Marketing automation software takes many of the lead nurturing tasks that eat up your marketing department’s time – sending out emails, creating landing pages, and qualifying leads, to name just a few – and accomplishes them automatically. You can set up drip marketing campaigns that automate your email campaigns, social media activities, and other repetitive marketing tasks, freeing up your and your employees’ time so you can all focus on what you do best —growing your business.
Most marketing automation software platforms share certain basic features, but they each have their specific strengths and weaknesses. Since many of the platforms require you to sign up for a year of service, it is important to choose a package whose features fit the focus of your company’s interactive marketing strategies. Over the last month, Blue Interactive Agency’s marketing department has been performing in-depth reviews of the top market automation software platforms to help you find the package that’s the right fit for your company. In the past weeks, we’ve published in-depth reviews of Act-On, Marketo, and HubSpot. This week we turn the spotlight on Salesforce’s contribution to the field with our market automation software review of Pardot:
Pardot is a cloud-based marketing automation service, available as a stand-alone platform or as the marketing automation component of Salesforce’s Customer Success Platform. Strictly for b2b companies, Pardot is designed to help sales and marketing departments work together to generate and nurture leads while shortening sales cycles. Pardot offers a full roster of easy to use features including CRM integration, email marketing, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and ROI reporting. A responsive customer support department is a large plus, as is Pardot’s tight Salesforce integration. While Pardot’s social media features could definitely be stronger, an intuitive, user-friendly interface that is simple even for companies that are new to marketing automation software to access makes Pardot a powerful marketing resource, especially for companies with limited marketing departments.
Pardot Platform Features
Reports & Analytics – Pardot features closed-loop reporting, Prospect Lifecycle reports, and a Google Analytics connector. Partnering with GoodData for their closed loop reporting features, Pardot offers a standard set of reports with limited customization features; strong Google AdWords connectivity boosts campaign ROI features for the Pro and Ultimate versions. The Prospect Lifecycle report does a good job of combining marketing and sales reports for marketing accountability. Reporting could be a bit more complete and there is a definite need to increase customizable features, but overall Pardot provides a good level of ROI reporting and marketing accountability.
CRM Integration – Pardot provides native CRM integration with salesforce.com, SugarCRM, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and RelateIQ. As the marketing automation arm of Salesforce, Pardot’s integration with the CRM is seamless especially at the Professional and higher levels of Salesforce as the two platforms continuously sync. Automatic duplicate lead elimination is a plus, and leads can be assigned to sales reps with ease.
Mobile App – Pardot’s mobile app lets users access their Prospect Insight records, so they can view prospects’ scores, grades, and other data on the go. The app can instantly connect users with prospects via phone or email, and users can launch new emails to prospects directly from their contact profile.
Customer Support – Pardot gets universally high scores from users for their excellent customer support system. Implementation specialists can create complete, fully detailed launching plans for customers switching from other systems, and the support team is always helpful if any problems arise during implementation. Ongoing support is provided to all users, with help instantly available via chat for Pro users and by phone for Ultimate users.
Email Marketing – Pardot’s email marketing solution is easy to use, with a decent list of customizable templates. Instant access to Salesforce contacts is a big plus when sending email blasts, and tracking features are nicely developed. A drag and drop interface and automated list segmentation features makes scheduling drip campaigns a breeze, but the inability to reuse emails can be quite frustrating. Email A/B testing, rendering preview, and spam analysis are excellent features available to Pro and Ultimate users.
- SEO – Pardot includes basic SEO keyword monitoring and competitor monitoring, with a scaled number of keywords/competitors according to pricing tier.
- Lead Management – Even newcomers can quickly take advantage of the full set of lead management tools included in Pardot, thanks to an easy to use automation rules builder that automates lead scoring and grading, places prospects on relevant drip campaigns, and allows users to view and track all prospect activity. Pardot is great at keeping leads hot, automatically sending page view and other alerts and forwarding prospects to sales reps based on behaviors.
- Social Marketing – Pardot is continually expanding their social media marketing capabilities, but at the present time they are a bit thin. There are no social content creation tools included, but users can pull in content, schedule posts, publish and share content across platforms. With the Pro and Ultimate packages, users can view prospects’ social profiles, and Pardot automatically creates bit.ly short links for Enterprise Edition account holders.
- Landing Pages and Forms – Pre-defined templates and an intuitive interface makes building landing pages easy in Pardot. Drag and drop functionality and coding capabilities make it easy to create custom templates that match your branding. Pro and Ultimate users have access to dynamic content that automatically adjusts landing pages according to prospect gateway. Progressive profiling boosts the functionality of forms, which can be set to automatically trigger notifications, score increases, and more upon conversion. A neat feature is the free email address disallow, which helps to prequalify leads. Automated A/B testing is available at Pro and above.
- Sales Intelligence – Pardot features a real-time prospect monitoring tool helps sales reps monitor prospects with activity alerts and daily digest emails of assigned prospects’ activity. Prospect tracking tools combine with custom tracked URLs and banner ads to give users a complete view of prospect activity and campaign effectiveness.
Pardot is a subscription service that offers three pricing tiers, all for up to 10,000 contacts a month with additional contacts blocks available at $100 month for 10,000 contacts. All tiers permit unlimited users and an unlimited volume of prospects. All tiers also come with technical support and a client advocate. All contracts are a one-year commitment, paid annually, with pricing broken down to the monthly expense.
- Standard at $1,000 per month
Provides basic features as reviewed; includes SEO at 100 keywords / 10 competitors
- Pro at $2,000 per month
Additional features as noted in review; includes SEO at 250 keywords / 25 competitors, plus API Access – up to 25K calls/day, integrated marketing calendar, and customer profiles
- Ultimate at $3,000 per month
Additional features as noted in review; includes SEO at 1,000 keywords / 100 competitors, plus custom user roles, custom object integration, API Access – up to 100K calls/day, and a dedicated IP address
Pardot User Profile
Pardot’s marketing automation software is strictly for b2b companies. While their platform is available for organizations of all sizes, the software’s chief market is small to mid-sized companies; the majority of their users are mid-sized companies with 51-1000 employees.
Pardot’s simple to use marketing automation software provides a number of sophisticated features, especially at the higher price tiers. An extremely shallow learning curve makes Pardot’s marketing automation software a boon for inexperienced marketers, who will be able to jump right in and begin running automated marketing campaigns with a minimum of training time. With an extremely user-friendly experience, comprehensive feature sets, and good marketing and sales accountability, Pardot delivers great value to small to mid-level marketers.
We hope this review provided some useful information to assist your company with your marketing automation software purchasing decisions. Join us for next Thursday’s Market Automation Software Review, when we will be taking an in-depth look at Oracle Eloqua.
As one of the leading internet marketing firms in South Florida, the dedicated team at Blue Interactive Agency has helped thousands of clients to grow their business with comprehensive online marketing services that include social media marketing campaigns and complete content creation services including professional email writing, blog writing, video production services, and more.
Contact us at Blue Interactive Agency today at 954-779-2801 for expert content creation services and social media marketing to help your interactive marketing strategies succeed.