Pardot, Pardot Specialist

Learnings from the Salesforce Pardot Specialist Certification Exam

Getting to know Pardot has been on my bucket list for a while now, especially after having worked my way through the various Marketing Cloud Certifications (barring the Marketing Cloud Developer, which is next on the agenda). Having no hands-on experience on Pardot did make the learning curve steep, but the detailed resources made available on this topic by the #SalesforceOhana did a great job in making the learning experience structured and result-oriented, helping me pass this exam today (great start to a Sunday!)

Before I share my learnings from my experience as well as the preparation journey, a huge shout out to the  #SFMCTrailblazers and their YouTube Channel. They have posted an amazing 7-part series on SF Pardot Bootcamp (search for “SF Pardot Bootcamp” on YouTube in case the link doesn’t work), that covers all sections of this exam in detail, focusing on key areas that you can expect to come in the exam. Thank you #SFMCTrailblazers for sharing the videos, it would not have been possible for me to crack this exam without the help of this series!

Coming to my experience & learnings from the exam, I will go section-by-section, covering topics that I prepared for each section and what type of questions did I face in the exam for those topics. Do take note that the exam is based on latest Pardot Lightning experience, so make sure you go through the latest Pardot resources for your prep.

Section 1: Visitors and Prospects – 8%

  • Difference between a Visitor and a Prospect, plus how does a visitor get converted into a Prospect in Pardot
  • What actions are tracked for a Visitor vs a Prospect (Custom Redirects, Completion Actions etc.). You may get questioned where a Visitor interacted with a Pardot Marketing asset, and whether that interaction gets tracked or not
  • Prospect Audit is an important topic, so you should know at a high level what all gets tracked under the Prospect audit and under what circumstances would you need to refer to the Prospect’s Audit Tab
  • Familiarize yourself with Pardot Cookies (Visitor cookie, Opt-In Cookie, Visitor Hash cookie) but don’t expect direct questions coming in on this topic

Section 2: Administration – 11%

  • With respect to Administration, the focus is going the following areas:
    • Interactions between Pardot and Salesforce, from a data synchronization perspective, so make sure you are fully across this topic
    • How to work with Field mapping between Pardot and Salesforce, which system is the master, supported data types, supported objects etc.
    • How to identify and resolve sync issues between Pardot and Salesforce
    • Recycle Bin in Pardot, what gets soft/hard deleted, how to restore deleted records etc.
  • I didn’t see much reference to Pardot User Administration, User roles etc. but make sure you read through these areas as well
  • How does the connector link records between Pardot & Salesforce? Relevance of CRM ID and Email Address during record sync etc.
  • Pardot Custom fields, supported data types, field Sync behavior i.e. what happens when Salesforce is the master, what happens when Pardot is the master, what happens when the field is synced bidirectionally etc.
  • Understand what objects sync between Pardot & Salesforce, mainly grouping them as:
    • Objects that sync bidirectionally
    • Objects that sync from Salesforce to Pardot
    • Objects that are Read-Only to Pardot
  • Actions that trigger a sync
    • Prospect actions i.e. a Prospect’s interactions with Pardot marketing assets
    • User Actions like updating Prospect information in Pardot
    • System Actions i.e. automations making updates to prospect profile in Pardot etc.
  • Troubleshooting sync issues and what are the common types of errors that you can encounter with the data sync between Pardot & Salesforce
  • Recycle Bin properties, what gets hard deleted vs what goes to the Recycle Bin. An important thing here to know is how does Pardot treat a Prospect that has been deleted but is still opted-in (is it considered a Mailable Prospect or not?)

