Though DEG is agnostic towards email service providers (and we work with several), we have the deepest expertise with ExactTarget, a salesforce.com company. ExactTarget has recognized that expertise and our extensive body of work by twice naming DEG as its Partner of the Year and its first Global Services Partner of the Year.
When ExactTarget paid $95 million to purchase Pardot last year, we definitely took notice. Pardot, like ExactTarget, is an email service provider, but Pardot also specializes in the growing field of marketing automation – lead nurturing and lead scoring while working holistically with a CRM, landing pages, and forms.
We liked what we saw – so much so that after realizing that Pardot also fit our needs, we made ourselves our very first Pardot implementation! Collaborating between our technical, database, sales, and marketing teams, we successfully migrated DEG’s internal email sends, landing pages, forms, lead nurturing, and lead scoring to Pardot.
If you are implementing a new Pardot account, I wanted to share some thoughts and tips from our personal implementation. I would recommend Pardot’s Implementation Guide. And keep in mind that if you are looking for an implementation partner, DEG is an official Pardot Implementation Partner.
Though I have a some knowledge of HTML and CSS, I’m a really a marketer and needed some technical help. When implementing Pardot, I would recommend beginning by working with your technical gurus on the following:
- Create a campaign and add the campaign’s tracking code to every page on your website. If you have multiple websites, you can create multiple campaigns with different tracking codes. This tracking code will show youknown companies visiting your site and identified prospects.
- Delegate a vanity alias’ (e.g. e.DEGdigital.com or www2.DEGdigital.com) CNAME to go.pardot.com. The vanity alias will mask the use of Pardot and be used as the URL for all landing pages, files, wrapped hyperlinks, etc.
- Configure SPF/Sender ID and Domain Keys/DKIM authentication for your sending email address (e.g. @DEGdigital.com). With this configuration, emails sent from Pardot will not fail these authentication tools.
- If you have a search box on your website, replace with Pardot’s Site Search.
After completing these technical tasks, take time to integrate your CRM (customer relationship management) database with Pardot. This is where you’ll really start seeing significant value from the tool. (If you don’t have a CRM, you can manually import files.)
Email Address is always the unique identifier in Pardot. Any email addresses imported or collected from forms, are called Prospects in Pardot. Prospects can be added to multiple Lists, and Lists can be further segmented.
- If your company uses salesforce.com, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, or SugarCRM, Pardot has preconfigured integrations, called Connectors.
- If your company uses a different CRM, Pardot’s API can be utilized for a custom integration.
- If your company doesn’t use a CRM, files can be imported. Pardot only imports CSV files. Unlike ExactTarget, Pardot does not currently have the functionality to import files from an FTP on an automated basis.
Now that you have Prospects in Pardot, you will be eager to send emails, direct them to Forms on Landing Pages, or special Files. Work with your marketing team to move or create all of your marketing assets in Pardot.
- Email Templates
- Forms or Form Handlers (integrating your existing website forms)
- Landing Pages (including customizing Pardot’s Unsubscribe Page andEmail Preference Center)
- Files (e.g. images, whitepapers, case studies, etc.)
Finally, you will need to work with your sales team to determine how your company will score, grade, and assign prospects. Each prospect is assigned to one Pardot user. Scoring and grading determine which implicit action and explicit information indicate a Prospect’s stage in your sales process. Pardot has a great article on scoring best practices.
- When Prospects take implicit actions on a Pardot email, landing page, form, or your website, Pardot can automatically assign scoring points. Pardot provides a scoring baseline that can be customized.
- When propsects provide explicit information on a form, Pardot can automatically adjust a prospect’s grade. For example, if they have the title of CMO, then they will automatically be given a grade point.
- Pardot’s Automation Rules can be used to automatically assign new prospects to a user. For example, if a prospect provides a title of CEO, we could have Pardot automatically assign the prospect to our lead sales manager. Or, we could have a particular form round robin prospects to our whole sales team.
- Ask your Sales Team to install Pardot’s add-ons to their email client (Apple Mail, Gmail for Chrome or Firefox, Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010, or 2013, orThunderbird). With this add-on, your team members will be able to send emails from their email client, but track the hyperlinks in Pardot. This functionality only works on emails sent to one prospect.
All done? Implementation is just the first step. Next, you will want to create drip programs (lead nurturing), enable more Connectors (e.g. Google AdWords,GoToWebinar, ReadyTalk, WebEx, Wistia, etc.), and review reporting.
If you find the implementation overwhelming, reach out to Pardot Implementation Partner, like DEG. We’re more than happy to help.