Passing Drivers Ed – How To Avoid A Crash As A First Time Pardot Admin

Skill Level


Learning Track


This session will cover the fundamentals of being an admin. We will cover topics around data flows, security, system configurations, dealing with errors, and other high-level items within Pardot that every Pardot admin must be proactive about to ensure their organization is functioning as effectively as possible and why each of these topics matter. After you run this mini-audit in your organization, you will be able to at the very least identify a problem and solve some common ones.

We will wrap up the session by outlining a few additional community resources that can be used going forward to make sure your organization is “up to code”. This session will be beneficial to both novice and master level Pardot users/admins.


Introduction of Speaker and Session

My name is Marcos Duran. I work for the consulting firm Sercante. Today we’re gonna be talking about how to pass drivers ed and how to avoid a crash as a first time Pardot admin. A little bit about me. I work for Sercante, like I said. I was also nominated to become a Salesforce Marketing Champion earlier this year and I also lead with one of our other presenters later this week, Lara Black, the Pardot User Group in Austin, Texas. 


Today, we have a good treat for you. We’re gonna go ahead and cover some main topics that if you’re logging into Pardot for the first time, you should probably get set up. Or if all of a sudden, because of different shifts in your organization, you ended up being the person that is now the go-to to be the Pardot or maybe a Salesforce administrator, these are some things that you wanna check within Pardot to make sure that your instance is, at least at the bare minimum, good to go.

Pardot Admin: Day 1

You’re a new marketing specialist at X company and your new role says that you have to manage Pardot. You have to send our marketing campaigns. You have to make sure that the leads go where they need to go. Your first task on the job is to create an e-book campaign for the holiday that’s gonna launch in 12 days. So where do you start? 


The very first thing, before you can send out an email out the door, you wanna make sure that these three technical items are set up. Now with these, you’ll likely work with your IT department to make sure that they’re situated. 

Email Sending Domain

We have your email sending domain. We have a couple of items there that you have to instinctually validate the email, sending address that you’re sending emails from Pardot to your different leads and contacts. 


For example, since I work at Sercante, my email address will end with So essentially we type that into Pardot and then once it’s validated, we’re good to go. Notice that in this particular org, they have three emails sending domains, and all the little triangles are red. This would mean that it would not be safe for us to send an email because we could technically end up either on blacklist, and it could also yield really low open rates and even high bounce rates.

Website Tracking Codes

Website tracking codes. We add that to the website, so we can see where our leads and contacts are traveling to our website. 


Tracker Domain

Finally, we have the tracker domain – we use this to pretty much act as the URL for any of our assets. So, think landing pages, the actual e-book that they’re gonna download. We will see this place where we would add our tracker domains. 


So, out-of-the-box Pardot gives you essentially a one tracker domain that’s called Everything you create starts with that. And then it has a slash and a bunch of other characters. In this example, again, the little tabs that you see on the right are not green. There’s some steps that you have to do to make sure that those are green. But ultimately we just wanna make sure that all that is validated so your assets can be branded, right? Very aligned to what your main domain on your website is.

Pardot Admin: Day 2

All right, day two. So you did your research, you found things and you went ahead and met your IT Director. You described the situation, this is pretty urgent, right? You’re trying to send out this email out the door in less than 12 days now and you can’t, right? So then what you do is you outline this document and they say they’ll take it from there, great. So then where else do you go? It’s an email campaign. So we needed email templates, right? 


Email Templates

You go, you log into Pardot, and you notice that there’s a big list of them. And you’re just like, “Man, which one do I actually use?” So what do you do? So you go and you make sure that they’re branded, right? You wanna make sure that you have your colors, that you have your social media buttons, stuff like that. 


But some things that you may not know, if you are a current product customer, you should have received a couple of emails that are actually giving warning messages to people that are going to your content if you have this thing called mixed content in your email templates and in your landing page templates. 


So, for emails, logo, physical address, the unsubscribe link and maybe your social buttons. And for landing pages, other things are similar. So why is the mixed content an issue? Ultimately if you go into your templates now, you may not be a super techie marker that you feel super comfortable with this. But this is something that you can do. So that email right there on the bottom, product & service notification would be the one that you would have gotten recently. And so with this one, what it tells you ultimately is, hey if you have a mixed number of links that as you can see in that green triangle in the middle, it says http:///. 


But then if we go to another one, like one or two rows down, there’s another one that has HTTPS. That means that there is a mixture of websites that you are referring to either for images, for links that you’re gonna put stuff like that, that are not collaborating together. And so when would you see this? If you click on a link, you may see a message at the very top where the URL is, and it’s a little lock, and it’s telling you that this connector is not secure. That’s what we’ve seen pretty much for most of our 2020 up to now cause they’re preparing. 


But very soon, you will actually get a message that won’t even let you go through. So in order to make sure that your forms where you have your landing pages or even on your website, you want to make sure that you work with IT to make sure that you guys get what’s called an SSL certificate which makes all your assets HTTPS. 


