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13 Best Practices for Migrating to Pardot from Another Marketing Automation Platform

13 Best Practices for Migrating to Pardot from Another Marketing Automation Platform

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A Salesforce AE recently asked me if we had a best practices guide for migrating to Pardot from Eloqua, Hubspot, or Marketo. My team at Sercante does these frequently — but while we’ve talked about implementing Pardot for the first time here (see also: Real Talk: 5 Surprises When Implementing Pardot and Why Pardot Implementations “Fail”), I’ve never written on considerations specifically for switching platforms.

So beyond what any marketer needs to look at when rolling out a new marketing automation system, what is nuanced about migrations? Let’s discuss some of the things you should be thinking about.

1. Build a post-implementation roadmap

You’re switching to Pardot for a reason — something caught your eye. Maybe it was the fact that it’s built on the Salesforce platform. Or campaign attribution (which is second to none). Or the artificial intelligence capabilities.

Whatever the reason for making your move, don’t lose sight of that in the migration. Consider which new functionality you want to roll out during the migration, and what might be a “phase 2” after the initial switch. And put a target date on that phase 2!

2. Use it as an opportunity to clean house on old assets

Email templates, landing pages, lists, automations, smart campaigns, etc. quickly pile up in a marketing automation org. We have some internal rules of thumb for mass migrating legacy assets — 15 minutes on average for an email template, 30 for a landing page, etc.

But if you’ve actively used the system that you’re migrating from, you’re bound to have a lot of assets.

If you take the approach of:

…I have 1,000 lists.

…4,000 email templates.

…800 landing pages.

…and then try to do the math on that, your jaw will drop. This is NOT how I’d recommend coming up with final asset migration counts. A better approach than looking at all of the past history is to look at what the business will need in the future, and building for that first.

Sure, there will be old templates and assets you want to migrate so you can clone them for future use. But it might be time to part ways with the 2015 Lunch n’ Learn invites is all I’m saying.

3. Consider a design refresh

Your implementation partner can (and should) guide you through the process of determining what to hang on to and what to toss during the migration.

When you have your final list of emails, forms, and landing pages — the customer facing bits — consider whether you want to migrate these exactly as they are over to Pardot. Might this be time to make some design & UX improvements?

An exercise we been including in recent migrations is a template design & UX audit. There are often small changes you can make en masse that have a big impact on the performance of your assets.

4. Make sure your prospect data is squeaky clean


Or if you do, at least have a plan to scrub it immediately.

As a first pass for trimming your list, I’d suggest running everything through NeverBounce to eliminate invalid email addresses. (ESPECIALLY if there’s a large portion of your list you haven’t emailed recently.)

If you have duplicate contact and lead data in Salesforce, evaluate how to mitigate that. It’s tempting to just throw up your hands and say:

Well, sales is never going to keep that clean anyway.

…but that’s a little bit of a cop out.

There a lot you can do to put guardrails up to keep data clean. Salesforce’s native Duplicate Rules are a great place to start, and RingLead, CloudDingo, and DemandTools are really useful tools for ongoing clensing.

This is a very worthwhile step in the process. (See also: 7 Ways to Cut Down Your Mailable List in Pardot for more ideas on data cleansing.)

5. Look for increased efficiency vs. building 1:1

Each marketing automation platform has a slightly different toolset and terminology. The primary arrows in our Pardot automation quiver include:

  • Page actions
  • Form/form handler completion actions
  • Custom redirects
  • Automation rules
  • Engagement Studio

What you did in your old system isn’t always going to line up exactly with these tools. While there’s analogus functionality, we can’t say Eloqua Program Canvas always maps to Engagement Studio, or Marketo smart campaigns always translate to automation rules, or Hubspot workflows always are re-built as completion and page actions.

Let your consultant guide you on the most efficient way to meet your business requirements with Pardot’s automation toolset.

6. Be aware of your contract end date & renewal terms

This sounds like an obvious one, but I’ve seen this get missed so it bears repeating. Look up when your legacy MAP contract ends, write it on a post-it, or stick it to your monitor.

Is there a date that you have to give your provider notice? Some require 30 days heads up that you’re leaving.

If you’re thinking of asking for a brief extension — an extra 30 days, for example — I would actually recommend waiting until you’ve already signed the deal with Pardot. This may seem counter intuitive and risky. But if you ask for an extension prior to committing to Pardot, most MAPs will say that they can’t do it as a tactic to try to get you to stay. But all of them CAN extend your agreement. And most will. (Even if they say they won’t the first time you ask them).

7. Budget enough time for learning

There’s a learning curve with any new platform — prepare for it.

Make sure your team has enough time for training and learning. Trailhead, User Groups, and the Trailblazer Community all have some great resources for this. Salesforce and a number of other providers also offer more structured classroom training.

8. Budget time for IP warming

If you have a dedicated IP address, you should proactively include time in your project schedule to build your email sending reputation. This is only really relevant if you execute mailings with more than 10K prospects per day.

9. Be realistic about your capabilities to migrate assets in house

When looking at a long list of things to migrate and a breakdown of the costs to have a partner help you do that, it’s tempting to think:

Oh, copying forms and email templates? We can do that in house.”

Some of that you probably can do in house. But take an honest assessment of what else is on your team’s plate and who else on the team can commit to helping with the migration. It’s a lot easier for a partner to help you if you build into the plan vs. calling us at the 11th hour when your Eloqua org is about to go dark.

10. Pick a date to switch over, with a little contract overlap

For a period of time, you’re likely to have Pardot and your legacy MAP up and running together. While you’re in the process of migrating assets, this question will inevitably come up:

Do I build this in Pardot, or do I build it in the old system?

It’s hard to decide when to officially cut over, but draw a line in the sand when all new assets will be created in Pardot. And commit to it. Ideally allow for 2-4 weeks of time after you’re fully migrated to Pardot where you can still access the old system “just in case.”

11. Don’t forget about sales

Marketing has plenty of things to think about during the migration process… so training the sales team on the new system, new notifications, new data in Salesforce is one of the things that is most frequently overlooked.

Sales embracing the new tool is extremely important for success though — don’t miss this details!

12. Back up as much performance data as possible

As a final migration step, export email send, form submission, asset performance reports, etc. Grab everything that you might want for historical reporting later.

13. Document things the way your future self would thank you for

You probably have little to no documentation on how your current MAP was set up. Don’t do this again when moving over to Pardot!

Take copious notes and document what key decisions were made, and why they were made that way. This is another thing that a good partner will help you with.

Other Pardot migration best practices

What tips do you have for making the move to Pardot? What surprised you about transitioning platforms?

I’d love to hear it — let me know in the comments!

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  • Andrea Tarrell is the CEO & Founder of Sercante, as well as a 12X certified Salesforce MVP and Marketing Champion. Andrea caught the Salesforce bug at Dreamforce 2011 and hasn’t looked back since. She’s worked for consultancies, agencies, and client-side marketing teams over her career and is passionate about making marketing and sales teams successful with their tech stacks. Andrea lives in Atlanta with her husband Buck and her daughter, Arla. When she’s not working, she’s most likely playing with her German Shepherd Murphy, starting a new hobby that she will engage in exactly one time, or making homemade gin.

  • Comment (2)
  • Sort of related to #5, be aware of the technical differences between the systems and develop a plan to address. For example, some MA platforms can leverage webhooks and do things like write the value of one field to another field (while others can’t), so it’s important to identify those early on and plan accordingly.

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