The Cost of Implementing Pardot (Marketing Cloud Account Engagement)

Pardot Implementation Blog

Plus, five things to consider before committing to Salesforce’s B2B Marketing Automation solution.

Both of Salesforce’s Marketing Automation solutions, Pardot (B2B) and Marketing Cloud (B2C) are evolving at an exponential rate functionality-wise, offering small business customers access to true enterprise-level tools, analytics, processes, and integration capabilities at a competitive cost.

No surprise that Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud Platform offerings dominate market share in this segment (15% to Adobe’s 11%, Microsoft’s 7.4%, and Hubspot’s 5.5%), with 10,000+ new businesses jumping on the platform in 2022.

And your company too, can leverage the platform for greater market penetration, insight, actionability, and ROI. But what will it cost your business?


What is the cost of implementing Pardot?

If you’ve been through any type of business data transformation in the past, you’ll know that the software licensing costs are only a fraction of the total cost of ownership.

Cleansing, normalizing, and migrating data and assets, refactoring processes (both marketing and company-wide), rebuilding analytics, internal adoption, training, and integration with legacy systems, all compound to contribute to the true cost of ownership.

As a long-time Salesforce Partner working with clients to migrate their marketing processes, data, and analytics requirements to Pardot, we often see new Pardot Customers miscalculate the actual cost of moving their marketing automation processes to Pardot.

Pre-purchase planning, a collective agreement on desired outcomes, executive buy-in and support, and most importantly, realistic expectations of what Pardot can (and cannot) do will give you the best opportunity for success.

Knowing your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) before you sign a new contract, can ensure your Pardot investment aligns with your budget, requirements, resources, recommended Implementation partner, and overall value expectations.


Before we get started, a belated mea culpa—

Pardot as a product brand transitioned to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement in April of 2022. The intention behind this move was to simplify the many offerings for customers under the Marketing Cloud umbrella in line with Sales, Service, Commerce, Data, and Experience Clouds, internally align sales efforts and products to make it easier for customers to build their optimal solution across both Pardot and Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget) for their precise needs.

Eventually, the colloquial “Pardot” name will fade, but for many marketers, it’s still an easy way to differentiate between Salesforce’s B2B and B2C marketing automation offerings.

Here are five recommendations to consider before acquiring Pardot.


Is Salesforce CRM your source of truth for sales data?

Not too long ago, you could purchase Pardot without having Salesforce CRM. In fact, Pardot had a Microsoft Dynamic Connector that you could use to integrate these two systems. As Pardot becomes more assimilated into Sales Cloud, it’s now a requirement to have Salesforce Licenses to even purchase Pardot. In the future, you won’t even realize these are two distinct systems, working seamlessly through a packaged integration.

Pardot is highly dependent on Sales Cloud data.

As a Marketer, you’ll rely heavily on Salesforce data and internal sales processes for audience segmentation, the timing of passing prospects to Salesforce (MQL), providing marketing engagement snapshots to the Sales Team, and understanding how your marketing efforts are influencing revenue.

Pardot and Sales Cloud go hand-in-hand.

As a Marketer, your querying power and marketing capabilities are even stronger when Service, Operational, and other data points are available to Pardot. Being able to see the whole customer picture enables you to more powerfully build audiences, ensure marketing content is timely and appropriate, and see Marketing’s impact on the whole business.

If your Salesforce Org is not your company’s source of truth, Pardot will be limited in the value it can provide. Building integrations with external data sources, legacy internal systems, or 3rd party solutions is entirely possible, but can exponentially increase your cost and time to implement. Clean, normalized, and process-supported data in Sales Cloud is the ultimate must-have to maximize your Pardot investment.

Often, Companies will migrate all of their internal systems to Salesforce at the same time. In this instance, it’s best to wait for the Sales Cloud side of the implementation to complete and for data to be supported by the new internal processes before embarking on the Pardot implementation.

In short, Pardot works best with a fully supported and operational Sales Cloud. Anything outside of the Platform will cost you more money.


Is your business B2B, B2C, or a combination of both?

Pardot is optimized for B2B companies looking for a marketing automation solution that adapts to their customer journeys.

In general, these are companies whose sales cycles tend to run long, who benefit from simple lead nurturing, who value lead scoring, who utilize a sales team focused on lead management, and who have simple marketing journey requirements.

Additionally, Pardot is fairly simple to learn, supports most digital marketing initiatives, and returns ROI within months (not years).

Comparatively, Pardot’s big brother Salesforce Marketing Cloud, is optimized for B2C companies looking to manage customer relationships across many channels (Social, Advertising, Website, E-Commerce), and who need real-time, data-driven, personalized, and complex journeys involving data from systems other than Sales Cloud) across channels and devices. In short, Marketing Cloud is significantly more complex to implement, learn, and manage.

The good news is that if you are a hybrid business marketing to both B2B and B2C customers, you can build your marketing automation platform with a combination of features from both Pardot and Marketing Cloud.

