Salesforce Pardot review

Pardot is cloud-based B2B marketing automation software provided by Salesforce. Build, automate, and analyze marketing campaigns with this powerful B2B marketing tool. Read our full Salesforce Pardot review to learn how to power your B2B marketing campaigns with Salesforce, one of the best CRM software solutions available.

Salesforce Pardot: Snapshot

Salesforce Pardot is a B2B marketing platform that is fully integrated with the Salesforce suite of products. It features marketing automation, lead management solutions, and industry specific subproducts.

All automation and lead management solutions provided by Pardot are supported by Einstein, Salesforce’s AI solution. Einstein automatically qualifies your Pardot leads with a behavioral scoring system, which escalates priority leads to marketing for follow-up. Pardot’s marketing automation features center on a visual drag-and-drop journey builder for email marketing campaigns that’s intuitive to use and doesn’t require coding. 

Pardot has a high price point relative to its competition, starting at $15,000 annually for its basic tier, Grow. We found that while the Grow tier is expensive relative to competing products, the highest pricing tier, Premium, is justifiably priced thanks to its features and the number of marketing contacts it provides. Large enterprises that have the budget to afford a Premium Subscription can unlock unparalleled digital marketing capabilities. Smaller organizations, however, are best suited with an alternative product such as HubSpot or Mailchimp.

Score: 4/5

Read on for our full and detailed review.

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Salesforce Pardot: Features

Lead Generation and Management

Pardot provides you with easy-to-use tools for constructing forms and landing pages. Everything is done through a visual drag-and-drop interface, so coding expertise is not required. Hosting for landing pages and forms is included in your Pardot subscription.

Pardot’s lead management system automatically scores leads based on their interactions with your landing pages and forms, and forwards the most promising leads to the marketing team for follow-up.

Email Automation

Email campaigns can be automated easily with a simple visual drag-and-drop interface. As with the landing page builder, no coding knowledge is required. You can use Pardot to quickly design email templates or even tweak one of its premade templates for your own use.

After that, fully automate your email campaign with scheduled sending and autoresponders for your forms and landing pages.

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Marketing Analytics

Pardot generates reports at every step of the marketing funnel. The reports are fully customizable, but the default offering should be enough for most marketing teams. Out of the box, Pardot will be able to estimate the ROI of your marketing campaigns and show you their impact on sales revenue. It also tracks customer engagement, and if you have Salesforce Sales Cloud, integrates data from it. 

This way, both marketing and sales leads are included in Pardot’s analytics.

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Pardot lets you design landing pages and forms, host them, and score customer interactions on them. (Image credit: Salesforce )

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Automate email marketing with Salesforce Pardot. (Image credit: Salesforce )

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Unlock advanced analytics tools that measure the success of your campaigns against various KPIs. (Image credit: Salesforce )

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Salesforce Einstein AI is the engine that powers Pardot’s lead scoring and analytics features. (Image credit: Salesforce )

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In addition to generalized features, Pardot has specialized platforms for certain industries, like this one for financial services. (Image credit: Salesforce )

AI-Driven Solutions

Salesforce’s Einstein AI supports Pardot by scanning your Sales and Marketing lead databases and identifying key leads. These leads are determined by their level of interaction and engagement with your brand.

Einstein then connects leads with any existing records in your Salesforce database and makes intelligent suggestions to your marketing and sales teams on how to best go about converting these leads into customers.

Industry Specialized Solutions

In addition to a powerful generalized platform, Pardot provides industry-specialized marketing automation services for B2B marketers in the fields of financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and media.

For example, Pardot for Financial Services automatically attempts to identify individuals with the best investment potential for your financial institution based on preset criteria, while Pardot for Manufacturing features lead capture, automated follow-up, and ROI tracking for trade shows.

Salesforce Pardot: What’s new?

(Image credit: Salesforce )

In its spring 2021 release, Pardot made numerous improvements to its email marketing system. Notably, marketers can now implement two-click unsubscribe, meaning customers now need to click Yes in a separate confirmation window to unsubscribe from an email list. This prevents unsubscribing bots from auto-removing leads, and boosts retention.

This release also overhauled Pardot’s setup process through the addition of the Salesforce Marketing Setup App. The app groups all the required tasks to set up Pardot in its standard configuration in one place, making it faster and easier to set up this complex piece of software.

Behavioral scoring, powered by Einstein AI, is also a new feature from the spring 2021 release. With this feature enabled, Einstein will automatically assign a behavior score to marketing leads based on their level of engagement with your digital marketing channels.

A lead with higher engagement will have a higher score, and leads with a sufficiently high score will be automatically escalated to your marketing department for follow-up.

Salesforce Pardot: Pricing

Pardot has no free plan, which we consider a disadvantage. It offers four premium plans; Growth, Plus, Advanced, and Premium. Growth costs $1,250 per month for up to 10,000 contacts billed annually. Plus costs $2,500 per month for the same number of contacts billed annually. Advanced costs $4,000 per month for up to 10,000 contacts and Premium costs $15,000 per month for up to 75,000 contacts, billed annually.

