

Why Every Content Strategy Needs to Start With an Audit

Know What You Have So You Can Know What You Need With a Content Analysis

I’m not a fan of disorder–I could have coined the phrase “a place for everything and everything in its place.” While it bugs my husband whenever he can’t find something in the same place he left it, my almost obsessive need to organize really comes in handy in my job as a content strategist.

I’m talking about the strategy before the content strategy. The content audit.

If your business is anything like most, you have a disorganized vault of content that likely includes blog posts, videos, whitepapers, how-to guides, one-pagers, service briefs, advertising, data sheets and more.

When you have a lot of disparate content, there are a few things that are probably true:

  • Some of it is outdated and is no longer serving a helpful purpose to your audience
  • Much of your content falls into one stage of the buyer’s journey, leaving gaps at other stages where your audience isn’t being properly served
  • The different types of content aren’t being properly leveraged for the right stage of the buyer’s journey
  • You have minimal knowledge, if any, of how your audience is interacting with your content, and what type of content is working better than others
  • Your content is difficult to find and isn’t readily available when your audience could benefit most from it

If any of those statements ring true for you, you need a content audit to kick off an effective, productive content strategy and help you get on the right track.

Don’t Start a Content Strategy in the Middle

Ever since digital marketing began turning everyone’s attention to the importance of search engine optimization and lead nurturing through the buyer’s journey, businesses everywhere have been told to focus on content, content, content.

While focusing on content production is great, it can be problematic if one (or all) of these scenarios occur:

  1. You fail to assess your audience personas
  2. You fail to audit the content you have already produced
  3. You create content without a strategy behind it

In each of these scenarios, the biggest issue is that your content strategy isn’t starting at the beginning; rather, somewhere in the middle. Each step should flow logically into the next, leading you to an informed content strategy.

For the sake of this post, we’re going to assume you have a clear understanding of your audience personas–who they are, where they are, their pain points, and where they get their information (to name a few criteria)–and focus on step 2: auditing content you have already produced. (This is also where a love of organization is an asset).

Why Conduct an Audit as Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy?

We know a content audit helps drive your content strategy–but how? Here are two reasons why a content audit so important:

  1. It Helps You Understand What Content You Have to Work WithThink of your existing content like a thrift store. Even if some of it is dated, it can be given a fresh coat of paint, so to speak, to satisfy the information your current audience is looking for at different stages of the buyer’s journey. That white paper from a few years ago may still discuss a highly relevant topic, but simply needs to be updated with recent information or a fresh look and feel to make it timely again.
  2. It Helps Ensure Continuity in the Buyer’s JourneyPlain and simple, and as the title of this post suggests, knowing what you have is the only way to know what you need. You can assess which stages of the buyer’s journey you have covered, and where there are gaps. In an ideal scenario, you should have be offering your audience different types of content from their awareness stage through their decision stage–and beyond. Conducting a content audit is the only way to know if you have, for example, a majority of awareness-stage content, leaving everyone at the consideration stage with nothing to keep them interested.

How to Conduct a Successful Audit for Your Content Strategy That Won’t Traumatize You

Combing through what could be years worth of content is daunting. The enormity of this task is why content begins gathering dust in the first place. That’s why I’m offering up some simple tips to help make the process less traumatizing and tedious, and more impactful in the end.

  • Pre-Determine Some Filtering CriteriaDepending on the size of your organization, you may have content dating back many years that you know isn’t relevant and cannot be revitalized. Set a year at which you will start auditing content; i.e. 2015 to present.
  • Know What Content Your Audience Needs MostSince we’re assuming you have developed your audience personas, you know what their pain points are. Focus on auditing the content that speaks to these pain points. You may think you have too much content about a specific topic, but if it’s something you know your audience wants, you need to fully cover the subject.
  • Remain Open-Minded About Your Content MarketingNew content can be born from old content–like the thrift store comparison. You will come across content that is off-brand or poor quality, but keep track of any relevant subject matter that can be born from this old content. Additionally, if you come across a lengthy presentation or white paper that just doesn’t fit into your current content dissemination needs, think about whether you can take parts of that content and create shorter, more impactful assets. For instance, can that presentation become an interactive eBook? Can that white paper become a snazzy infographic?
  • Keep Track of Key InformationAs you go through your audit, the most important thing is to keep detailed information about what you’re finding. The best format for doing so is an Excel or Google spreadsheet, and I recommend keeping track of the following details:
    • Content title
    • A brief description of the subject matter
    • Content type (white paper, PowerPoint presentation, etc.)
    • Date created
    • Location of content and a link to the content if applicable
    • Stage of the buyer’s journey (Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Evangelist)
    • Recommendation for repurposing (can this content be turned into a different type of asset? If so, what? Can this content be refreshed to discuss this topic in a more current way? If so, how?)
    • Other notes (this is where you would make any comments about the content that don’t fit into one of the other categories, even something as simple as “link doesn’t work”)

So I’ve Done My Audit. What’s Next for My Content Strategy?

