Pardot Automation Rules to the Rescue

Skill Level


Learning Track

AutomationsLead ManagementScoring & Grading

Pardot provides most of the operations out of the box, but there are instances where we need to build processes in our own way to suit our needs. And as a Pardot admin, there are cases where you need to clean your data and manage prospects in bulk to maintain the quality of your Marketing Automation System.
Pardot Automation rules come in handy if you want to build scenarios/tasks like

  • Custom lead scoring processes
  • Segment prospects with a specific set of rules ( page visits, form submissions, tags, score, etc.)
  • Segment prospects based on field values
  • Lead management for third-party tool integrations
  • Manage Salesforce campaign members in bulk
  • Update/Reset field values in Pardot and Salesforce
  • Spam lead filters
  • …and many more!

Efficient Marketing Operations With Automations

Do we need automations or can we just do it manually? 

Let’s think about a scenario like this: You have three prospect lists in Pardot. One is for product downloads, another is event attendees, and the last is case study downloads. You want to find the prospects who have done all three activities.

How do you do this manually? With multiple steps: export the lists, import them to a spreadsheet, do a list match, and then create the final list. Now you can use that final list to send an email, add or tag, import into Pardot, or even sync it with the CRM campaign to update the status. 

What if this is something you’ll need to do again and again in the future? Do you want to perform all of these steps manually each time?

Automate Repetitive Processes

If you automate the process, it can run with minimal human assistance. The automation process is a very time-efficient and reliable way to execute your marketing operations. 

To automate the scenario above, you would create a dynamic list that looks for prospects that are a member of all three of the individual lists. 

Pardot Automation Options

Automation in Pardot consists of:

  • Completion Actions
  • Segmentation
  • Automation Rules
  • Dynamic Lists

The automation trigger determines which tool to use and when. For example, if you want to trigger your automation based on your marketing assets (such as form submission, when someone clicks an email link, when someone opens an email), you can use Completion Actions. If it’s a one-time process, you use Segmentation Rules to create the automation. To continuously update a list, then you can use the Dynamic List option (as in the example above). Or you can create automated actions based on more complex rules with Automation Rules.

Automation Rules

Automation Rules are basically you telling Pardot to select some prospects based on specific conditions, then take an action. 

Example: Look for prospects with a job title of “VP” or “Vice President” and increase their score by +10. 

You first define the Rule(s). In this case, you tell Pardot to find the prospects whose job title (default field) contains the value of “VP” or “Vice President.” You must validate the rules by specifying “Match All” (the “AND” operator) or “Match Any” (the “OR” operator). In this case, we would use “Match Any”/OR as no one would have both of these values in their title. 

Next, you specify the Action(s) to take once a match is found for the Rule(s). We can now tell Pardot to “Adjust Prospect Score” and specify the “+10” value, and we’d like to “Add prospect to list” so we can maybe email these VPs down the road. Once your Rules and Actions are all set, you save the Automation Rule. By default, it saves in a paused state. Once you are ready for it to run, you unpause it. 

Once resumed, Pardot looks through all of the prospects to find matches to the Rule(s). Once found, Pardot performs the specified Action(s). If a prospect does not match, Pardot moves along with no action. When a new prospect is added to Pardot, the Automation Rule will evaluate it and act if it’s a match. 

Implement Custom Scoring

Automation Rules are also used to implement a customized Scoring Category. For each prospect activity that you want to score (such as form submission, email click, landing page, etc.), create a new Automation Rule with an action of “Adjust prospect score for Scoring Category.” You can set the value to increase or decrease the score. 

Things to Know About Automation Rules

  • They’re constantly running to find matches. If the Automation Rule looks at a prospect and does not find a match, then that prospect’s data is updated to a matching value, it will then become a match and the Action(s) will run. 
  • Once a prospect is a match, it cannot run through again – a match can happen only once. (Exception: If you check the “Repeat Rule” box, prospects can match more than once!)
  • There is a limit to how many Automation Rules you can have in place. You can find this in your Account Settings’ “Usage and Limits” section.

Automation Rules are incredibly useful for building lists, updating data, finding SPAM, keeping your account clean and more. 

Watch the video for many more examples of using Automation Rules and see how to set them up!

About the Author

Thimuth Amarakoon
Martech and Website Specialist

Thimuth is a versatile martech and website specialist. He is passionate about making martech and marketing operations as seamless as possible for busy marketing teams.

In his current role at WSO2, he focuses on optimizing Pardot to work with WSO2’s martech stack and to automate marketing processes. He has facilitated various integrations between Pardot and other marketing data sources to deliver data-driven, integrated campaigns.

With over 10 years of experience in web technologies, Thimuth plays a lead role in managing website optimization efforts at WSO2. This includes third-party integrations, inbound lead allocation systems, and regulatory implementations such as GDPR and CCPA.

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