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Pardot Marketing Software & CRM Integration

 

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Pardot Review—CRM Integration

As is the norm with marketing automation systems, Pardot uses a two database system – with Pardot maintaining a database and leads table and working closely with CRM databases and their contacts, accounts and opportunities tables. Workflow processes make extensive use of both databases—such as when forwarding sales-ready leads to sales staff, based on various lead criteria or round robin.

Pardot alerts sales staff when their leads or prospects respond to a marketing message or interact with the company website via one of four methods, including:

  • Email notifications – with both real-time alerts and daily digests containing the names of prospect organizations and contacts along with their interaction behaviors
  • Updates to the CRM system lead or contact record – displaying the contacts activity as part of the sales reps primary sales system
  • LeadDeck monitor – a display showing the prospect's interaction with the company website in real-time, and
  • Mobile – in which Pardot pushes lead or prospect activity to the sales person mobile device

Pardot is an active partner with several of the more popular CRM systems. The company is a certified Salesforce.com AppExchange partner, listed on the NetSuite SuiteApp market place and the SugarCRM SugarForge. While not included on the Microsoft Pinpoint marketplace, Pardot does provide packaged integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM as well.

Despite its CRM software diversification, Pardot's most common partner is cloud CRM leader Salesforce.com. Marketing and CRM integration takes a two-fold approach. A bi-directional data synchronization is performed about every 10 minutes for account, contact, lead and campaign data between the marketing software and the CRM system, with the CRM system considered to be the master in the event of conflict. For the much higher volume of behaviors and activities recorded in the marketing automation system, an RSS feed (not integration or sync) delivers real-time activity views to CRM contact record. This display-only approach puts those behaviors in front of sales staff within their CRM application, without actually storing the data in the CRM database.

Among Pardot's customer base, approximately 50% use Salesforce.com, 10% Microsoft Dynamics CRM, 10% NetSuite, 10% SugarCRM and the final 20% use a variety of other CRM systems. The Pardot API can be leveraged to provide CRM integration with internal systems or applications besides Salesforce, Microsoft, NetSuite and Sugar.

Pardot Implementation Considerations

Pardot is serious about client success, and it shows during the on-boarding process.

Pardot delivers a level of pre-configuration which accelerates the time to value. In fact, approximately half of their clients keep the default scoring model initially delivered with a new provisioned system. In addition to a complimentary on-boarding that runs without time limits, the company has packaged a well defined Quick Start Package, which doesn't go deep, but covers all the bases to get up and running, including setup or configuration for forms, landing pages and email templates; contacts and content; drip marketing campaigns; CRM integration; paid search integration; site search; connectors integration (i.e. for Google Analytics, Data.com, LinkedIn, etc.); email integration; and both user and administrative training.

When marketing automation implementations get behind, its often associated with a lack of defined business processes or available content, both of which are needed to achieve marketing automation. However, when marketing software implementations fail outright, it's often because the client lacks IT staffing to support the technical requirements necessary for DNS and CNAME setup, HTML or JavaScript inserts, website and forms integration, connectors or other technical facets. The SMB market is frequently under-resourced and when their marketing software partner fails to provide assistance that goes beyond their marketing software, the progress stalls, often indefinitely. This fact is why so many companies switch or abandon marketing software providers.

Pardot is the exception to this unflattering trend. The Pardot references we engaged consistently spoke to Pardot's willingness to go above and beyond, and to do whatever necessary to reach a production environment and the customers' goals.

Pardot customer support operates between 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM EST in the United States and also provides support from the UK for earlier hours. Customer support is a two step process, whereby the customer submits an email case and then receives a call from support, normally in 15 minutes or less. Additionally, the company provides strong online support tools including a knowledgebase and active blog. The company also supports a few regional user conferences and annual customer conference.

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