Beginner's guide to Pardot: integration with Salesforce
Updated: Feb 18
Over the coming weeks, I’ll create a series of posts meant that's meant to act as a beginner's guide to Pardot. Even though it’s aimed at someone just starting out with Pardot hopefully, there’s relevant information you can keep referring back to overtime.
I’m not that good a teacher where I can make you remember everything from reading a blog post once…but I’ll try my best! 🙂
One of the areas that threw me was understanding how the Pardot and Salesforce integration works, how it syncs and how to use it effectively.
In this post, I’ll provide the basics of how this integration works.
How it works
Pardot uses the CRM ID and email address to sync to a record in Salesforce, using this decision tree to decide what to do with the record.
In the scenario that a record doesn't have an assigned user, there are various ways to do that.
Manually - you could just click the button and assign a user the old fashioned way. But let's talk about automation en masse
Automation Rules and Completion Actions - These two tools can be used to assign prospects to users based on criteria (automation rules) or as an action on asset (completion action), such as filling out a form
Via Salesforce Active Assignment Rule - This falls under the automation rule bracket but setting the action to assign via salesforce active assignment rule effectively passes the baton to the automated process you already have in Salesforce
Assigned users aren't just named users but lead queues are as well.
The Connector User - the bridge between Pardot and Salesforce
This is all made possible with the connector user, whose permissions allow the flow of data between the two systems to occur.
Those who have purchased Pardot since Feb 2019 will be on v2 of the connector which utilises a fake user called the B2BMA Integration User. At least this way, you don't consume a license to have to connect them both together.
If Pardot was bought before that date, then it may well be that the organisation are still using v1, unless they upgraded. In v1, you did need to assign a permission set to the user to allow that connection to happen.
Whichever method you're using, it's important to know that Pardot can only make use of what the connector user can see and do in Salesforce. For example, if the user doesn't have read / write permissions on a certain field or object, Pardot won't be able to do its thing in that space.
What objects does Pardot sync with?
Leads, Contacts and Person Accounts
These records sync both ways. Pardot can create, read and update these records.
It uses the CRM ID and email address to find the match. In the case of Person Accounts, Pardot will sync with the Contact ID field and create both an account and prospect record in Pardot.
Out of the box, Pardot will create the records first and sync across to Salesforce but you can enable a setting in the connector settings so if a lead or contact is created in Salesforce first, they can sync across to Pardot. Just make sure you have a campaign set up that's obvious where the prospect came from (ie. "Salesforce to Pardot Sync").
Pardot can read accounts from Salesforce and sync with that record, so you can use them for segmentation. It's worth making a note of that when you want to use account data to segment prospects.
Sometimes, you feel you need to create a field on the prospect record but in automation rules, you have the option to use account data.
Salesforce will always be the master of this data.
In the same way the sync works with accounts, Pardot can read the opportunity data for segmenting but for also helping to provide ROI metrics on campaigns.
Again, Salesforce will be the master.
Thanks to connected campaigns, Salesforce will be the master for campaign creation and sync that across to Pardot in the form of a "read only" campaign to assign assets to.
To assign the prospects as campaign members, you will still need to add them to the campaign via automation rules and completion actions.
Salesforce is the master of this sync too and in the same way accounts and opportunities work, you can use them for segmenting purposes.
This one is only available in either Advanced or Premium editions of Pardot, as well as being a paid add on for those using Pardot Plus.
Field level syncing
When working with fields that sync between the two systems, particularly custom fields, you can select which field wins the battle should the two values differ. The 3 options available to you are...
Pardot - If the value in Pardot is updated and differs from the one in Salesforce, Salesforce will be updated with the value in Pardot.
Salesforce - If the value in Salesforce is updated and differs from the one in Pardot, Salesforce will be updated with the value in Pardot.
The last updated record - whichever was the last one to be modified will update the other system.
Consider the use case for the field when deciding which system drives the value. Anything to do with a signup process like a form on your website is probably going to be driven by Pardot, for example.
One thing to bear in mind is this DOES NOT ring true for blank values.
If a field had a value and is syncing with Salesforce, removing this value, effectively making it blank, will not update Salesforce to be blank. In the absence of a value, the corresponding field in Salesforce will update Pardot back to what it was and vice versa.
This is a function you can request from Salesforce to be removed (follow this article for guidance) but bear in mind that if this is removed, it will only apply to Salesforce updating Pardot with a blank value, not the other way round.
What triggers the sync?
Records between Pardot and Salesforce sync every 2-4 minutes. Pardot does process large queues of records over 400 in batches, with 12,000 records syncing p/hour but if you're under 400, most records sync immediately.
You can sync records manually. On the prospect record, in the top right, there is a Sync with CRM button that will sync that individual record immediately.
Organically, these are the tasks and activities that trigger a sync between the two records.
Alright, there we have it. How the integration between Pardot and Salesforce works. Hopefully, this helps you at least understand how it all hangs together and how to make the best use of the relationship.