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When to Use a Pardot Form vs. Pardot Form Handler

Marketers using Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (fka Pardot) have no shortage of tools available to them. While often positioned as B2B-specific, Marketing Cloud Account Engagement’s key differentiator is the ability it affords Marketers to develop forms and landing pages, without the help of a developer.

If you have worked in Marketing Cloud Account Engagement’s platform, you probably noticed two different form creation tools: the standard Pardot Form and Pardot Form Handlers. Each of these can drive seamless automation with Completion Actions, but knowing when to use each will help you level up your Marketing Cloud Account Engagement proficiency.

PARDOT FORMS

The standard Pardot Form is the answer to creating quick, functional lead generation forms with little-to-no code requirements. These forms are created in Pardot, hosted by Pardot, and embedded on your website (or a Pardot Landing Page) to capture leads and drive conversions.

Pardot Forms are easy to develop, and because they’re hosted by Pardot, offer additional functionality like Progressive Fields, which allow you to collect more data over a series of multiple form submissions. Progressive Fields give you the ability to dynamically change the form questions based on prior submissions, improving conversion rates and enabling more robust data collection. Pardot Forms also have built-in bot protection, and can integrate easily with Salesforce’s Web-to-Lead forms.

The downside to Pardot Forms is the limitation to customize the form to match the look-and-feel to your organization’s website and branding. There are some settings that allow you to change the color and font on the form, but the extent of customization is limited to the options below. Applying a Layout Template can help expand the customization possibilities, but likely requires working with a developer to implement.

Pardot form advanced customization options

Pardot advanced styling options for forms are limited.

Additionally, because Pardot Forms are simply embedded on your website via an inline frame (or iframe), it can limit the visibility for third-party tracking tools to measure form activity. For example, to measure whether a form is submitted successfully in Google Analytics (not just clicked, or failed submissions), you may be better off redirecting successful submissions to a dedicated ‘Thank You’ page and measuring page loads, instead of relying on click tracking which can produce skewed results with a Pardot Form.

PARDOT FORM HANDLER

For organizations that have existing lead generation practices, want to track submission data, or require advanced styling customization, Pardot Form Handlers offer similar automation benefits while integrating with third-party or custom forms. 

Pardot Form Handlers work with existing forms to pass valuable prospect and conversion data into Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. To set-up a Pardot Form Handler is similar to the standard Pardot Form set-up, but requires modification to the form tag to implement, which is where additional developer support may be required. 

Common Pardot Form Handler errors occur when external field values do not exactly match the Pardot input, or when the external field is marked as required and the Pardot Form Handler field is also marked required – causing the form to error out. Leave required field management to your third-party or custom form, and deselect the required field setting on the Pardot Form Handler.

Accurate data mapping is critical for Form Handlers to function properly. 

While Form Handlers require a bit more configuration to use, they provide the most customization and enable the most robust tracking opportunities. One such opportunity is the ability to capture UTM tracking data during form submission, helping to measure return on advertising spend and other marketing efforts. Start by creating Form Handler input fields that correspond to your UTM parameter data. Since Form Handlers are not forms embedded on your site, these fields remain hidden on your users, but available for data capture. 

Using JavaScript, you can dynamically scrape the data from the webpage url and place it in the appropriate form fields to send to Account Engagement. As leads from your advertising campaigns start to convert, you will be able to follow (and attribute) the lead back to individual campaigns, tactics – even down to the ad creative. Here’s more information on how to set-up UTM tracking with Pardot Form Handlers.

In summary, both Pardot Forms and Pardot Form Handlers are valuable tools to help Marketers drive conversions and measure results. Understanding which tool is best for your organization largely depends on the developer resources available, tracking considerations, and the strategy behind data collection.

Need a hand in Marketing Cloud Account Engagement? Shoot us a note at hello@revelyconsulting.com to get the most out of your Pardot instance.

Top 3 Action Items for Marketers after #DF23

As the excitement and energy from an event like Dreamforce starts to fade, it can be difficult to know just what to do with all the new information you’ve learned. You probably have a bunch of ideas, but also questions on how you’re going to make what you saw a reality at your organization. And when it comes to Data + CRM + AI, it may feel extra challenging to know where to start. 

Here are our top three tips for Marketers looking to make an impact at their company post-Dreamforce:

1. It’s time to get your marketing data in order.

Clean data has never been more important for Marketers. If you are struggling with duplicate data, or inconsistent/incomplete prospect records, this year’s Dreamforce should serve as a call-to-arms. The introduction of Data Cloud for Marketing and Einstein CoPilot  means automation and personalization at-scale has never been easier, but it will require a strong data foundation to leverage effectively. Start identifying and addressing problems within your marketing data, and build a plan to ensure future clean data management. 

