Top ten tips for making life easier if your marketing automation team is just you!

I see it all the time, in fact, I’ve lived it: a marketer with zero marketing automation experience is handed Pardot or another marketing automation tool. 

In the beginning of my career, my title was simply “digital marketing specialist” where I sat on a team of five marketing professionals with varying degrees of experience in both traditional and digital marketing. I was the least experienced on the team in both and when it came time for a team member to adopt Pardot and marketing automation as part of their job responsibilities, I was more or less volun-told that I would need to learn it. And it makes sense, that as a digital marketing specialist, email marketing would fall under that job responsibility…or does it? 

I learned very quickly that Pardot was so much more than just email marketing. Not to mention, at that time, it was imperative that the Pardot admin had some level of knowledge of HTML & CSS to get a decent looking email out the door (or even create a button.) In a matter of months, I felt like I had to become a front-end web developer, a Salesforce admin, IT guru and sales strategist all in one. I felt overwhelmed, under confident and more than anything, I felt very alone. 

Many of the clients I interacted with day-to-day are in the same boat I was in not that long ago and I want to make it my personal mission to make sure that a Pardot admin never feels as defeated as I did at the beginning of my marketing automation career. So here are my top ten tips for not only surviving, but thriving as the marketing automation team of one:

  1. Get Certified: If you haven’t already, I think it’s important to get these three certifications: Pardot Specialist, Pardot Consultant and Salesforce Administrator Certified. I’ve found that being certified in these led to several advantages, including, but not limited to: colleagues taking you seriously when you say you know what you’re talking about, higher pay, and the ability to create more complex automations that may be outside the scope of what Pardot can handle on its own. Since Salesforce was a bit out of my comfort zone, I used Focus on Force to help me study for my exam, and I passed on the first try!
  2. Create a Process for Requests: The biggest mistake I made as a Pardot administrator was allowing people to just email me their requests, whether it was for an engagement studio, a list or email. I allowed people to steam roll me and demand that their content needed to be done by end of day, but they sent it at 3pm. If you’re a team of one (or a small team) it is crucial you set boundaries, starting with an asset and list request form and a turn-around time. 
  3. Utilize user roles or custom user roles: If you’re the Pardot administrator, then you and one other person (for back-up) should be the only ones with the Pardot administrator role. Use the out-of-the-box roles for other users and if you have a Pardot account edition that allows it- take advantage of the custom user role feature. This majorly cuts back on any risk for accidents by lesser experienced Pardot users.
  4. Get Connected: Unlike when I first started, today, there are a TON of online resources like slack channels, forums and blogs for Salesforce and Pardot users. Get connected with other Salesforce and Pardot users online or in your community! My favorite online resources for Pardot include: Salesforce Ben and Jenna Molby blogs, and the Pardashians and Pardot Lifehacks Slack Channels and of course, LinkedIn. Don’t shy away from asking questions and getting involved in the ecosystem. People are generally always willing to help. If you’re looking for a smaller, community based resource, check to see if you have a local Pardot Community Group in your area. If not, don’t be afraid to start one!
  5. Get Comfy working Cross-Functionally: Odds are, you’re going to have to touch almost every department at your company. Sales, IT (especially if they own your tech stack), Branding, Marketing, etc. To make your life easier, try to find one or two folks in each department that can be your go-to when you have questions or need to brainstorm.
  6. Stay up-to-date: Read through the Pardot and Salesforce releases when they come out. I’ll be the first to admit, I used to ignore those when they came in my inbox. At the time, I felt like “oh great, just one more thing to learn.” But, what I’ve realized is that I missed out on a lot of great releases that would’ve actually made my job a whole lot easier, not harder. 
  7. Create a Pardot Dev Org: We’ve all been in a situation where we have an idea for an automation in Pardot, but don’t want to test it in your live instance. Pardot dev orgs are free to create. Pardot Advanced now comes with Pardot Sandboxes which can serve the same purpose, but beware that Pardot sandboxes do not work the same as Salesforce sandboxes. 
  8. Create a Sunset Policy: Having a sunset policy in place for inactive prospects helps with deliverability and general data management. Create a process that makes sense for your company, but my general rule of thumb is that if a prospect hasn’t been active in 90+ days, they are marked as unmailable as to prevent their record from counting against my mailable prospect database limit. 
  9. Gain access to mass emailing tools: Set up tools like Google Postmasters to get insights like deliverability and SPAM complaints about large volumes of email being delivered in Gmail. 
  10. Learn CSS/HTML: Having CSS & HTML coding languages in your back pocket will allow you to build assets with Pardot regions for ease of use. There are great online courses both paid and free to brush up on these languages. My favorite free resource is W3Schools.

Being a marketing automation team of one can be overwhelming, but it can also be very rewarding. If you are a team of one and need some help or guidance to jumpstart your journey as Pardot admin, please reach out to us!