How do you eat the elephant.jpg

You caught the marketing automation bug.  You’re on board with the exciting opportunities to increase the efficiency of your team, laser target your communications, and share your message with the world.

You pulled the trigger and bought Pardot. 

If you find yourself thinking “okay, now what?” and feeling a bit daunted – you’re not alone.

Eating the Elephant of Marketing Automation

First of all, congratulations on taking the first step.  It’s a necessary one, and it provides a foundation on which to build a more effective digital marketing and lead generation strategy.

As a next step, I’d recommend thinking about the following questions:

  • What does success look like?  What do you hope to accomplish in 3, 6, 12 months?
  • Are there any manual parts or frustrating parts of your marketing and sales processes today that you’d like to improve?  Where is your team spending time on non-value-added activities?
  • Who on your team should be involved and get up to speed on Pardot’s capabilities?  Who can be the project/functional owner?
  • Do you have the skills and bandwidth to take this all on internally, or would it make sense to outsource some pieces of the process?

Bite Off Something You Can Chew

Start small, and act fast.  The best way to learn Pardot is by getting in there and DOING!

A word of caution: don’t try to swallow the whole elephant in one sitting.  Many companies struggle here.  Companies who expect to go from zero to 100% automated, “untouched by human hands” marketing and lead gen are likely to be disappointed.

An ideal first project is one with a limited scope that can score a win with the team and help you learn the system. 

A few ideas of “bite sized” projects to take on when you’re getting started:

1)     Create very simple, basic email templates that your team can use for 1-to-1 communication in Pardot Engage

2)     Set up an automated response email for Contact Us inquires or new blog subscriptions

3)     If you attend tradeshows, build out your follow up communications as a Pardot campaign

4)     Build a “Welcome Drip” campaign with 2-3 touch points to introduce your company to prospects

5)     Pick one sales rep, interview them to understand what they would most benefit from, and partner with them to build a “beta test” program

Audit Your Content

As you go about identifying additional campaigns to develop and starting to plan for the longer term, a content audit can be extremely useful. To do this, make a list of content that you could reuse, recycle or otherwise repurpose.  Inventory items such as:

  • Slide decks
  • Sell sheets & brochures
  • Email templates
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • White papers & e-Books
  • Webinar recordings
  • Stock verbiage your sales team relies on (ask them what they use when reaching out to prospects – some may have boilerplate text that they’ve written for their own prospecting efforts)

With your content list in hand, review it in the context of stages in the buyer’s journey.  What materials are well suited for someone who’s just browsing or looking for information?  What is a better fit for people with a well-defined problem?  What content might hint that a prospect is ready to talk to sales? 

And lastly, if you see gaps in your content assets, who can help create new materials? Building high-quality, engaging content is a heavy lift and takes time – but worth its weight in gold when it’s finally developed. 

Leverage Your Resources

Pardot’s Client Advocate Team and technical support are second to none.  Seriously, they’re absolutely wonderful and go above and beyond to help whenever called upon.  Visit their office hours, peruse the training library, and lean on fellow users in the Success Community.

If you need more hands-on help, one-on-one training, or assistance actually building out campaigns, you may want to consider working with a partner.  Shameless plug: Configero offers Pardot implementation services, either on a project basis or as a block of “support hours” to be used as needed.

What has been your experience getting started with Pardot?

Are you off to the races or still feeling like you’re not using Pardot to its fullest potential?  What barriers are you facing?  Do you have any tips to share with fellow users? 

Let us know in the comments!