The Pardot Sandbox: 9 Need-to-Knows About this Critical Feature

Have you heard the news? At long last, Pardot Sandboxes have arrived — sparking joy in the hearts of many admins. Here are 9 need-to-knows to keep in mind when exploring them for your business:

1. Who’s eligible for a Pardot Sandbox?

Pardot Advanced customers with a full Salesforce sandbox are able to access this feature. Rumor has it that this may be available for an additional editions of Pardot in the future.

2. When will Pardot Sandboxes be available?

Pardot Sandbox functionality is currently in open beta and will become generally available in the Summer ’20 release, which will be rolled out in mid-July.

If you meet the eligibilty criteria, you can spin up a Pardot Sandbox by following the steps in Help & Training.

3. Who has been asking for this feature?

There has been a lot of demand for Pardot Sandboxes from a lot of different angles. (See also: a highly debated request submitted to the IdeaExchange.)

The group that I anticipate being the MOST excited about this feature is Salesfore admins. Because Sandboxes are a cornerstone of change management in Salesforce, admins are often shocked that Pardot doesn’t have an equivalent. A Pardot Sandbox gives them a resource for testing without threatening their production Salesforce environment.

Pardot admins have also been looking forward to Sandboxes as a way to test new things and training newer team members. In addition to this, it’s a great way to give access to agencies or third parties that you want to evaluate further before handing over the keys to your live org.

4. Okay, but what exactly is a Pardot Sandbox?

To level set, let’s start with a definition of what a SALESFORCE Sandbox is:

A Sandbox is a replica of your current Salesforce environment, including all of the metadata like custom fields, page layouts, Process Builders, etc. that allows you build and test new changes and then push them back to production.

There are several kinds of Salesforce Sandboxes, but the Pardot Sandbox only works with full copy sandboxes in Salesforce.

A Pardot Sandbox is a Pardot Business Unit that can be provisioned from a Salesforce Full Sandbox. Meaning you get access to a fully functioning Pardot org you can build new processes/automations in and test with a Salesforce Sandbox that’s a replica of your Salesforce org.

4. Why do Pardot Sandboxes matter?

A Pardot Sandbox allows Pardot admins to install, provision and configure a Pardot org inside of a Full Sandbox and let the Salesforce team run regression testing until they’re convinced that the Pardot code won’t interfere with their complex automations. 

This is critically important, especially in enterprise orgs with a lot of customization, automation, and Apex doing a delicate dance of record updates. 

5. What is NOT available in a Pardot Sandbox?

Let’s start with the biggie: Pardot Sandboxes can’t push changes into your production Pardot. Any changes you make in your Pardot Sanbox need to be manually recreated in production.

Salesforce Engage & B2B Marketing Analytics are also not currently supported in Sandboxes.

6. What is on the roadmap for Sandboxes?

The ability to use change sets to push things that you build in a Pardot Sandbox to your “real” Pardot is said to be on the horizon, but I have yet to hear a timeline on that.

7. What should I actually test in a Pardot Sandbox?

The most important things to actively test in a Pardot Sandbox are the items related to the flow of data between Pardot and Salesforce — the things that could change records or cause data to be lost.

I would focus on a couple areas as the priority for testing:

  • Flow of contact/lead/prospect data between Pardot and Salesforce
  • Field-level sync behavior
  • User sync
  • Running automation rules that impact a large volume or records or mission critical data

Because a Pardot Sandbox is a fully functional (minus email) version of Pardot, you might be tempted to go all out and try all the things! in the Sandbox. And you’re welcome to.

But many other things — like forms, landing pages, email templates — I would actually recommend testing live in your Production instance of Pardot. (More detail on this in a closely related blog: How to Test in Pardot Sandboxes, Training Orgs… and Even Production.)

8. What else do I need to know?

You can create one Pardot Sandbox per Advanced Edition and Salesforce Full Sandbox combo.

If the Salesforce Sandbox is refreshed or deleted, the Pardot sandbox will deprovision and a new Pardot sandbox can be created.

B2BMA also need to be manually installed in the Salesforce Sandbox if you want to use it for testing (and is not OFFICIALLY supported by Salesforce.)

9. What should I use if I can’t get a Pardot Sandbox?

Good question. If you don’t qualify for the Pardot Sandbox beta, you have one other option: a Pardot Training Org.

These are provisioned after filling out a request form and operate completely independent of your production Pardot org.

You can use this training org to connect to any Salesforce Production or Sandbox org. I recommend connecting to the highest level of Salesforce sandbox your company has access to (i.e. Full, Partial, Developer) in order to maximize the amount of data you have available for testing. Check out the Pardot Training Environment FAQ to learn more and access the request form.

(Salesforce Partners also have the ability to request a completely separate Pardot/Salesforce dev org, but this is completely outside of your production Salesforce and Pardot orgs and can’t be connected to it. So it’s mostly for training, testing crazy ideas, etc…)

What questions do you have about Pardot Sandboxes?

Is there any other functionality you’re dying to see in Pardot Sandboxes? Any burning questions that remain?

Let’s hear it in the comments!

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