From Form Handlers to Forms: Tips and Tricks for Switching Over

You could argue that forms are the single most important element on a website for marketing teams. They act as a beam of light in a dark room, piece by piece revealing a bigger picture of your clients and prospects. There are many situations where forms can come in handy, but sometimes it can be difficult to tell what kind of form you should use for a particular situation. Today we’re going to take a look at two options for marketers who need to collect certain kinds of information from their prospects: Pardot forms and form handlers.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, what’s the difference?

The difference between the Pardot forms and form handlers is actually vast. Form handlers allow you to continue using forms you’ve already built, and from there, Pardot will extract the prospect’s information. However, these aren’t the best fix long-term.  With Pardot forms, you have access to built-in features like progressive profiling, data tracking for form views and completions, dependent fields and use of the slick “thank you” messages. Since you can build form templates that look exactly like the original, there’s no real reason to use form handlers long term.

Some B2B marketers do though – and the reason is usually ‘because we always have’. To put it in context: just because you always use your mobile phone to take photos, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy a camera that can zoom. Like this guy…Man at baseball bam using using mobile phone to take photo through binoculars


When should you use form handlers vs. Pardot forms?

Like the gentleman above, sometimes the process you’re used to is unnecessarily complicated and not as efficient as it could be. The idea behind using form handlers is that they’re usually temporary. As you introduce Pardot into your organization, form handlers can act as a great temporary transition into Pardot forms. Once you start utilizing the benefits of Pardot forms, you’ll be thankful that you decided to change over.

The only exception would be where forms ask for personal information like passwords. In this case, it’s best to use a form handler to extract any of the non-confidential prospect information that you need.

Key benefits of Pardot forms not available from form handlers:

  • Prevents data duplication in the CRM
  • Includes progressive profiling
  • Invisible bot protection
  • Tracks form views and logs error data
  • Can be embedded in a Pardot landing page
  • Can set up automation rules based on form views
  • Displays “thank you” content after form submission

Connect with me at for more help with making sure that your forms look great and work correctly.

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3 thoughts on “From Form Handlers to Forms: Tips and Tricks for Switching Over

  • I have two more counter examples where form handlers may make sense: contact-us and online-surveys.

    While forms are great for landing pages, contact-us pages need to have messaging capabilities and a form handler might make more sense.

    And the form fields available through Pardot are great for marketing, but if you want to turn survey results into something, but also track who is taking it – then you should use a form handler integrated with another survey form.


  • Thought of another reason to use a form handler (besides passwords, surveys, and advanced question types) – any time you need an attachment can’t be done with a Pardot form.

  • Hi Will,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Online surveys and the attachment point you made are also great examples of where you could use a form handler, good examples.

    I’m not so sure on the contact us form though, mostly because you’d miss out on the form views invisible bot protection (big one!), displaying the thank you content upon completion and preventing data duplication in the CRM. It’s really powerful to be able to pull a list of prospects who’ve viewed your contact us form and not completed the form and to know that there will be no duplication or rogue data in your CRM. The thank you content is a nice touch too because you could add in a link to view a content download and then run automation to see how many people completed the contact us form and viewed X download, which also adds to their score. Also, (I’m getting carried away now) you could make that thank you message dynamic so based on whatever information they just gave you, you then offer them a relevant piece of content.

    On the point about the messaging capabilities, I’m not familiar with your business but perhaps custom fields could be set up to help with this. You could create a dropdown list (links in with thank you message – dynamic content idea) to ask for the nature of the enquiry and then a textarea field for them to fill out their query. Further to this, you could add automation in to pick out keywords in the textarea, for example ‘If textarea field contains ‘quote’ or ‘price’ then assign to X’ and this could run in real-time.

    Of course, this is rather generic advice but if you’d like to go into detail where I could give you more bespoke advice tailored to your business, drop a message to and I’d be more than happy to help.

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