Creating a memorable customer journey is a hard task. As marketers, we need all the help we can get.
And who better to help us than technology?
To adequately clarify the opportunities Pardot offers, we will assume you have mapped your customer journey already.
If not, take a look at our informative article on the importance of creating a customer journey map before you go any deeper into the tech-talk.
When it comes to any marketing automation – the more relevant and personalised you are in your marketing communications – the more memorable the customer journey experience.
Pardot is a powerful B2B marketing automation platform that can do so more than just send personalised emails.
Notice the B2B remark, because it’s the crucial difference that separates
Pardot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Now, why do we confuse the two?
Both Pardot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud (previously known as ExactTarget) have been the object of Salesforce’s acquisition in 2013.
However, ExactTarget had acquired Pardot 6 months before Salesforce decided to add the complete ExactTarget tool inventory to the Salesforce enterprise umbrella.
After that, ExactTarget became a foundation of what we now know as Salesforce Marketing Cloud, while Pardot has remained a separate marketing automation platform.
In conclusion, Pardot is on its own, a marketing automation platform that serves B2B companies in their quest for the best customer experience.
Getting to know Pardot
As a B2B marketing automation platform, Pardot is mostly focused on the personalisation side of things, allowing you to provide the best nurturing journey to your customers and prospects.
Even though the platform is not natively built on Salesforce, businesses often use it in conjunction with Salesforce Sales or Service Cloud. So, the integration is made to be simple and easy.
Likewise, you can use Pardot in combination with other CRM platforms as well.
Pardot offers various features that help with nurturing the longer sales funnels due to its B2B specification. For instance, the platform will support all your lead generation, lead scoring and lead grading efforts.
It is designed to help marketing and sales work together to generate and qualify sales leads, shorten sales cycles, and track marketing ROI.
Some of the strengths that Pardot exhibits include:
- Landing Pages Creation
- Lead Nurturing
- Web Behaviour Tracking (Google AdWords integration)
- Campaign Management
- Form Handling
- Ads Management
- Pardot Einstein (AI)
It’s important to remember that Pardot continues to improve. One of the releases that made Pardot’s users happy was the October 2020 update that revealed a new drag-and-drop email builder.
To understand it more from a Customer Journey Optimisation point of view, we will endeavour to explain some of the essential features that Pardot is capable of.
Then, it’s upon you to decide if you want to try them out.
Web Behaviour Management in Pardot
Pardot works on autopilot to track consumer behaviour when they appear on your website.
Let’s say you have attracted a visitor to your website.
The prospect has spent some time browsing through the website. Eventually, he signed up for a webinar on how to utilise the service or product you are selling.
Naturally, Pardot tracks the prospects’ behaviour on the website, along with the ‘time spent on the site’, and then stores their details in the system.
Now, in the second visit to your website, he spent most of the time on your product description page. Finally, the prospect clicked on the link that guided them to the pricing options.
What can we do with this information using Pardot to optimise the awareness stage of the customer journey?
Quite a bit. However, hold on the sales calls for now.
Today’s buyers want all the information they need to make a buying decision before they reach out for a quote or a product demo.
The statistics state how buyers are nearly 60% through the sales cycle before they even want to talk to sales.
At this point, we have found ourselves in the Lead Nurturing Stage, one of the critical stages that our marketing automation platform lets us manage with ease.
In this phase of the journey, you want to make sure you adjust the content towards the prospect’s needs. You can send them down the nurturing journey via an email marketing campaign. It will allow them to engage with you in a risk-free way.
There are plenty of content opportunities you could leverage in this phase. However, best practice preaches making beginner’s content readily available on your website for this stage of the journey, and it’s for a good reason.
Using Pardot you can collect the info by tracking content downloads and collecting prospect information to provide a more personal journey going forward.
As we have learned so far in our customer journey education, lead nurturing is supposed to be prompt, consistent and most importantly personal.
A fun addition to sending emails from Pardot is the Emoji Email feature where you can add an emoji to your emails.
There are so many different emoji characters to choose from.
You are almost guaranteed to find the one which will also aid the personalisation aspect of your communication.
Additionally, Pardot assists us with the automation of this process through triggered emails based on that particular person’s behaviour or the specific time spent in the given stage of their journey.
The platform will make sure you provide the message they need at the time they need it.
Want to know more about How We help Leverage B2B Marketing Automation To Increase Sales?
Lead Management with Pardot
In our efforts to enrich our lead nurturing process, it’s necessary to establish a Lead Scoring and Lead Grading system.
Again, Pardot is going to play the lead role in carrying out and automating this process.
Using the lead scoring and grading features, you can assign scores based on customers’ activities and engagement with your emails, website, and other content.
The Lead Scoring feature will allow you to translate prospects activities on your website into a clear image of their involvement with your product.
