“Ask the Expert” Webinar Series: Pardot vs. Salesforce Marketing Cloud

With Salesforce MVP’s Ines Garcia and Jared Miller

It’s no secret Salesforce is much more than just a CRM. While it may have started out that way, over the years it’s evolved into an all-encompassing platform with the ability to have your clients, customers, and touchpoints all in one place. It’s a marketer’s dream. That is, if you properly leverage it.

In the second webinar of our newly-formed “Ask the Expert” series, 10K’s COO Jared Miller sat down with 10K Expert, agile coach, and Salesforce MVP Ines Garcia last week to take a deeper look at Salesforce’s two main marketing products: Pardot and Marketing Cloud. Drawing from Ines’ wealth of knowledge and experience with Salesforce, here are some key takeaways from the discussion.

To listen to the recorded webinar, please visit this link. 

Where to Start

With any new tech (and any project for that matter), the first thing you need to ask yourself is “what’s the objective?” As you consider whether to invest in Salesforce for your marketing efforts, start by laying out your marketing goals and understanding what your metrics of success will be. Do you want to achieve broader brand awareness or are you more concerned with high conversion rates?  Once you determine that, you can start looking at which product is the right tool for you.

Pardot vs. Marketing Cloud

While some organizations may be tempted to rely solely on Sales Cloud, which will let you email customers, it is not a digital marketing tool per se and will only take you so far. In order to acquire, nurture, and onboard new and existing customers, a tool like Pardot or Marketing Cloud is the next best step. So which one is right for you?

Both Pardot and Marketing Cloud were originally brought into the Salesforce fold through an acquisition. Pardot was originally acquired in 2012, and at its core is a marketing automation system designed to unite marketing teams and sales teams, helping them nurture the best leads, close more deals, and get the most from marketing efforts. Marketing Cloud, formerly known as ExactTarget, was acquired in 2013.

Both tools have similarities and can be used to: Send and track emails; segment lists; create web pages (either cloud or landing pages), and create journeys (e.g. nurturing a list of subscribers through a scheduled path).

However, there are some key differences. Pardot, for example, has a scoring and grading system that enables you to understand not just how interested your potential customers are, but how trusted you are with them. This helps you to prioritize where you put your efforts. It also has tracking codes so that you can track all your different campaigns and efforts in order to better understand the ROI of your marketing efforts across different channels. It is also optimized for outbound social media publishing, and is becoming increasingly more embedded in Salesforce and is more integrated with the Lightning App and Connected Campaigns

Marketing Cloud has similar functionality, but deeper in certain areas and Ines believes is more optimized for e-commerce and high volume business-to-consumer marketing. The Marketing Cloud Suite has separate applications, such as Social Studio and Advertising Studio, that will let you do some powerful, interesting things. However, they need to be integrated via a connector. 

If you still aren’t sure which tool to use, Ines suggests opting toward Pardot if you don’t plan to use push notifications or SMS because Marketing Cloud has a steeper learning curve. While Salesforce is trying to improve in this area, unless you have in-house expertise that can take on Marketing Cloud and hit the ground running, Pardot is a better answer.

Getting the Most Out of Your Investment

Salesforce itself is an investment and one you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of for your money. Regardless of which product you choose, here are some key considerations to get the most ROI:

Staffing, education, and training: You’ll want to invest the time and energy into either a part-time or full-time employee who can oversee the use of the product you choose while providing them with the proper training and education in the product’s functionality.  Make sure whoever you delegate this to possesses a good understanding of digital marketing practices. 

Set up an onboarding process: You should take advantage of the features and set up automated journeys, including simple things like onboarding for a drip education program for your new customers, or a top-of-mind piece to prepare for renewals in advance. Once you’ve set these journeys up, they won’t require much follow up effort.

Test test test: You should test not just specific functionality, but also take the time to do smaller experiments to see if something is worth a bigger and further effort.

Exclusion lists: You will want to look after your customers and the touchpoints you serve. Make sure, for instance, you aren’t emailing someone you’ve already emailed in the last seven days. 

Warming up your IP: Many email providers, like Gmail for instance, will block emails coming in from blast outs. In order to get around this (and improve your reputation), make sure that rather than sending an email to 10,000 people in one day, that you segment lists and break them up so that you are doing small chunks at a time. You don’t want to put the time, energy, and effort into an email campaign only to have it wind up unseen and unopened in a spam folder. You can leverage the graphs and analytics these products provide in order to slowly segment and build your database over time in a way that will prevent blasts from being blocked.

At the end of the day, the biggest mistake people make is trying to do too much. As tech advances and these products evolve, they’re being designed and updated to help you track and validate the data you’re gathering to better understand where you should be focusing your efforts. As Ines so eloquently summed it up, “how can we validate our efforts today so we’re smarter tomorrow?”

We hope you found this post helpful. If you’re interested in viewing the webinar in full you can do so by clicking on the video below.