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As any marketing-inclined person will tell you, being able to gauge, assess and communicate with a prospect at the right time is crucial. Luckily, Salesforce Pardot offers three key features that can help you do just that: scoring and grading tools, automation rules and the engagement studio.

SCORING AND GRADING

In order to build and run a successful marketing campaign, it’s necessary to have insight on the customer. The best way to do that is by automatically assigning a score and grade to everyone who interacts with your product or service, digitally or in-person. Pardot provides two ways to do this, and when set up properly, it will assign your prospects with a well-rounded value.

What’s scoring?

Scoring is a numerical value assigned to a prospect based on his interaction with your company. You assign higher points to someone who performs an action that shows substantial interest in your product, e.g.: a prospect who fills out a demo request form or asks for a pricing document. By the same token, you can assign negative points to someone you know will not benefit from a sales call, e.g.: a person who visits the career page, or a competitor browsing your website. Based on internal discussions between marketing and sales, you can arrive at a score threshold at which the prospect becomes a marketing qualified lead, or MQL..

What’s grading?

Grading means assigning a letter value (A to F) to a prospect profile based on benchmarks you set. You can decide the criteria based on several factors that make your “ideal” customer, such as title, company size, location, industry, etc. Again, this can be graded up or down, and subsequently the more criteria that a prospect matches, the better the grade will be. Rope in the sales department and have that discussion to enable you to assign grades based on what is best for your company and decide upon the grade threshold at which the prospect becomes an MQL.

AUTOMATION RULES

These are the power tools you pull out when you want full control over what happens to your coveted prospects once they enter your database. Automation rules repeatable criteria-based rules that find matching prospects and apply actions that you specify. They are retroactive and continue to run until paused or stopped.

From a marketer’s standpoint, you want to save time and resources in order to focus on building creative campaigns, while ensuring your ROI is consistently high. So naturally, if an action can be automated, why not do it? Here’s a clever list of automation rules put together by the Pardot team, once you go through these and implement a few, you’ll see how easy and helpful these rules can be.

ENGAGEMENT STUDIO

Well, now that you have your prospects scored and graded, and have several automation rules in place, let’s have a look at Pardot’s Engagement Studio. To the veteran marketer, this is the advanced version of a Drip Campaign. Pardot’s Engagement Studio is the intelligence engine that nurtures leads through an engagement program.

The program provides customers with a highly personalised experience, using actions, triggers and rules based on their interaction with your company. Each step in the program has a different function. An action is what happens to a prospect (change prospect’s score, add to list, etc.), a trigger is what sets that action into motion (prospect opens email, submits form, etc.), and a rule checks for criteria that you specify (if prospects industry is Finance, or title is HR manager, etc.).

Let’s run through a quick example:

  • Navigate to Marketing→ Engagement Studio,
  • Click Add Engagement Studio,
  • Give the program a name,
  • Save it under the correct folder and include recipient lists, and suppression lists, if required.
  • Now, proceed to use the 4 main individual steps provided – Action, Trigger, Rule, End.

You can easily set up a program that if an HR manager from the Finance industry opens the welcome email, add him to the nurture list, and notify a specific sales rep. If the person does not fit the criteria, the action triggered can be different and the prospect is sent down a parallel path, where different marketing collateral is used. Each path can have a unique End Step.

Setting up an engagement program in Pardot is not as complex as it sounds. It is built to be intuitive and guides a user from one step to the next. Once you have all other assets like prospect lists and templates set up properly, all you need to do is pull them up for use when you build the engagement program.

To ensure you’re doing it all correctly, Pardot provides an interactive testing environment. This allows you to test the program and make adjustments to any steps if needed before you send the first email. When carefully and systematically set up, this process is key in turning prospects into MQLs, and eventually SQLs.

So, there you have it, 3 features that will encourage a healthy dialogue with your sales team, save you time and effort, and enable you to engage with your audience with confidence.

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