How to Perform Your Own Pardot Marketing Automation Audit (Part 1)

The following is part one in a two-part series on performing a marketing automation audit with Pardot. 

One of the best ways to maximize your use of Pardot is to understand what you are currently using well and which areas you could improve upon.

According to a B2B Marketing Research study, less than 50% of marketers are optimizing all of the benefits of their marketing automation platform.

I recommend that our clients audit their account at least once per quarter. Done correctly, your account will not get unruly, disorganized, outdated, or underused. If you can carve out 60-90 minutes each quarter to audit your account, here are a few key areas to get you started:

Overview Stats

First things first. Get an overview of all the parts of the tool you’re using. I often recommend clients frequently view the “high-level overview” of their usage stats. Take note of any features or tools that have a 0 under usage. It could be a good indication of a part of the tool that you’re underutilizing.

You can do this by going to email address > settings > usage.

Web Forms and Conversion Points

Checking forms is especially important to ensure that the right prospects are going into your Pardot account. Go through and fill out the forms and note the following questions:

  • Can the forms be improved? Shortened? Do they need to be updated to reflect your new business model/service offerings?
  • Did you get stuck? Were there any errors?
  • What messages are delivered to new contacts once forms are completed? Are expectations for message delivery and frequency set properly?
  • Are there opportunities to improve the content that is delivered to new contacts?
  • Does your overall message align with the motivations of your audience?

#PardotProTip: Use progressive profiling to ensure your forms stay short and you gather additional information about your prospects over time.

Database Segmentation

Pardot’s lists allow you to segment your prospect database into a subsets of consumers, based on their personas, activity (scoring), and demographics (grading). From these lists, you can design and execute more efficient targeting strategies.

Pardot can create rule-based lists of prospects that are either one-time or automatically updated as prospect data changes.

Audit Questions:

  • What campaigns are being driven by these lists?
  • Are the lists populating dynamically still relevant? Do they need a criteria update?
  • Are there any lists that are no longer in use or that were developed for one-time efforts that need to be archived? Filter by date created to find older lists that may no longer be relevant.
  • Can the segmentation process be improved by relying upon self-selected parameters (via survey) or behavior monitoring (based on previous activity/engagement)?

#PardotProTip: If you have a Salesforce campaign and you’d like to target those members with a drip program or list email, use the “Add to Pardot List” button on the campaign in Salesforce to add those members to a list in Pardot.

Scoring

Scoring is essential to qualifying leads for your sales team and can be customized to best align with your sales process.

Audit Questions:

  • Have you reviewed all pages by content stage and assigned appropriate scores?
  • Does the existing scoring portray the accurate values related to buying signals?
  • Are the buyer persona profiles and lead scoring overlays properly scored and executing?
  • Does your company often use webinars for nurturing prospects or current clients? If so, be sure to customize the baseline scoring model to include points for webinar attendance. (This is not part of the baseline model.)

#PardotProTip: We recommend you set a specific time to review your results and reevaluate your scoring and grading model.

Database Cleanup

Bad database hygiene can affect scoring and grading, the ability to deliver your message, and may even prevent you from reaching your revenue potential. Good database hygiene helps you connect with the most engaged prospects, protects your sending reputation, and may help increase your ROI.

Audit Questions:

  • Is the ratio of unassigned leads to assigned leads still accurate or does the threshold need to be updated?
  • Are there prospects (leads or contacts) who may have been imported for legacy efforts no longer in place? (Use segmentation rules to identify.)
  • Have you deleted prospects who are no longer being communicated to? After prospects are deleted, if they take specific actions, they will be pulled from the recycling bin and available for use.

#PardotProTip: Sometimes leads will get entered into your system with improper capitalization of the first name or last name field. For example, “Adam Waid” gets imported as “ADAM waid.” Leaving these records improperly formatted can make you look unprofessional in your email marketing if you use personalization tokens with your emails. There’s a quick and easy fix: export your data to an Excel sheet, and then use the “PROPER” function to correct everything. You can fix your entire database in under 10 minutes. Then, upload your spreadsheet and append your lead records. Instructions are here.

Frequency

One of the biggest challenges with sending recurring messages to a singular audience is determining how often to deliver messages. Knowing the recency and frequency of your latest email sends at the prospect level allows you to space your email sends appropriately to avoid marketing fatigue.

Audit Questions:

  • How often do contacts receive messages?
  • Based on response rates and engagement levels, how should frequency be modified?
  • Should frequency for certain audience segments be different from others?

Email Content and Design

Because your emails often form the foundation of your lead generation efforts, it’s important to regularly monitor their performance.

Audit Questions:

  • Do your emails render well on smaller mobile device screens?
  • How should the mobile version of the email design be modified to appeal to recipients who are on the go?
  • Is the current email design right for the email channel?
  • Does every email message include a physical mailing address and a subject line that does not deceive (re: CAN SPAM compliance)?
  • Is the email design consistent with other brand assets?
  • Does the email design conform to existing brand standards and guidelines?

#PardotProTip: Look at your deliverability, open, and click-through rates to determine where to make improvements. Low deliverability typically means poor database hygiene. Low open rates usually signal an issue with subject lines, and low click-through rates indicate that content and/or design could be improved.

As marketing professionals, it is in our DNA to strive for continuous improvement. A Pardot marketing automation audit puts the indisputable facts on the table and arms you and your teams with the ammunition to make smarter decisions going forward.

Finally, the Pardot client advocates are here to help our customers achieve their marketing goals by providing Pardot strategy and marketing automation best practices. If you’d like to receive a free account audit, email our team. We’d be happy to pop the hood on your account and see what features you could be utilizing more.

I’ll be discussing more ways to audit your account in a post next week — stay tuned!