The default scoring model the platform provides, lets you define activities your company finds essential and score the prospects differently based on those activities.
To put it simply, you will measure their ‘interest’ which will determine their grade in the Pardot scoring panel.
The next move is on the Lead Grading feature, which helps us with identifying the prospects features that are most important to our business.
Here, we want to detect how interested we are in the prospect. The data that will help us power our lead grading process includes details such as industry, job title and country of residence.
Automation and Customisation of the Customer Journey in Pardot
Pardot is an effective marketing automation platform, which means it gives you plenty of options in the lead nurturing process that will help you optimise the journey for your prospects.
Take Engagement Studio, for example.
It’s the heartbeat of Pardot, a tool that lets you build, test and improve complex engagement programs, such as advanced drip campaigns.
It’s a visual canvas where you, as a marketer, can design in detail how you want the campaign to play out with your prospects.
The steps you could take in Engagement Studio include:
- Actions – we decide what to do with the prospect; could include emailing, listing or adjusting their score.
- Triggers – where we listen to prospects behaviour; includes open emails, completed forms and downloaded files.
- Rules – where we check for things we are interested in; includes their grading score or participation in another campaign.
- Stops – where we decide to end the campaign progression; for example if somebody registers for a webinar which was the aim of the campaign.
For example, if the prospect opens an email from us, we can set Pardot to wait for a couple of days before we make our second move.
Equally, if the prospect doesn’t engage, we can automate sending the second email with a different subject line a few days later.
The choice on how we want to set the rules and workflows is up to us.
However, thanks to our friend Pardot, we can easily listen to the prospect’s behaviour and build the journey based on the data we collected to serve our future customers in the best possible way.
Another significant feature that Engagement Studio offers is accessing the right success metrics in the customer journey directly on the canvas, allowing you to get a high-level view of the campaign’s performance.
You can utilise this option by clicking the metrics icon if you want to drill down further (open emails or clicks on the links in the email).
Pardot Tips and Tricks
As a good rule of thumb in using Engagement Studio is first to make sure you segment deeper into the prospects.
After that, you can try to look for different paths for various segments that will enrich their journey with you.
Secondly, you can use more triggers as tasks or checks for your marketing team to engage at a strategically convenient point, however, avoid zero-day waits.
A zero-day mark is processed immediately, which for many actions is too fast. To make sure that prospects have time to interact with your assets, allow a waiting period of at least one day.
And lastly, be vigilant with current trends. With Pardot there are always new features coming out or old ones getting updated. Therefore you will be well advised to update your customer experience points regularly to stay on top of your game.
A good example is the Landing Pages function in Pardot.
Many firms use different content management systems to manage their landing pages and forms.
Even though this solution could work because Pardot allows you to use form handlers to feed the data to Pardot. However, a better solution would be to build your landing pages and forms into Pardot and make full use of Engagement Studio’s functionality.
Continuous improvement is key to your long-term success.
The journey from MQL to SQL in Pardot
We know by now that reaching the customer experience goals takes the alignment of people, processes and technology.
Since we have the technology and hopefully processes (if not take a look at our customer journey mapping article), the missing piece is people.
Given the fact that the nature of how we market has also changed the way we sell, the dividing line between sales and marketing has become noticeably thin.
Once a prospect reaches a predetermined scoring and grade value we can use Lead Status feature to assign the prospect to the sales rep automatically.
To assure you are providing the best possible experience, you might want to check if your sales representatives have the right product expertise to follow up with the lead.
Reporting in Pardot
So what does reporting have to do with the customer journey?
It merely helps you improve it.
The trick is to reverse engineer your reports to understand what data you might need, what processes you need to implement to get the real image of your customer journey performance.
Pardot gives us quite a few options to report on our successes or to notice our oversights.
We have listed a few of them that might be useful for you.
Lifecycle Report – It’s instrumental in bridging the gap between sales and marketing. It helps you connect all your data from both departments into a one close loop report, so you can see the journey that took place and improve on it.
Campaign Report – It tracks the cost and the value of the campaign, plus it tracks the prospect’s journey from the first touchpoint and calculates the ROI of the particular campaign for you. Very helpful to evaluate where to spend your marketing efforts going forward.
Google Adwords Integration – This out of the box integration is truly practical when it comes to tracking customers’ journey that arrived at your website through Google Adwords. It also records their steps throughout the marketing and sales funnel.
The most important thing to remember here is to act on your insights.
“Customer journey analysis is now the most valuable conversion rate optimization method, coming in above A/B testing.” – Econsultancy
With Pardot you will be able to connect to third party data sources, internally share vital insights, and access your data anywhere with the mobile app.
However, customer journey improvement is on you.
To get thoroughly equipped with the latest updates and features make sure you follow Pardot Blog.
You can also browse through Trailhead to learn and improve your Pardot instance by going through its knowledge base.
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