Once you’ve completed your content audit, you now have a comprehensive record of every piece of content.

Knowing what you have allows you to easily execute several key steps toward building a successful content strategy:

  • You can now pinpoint specific pieces of content from the audit that can simply be taken and reused immediately. Think about email drip campaigns or social media content–all relevant content from your audit can be used toward these impactful lead-generation efforts.
  • You can now turn to your audited content to spark inspiration for new content topics or types. This is where the recommendations for repurposing really come in handy.
  • You can now identify any gaps in stages of the buyer’s journey and begin focusing on creating content that can fill those gaps, improve overall lead generation, and elevate your brand as a thought leader.

The goal of an audit is to organize your content and help your content strategy be as successful as possible. When you can see what you have, it’s much easier to see what you need. And your audience will notice when their needs are being met by content that is more targeted to their pain points and finds them at the right stage of their journey toward becoming a customer.

Want help conducting an audit to jump-start your 2019 content strategy? Contact us.

Considerations for Testing Pardot Forms

As a Pardot consultant, I work with a wide-array of clients who all have different levels of experience using the platform. With that varied experience comes a varied understanding of form configurations and how prospects come in through forms, especially during the testing process. Increasingly, I’ve found that there is a gap in knowledge surrounding this process, which in part prompted me to write this post. As the hired help, it’s my job to articulate specific functionality and expected outcomes.

As a preface, make sure that “Show Filtered Activities” is on while testing forms. Here’s where you enable:

show filtered activities in pardot

If this is turned off, then your test activities could potentially be hidden. Once this is enabled, you’ll notice a new column in the prospect activity table labeled “Filtered”.

Here are the most common questions I receive related to testing Pardot forms:

I completed the form, but when I go back to it, why do I get redirected to the thank you page (or shown the thank you message)?

I get this question often. Typically, someone from the marketing team will attempt to test a form multiple times in short succession. However, unless the form is in kiosk mode or set to always display after submission, and you return to a form within 10 minutes of submitting, either the thank you content will display or the user will get redirected to the thank you page. In the scenario where you don’t want to enable kiosk mode or set to always display after submission, here’s the work around: clear your cookies! You can also view the form in a different web browser.

I filled out a form twice. Why didn’t I get an autoresponder on my second test?

By default, if you submit a form repeatedly in a short time, Pardot throttles autoresponder emails to prevent prospects from receiving duplicate emails. Either wait 30 minutes, clear your cookies, or use a different browser and test again. Another option, although it would require a re-configuration of the actual form, would be to send the autoresponder via a repeatable completion action that is set to fire in real time.

I filled out a form twice, but only one submission is showing up in my prospect activities.

Unless the form is in kiosk mode or set to always display after submission, Pardot only records duplicate prospect activities on a record once every 30 minutes. Both submissions are accepted, and completion actions will fire for each, but only one will show in the prospect activities. If you want to confirm the subsequent submission was tracked, check the prospect’s audit page to confirm the form is working as expected:

pardot prospect audit

Why did my second form submission get credited to the prospect I used when testing the first time, even though I used a different email address?

In order to test a form more than once, you either need to clear your browser’s cookies or use a new browser AND use a different email address. Otherwise, Pardot will credit the second submission to the initial prospect.

How come Pardot form submissions aren’t showing up in Salesforce?

I see this question a lot, and rightfully so. If a client is expecting a lead to route directly into Salesforce on a submission and it doesn’t happen, then this is good reason to sound the alarm. Keep in mind that the answer depends on the lead routing configuration that is set up in the specific account.

