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How to Conquer Imposter Syndrome in the Pardot World

How to Conquer Imposter Syndrome in the Pardot World

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I seriously felt imposter syndrome as a professional in the Salesforce and Pardot community — but I overcame those feelings by learning everything I could through Pardot training courses and blogs.

As a new member to the Sercante team and overall Salesforce consulting ecosystem, I was struggling with imposter syndrome over the past few months. 

Part of that is because my journey with Pardot hasn’t been the most conventional. I had a big skill gap from taking two years off from using the platform. But, I’ve been able to combat imposter syndrome by sharpening my Pardot skills. 

My Pardot journey and the imposter syndrome that followed

Jordyn Jaffer
Jordyn Jaffer at Atlanta Braves Opening Day in 2019

I became an accidental Pardot admin back in 2018 when I was working for the Atlanta Braves. That’s when they implemented Salesforce and Pardot for customer and email marketing management. 

I learned as much as I could from our implementation partner and through modules on Salesforce Trailhead. But, I hadn’t yet achieved expert-level knowledge. And I didn’t feel like I could engage with the Pardot community due to my lack of knowledge in Pardot features the Braves didn’t use. 

I earned my Pardot Specialist Certification while working for the Atlanta Braves. But, I decided to leave the Atlanta area in late 2019. I moved to the Northeast, which is where I’m from.

Pardot specialist certification

Learning Pardot while working as a Salesforce admin

I quickly found a job as a Salesforce & FinancialForce administrator for a specific department at Northeastern University, my alma mater. Northeastern didn’t use Pardot, so there was no way for me to continue learning within an actual Pardot environment. 

I knew I wanted to get back into the Pardot ecosystem eventually, but I didn’t know when.  So, I applied to join the inaugural Salesforce Marketing Champions class as a way to prove to myself that I can still be attached to Pardot. 

I regretted submitting my application right away. I didn’t think Salesforce would pick someone with less than two years of Pardot experience and who wasn’t even working with Pardot at the time. Luckily, I was chosen to join the Marketing Champions class and soon after achieved my Pardot Consultant Certification by continuing to study as much as I could.

pardot consultant certification

Finding my way back to working with Pardot

sercante logo

Fast forward to September 2021, an old colleague from the Atlanta Braves recommended that I join the Sercante team. I was fortunate enough to be offered the job and joined a team that mainly focuses on guided implementations with clients. 

After learning more about the members of not only my team, but the entire company, I slipped back into being anxious and wondering if my boss would believe that I didn’t know as much about Pardot as I said during my interview. There were so many concepts that I didn’t have actual experience with. I worried about being able to articulate things correctly during my client calls. 

Fortunately, I found my way to the right place. There are a vast number of resources available within the Pardot community (and within Sercante) that helped me fill the gaps. These Pardot resources eased my anxiety, and I know I’ll use everything I learn for the rest of my time in the Pardot ecosystem.

What is imposter syndrome?

You just read the long story about my Pardot journey and may be wondering, “What is imposter syndrome anyway?” 

As I referenced above, imposter syndrome can be feelings of anxiety over not knowing certain topics and being called out for that knowledge gap. It can also come in the form of putting yourself down even though you have evidence of your success and knowledge. 

If you have ever felt like luck was the main factor when reflecting on your achievements, then you may be struggling with another form of imposter syndrome.

Why people in tech jobs experience imposter syndrome

A 2018 study showed that 58% of people working in technology jobs experience imposter syndrome. Within that survey, 66.88% of people working at Salesforce said they have experienced the feeling of imposter syndrome.

One reason that people in tech feel may like impostors is because they have a different background from the people they work with. Or they may have recently started working in a new position and they are feeling doubtful about their ability to take on new responsibilities and manage new tools.

Imposter syndrome is usually prevalent within the Pardot ecosystem. That’s because there’s limited knowledge of the platform outside of those who use it. Like other Salesforce cloud admins, many Pardot admins get thrown into the role when their company migrates or upgrades their marketing automation tool. 

