Getting to know your website audience is an amazing luxury. By understanding the demographics of the prospects and customers viewing your website, B2B marketers can create hyper-personalised digital experiences that increase conversion rates and drive new business.
But oftentimes, when prospects engage with your website, it’s not their first time interacting with your brand. The buying cycle has drastically evolved and is no longer linear — prospects tend to follow what might seem like non-sequential steps in their purchasing journey before they ever become a customer. In fact, according to Gartner, “B2B buyers utilize both sales reps and the supplier website — equally.”
In order to deliver the relevant and personalised experiences our customers have come to expect, marketing and sales teams must have a single source of truth for each and every customer record, whether they’re engaging with a sales rep or browsing the pricing page on our website.
Create Unique Customer Experiences with Forms
How you collect data on your website impacts what you are currently able to report on, the amount of transparency you can provide between sales and marketing teams, and the level of personalised experience you can deliver to your customers. This can make a huge difference, and can allow you to go from the vague identity of “‘Visitor’ from ‘USA’” to actually syncing that visitor data to an existing contact in your database, increasing their digital score, understanding their propensity to buy, and notifying their assigned sales rep.
Forms are a great place to start when it comes to collecting the information needed to deliver these customised, unique experiences. The key is to make sure your forms integrate with your marketing automation platform, whether they’re hosted by you or a third party data source. Thankfully, for Pardot customers, this doesn’t require you to migrate all of your existing web forms, you can simply start with a Form Handler.
Form Handlers are an alternative to Pardot forms. You might use a Form Handler instead of a Pardot Form when you want to:
- Use a uniquely branded form layout
- Post form submission data to more than one database
- Integrate Pardot with your existing forms
- Use a third-party form tool
Let’s look at how easy it is to facilitate personalised experiences by starting with Pardot Form Handlers.
Build and Deploy a Form Handler
Step 1: Understand Your Website
First of all, you will need to get a good understanding of your website. Depending on how your website is managed, you might need to reach out to your IT team for answers to questions like:
- Where is your website currently hosted?
- Which CMS do you use?
- Who can make updates to your website?
This will help you identify how you can add the code to your website that will enable you to deploy a Pardot Form Handler.
Step 2: Configure and Map Custom Fields
Once you have a good understanding of how to make quick website updates, you will want to make sure you have already configured your custom fields in Salesforce and mapped them into the custom fields in Pardot so that they are available to be selected.
Step 3: Create Your Form Handler
The next step is creating the form handler itself. Start by navigating through the marketing tab to Forms and choose either Form Handler.
Once you click on the “Create New Form Handler” button, you’ll be taken to the Form Handler wizard.
The Form Handler wizard allows you to populate each field with the appropriate information and select Completion Actions to be triggered once someone submits the form.
An important step is mapping the fields on your web form to the corresponding fields in Pardot and your Salesforce. This ensures the data is passing correctly.
Step 4: Update Your Code
Once you have saved the Form Handler, you will be able to retrieve it’s code, also known as the Form Action. This is what you will provide to your website developer or website support team who can make changes on the back end. If you use WordPress, check out this article for more information.
The final step is testing internally to ensure the data is passing through as expected and that the form actions you defined are populating correctly. You will also want to explore and understand the syncing of the Pardot record and Salesforce record.
Align Sales and Marketing Around a Single Source of Truth
So how do Forms and Form Handlers relate to your sales team? Within Salesforce, your sales reps will be able to see each and every Form their Leads or Contacts have submitted, along with any other Pardot-tracked activity. And with Salesforce Engage, this is taken a step further — reps will receive notifications in real time the moment a lead or contacts submits a form and whenever they engage with any of your digital assets.
This level of insight provides the context sales teams need to create relevant conversations with their customers. They can prioritise the leads and contacts that are most engaged and reach out at exactly the right time with exactly the right offer.
With B2B Marketing Analytics, marketers can also track the Forms and Form Handlers that are generating the most leads, opportunities, and closed-won business. This data helps marketers visualise campaign ROI across the funnel to prioritise channels and programs that work best.
As a Certified Salesforce consultant, I have worked with several Pardot customers and have seen first-hand the power that Pardot can bring when it comes to aligning marketing and sales with unified data.
Expand your knowledge
Utilising Pardot Forms or Form Handlers from your website or landing page is integral to learning more about your visitors, creating personalised marketing experiences, aligning your sales and marketing efforts, and closing more deals.
For more information on how the Pardot Forms work go to the online training modules to ensure you understand the difference between a Pardot Form and Pardot Form Handler and which use case is right for your website.
Do you have an interesting Form or Form Handler use case? Let us know in the comments below!