If you’re using Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (fka Pardot), try using Dynamic Lists to identify records with less-than-ideal prospect data (first name = empty, company name = empty, etc.)

2. Introduce yourself to Data Cloud.

Disparate, duplicate data could be a thing of the past for Marketers who know how to strategically leverage Data Cloud within their organization. If you’re not already signed up for Trailhead, that’s where you need to start. Salesforce just introduced a ton of new modules to help you build your knowledge (and confidence!) in all things Data Cloud and AI. Here are some trails I recommend for getting started: 

Once you’ve got those down, try your hand at a Trailmix that gets you ready for the new Salesforce Certified AI Associate Credential. Oh, and did I mention Salesforce announced that Data Cloud is FREE (yes, FREE) for up to 10,000 unified records? Shoot us a message to see if your Salesforce instance qualifies!

3. Optimize your existing techstack.

There’s a lot to get excited about post-Dreamforce, but before you start looking too far ahead at new technology, make sure you’re maximizing your investment in your current techstack. Start with simple solutions that solve every-day challenges in the systems that you and your team are already leveraging. For some Marketers, that may mean making extra time to test and experiment with new features (like Dynamic Content in MCAE), and for some, it may mean bringing in a fresh set of skills (whether from Trailhead, or the Partner ecosystem) to level-up their environment. 

Just know, whichever type of Marketer you are, the Revely team is here to help. Shoot us a note at hello@revelyconsulting.com to get started. 

What Salesforce Announcements (and Labs) Tell Us About the Future of Marketing Cloud

The Marketing Keynote today was just over 50 minutes long, and managed to fit exciting announcements and incredible innovations into every single minute. The future of Marketing Cloud (and yes, Account Engagement too!) is exceptionally bright, with generative AI features and Einstein advancements rolling out as soon as next month. Let’s break down what was announced, and what it means for Marketers moving forward.

Every Company Needs an AI Strategy, and Clean Data to Fuel It

If the message from this week hasn’t been loud enough, or clear enough: AI isn’t a matter of if for your business, it’s when. Practitioners must know how to strategically leverage AI to meet customers’ ever-increasing expectations. Leveraging AI typically means starting with a prompt, using Natural Language Processing (NLP) , to produce an output. More than likely, that first output won’t be perfect – and that’s where Marketers come in. By providing feedback, signals, context and meaning back to the AI, the output continues to improve. 

    • A key definition to know is grounding, or ensuring that the system understands and relates to real-world knowledge, data, and experiences. With grounding, AI understands the important context of how a human would perform the task.

Great Personalization at Scale is Possible, with Einstein CoPilot and Data Cloud

We got an inside look today at what the Salesforce Marketing Labs team has been working on to infuse AI capabilities across platforms and products for Marketers. With Einstein CoPilot and Einstein for MC Personalization, identifying opportunities for campaigns, writing campaign briefs and even creating the content needed to support A/B testing en-masse, all just became achievable at unprecedented speed. With Einstein CoPilot, Marketers will be able to redefine the limits of creating personalized experiences, at scale. Which, remember, has never been more important to customers! 

And if the draw to Data Cloud hasn’t been strong enough for you yet, the launch of Segment Intelligence should do it. The out-of-the-box Segment Intelligence dashboard for Data Cloud helps Marketers achieve their number one goal: proving marketing impact on company goals. View all of your critical marketing data across tactics, channels, segments alongside real-time revenue results, then use those insights to identify optimized customer segments with the click of a button. 

Still not impressed? Here were some of the other product roadmap announcements that will change the way you build campaigns and connect with your customers: 

    • Partnership with Typeface supercharges Content Builder, leveraging generative AI to create brand-relevant content and images from directly in-platform. 
    • Marketing Cloud Personalization is getting enhancements, with the first of Journey Re-Mapping updates launching as soon as today.
    • Real-time customer Event Streams launch in October, displaying critical, cross-channel customer interaction data across Marketing, Sales, Commerce, Service, and more. 

Here are some of those product roadmap specifics:

All of the updates, announcements and innovations shared today further simplify marketing’s goal of getting the right message, to the right person, at the right time. 

The last thing that Salesforce EVP and GM of Marketing Cloud, Steve Hammond, shared today was the role that ecosystem partners, like Revely, play in bringing the Marketing Cloud strategy and innovations to life for Salesforce customers. We couldn’t be more proud to have that honor, and hope to have the opportunity to bring these announcements to life for your organization.

How AI is Putting Humans at the Center of Experiences

There was no shortage of exciting announcements today at Dreamforce (#DF23), showcasing the latest Salesforce innovations to harness the power of AI technology. With the launch of the Einstein 1 Platform and CoPilot Studio, the future is full of promise for how AI will revolutionize the way we work, and engage with our customers.