This goes back to the tracker domain, which is something else you have to validate and you have to make sure that that’s HTTPS as well. Bring this to the attention of your IT department. On your templates, you can go like I’m doing here and simply make a checklist of all the URLs. You can just do Control+F and type in HTTP and in colon. So any of the ones that are missing the assets are the ones that need to be updated. Sometimes it’s as easy as just adding the S, but sometimes you have to actually check the source to make sure that that source is now more secured. 

Pardot Admin: Day 3

All right, so we’re on day three. You finalize your template, you work with branding to make sure it’s good. You got all your pieces there. You’re still waiting for IT to come back to you. And then you notice that as you were building your template that there was a user called “Jeff Claus” that just came in here and edited your template. And then you realize that there’s no guidelines to any user permissions in Pardot. And so what do you do now? 


Well, we take it over to user management. And so here with user management, we wanna make sure that, in any instance, you want to have anywhere from two to five administrators, because you don’t wanna be the only one that’s in charge of everything in the event that you’re out on vacation, or that maybe you lose access for whatever reason. So then you build your rules, right? You document them and you hand that over to IT. 

Pardot Admin: Day 5

Now we’re on day five. You’ve done a lot. So pat yourself on the back. Now what we do is we have, part of this campaign is for prospects to fill out the form, so then they can get this e-book on how nonprofits can be more prepared for fraud, especially right now with donations at the end of the year and cyber attacks and stuff like that. And depending on the area of interest that you have a fill on your form, you want different SDRs or outreach teams to reach out. 


So when you talk to the Sales Manager to get any specifics and you notice that there’s also a lot of unassigned prospects in Salesforce that are dying because nobody bothered to assign them and qualify them on the Pardot side to then send them to Sales. 


So where do you start? You want to make sure that lead routing is very important. This is something that is often missed for people that are just implementing Pardot. The easiest way to assign people is one of the three options that you see on below:


  •  You can use Salesforce, either their assignment rules or you can use queues to send them over into Salesforce from Pardot
  • You can assign them to a user that exists in both places, Salesforce and Pardot. 
  • You can use the option that says “assign user”, or you can create a group and then do round-robin assignments. 


All of these actions are within Pardot. You can find them in various places like forms, automation roles, and even Engagement Studio.

Pardot Admin: Day 10

All right, you’re on day 10. You’ve done a lot, you’ve covered a lot of things. So you check with IT, they’re like, “Hey, we did everything.” You triple checked and it looks good. The content has been created, right? You worked hard. You probably stayed up really late one or two days because of the tight deadline. And you went ahead and sent the email to your manager for final approval. You got approval later that day. So you went ahead and scheduled it and you just, you went to take a cup of coffee and a walk cause you deserve it. So you’re two days ahead of schedule. Good for you. 


And in five days you have a check-in with your boss. What can you do now? So I’m gonna highlight Lara Black’s presentation on Friday, because she’s gonna really dive deep into sync errors. I’m just gonna give you a high-level overview. So sync errors are issues between Salesforce and Pardot that essentially prevent Pardot from being 100% in sync with Salesforce. Most of these errors originate from Salesforce from the sync going back and forth. And you go and you check, you would go to the admin tab, then to connectors, and then on the row, there’s a little gear and you would press that and you would notice that you have 2020 sync errors. There’s conflict on field types. 

Sync Errors: Validation Rules

So when you map the row from Salesforce into Pardot, or you map over a field, the fields don’t match, right? And that’s an issue sometimes. Validation rules in Salesforce. The Salesforce admin added a bunch of rules to specific fields. And those rules don’t technically exist on the Pardot side. So then when you’re trying to create records and you don’t follow a specific process that you were supposed to, you’re triggering all these validation rules. 

Sync Errors: Field Restrictions

Restriction on fields. You may have a picklist that has five options in Salesforce and it’s locked. And in Salesforce, for whatever reason, you added a sixth one or it’s just an open-ended text box because you didn’t map them right, and it’s trying to input new types of data that don’t technically exist on that list. And so those are issues as well. There could be APEX code or a third-party package that’s maybe conflicting with something. 

Sync Errors: Duplicates

And then duplicates. So Pardot is really good about catching duplicates when you’re like that person is filling out multiple forms. But it all depends on how you set that up in Salesforce. So sometimes Salesforce does have a rule setup for that. Usually duplicates originate from Salesforce.

Pardot Admin: Day 15

All right, so you’re on day 15, you’re down to 60% of those sync errors. You knocked it out. On your check-in, your boss is really impressed with everything that you’ve done. And then you go ahead and propose a plan to review the rest of the instance after you return from the holidays, because you deserve two good weeks of solid vacation with your family. 

About the Author


Marcos is a marketing automation strategist with a diverse background in design, marketing, and automation software. He loves to craft complex solutions and manage campaigns with Pardot (and other marketing automation/campaign management tools) for his B2B/B2C/NGO customers. He is also the co-Leader for the Austin Pardot User Group, Salesforce event aficionado, and a knowledge sharer of marketing operations and Pardot on LinkedIn.

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