POSTED : June 21, 2016
BY : Matt Dillon

As a Salesforce consulting firm, we work closely with a variety of clients to answer a common question, “how do we improve our lead generation and nurturing?”

To answer that, we need to start by examining the very first step in the customer’s journey with your organization. What was their first interaction with your business? Lead generation today often starts with an online touchpoint – a blog, an ebook, a Web search, a referral link from a partner, or another digital source.

Many clients tend to think of the sales process as starting in the Lead object in Salesforce, but it actually begins much sooner. In reality, your marketing automation tool is actually what kicks it all off. That’s because your prospective customers, potential partners, and vendors often initiate the sales process on their own terms through your website.

Therefore, Pardot marketing automation is an essential tool for every B2B company experiencing under-performing sales teams that haven’t adapted to changing buyer behaviors.

Improving lead generation with Pardot

The evolution of Lead Generation has taken place quickly because of technological advancements and solutions like Pardot. In the B2B space, lead generation historically took the form of purchased lists, trade shows, and cold calling. While many clients still use some of these methods (purchased lists are a no-no when using any popular email marketing system), clients are focusing more of their attention on turning website visitors into actual leads. Or they’re using a blended mix of cold calling and inbound offers inviting cold Leads to your website.

Inbound marketing, for example, focuses on establishing buyer personas then marketing to those personas and their pain points. Inbound marketing establishes the authority of your business while introducing them to the product or service that solves their pain point.

Pardot provides your marketing and sales team with a way to capture leads from your website as a vital technology for the Lead Generation process. What’s more, you can view the pages your prospect visited, how often they returned to the website, and what emails they clicked to establish talking points during the initial sales call.

By using Pardot’s smart automation, users can create personalized web experiences. These experiences allow you to target specific segments of your audiences based on demographics and behavior. Using marketing automation platforms, like Pardot, greatly increases your ability to deliver the right content to the right user. 57% of high-performing B2B companies said they extensively use web personalization.

Marketing automation can benefit both your marketing and sales teams. Marketing automation makes marketing administration tasks simpler (or completely removes them) while providing the tools you need to curate stronger customer relationships and deliver a personalized customer experience at scale.

Marketers can use the purpose-built tools to drive your customer pipeline by sourcing the hottest leads and creating customized campaigns that expertly target your ideal buyer, and move them through the sales cycle to maximize the ROI of marketing programs. For your Sales team, marketing automation closes the gap between marketing and sales. It gives them access to the content they can send to leads easily and quickly. Sales can determine which leads to follow up with first and spend time doing what matters: closing deals.

Improving lead qualification with Pardot

Imagine if your Leads were already qualified by the time they got to the sales team! That’s part of Pardot’s beauty. By offering content that speaks to the challenge of your buyer persona and asking the right questions at the right time on your forms, you can actually qualify your leads automatically as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). An MQL is a lead who is suspected to be more likely to become a customer compared to other leads. This qualification can be based on many different factors. For example, it could be based on what web pages a person has visited, what they’ve downloaded, and/or similar engagement with the business’s content.

But not every “Lead” is qualified to buy at the time they submit a form. By using Pardot Lead Scoring and Grading, along with Lead Nurturing, you can help your sales team move the right prospects through their journey from an MQL to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).

Pardot and Salesforce together offer a strong technology and process for automating this labor-intensive process, cutting through the noise and traffic that you might be getting to your website.

Improving sales enablement with Pardot

Improving your sales process involves Pardot’s lead generation and qualification tools, but it also requires you to think about enabling your sales team with the right information at the right time. Historically, most clients have bought marketing automation systems for their marketing teams. An important reason Salesforce purchased Pardot because of their consideration and design of the system as a sales tool.

Pardot’s tracking features enable your sales team to know exactly where each prospect is in their journey as a customer or repeat customer. For example, with tracking systems in place, you can get email alerts when prospects view a document or specific Web page. New prospects can be tracked while existing customers are reviewed to see if they might be ready for an up-sell or cross-sell.

Another Pardot feature is automated Lead Assignment. A notification is sent when a new lead comes in through the website so sales can reach out quickly to “bottom of the funnel” submissions such as demo requests, RFIs, and free consultations. The rule of thumb is to have sales follow up on these types of leads within 10 minutes to improve connection times, bookings, and overall closed-won deals.

Improving closed-loop marketing and sales reports with Pardot

Never before has it become more critical to determine which marketing channels and paid resources are yielding the best ROI. Data from Pardot and Salesforce can support that analysis by linking marketing activities to your Salesforce CRM data. Track how many MQLs were created by marketing, how many MQLs were converted to SQLs, how many Leads converted to Opportunities, and how many Opportunities closed as sales.

Pardot’s ROI Reporting can measure and track your campaign performance and draw insights based on your data. With this data, you can tie your individual closed leads back to marketing efforts, analyze campaign success by channel and initiative, and connect your marketing efforts to your sales data. With their Lifecycle Reporting feature, you can understand how customers move through your sales funnel from click to close. Another useful reporting feature is their Email Reporting. This allows you to see how customers are engaging with your emails at every stage in a certain campaign.

Take these great reports in Salesforce and Pardot to make smarter business decisions about how to improve your sales and marketing processes. Is your marketing team generating a lot of MQLs that aren’t closing? Is your sales team correctly creating Opportunities to enable your marketing team to see what’s working so they can identify how to improve Lead Generation and sales velocity?


Improving your sales process with Pardot through effective Lead Generation techniques is a vital first step in the journey a buyer has with your business. Consider how your current sales process impacts that first interaction with your prospect. The first touch sets the tone for the entire journey until they pay their bill (and, hopefully, come back for more).

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