How to Select the Best Salesforce Marketing Solution
To get the best Salesforce marketing solution for your company, you must first determine whether to go with Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (previously Pardot).
The names are similar, and many capabilities overlap. But the solutions are unique. They are designed for different audiences and different objectives.
So, which is right for your business? This post shares their unique strengths and how they are different.
The Purpose of Marketing Cloud Account Engagement
The Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement solution is a long name for an application that was just called Pardot until 2022.
This app operates with a unique architecture and platform but falls under the Marketing Cloud umbrella.
It's typically (although not exclusively) positioned as a B2B marketing automation system designed to automate lead management. Or more specifically, to automate the 6 lead management processes of digital lead tracking, lead acquisition, lead scoring, nurture marketing campaigns, lead transfer to sales and lead analytics.
For example, it tracks sales lead digital footprints, so that it can apply implicit (online behaviors) and explicit (firmographics and demographics) criteria to score leads, and thereby determine which leads are sales-ready and should be transferred to the sales team, or which leads are not yet sales ready and should be nurtured until they become qualified.
It helps marketers achieve important goals such as acquiring more leads, growing the sales pipeline and driving more marketing-sourced revenue for the company.
Even better, it helps achieve the often discussed but less often achieved goal of sales and marketing alignment.
This solution is a conduit between marketing and sales teams, and therefore almost always works alongside the Salesforce Sales Cloud.
The Purpose of Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Salesforce Marketing Cloud is most often used as a B2C solution that helps digital marketing teams with email marketing, mobile marketing, social media engagement and digital advertising.
It's a comprehensive solution assembled from the acquisitions of Radian6, Buddy Media and ExactTarget and has grown to accumulate many other advanced apps.
It's many tools work together to orchestrate multi-channel engagement throughout the consumer journey. It can deliver tailored customer experiences pursuant to customer journeys and maintain communication fidelity across channels – such as the company website, social networks, mobile devices, paid advertising and other touchpoints.
Marketing Cloud consists of two types of modules called Studios and Builders. Studios manage content and marketing channels and perform functions such as online advertising, landing pages, workflows and distribution of email, SMS and social media posts.
Builders manage campaigns and data flow. They support audience creation, landing page and email development, customer journey mapping and marketing analytics.
This is a platform that stands on its own but integrates with the broader Salesforce system using a tool called Marketing Cloud Connect. Many companies use it with Sales Cloud or Service Cloud to aid contact and customer service management.
Because of the broad suite and deep feature sets, this solution requires more up front planning, a longer deployment period and more administration but also brings additional automation to some very difficult to manage consumer facing processes.
A Side-by-Side Comparison
- Designed for 'considered purchases' where sellers incur longer sales cycles and multiple decision-makers
- Automates sales lead management and lead to opportunity conversions
- Designed to manage personalized cross channel customer journeys and the high volume of low consideration transactional purchases
- Often selling to individuals over multiple channels
- Mostly B2B industries, such as industrial, distribution, professional services and some financial services such as commercial banking and capital markets
- Mostly consumer industries, such as retail, CPG, Communications, media and entertainment, and some financial services such as wealth management and insurance
- Lead management processes such as digital lead acquisition, lead scoring and nurture campaigns
- Also tightly integrated with Sales Cloud to support lead transfer, lead recycling and lead analytics
- Customer journey orchestration for 1 to 1 omnichannel engagement, including alerts, transactional messages, automated responses, etc.
- Social listening, digital advertising and rewards management
- Creating emails, landing pages and forms for lead generation
- Creating lead scoring rules to identify qualified or sales-ready leads
- Email marketing, nurture marketing or drip campaigns
- Tracking digital footprints and progressive profiling to acquire customer intelligence
- Campaign measurements for ROI reporting and insights for improvements
- Email marketing at scale (with Email Studio)
- Create custom SMS, MMS and push messages triggered by customer behaviors and locations (with Mobile Studio)
- Deliver targeted ads based on customer data in your CRM (with Advertising Studio)
- Orchestrate customer journeys to engage customers across channels, including email, mobile and social (with Journey Builder)
- Salesforce Engage
- B2B Marketing Analytics Plus
- Engagement History Dashboards
- Google AdWords integration
- Pardot's Advanced package offers Einstein AI-powered features such as behavior scoring, predictive lead scoring, campaign attribution and campaign insights. AI can determine which leads are sales-ready and which require more nurturing
- Tableau CRM for Loyalty Management and advanced AI insights.
- Marketing Cloud Advertising, aka Advertising Studio
- Marketing Cloud Personalization, formerly Interaction Studio
- Marketing Cloud Intelligence, formerly Datorama
- Google Marketing Platform
- Salesforce CDP, formerly CA360
- A single application with multiple tiers where each delivers more specialized capabilities
- A module-based solution where purpose-built apps that can be individually purchased
Total Cost of Ownership
- Lower cost of acquisition, faster deployment period and less IT administration make this solution less costly than Marketing Cloud
- A larger suite of advanced tools requires more procurement and labor, but creates additional payback if correctly used
When to Go with Salesforce Account Engagement
Lean into Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement when:
- You sell primarily to companies, not individuals
- You sell "considered" purchases, that is typically a lower volume of higher value sales-driven solutions over elapsed periods
- You need to manage sales leads, lead assignment to the sales team, lead to opportunity conversions, pipeline growth and sales and marketing alignment
- You have an overarching focus is to get more leads into the funnel and then to the sales team. When sales leads become sale opportunities that get managed by sellers in Sales Cloud, this is your solution
- Sales channels are most often email but may also include social media
- If you do not need the additional Marketing Cloud modules, you should focus on this solution to achieve greater simplicity and cost savings
When to Go with Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Consider Salesforce Marketing Cloud when:
- You sell primarily to individual consumers across multiple marketing channels, including email, SMS, online advertising, display, retargeting and digital commerce
- Your sales events are short duration, high volume transactional purchases such as ad to purchase or email to e-commerce
- You send emails that require transaction details, such as a shipping confirmation with tracking number or RMA authorization
- You need to harvest large amounts of customer data from multiple sources and apply that data for highly personalized, multi-channel customer journeys
- You have a tech-savvy marketing team and IT support
The Final Point
Many marketing consultants suggest Account Engagement is for B2B marketers and Marketing Cloud is for B2C. It's a simple distinction and often but not always true. Some companies don't fall neatly into just B2B or B2C markets, and some companies may use both solutions.
For companies that sell to diverse target audiences, the comparison may not be "Account Engagement vs Marketing Cloud", but a combination of both.
These solutions are not competitors. They are different apps for different marketing objectives.