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What To Do in Pardot When Contacts Change Jobs

What To Do in Pardot When Contacts Change Jobs

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People change jobs all the time. Maybe they’re part of The Great Resignation. Or navigating a new career path after years of military service. But have you ever thought about what to do in Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot) when contacts change jobs?

It’s something you should consider for two reasons. 

  1. If the person leaving was the primary contact, then you’ll have to figure out how to address generating new sales opportunities with the company.
  2. The contact who changes jobs may be joining another company that can use your products or services.

You could:

  • Delete the contact record
  • Update the record
  • Tell sales they left
  • Sales can tell you they left

THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS!!!

What do you do???

The do nothing easy button when Pardot contacts change jobs…

The simple answer is to do nothing. Delete the prospect record, and move on.

For the majority of records in your database, letting them go peacefully is exactly what we ought to do. A great many records in your database are not going to buy from you anyhow.  If they are really interested in your offerings, then they will come back on their own with their new business email address.

Easy! Next Question!

If only business was so easy…

Is that really the user experience you want people to have with your brand? 

How does Pardot know when CRM contacts leave a company?

The simplest answer is that we see email hard bounces when we send contacts an email through Pardot.

Some email systems won’t hard bounce emails as an anti-spam measure. (This is why we should delete records after a period of time when they show no activity and may be silenced hard bounces.) In those cases, we would depend on other ways of knowing.

Use the CRM to notify Pardot when the contact record changes

Sales tried calling and was told they left. This is usually marked in the CRM in some fashion. We can configure Pardot to recognize this and take action accordingly. The solution likely looks like a dynamic list looking for these former employees and deleting them in Pardot periodically. 

Or, we may have a data augmentation vendor, which is telling us that the contact has left. We would again follow a similar process to the above to get these records out of our Pardot instance.

Use a hand-wavy custom field process to record when contacts change jobs

When there isn’t a formal process or custom fields to use for employment status, people will just figure things out. 

Too often, this involves editing a field, such as the last name, to add “Left the company” or “retired” or “died” —  yes, I have seen all of these. In fact, I have seen physical mailers go out with ‘died’ in the address because we couldn’t filter out records we shouldn’t take action on anymore. Talk about cringeworthy.

(read more on avoiding marketing horror stories in this post)

If we look at the data vendors as likely followers of best practice, we see many of them with two fields:

  • An ‘active/inactive’ field
  • And sometimes a ‘reason’ field

The reason field may be more important to our account-minded sales team. That’s because they have established relationships with these individuals versus the bulk data vendors who don’t have the same visibility as to why people are no longer at a company.

Determine personal versus business interest for the contact

A lot of people want to change an email address to the new company email address in Pardot, and then change a Contact record over to the new Account in the CRM.

This may not be the best idea.

While an individual doesn’t forget everything about you when they change jobs, their new company may be effectively starting from scratch.  Personal interest doesn’t automatically transfer to a person’s new company. That’s because the business interest may not be there… yet.

Using Net Promoter Score (NPS) and brand mavens

If you use Net Promoter Score surveys, people changing jobs may be a great way to action those scores. Your 9s and especially the 10s may very well ‘recommend to a friend or colleague’ at their new position. 

If somebody truly loves your brand, they may be the best sales person you can have. They will find all the hidden buyers at that new organization and close a sale before your sales team is even involved. 

Keep your brand mavens happy even if there isn’t an opportunity now. They will work on the new org at their own pace and the org may be ready in a few years without needing much time spent by sales.

Conversely, a NPS 1-4 moving to a new org with an active project can totally derail the opportunity. Sales may be blindsided as the negative new hire may not come to their attention. A project that was about to close just evaporates in front of their eyes, inexplicably. 

Create a process for your team for contact job changes

Notify the sales team.

If we get an email bounce for somebody who is connected to an open opportunity, we probably ought to notify sales that we’ve lost somebody in our buying center. This usually involves creating a task in Salesforce.  

Sales could use this information to try to find the new person taking over the project. The task shouldn’t demand action. But rather, it informs the team of the situation and suggests a few possible courses of action — as defined by the sales manager.

This could look like an automation rule looking at the high/low NPS scores, Pardot bounces, and the dynamic list of records marked in CRM as left.

Link an old Salesforce record to a new record.

If your business makes sense for doing so, you could link contacts together as a custom field(s) and connect a person from their prior job to the new contact record. This would be a forward looking pointer. We want to be able to follow that brand advocate to where they are now. We are less interested in where somebody was in this context.

If your business truly has a good user community and you want to keep track of people over the course of their career (let’s use the Salesforce MVPs as an example), then we can create a custom object to track brand mavens, VIPs, influencers, or  whatever you want to call it. 

A contact record would link to this custom object. As people move around, we have a consistent way to find the most current contact record for these rock stars. 
To make this actionable in Pardot, we would have a ‘current contact’ ID on this custom object and pull this into Pardot as a custom object.  We can now create dynamic lists, and provide a red carpet treatment in our Engagement Studio Programs (ESPs).

Wait, the contacts aren’t gone, just promoted!

Funny thing, preconceived notions. We just jump to conclusions! 

The title of this article said nothing about leaving the company….

Tracking internal job movement

Internal job movement is going to be harder to suss out and action at scale in Pardot. Is the Prospect in the same department and our products or services even still relevant to them?

Our Grading may change with the new role. We need to make sure that our Grading Rules are written in a way that they can re-evaluate correctly to the new criteria.

Speaking of new roles…. Oftentimes, our Pardot to CRM sync field settings are set that the CRM ‘wins’ if there is a difference. 

People filling out forms in a hurry tend to not always properly capitalize things, or may abbreviate. Conversely, our sales team tends to make sure these details are exactly right before a PO gets sent out. Thus our expensive, staff-curated data tends to have more ‘staying power’ than user-submitted data.
But if the Prospect just filled out a form telling us about their new promotion, and that new job title syncs to the CRM, the CRM refuses the change and we’ve lost the big news!

This is the pain of data management. We can’t have easy, simple processes that always work all the time. 

We may need to change the field sync behavior to last updated, and hope that we don’t get end users damaging our data too often.

How do promotions affect buyer personas?

The other thing to think about is how their information needs may change with the new role. Being promoted to a manager means they no longer use the product every day, so they are less interested in specific features and usability, but now more on team effectiveness and ROI for how they spend that fancy new budget they just got control over.

Our ESPs need to be designed such that we can fall out of the old role-relevant nurtures, and they can start getting the new content.

Like most things in marketing, the answer is “it depends”

There are a lot of options that we could do. Depending on your business and your audience, some things will be more impactful than others to the company’s bottom line.  

However, we don’t need to do all the things right now.  Pick one thing that seems like it will help the most, and try to work on that. 

It may take a couple of iterations before you get it right. It’s OK.

And if you’re still stuck after that, then tell us about it in the chat. Or send us a message.

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  • Mike Creuzer is one of the Pardot marketing experts at Sercante, focusing on the 'hard' bits of Pardot and Salesforce. He bends Pardot to his will and integrates it with other tools, and he connects the massive marcom stack together in useful ways. Cruezer is a chronic tinkerer and fixer and blends all the hobbies together.

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