Pardot – Marketing Automation By Salesforce
Pardot is a marketing automation platform from Salesforce that works in conjunction with their market-leading Salesforce CRM.
I’ve been reviewing quite a few marketing automation platforms recently and, as a Salesforce user for several years, (although not at present), I was more than a little interested to see what Pardot looked like and how it worked.
At the pricing point that they’ve chosen, Pardot has to be considered against the very best marketing automation platforms. Even the basic level will cost you £800/month, payable up front for a year, and £1600/month before you can have integration with your Google AdWords account, A/B Testing and several other enhancements that you are probably going to need.
For any organisation already using Salesforce, Pardot is probably a strong contender, possibly the only contender if the close integration with the Salesforce CRM is important to you, but at the price it’s up against very strong opposition and, although the CRM integration is seamless and very powerful, I’m not sure it cuts the mustard against packages like Infusionsoft, Marketo, Hubspot, IBM Marketing Cloud, Maropost and Adobe Marketing Cloud to name but a few, when it comes to email marketing and marketing automation.
Since most, if not all, of the above do integrate quite well with Salesforce CRM then the Salesforce user still has the option of considering other platforms that offer more powerful marketing features.
That’s not to say that there are any big reasons why Pardot should not fit the bill for many users. If you go up the levels in terms of the available plans you do get access to most of the tools you are likely to need. There are gaps though, there’s an AdWords PPC interface but not, apparently, one for Facebook and Twitter ads and I do think, at this price point, there ought to be. The social analytics did not strike me as being particularly detailed either and you would probably need another service if you are big on social.
Pardot’s landing page creator, forms builder and email builder are all very competent looking options and the ability to bring together all activity in those areas and effortlessly feed it into the CRM and workflow management capabilities of Pardot is a great help to the in-house marketing team when it comes to interacting with the sales team.
Lead nurturing and customer development are all made much easier with the kind of automation Pardot provides and all of this strengthens the case for giving it a go, especially if you already use Salesforce.
One area often overlooked, or just given a token effort, is that of competitor analysis – it doesn’t matter how slick your marketing operation is if your competitors are even slicker. Pardot does claim to offer competitive Analysis but no examples are given on their site and it isn’t mentioned very much so, if you are working to an in-depth digital marketing strategy that includes in-depth competitor landscape analysis this probably isn’t the system for you.
I can’t say it isn’t a top class platform, it obviously is, but it comes at a price where, in my opinion, there are much more powerful options available. There’s no option to test the system other than an automated walk-through but if you contact them you would probably get an in-depth demonstration.
If you can handle the cost and are prepared to make a few concessions then Pardot could be the one for you, especially if you already use Salesforce.
Where To Find It
Marketing Automation Platform
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
From £800/month, paid annually in advance.