We know that AI has the promise to unlock unprecedented productivity, helping to automate redundant tasks and enabling users to focus on the activities that matter most. If you ask any Sales leader, they’d prefer their Sales team spend time talking to people and building relationships than managing data entry or drafting follow-up communications. That’s exactly what AI can help us achieve!

When you start to look at AI through the lens of what it affords us, you might be surprised by what you find.

It’s not reducing or replacing human interaction – it’s amplifying it. It’s allowing humans to sit at the center of every experience, building deeper relationships with stronger communication, tailored authentically to each individual customer by surfacing the relevant data that matters most. 

And this is important to customers. According to the State of the Connected Customer Report, 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, and 52% expect offers and communication to be personalized to them. As these customer expectations continue to rise, the products and services a brand offers are becoming just one part of the decision-making equation. 

Ensuring every interaction is personalized is no easy feat, and that’s where the power of AI shines.  The predictive ability allows humans (yes, real people) to craft more meaningful experiences, with better data to understand their customers, anticipate needs, and deliver experiences that transcend the transaction.

Marketing in Generation AI

Ready to take the next step with AI at your company? Drop us a note at hello@revelyconsulting.com and we will provide a totally free assessment to help you gauge your AI-readiness.

AI Facts by the Stats

Marketers often innately fill the role of Trailblazer at their organization. They are first to embrace new technology, quick to test new ideas, and agile to meet the needs of their ever-growing audience. Because of this, Marketers are the ideal candidates to champion AI adoption for their company. Here are the top three statistics for the trailblazing Marketer to keep in mind:

#1: 63% of Marketers say trusted customer data is important for using generative AI successfully.

This is a big one! As with any new tool or technology, the output is only as good as the input – so ensuring you have high-quality, trusted customer data to fuel generative AI is mission critical. If you have incomplete prospect data, struggle with deduplication, or shy away from basic handlebar merge language (HML) for personalization, investing in data cleanliness will be a prerequisite to onboarding new AI technology. Thankfully, with Data Cloud for Marketing, cleaning up data and creating uniform customer records just got a whole lot easier – here’s more on that

#2: Marketers estimate generative AI will save them an average of five hours per week.

What would you do with an extra five hours per week? For the Marketers who’ve already adopted  generative AI, they say they are using it for: basic content creation (76%), writing copy (76%), to inspire creative thinking (71%), analyzing market data (63%), generating image assets (62%). Not only is it helping Marketers to produce better content, but 74% say that AI is helping to improve customer segmentation and lookalike audience modeling. With AI doing the heavy lifting behind data segmentation and content creation, that gives Marketers time to focus on what they do best: creating memorable experiences that WOW their customers.

#3: 87% of Marketers that use AI say it helps bridge online and offline experiences.

Speaking of memorable experiences, AI is empowering Marketers to deliver experiences like never before. 90% of Marketers say that using AI helps automate customer interactions, and 77% say it helps drive best offers in real time. Since we know that customers are more likely to remain loyal to companies that offer personalized experiences, AI is supercharging Marketers ability to impact lifetime customer value and increase brand loyalty and trust.

Check out these stats and more from Salesforce’s Generative AI Snapshot Series.

Ready to take the next step with AI at your company? Drop us a note at hello@revelyconsulting.com and we will provide a totally free assessment to help you gauge your AI-readiness.

Capturing UTMs with Javascript and MCAE Form Handlers

If you invest in paid advertising and use UTM parameter tracking, capturing that data in Salesforce and Marketing Cloud Account Engagement can help you uncover real-time Sales insight into the best performing marketing tactics with the highest ROI. To get started, there are a handful of configurations that will need to occur in Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (fka Pardot) and on your website.

CREATING A FORM HANDLER FOR UTM FIELDS

The first step to capturing UTM parameter data is creating the corresponding fields in MCAE on the Prospect record, and in Salesforce on the Lead record. You should have five fields created for UTM_Source, UTM_Medium, UTM_Campaign, UTM_Term, UTM_Content. If you use a multi-touch attribution model, consider duplicating, renaming and hiding a version of the fields that capture UTM data at the time the lead is first created. This allows your visible UTM fields to be overwritten with the most recent conversion, while preserving the initial conversion data.

Once your fields are created and synced correctly between MCAE and Salesforce, you can create your Form Handler. Add the UTM fields to your Form Handler as normal, with the data input set to text. Do not mark the fields as required in MCAE, if you do so in the form handler configuration and have them required on your website your form will not submit successfully. When your Form Handler is complete, copy the unique form handler code and match it to the form tag on your site.