The Grow plan gives you access to the basic features, including email marketing and personalization. The Plus plan includes more sophisticated features related to personalization, analytics, and reporting. The Advanced and Premium plans include desired features like artificial intelligence and developer sandboxes.

You’ll have to contact Salesforce’s sales staff if you want to subscribe to any plan. Each plan requires signing a contract. 

Salesforce Pardot: Testing Pardot CRM

We tested Pardot’s ROI calculator tool, which attempts to showcase how Pardot can increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. ROI is a key performance indicator (KPI) for many marketing teams, so it is important to know if Pardot’s ROI calculator is accurate.

How accurate is Pardot’s ROI Calculator?

Salesforce Pardot’s ROI calculator tool in action (Image credit: Salesforce)

Pardot’s ROI calculator attempts to estimate the total return your organization will experience by adding Pardot automation to its marketing process.

We input some basic information for a hypothetical company, and the calculator stated that with marketing automation, our annual revenue would increase by about 155%.

The calculator then stated that without Pardot only about 27% of incoming leads were sales ready, while the remaining 73% would need to re-enter the marketing funnel. However with Pardot, the number of Sales qualified leads jumped to 41%. 

These numbers came from two separate sources. The 27% came from an unspecified 2012 MarketingSherpa report. The 41% came from a generic statement from the Q2 2011 ForresterWave report, which said that companies which excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more leads.

The above statement is generic, and there is no guarantee that adopting Pardot would actually make your company generate 50% more leads. For this reason, we do not recommend using Pardot’s ROI calculator as a predictive tool.

Salesforce Pardot: Interface and use

Pardot has an interface that you’ll likely find easy to use. It has a simple, uncluttered interface that makes it easy to switch between different features. The analytics and reporting tools are top-notch, letting you monitor the progress of your campaigns with ease. Pardot is a cloud-based tool, so you can access it from any device with an active internet connection and a web browser, preferably a PC. 

Salesforce Pardot: Support

Every Salesforce license includes email support with a two-day response time, access to a customer support community, and interactive webinars to familiarize users with the software they’ve purchased. You can pay for additional support plans, and Salesforce offers three such plans; Premier Success, Signature Success, and Professional Services

The Premier Success support plan gives you access to 24/7 phone support and expert coaching and costs 30% of your license fees. Signature Success gives you access to a dedicated technical account manager that you can contact at any time to provide guidance. It also includes proactive services, whereby Salesforce monitors your Pardot account for errors and alerts you if it finds any. The price for this support plan varies according to your needs (you’ll have to contact the sales team for a custom quote).

The Professional Services support plan goes a step further by giving you 24/7 access to veteran Salesforce experts to maximize your usage of the platform. The price for this support plan varies according to your requirements.

We consider it a disadvantage that Salesforce charges extra money for access to instant support, unlike many other email marketing tools.

Salesforce Pardot: The competition

Mailchimp and HubSpot are two of the most popular competitors to Pardot. These two platforms are less expensive than Pardot and thus more suitable for small and mid-sized businesses. Mailchimp is primarily for email marketing and does its job well, while Pardot is a broader CRM platform whose functions include email marketing.

Mailchimp is easy to use and affordable. It offers a wide variety of templates that you can customize to fit your brand. However, this platform has limited segmentation features and customizability compared to Pardot.

HubSpot is a full-fledged marketing platform like Pardot. It gives you tools to automate both your email and social media marketing. You can manage contacts on the app just as you’d do with Pardot and even collect payments. However, HubSpot’s analytics features aren’t as good as what you’d find on Pardot.

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(Image credit: Future)

Read our Hubspot vs. Pardot CRM review for more side by side comparison of features and pricing. 

Salesforce Pardot: Final verdict

(Image credit: Pardot)

Pardot is incredibly powerful B2B marketing software. At its highest pricing tier, you can run campaigns on 75,000 contacts/month, with best-in-class, AI-powered reporting and a powerful suite of automation features.

Its high price point limits its usefulness to very large enterprise clients—at its lower price tiers, it costs 10–30 times more than competitors for a similar set of features. Businesses unable to take advantage of Pardot’s massive scale will find it more economical to go with another provider, such as Mailchimp. 

Moreover, customers must pay an additional 30% for a Salesforce Premier Success plan in order to receive 24/7 phone and chat support. Alternative providers, such as Mailchimp and Hubspot, have some form of 24/7 support built into their default offering. Technically, Pardot does too, but only for its most expensive license, the $186,000/year Premium plan.

For users that can afford a Premium Subscription, Pardot offers unparalleled power, depth, and scale. So before purchasing a Pardot subscription, consider your budget and needs. Once you need advanced analytics, over 10,000 marketing contacts, and management for multiple business units, Pardot is probably your best option. If you can afford to purchase the Premium, or at the very least the Advanced price tier, you will be getting the biggest bang for your buck. 

If not, then stick to another provider, as Pardot’s lower tiers are limited and priced significantly above market for what they offer.

Salesforce Pardot: Further reading

Learn more about CRM software and Salesforce with our guides What is CRM software and What is Salesforce. Afterward, read How to set up Salesforce with Tableau and How to set up Slack to Salesforce Integration to expand your Salesforce experience with analytics and a business communication platform.

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