Ahh, I remember the good ol’ days of the Engagement Studio beta and pilot. That probably dates me, but oh well. When our group met to talk through the new functionality, we were excited to see major new functionality in the Pardot product. This was more than an email sequence scheduler — it could create visual workflows and make the lives of marketers easier.

However, somewhere along the line, this message was lost. At #CNX19, at the Pardot Genius Bar, a fellow Pardot user asked me a lead assignment-related question, and I went “Oh, well Engagement Studio is a great tool for that,” and everyone around me immediately looked shocked and amazed. Sometimes I get so stuck in my own enterprise mind at Cloudera that I forget that everyone else isn’t necessarily doing the same things that we are. 😅  

So, what can you use Pardot’s Engagement Studio functionality to do?


1. Formatting

Need to standardize certain values that come into Pardot through list imports or forms/form handlers? Although there are some limitations around querying for multiple possible values in a custom field, you *can* work around that by building a dynamic list of values to look for and then setting Engagement Studio to evaluate if a prospect lives on that list. A great example of this: you can set up a dynamic list that is looking for incorrect values for your United States value standardization, like “U.S.” “USA” “United States of America”, and then have Engagement Studio evaluates a prospect’s membership to decide that it needs to reformat that value to the proper “United States” (especially helpful if you have restricted picklist values for Country in Salesforce Sales Cloud).  

2. Filtering

We all get junk leads from forms and even some list imports. Ideally, we would block these entries on the form level using some javascript — but, alas, not all junk indicators can be blocked across the board, and it’s best to have a human eye look at these potential-junk leads before trashing all of them. So, how do you do this? Again, dynamic lists are our partners in crime. You’ll want to set up dynamic lists with their own themes — for example, here’s a snippet of one we have that is filtering out suspicious company names:

You can have the Engagement Studio see if a prospect is a member of that list, and if they are, Pardot can put them into a list that you can scan for real people. This is especially useful for companies that use a service like LeanData to do Lead-to-Account matching. Another relevant example is personal email addresses — if you want to be able to reach out to these folks but are not able to send them to sales in an organized way (i.e. they could be impersonators of actual prospect company employees, etc), you can allow them into Pardot but then filter them out of your lead routing Engagement Studio program.

3. Qualifying

This is very similar to the filtering use case above, but you can take it another step up by looking at things like Job Title, Employee Count, etc, to either put prospects in different buckets for SDR review or to filter them out completely. For example, Cloudera is interested in folks with job titles like “CIO” and “Data Scientist” but isn’t so interested in sending folks who are in human resources or marketing to our sales team. We can use automation to handle these folks and to give them a great experience, while also not burdening our SDRs with irrelevant faux leads.

4. Routing

Need to send a lead to a round robin queue? This isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish in Salesforce Sales Cloud, especially if your round robin team changes frequently. Depending upon the size of your company and the structure of your lead funnel, it may make sense to move this logic into Pardot using Pardot User Groups. You can set it up so that if prospects are from certain states or regions (via dynamic list membership), they will be assigned to a member in a Pardot User Group, in a clockwise motion.

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  Or, if you just want to send them to your active Salesforce Lead Assignment Rules, you can do that too:


You can even assign them to a Salesforce queue:

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5. Basically any processes that you want to occur in a specific sequence (avoiding an “arms race” between automation rules)

The theme of marketing is “I want it now.” You’ll find that most marketing platforms are based on this ideology as well. However, this makes it tricky — because automation rules can technically fire in any order, including all at the same time, you can create quite the arm’s race between rules that may depend on each other. This could make data formatting, qualification, etc, go horribly wrong.

You can control this by putting your logic into Engagement Studio. Instead of everything firing instance-wide, you can feed your prospects down the Engagement Studio program, which will force them through each step in order. That way, you can ensure that you don’t miss anything.

6. A few last notes to consider

Have I won you over? There are a few things to think about in order to make this happen. First, you’re probably wondering how you’d feed these prospects into the Engagement Studio program. Well — that’s where things can get a bit dicey.

We feed them onto a list through form handler completion actions and add them to a list during list imports, which is easy enough to do, but doesn’t scale super well if you ever wanted to change the list. But, that being said, I can’t think of many reasons as to why you would want to change a static list — you could always rename it if you changed naming conventions or had some other similar need.

You could set up an automation rule that sends anyone who fills out a form or who has been created in the last day to that list, but it depends upon the structure of your instance.

So, they’ve been put on the Engagement Studio list and have made their way through to the end, but what if they fill out another form? This is why our list is static — simply add a “Remove from (ES list) list” step at the end of each branch of your program, and make sure you change the settings of your Engagement Studio program to allow prospects to re-enter. A cool feature of Engagement Studio is that you can set how often you allow prospects to re-enter the program. More on specific Engagement Studio settings here.

I hope this helps everyone realize the true power of Engagement Studio! Do you use Engagement Studio for lead management? Is this a new concept that you are considering implementing? Would love to hear your thoughts, tag me at @ifeellikemacmac or on LinkedIn!

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Sara McNamara is a Senior Marketing Operations Manager and top-tier Salesforce/Pardot senior consultant that has been recognized as a “Top B2B Marketer to Watch” by Salesforce Pardot, a “Unicorn” by Marketo, a “Trailblazer in B2B Marketing” by Salesforce Trailhead, an “Ops Pro Shaping The Future of B2B Marketing” by Drift.com, and a “B2B Marketing Automation All-Star” by ChiefMarketer.com. Sara has a special place in her heart for marketing operations, reality TV, Kanye West, huskies, and people who don’t call her about something that could have been a text/don’t request a meeting about something that could have been an email.

Sara is honored to be the very first B2B marketing Trailblazer to be recognized and featured by Salesforce Trailhead, as well as featured in the first Trailblazers in B2B Marketing | Powered by Pardot magazine and featured at Salesforce Tour events around the world. She is also a Marketo Certified Expert and cosigned by Jill Rowley, the greatest sales professional of all time. 🐐 She has a hell of a lot to say and you can catch her thoughts on Twitter at @ifeellikemacmac, on LinkedIn, and at various marketing events in the United States. You can also catch peeks of Sara featured at Salesforce Tour events worldwide. 🌎

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