Pardot is the leading B2B marketing automation platform. It is a cloud based solution, acquired by Salesforce in 2013 as part of its acquisition of Exacttarget, who had purchased Pardot in 2012. (Exacttarget has since been renamed Marketing Cloud in 2014 as it was integrated with Salesforce).
Where Salesforce Marketing Cloud is ideal for managing large email email lists, Pardot takes B2B email to the next level. The primary function of Pardot is nurturing leads to hand off to the sales department. Pardot is aimed at small to medium sized businesses that generate a large volume of leads that need to be qualified.
Although Pardot is part if the Salesforce family of products, it is a standalone product that does not require Salesforce, so it needs to be integrated with Salesforce via the Pardot Salesforce Connector if you want to integrate your marketing automation with your sales team. It can also be integrated with other CRM solutions such as MicroSoft Dynamics CRM or Sugar CRM.
Unfortunately the Salesforce integration with Pardot is not quite as simple as flipping a switch- Pardot fields need to be mapped to Salesforce fields, page layouts need to be edited, Salesforce Campaigns need to be configured, website tracking needs to be set up, lead scoring implemented and user settings need to be adjusted to get everything working correctly. It is strongly recommended to use an experienced implementation specialist to perform this work as the consequences of a misstep at this phase can be costly.
After the initial configuration is completed, the marketing department will want to create landing pages, set up drip campaigns, set up email templates and configure the marketing automation rules. There are some free training resources available online, but we have found live training from an experienced implementer, especially when it is tailored to the organization, is much more effective at getting a marketing department up and running in Pardot. Summit Technologies has certified Pardot specialists on staff that can help companies get up and running with Pardot in two weeks or less with personalized training and up-front pricing. It is also nice because the Pardot QuickStart package includes follow-up support at no additional charge.
After implementation, some organizations choose to outsource their ongoing marketing automation needs. This works well for organizations with small marketing departments or no marketing department that want to leverage the power of Pardot, but who do not have the resources required for the ongoing upkeep. A Managed Services solution is a good idea for these situations.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about getting up and running with Pardot.