B2B Companies with a strong social presence and advertising spend can use both Pardot and Marketing Cloud Advertising to utilize the best features across platforms. Even if you are solely B2B today, but may be a B2B-B2C hybrid through acquisition or business shift, utilizing Pardot as your initial marketing automation platform can scale with Marketing Cloud features in the future.

Pardot is the best solution if your needs aren’t enterprise, right now. Upgrade with Marketing Cloud features as needed in the future.


Does your team have resources to support the move to Pardot and of Pardot going forward?

Resourcing for implementing and supporting Pardot going forward has huge cost implications.

Often, your implementation of Pardot supported by a Salesforce Partner will get you to the goal line with your initial needs. However, to fully realize value and optimize your Pardot investment, it’s critical that you have a team in place (either internal, external, or both) to support Pardot going forward.

Pardot will need to be administered, just like Sales Cloud, and it’s important to designate an internal person to keep Pardot running smoothly. Users, Security, Connector configurations, integration with Salesforce (and other systems) and synchronization health are all tasks that need to be proactively managed, lest your system lose functionality.

Pardot demands content – lots of it. Email Campaigns, particularly Engagement Studio (Nurture Campaigns), Landing Pages, and Automated Responses require digital-ready images, compelling content and messaging, brand consideration, and business timing to execute well.

Creative support can be a significant portion of your overall marketing budget, and email marketing differs from other channels, so consider the internal and external resources needed to support Pardot’s capabilities.

Pardot, like any database, can degrade over time, and become less accurate and useful. Having a dedicated resource responsible for the quality of data, ensures campaign initiatives are optimized, your customers are targeted appropriately, and your marketing analytics are trustworthy. Database cleansing is an absolute necessity and will save significant money with your Pardot licensing.

Plan ahead with these critical roles in your Organization to ensure Pardot continues to deliver value.


Which marketing automation features do you need?

It’s easy to get caught up in all that Pardot can do, particularly on the Analytics side. An honest assessment of the critical features you need today (and in the near future), can help determine which Pardot version is right for you.

Pardot pricing is tiered based on features and functionality.

Just need email marketing for now? Pardot Growth, the entry-level version of Pardot is likely right for you. Most Pardot customers will utilize the email marketing features, Landing Pages and Forms, Automation Rules, Templates, and Workflows from the onset.

As your functionality needs mature, Dynamic Content, API integrations, and enterprise-worthy Dashboards displaying complex marketing performance analytics extend your channel reach and are an upgrade away.

It’s easy to get gee-whizzed by the sales presentations from Pardot, and purchase features you may never use. Study the pricing tiers carefully— you can almost always add specific features a la carte from higher tiers if needed.

If you are migrating from another marketing automation system like Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua, (or others), commit to purchasing Pardot features you’ll need the first year, as well as migrate over urgent assets that you’ll need to carry forward. Bringing over everything as a method of preservation will drive your implementation and support costs tremendously.

Pro tip: Determine what you need upfront before you see the sales presentation. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the excitement and pay for more than you need.


Are your marketing analytics a driver for business decisions?

One of the biggest competitive advantages Pardot holds over comparable marketing automation tools is its analytics capabilities.

Salesforce will surely demonstrate these features as part of the sales cycle, particularly the B2BMA Dashboard, which is a collection of visual marketing metrics coupled with revenue influence.

The B2B Marketing Analytics package is available in the Plus Tier and higher, and is the Salesforce CRM Analytics App available specifically for marketers. This presentation of ROI and attribution data can make any Marketer into a champion, but it requires both data and process to function.

Often, we can use a combination of Salesforce Campaigns, Workflows, and native Reporting/Dashboards to deliver key marketing metrics to both the marketing and sales teams. Occasionally, businesses will already use an analytics or Business Intelligence tool outside of Salesforce, and data can be extracted from Pardot to feed that.

Documenting all of your marketing analytics requirements, as well as the business needs for marketing analytics, and determining the optimal place to consolidate that data will help determine which solution will work best for the Company.

If your business is dependent on marketing analytics to make decisions and will support the data and processes necessary to support B2BMA, then Marketing Analytics is worth spending the extra money on.


Is NOW the right time?

Implementing Pardot (or any business system) is akin to surgery for the business. It will definitely improve quality of life, but can be intrusive, risky, expensive, and time-consuming.

The best time to implement Pardot is when no other competing initiatives are happening.

Full attention to the scope of the migration, decisions around architecting your solution, learning a new system, and changing processes are all critical in launching your Pardot system with success.

Avoid pressure to purchase within a specific time frame, or because your current marketing automation solution contract is expiring soon. Taking on Pardot requires planning, resourcing, and commitment to complete successfully, and cost-effectively.

At The CRM Firm, we have many years of marketing automation experience on the Salesforce platform and can help with planning, implementation, and support. For support in making the move to Pardot an efficient and beneficial one, contact us here.