As a lean, 3-person marketing team at Kotter – a rapidly-growing consulting firm – we needed a marketing automation system that could essentially serve as a fourth team member nurturing, scoring, assigning leads, and reporting for us when were tied up with other things. Unfortunately, our first foray into marketing automation wasn’t cutting it. As a transformation consultancy, we understand how daunting a system migration can be. But, after doing our research, we believed that Pardot would deliver enough value to make it worth the effort.
Our migration wasn’t without some minor hiccups, but here are five things we learned along the way will hopefully make your integration go even more smoothly.
1. A systems migration is never really about the system. This, for us, was both step 0 and step 1. When migrating to a new system, the technical set-up and education are important. But the only way a migration will be successful is if all the people involved – from end-users to decision makers and everyone in between – are bought-in and urgently working to bring the change to life. Hopefully your end users and decision-makers were a part of the decision to move to Pardot from whatever hasn’t been meeting your needs. If not, getting everyone not only aware, but excited about the possibilities has to come before anything else.
2. Use the opportunity to do some spring cleaning. “Does anyone know what this field from 2008 was used for?” “Do we need to keep gating this resource?” “Why have we been letting people select their industry as “unknown” on our forms?” These are all questions we actually asked ourselves during our migration. Pardot was a new, clean house for our prospects and clients, and the migration provided an opportunity to make sure we were only putting in the best of the best – our cleanest data. It also provided a reason to evaluate the decisions we made some years ago when setting up forms and landing pages. Just as you declutter your belongings from 10 years ago when moving house, take this as an opportunity to declutter your data.
3. Educate and don’t hesitate to ask for help! Whether you’re an automation pro, or this is your first time setting up a system, taking the time to learn how to use it, and use it well, is so worth it. Yes – Pardot is an easy and straightforward tool, but taking the time to learn it up front rather than while trying to send your first campaign is smart. For my education, I relied on our launch partner, Cheshire Impact, the Trailblazer community and Trailhead. I still try to block an hour per week to keep enhancing my skills in Trailhead. Despite my due diligence, we still got stuck a few times. When we did, the Pardot support team was responsive and incredibly helpful. In hindsight, I would have probably turned to them more quickly, and will do so in the future.
4. Build in a little extra time. I wear many hats in my role, so protecting time to just wear one for a few weeks took planning and patience – and made all the difference. Devoting my time to implementation and set up enabled us to have the system about 90% up and running within a few weeks. We gave ourselves four weeks of overlap between our old system and Pardot. I would probably recommend even a bit longer than that to ensure that everything has been tested before it needs to go live. Our timeline got a little tight toward the end, so allowing a little extra time can alleviate unnecessary stress.
5. Be ready before your switch-on date. When I integrated our original platform two years ago, it was so simple. Connect to our CRM and get to work. This time, we had two years’ worth of data, reports, and history to consider. As soon as we made the decision to go with Pardot, we began the process of pulling the reports that we wanted and deciding what fields and data we wanted to move to our shiny new, clean house. By doing some of this work up front, it gave us the ability to start working in Pardot within a few weeks of our turn-on date.
We wrapped up our migration a few months ago, and are excitedly building out new campaigns and content at a pace we never could before. Migrating to a new system can indeed be a daunting thought for a marketer, but with the right approach, preparation, and mindset you’ll find yourself wondering at the end, “why didn’t we do this sooner?”