For example, your form handler should look like the form below: 

PARSING UTM PARAMETER DATA INTO FORM FIELDS

The form input fields that hold your UTM parameter data and pass it along to Account Engagement will be hidden on your webpage. Therefore, you’ll need to use JavaScript to dynamically scrape the data from the webpage url and place it in the appropriate form fields to send to Account Engagement. Insert the following JavaScript snippet as close to the closing </body> html markup tag as possible.

				
					<script type="text/javascript">
// Parse the URL
function getParameterByName(name) {
name = name.replace(/[\[]/, "\\[").replace(/[\]]/, "\\]"); var regex = new RegExp("[\\?&]" + name + "=([^&#]*)"),
results = regex.exec(location.search);
return results === null ? "" : decodeURIComponent(results[1].replace(/\+/g, " "));
}
// Give the URL parameters variable names
var source = getParameterByName('utm_source');
var medium = getParameterByName('utm_medium'); var campaign = getParameterByName('utm_campaign'); var term = getParameterByName('utm_term');
var content = getParameterByName('utm_content');
// Put the variable names into the hidden fields in the form.
// Find the appropriate hidden field via the input ID document.getElementById("form-utms-content").value = content; document.getElementById("form-utms-source").value = source; document.getElementById("form-utms-medium").value = medium; document.getElementById("form-utms-term").value = term; document.getElementById("form-utms-campaign").value = campaign;
</script>

				
			

Once you’ve implemented the JavaScript snippet on your website, create a new hyperlink to your web page containing UTM parameters (Campaign URL Builder) and test the form to ensure data is mapping appropriately. As leads from your advertising campaigns start to convert, you will be able to follow (and attribute) the lead’s progression through the Sales funnel. Optimize ad performance based on real-time Sales insights and plan with trends surfaced offer time. 

At Revely, we believe that quality data combined with an intentional strategy is key to creating experiences that build trust with your customers, while simultaneously driving revenue. Reach out to us at hello@revelyconsulting.com and let’s discuss how Revely can help your business.

Improving the Marketing-to-Sales Pipeline

Before jumping into customer journey tools like MCAE’s Engagement Studio or SFMC’s Journey Builder, consider the marketing-to-sales pipeline needed to support a successful lead nurturing strategy. A strong lead distribution process improves results on inbound marketing leads, maximizes sales efficiency, and creates a more seamless experience for prospects.

DEFINING MQL AND SQL

Start by working with Sales to develop your organization’s unique definitions for MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) and SQL (Sales Qualified Lead). This creates an infrastructure for lead distribution and process automation that surfaces qualified leads faster. MQLs are Prospects that have shown interest in your brand – for example, clicking an advertisement or visiting the website. SQLs are Prospects that have demonstrated intent to buy – for example, downloading a case study or requesting a demo.  

Using the MQL and SQL framework helps Sales close more deals by prioritizing the leads that are ready to convert, while allowing Marketing to continue to nurture leads that require more exposure.

understanding the difference between an mql and sql in process automation

BUILD CREDIBILITY FOR MARKETING LEADS

Unqualified leads will make their way into the marketing funnel, and an important step in building credibility with Sales is minimizing the time they waste to disqualify. Implementing thoughtful processes to maintain data integrity can help uphold the distribution of high-quality leads. 

For example, Marketing can help to ensure only leads with valid company email addresses are entering the pipeline. Because MCAE (fka Pardot) automatically protects your domain’s sending authority by blocking sends to invalid email addresses, using an Auto-Responder email on form completions can validate contact information in real-time, before being assigned to Sales for follow-up. Additionally, advanced form handler settings can be configured to prevent submissions from free ISPs (like Yahoo Mail, etc.). 

Educating Sales on the criteria Marketing uses to capture and validate leads helps build trust that the leads in their pipeline are worth following up on.

HELP SALES CLOSE DEALS

Marketing should continue to have a vested interest in leads as they move through the Sales process. This means monitoring Sales activity on marketing-influenced Opportunities, and offering support if they become stagnant. In addition to email nurture campaigns, help Sales leverage other Marketing assets that might be helpful in follow-up outreach. For example: 

  • Site Retargeting: If your Sales team uses the website in their outreach, investing in Site Retargeting can help keep your organization top-of-mind with Prospects across the web.
  • Earned Media Articles: If your Sales team needs a reason to follow-up, packaging earned media articles or relevant industry articles can be impactful direct email opportunities.

Building accountability for both Sales and Marketing throughout the lead process helps create a shared definition, and therefore celebration, of success. It’s important to recognize Sales champions who stay engaged with the lead distribution process and drive results for Marketing. Position these team members as leaders and, where possible, funnel additional Marketing leads to them as added incentive.

At Revely, we believe that quality data combined with an intentional strategy is key to creating experiences that build trust with your customers, while simultaneously driving revenue. Reach out to us at hello@revelyconsulting.com and let’s discuss how Revely can help your business.