Usually though, this configuration happens because the email being used to test the form was tied to a Salesforce record that was deleted. You can tell if the prospect field “CRM Lead ID” or “CRM Contact ID” has the value [[crm_deleted]]:

crm deleted pardot

If your Salesforce record has been deleted, submitting a Pardot form will not un-delete it, thus causing the record to not show up in Salesforce. You can do any of the following to make the prospect eligible for syncing:

Additionally, I wrote an article on creating, editing, merging or deleting prospects in Pardot that is helpful to understand if you’re having issues here.

Hopefully all of that was helpful!

Capture Why Prospects Unsubscribe in Pardot

…and a few more helpful Pardot tips along the way.

As a digital marketer, it’s important to understand why a prospect chooses to opt out from emails. This information provides valuable insight into where our email marketing efforts are falling short. There could be a number of reasons why they decide they don’t want our emails in their inbox anymore too–maybe they never opted in and were from a purchased list, or maybe they just aren’t interested in your content anymore. No matter what the reason, we want to provide a mechanism where they can tell us why.

Depending on where you do business, there are a number of legal obligations you need to take into account when sending email marketing. In the United States, the CAN SPAM Act first established national standards for the sending of commercial e-mails. In Europe, new GDPR regulations are arguably the world’s most sweeping privacy laws. In any case, a solid rule of thumb is that the client should be able to opt-out in two clicks. One click to get to the preference or unsubscribe page (from within the email), and then another click to actually opt out.

Helpful Tip: For people reading this in European countries, Salesforce has created a page dedicated to understanding how Pardot customers can comply with GDPR.

As an important aside, in any Pardot email, you’re required to link to a unsubscribe page and/or a preference center page. I recommend linking ONLY to the preference page from your marketing emails. Instead of opting out of all communications at once, prospects can visit the email preferences page, see which lists they’re on, and add or remove themselves only from specific lists.

With all that said, I recently worked on a solution for a client to track ‘opt out reason’ within Pardot. Here’s what you’ll need to recreate:

  • Custom Radio Field
  • Form
  • Unsubscribe Page

Additionally, there are some optional configurations, which you would be well-suited to address. I’ll cover these as a second part of this post because I think they should be made in any Pardot account:

  • Layout Template (for Unsubscribe Page and Preference Page)
  • Preference Page
  • List (at least one public list)

Create a Custom Radio Field

First things first, let’s create a custom radio field to store the opt-out reason. Our client’s configuration is below, but you can customize to your specific needs:

* If you want to store this information within Salesforce, you can create corresponding Lead and Contact fields, then sync with Pardot.

Create a Form with Custom Field

Next, we need to create a simple Pardot form. The form will leverage the field we just created and be used in combination with the Unsubscribe (and Preference) pages. As you can see below, I configured both fields to be required and to always display. Not pictured, I set the redirect location to go to the client’s homepage upon completion and created a basic layout template to style the form to fit into the unsubscribe page:

As part of building the form above, you will want to build completion actions that make sense. One important step: a completion action that changes the Opted Out field to ‘Opted Out’ and/or the Do Not Email field to ‘do not email’. This will insure prospects do not receive any emails in the future.

Depending on your account’s setup, you may also want to subtract points for the form completion (since default points will be awarded), notify the prospect’s assigned user so they can potentially follow up, or you may want to add these prospects to a specific Pardot list to report on later. Either way, don’t ignore this section. Here’s what ours looked like:

After you finish the form and before you move onto the next step, make sure you copy the HTML iframe code. You will be using this in the next step:

Update Your Pardot Unsubscribe Page

Finally, let’s start configuring our email unsubscribe page. Navigate to Marketing > Emails > Unsubscribe Page. In the upper right-hand corner of the window, click “Edit”. Here you can configure unsubscribe page settings, like applying a layout template and editing the opening content with a WYSIWYG editor:

After saving, you can view the final product by visiting the unsubscribe page. Here’s what our client’s final page looked like:

Create a Layout Template to Apply to the Unsubscribe and Preference Pages

You’ll notice that we applied a layout template with basic CSS styling to make the page look a little nicer and match the client’s branding (fonts and colors). I recommend this approach in every Pardot account I work on. Even if the design is super simple, it will go a long way with the user.

At this point, the unsubscribe page survey is completed. Moving forward, any prospect who opts out of receiving your Pardot emails will be presented with a survey asking why.

Although not necessary to capture the opt-out reason, I put together some additional information as it relates to configuring an email preference center in Pardot.

Part Two: Create an Email Preference Page in Pardot