The “accidental admin” roles can make people feel like they’re on their own and don’t have anyone to discuss issues or ideas with. It can also be very depleting to train your coworkers on a platform that you don’t have much experience on. Without having other companies or admins to benchmark against, you may believe that you cannot possibly be considered as a valuable resource in the Pardot community.

How to continue to sharpen your Pardot skills and combat imposter syndrome

If you read “Pardot Admins & the Lurking Impostors” back in 2017, written by Andrea Tarrell (the CEO of Sercante), then you may already have an idea of how you can fight your imposter syndrome. We’ll be looking into those ideas in detail to help us determine the best strategies to hone your Pardot skills.

Here are my favorite resources for keeping my Pardot and digital marketing skillset up-to-date so I feel more confident in my work.

Salesforce Trailhead!

Trailhead logo

Trailhead is typically the first place I recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about Salesforce as a whole or an individual product offered by Salesforce. Although there is not a lot of content on Pardot as there may be on other products, there are still a couple trails and a Trailmix you can use to enhance your skills:

Salesforce Pardot community resources

Salesforce Pardot community resources (these are created and hosted by the Pardot team at Salesforce) are also a great place to learn information on various Pardot features.

There are tons of free webinars and downloadable content, as well as a detailed outline of what you need to know when first getting started with Pardot. I also highly recommend joining the Pardot Community Group where you can ask questions and get answers from other Pardot users around the world.

Pardot user groups

Along the same lines as using resources from Pardot, you can also join a Pardot user group that is based where you live. These are user groups that are led by community members who go through the Trailblazer Community User Group process.

It is very easy to see what user groups are active in various areas by going to the Trailblazer Community Groups page. I recommend checking out other areas as well as most user groups are still meeting virtually and are open to anyone to join. Most user groups are preparing their 2022 schedule right now, but here are six of the most active Pardot User Groups, in North America, from 2021 to look out for:

Get Salesforce certified

As Andrea previously mentioned in her article, “If a cert makes you feel better, do it.” Getting certified in various Salesforce products and features has helped me personally combat my imposter syndrome as it shows me that I do know my shit when it comes to certain topics.

The Pardot Specialist certification is the first cert recommended for anyone who has experience as a Pardot Admin. If you feel as though you are prepared to take the exam by the end of January 2022, you should take advantage of Salesforce’s 30% offer to save some money when signing up for your exam. I also recommend reading my colleague’s post on her tips to pass the Pardot Specialist exam.

Pardot Admin Bootcamp training course

Finally, I recommend signing up for Pardot training sessions from a trusted instructor or Salesforce partner to learn about topics more in-depth from Pardot experts.

Sercante offers Bootcamps for Pardot Admins and mini-workshops on specific Pardot topics. These courses are run by the consultants and experts who work at Sercante and provide hands-on experience that will help you retain the knowledge you learn.

Get the Pardot skills you need to feel a sense of belonging

Imposter syndrome is something that most people will have to deal with at some point in their professional lives. I know I have experienced it in each of my roles and am still struggling with it in my current role at Sercante. 

When it comes to battling imposter syndrome within the Pardot ecosystem, there are many resources that you can use to continually improve your Pardot skills and prove to yourself and others that you do belong.

If you are experiencing imposter syndrome as a Pardot admin, user, or consultant and have additional tips on how to combat it, we would love to hear from you in the comments!

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  • Jordyn Jaffer (she/her) is currently a Marketing Automation Strategist at Sercante, specializing in Pardot and Salesforce support. After graduating from Northeastern University with a BS in Mathematics, she began her Salesforce/Pardot career as the accidental admin for the Atlanta Braves and became the expert for all things Salesforce and Pardot for the organization. Upon leaving the Braves at the end of 2019, she moved back up to the northeast and started working in the Student Financial Services department at her alma mater. She helped implement FinancialForce and Northeastern’s first community portal as one of the Salesforce Administrators for the university. Now at Sercante, Jordyn works with clients to implement Pardot and Salesforce and provides additional support and training when needed. Her motivation to continue learning the Salesforce platform and bringing that knowledge to others has helped her thrive in her role thus far. Outside of work, she enjoys drinking beer, hanging with her pets, attempting to read a book, and thoroughly enjoying all sorts of television shows.

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