5 Strategies for the Successful Global Deployment of Pardot

What does it take to migrate marketing automation systems and deploy Salesforce Pardot at a global level?  This was the question that Jennie Vinson, Director of Engagement Marketing at Sodexo and I had the pleasure of answering on stage at Dreamforce.

Jennie started the presentation with a slide that detailed the challenge her team was facing:  

“90 Days, 8 business units, 2 countries (to start), 45 stakeholders, multiple languages, multiple regions, small budget, no time…”

Many people told her, “What? Are you crazy?”  I can confirm that not only is Jennie not crazy, but that our teams worked together to successfully stand up a global Pardot deployment!  Looking back on the project, we’ve distilled five important strategies that are important for success at this scale.

Understand the business need

When looking to make a technology move, one of the most important things you can do in advance is to clarify the needs of the business.  This typically includes requirements gathering specific to the technology being evaluated, but it’s also critical that you don’t zoom in too close on product features without also considering the larger business goals.

The term KPI, or Key Performance Indicators, gets tossed around quite a bit in board rooms and corporate offices.  I don’t condone the overuse, but we shouldn’t neglect them either. What are the key metrics that your marketing team and business users regularly report on?  What metrics are watched closely by the executive leadership? It’s important to identify the answers to these questions early in the process to ensure that not only can your new technology continue to populate the data, but also so that your implementation partner can ensure they are built properly during the migration!

In addition to understanding the metrics that executive leadership is paying attention to, be sure to understand and document their expectations.  Over communication isn’t a bad thing. You’ll want to be clear and clarify everyone’s expectations of timeline, deliverables, and business outcomes.  One expectation that is on everyone’s mind and should be insisted on is “zero downtime” during the process. Marketing cannot afford to stop what it’s doing during a migration.

Finally, a migration of marketing automation platforms requires understanding what assets are brought over and recreated in Pardot.  What stays? What goes? This step is often overlooked and can have a huge impact on fulfilling expectations and ultimately project success.  It’s inefficient and expensive to migrate “everything” that was in the previous system into Pardot. You don’t need the old assets from campaigns sent years ago. A template or two for each style of campaign will do.

For instance, instead of bringing every previously sent webinar invitation, you’ll want to grab the most recent one.  It can be turned into a reusable template for all of your future webinars. A good partner will challenge your list and show you the most efficient way to bring only as much over as necessary.

Align Resources

The individuals involved in a global deployment are vital to the success of the project.  Internally, consider creating a “pizza team.” This concept is based on Jeff Bezos’ recommendation that no project team should be larger than the number of people that can be fed by two pizzas.  Jennie assembled a strong team made up of internal stakeholders, marketers, and technologists. It was a pleasure to work with them and ensured our implementation project check in calls were extremely productive.

The implementation partner also plays a huge role in the eventual outcome of large scale migrations.  Unfortunately, there is no magic app that pulls assets from the old system and then gently places them in the new.  In order to affect this type of transition, it’s important that the partner you work with has expert level knowledge of both systems.  These double (or triple) product experts are rare, but the result is that the campaigns you created in the old system are “translated” to Pardot with Pardot best practices in mind.  You also won’t need to spend a lot of time explaining how to navigate the old system!

Invest in Training

A big part of any migration is the training.  The good news is that Pardot is a lot easier to learn than the other systems.  This is one of the reasons why it’s my favorite platform for marketers! The one key point I always share with teams preparing to learn a new system is to temporarily forget everything you know about how you did something in the other system.  One obstacle that can get in the way of adopting a new system is trying to use it the way you used its predecessor. Tools have unique best practices and efficiencies. The trainers you work with should also have experience with both systems so they utilize vocabulary you know to speed up learning.

Another critical element of the training program should involve a lot of your internal team driving.  My favorite training methodology puts a trainee in control, either virtually or in person, with mouse and screen control.  The trainer then directs them through navigation and tasks, pointing out different features and considerations along the way!

Create Global & Regional COE

When it comes to deploying globally, the importance of internal expertise cannot be overlooked.  The most successful worldwide organizations utilize Centers of Excellence, or COE, to centralize technology expertise and strategy.  When a core team has all the relevant knowledge and lessons learned from previous campaigns, large organizations can make decisions quicker than when these resources are scattered around the world.  A COE can also encourage the adoption of the new technology across multiple divisions while simultaneously simplifying the delivery of reporting.

Phased Approach

The final tip for managing large migration projects is to approach the Pardot deployment in phases.  Often teams will become excited to use all of the new features that their previous system didn’t have.  Projects can quickly become larger than intended with all of these opportunities, especially across many stakeholders who see the value in them!  

Creating phases to a migration allows for the mission critical items to happen first.  Recreating landing pages, existing programmed nurture emails, and lead flow automations are must-do’s in order to ensure zero downtime.  Strategic improvements and building out new features can then follow in subsequent phases. This keeps costs and time requirements under control so the team can demonstrate multiple quick wins internally.

Migrations can seem overwhelming but with the right strategies they can turn into global success stories! To learn more about successful marketing automation migrations, download Pardot’s e-book “The Pardot Time-to-Value Guide: How InsideView Switched to Pardot and Saw Value in 60 Days.”