Section 3: Pardot Forms, Form Handlers and Landing Pages – 20%

  • Understand the difference between Pardot Forms, Form Handlers and Pardot Landing pages. You should know which option you would recommend, under a given scenario (E.g. If you want to continue with your existing Lead Generation strategy, the recommendation is to go with Form Handlers)
  • There are several functions that are supported by Forms, but not by Form Handlers, like Progressive Profiling, automation rules on Form view etc. So do take time to know these differences across the 2 tools
  • Get to know features like Dependent fields, Progressive profiling, bot protection, Kiosk/Data Entry mode, Retain initial values etc. You may see come questions coming on one or more of these features in the exam
  • You may get questions on completion actions defined on a Pardot Form, which is setup on a Pardot Landing Page, having it’s own completion action defined on it. You should know which completion action will be triggered by Pardot i.e. which action gets precedence, the one on the Form or the one on the Landing Page
  • Also familiarize yourself with Form and Landing Page metrics and what all can you report on. There will be scenario-based questions on which report you need to refer to track submissions, if you are dealing with a Form embedded in a Landing Page

Section 4: Lead Management – 24%

  • A big and important section, you can expect several questions coming from this topic, as it’s loaded with Pardot automation tools
  • The Pardot automation tools that you need to be friends with:
    • Automation Rules
    • Segmentation Rules
    • Completion Actions
    • Dynamic Lists
  • Automation Rules – Areas to be aware of:
    • Help you perform criteria-based tasks
    • Run continuously
    • Are retroactive
    • Repeat Function
    • Actions take by Automation rules (there’s a list of actions that automation can do for you)
  • Segmentation Rules
    • Look for the keyword “one-time” (that’s a giveaway)
    • Unlike automation rules, they don’t run continuously
  • Dynamic Lists (you will cover more on this in the Email Marketing section too)
    • Understand how they work (can we add prospects manually to a dynamic list?)
    • Updated continuously
  • Completion Actions
    • Triggered when a prospect completes an action (like submitting a form, clicking a link etc.)
    • Understand Page actions – they are like Completion Actions but are triggered upon Page View (given that the page has a Pardot Tracking Code sitting behind it)
  • Most importantly, you should know which automation tool you should use under a given scenario. You can expect several scenario-based questions where you will be asked to choose the right tool
  • Scoring v/s Grading
    • Understand the definition and differences between the two
    • Scoring is driven by Prospect actions on Pardot Marketing assets (form submission, Email Open, Link click etc.) while Grading is driven off the Prospect profile attributes (Industry, Company Size, Demographics etc.)
    • Scoring is done using numbers (use a -ve one if you want to downgrade a score) while Grading is done using alphabets (ranging from A+ to F, D being the default grade)

Section 5: Email Marketing – 20%

  • Learn to differentiate between List Emails and Email Templates, their individual features and which one to use under a given scenario
  • List emails are used once, while templates are re-usable (can be used in Engagement Programs, Auto-responder and also as List Emails)
  • Not too much emphasis on Email Domain Management, but do give it a read
  • Familiarize yourself with Personalization tools available in Pardot:
    • Variable Tags
    • Dynamic Content
    • Handlebar Merge Language (HML)
  • Reporting on Email sends, including List Email Report, Click-through Rate Report etc.
  • Read up about A/B Testing (though I didn’t see much coming on this topic in the exam). But it’s a good to know area anyhow.
  • When it comes to Email Sending, you should be familiar with List Management, including types of Lists and how they function.
    • Static List
    • Dynamic List (can be split into multiple static lists)
    • Public List (these are visible on the Preference Center)
    • CRM Visible List
    • Suppression List (can be Static as well as Dynamic)
    • Test Lists (cannot be Dynamic, Public or CRM visible, for testing only)
  • Important – If you are using a Dynamic List in an Engagement program, you should know how will Pardot treat prospects that no longer meet the list criteria for a brief period (i.e. are removed from the list), and then again meet the criteria required by the list (i.e. get added back again into the list)

Section 6: Engagement Studio – 17%

  • Expect several questions coming on Pardot Engagement Programs, so make sure that you are well versed with how Engagement Studio works
  • You should know what information is provided by the “Tool Tip” that shows up on the Engagement studio Actions
  • Components of an Engagement Program:
    • Triggers – Are mainly Prospect actions on your Pardot marketing assets
    • Rules – Criteria based on Prospect profile values
    • Actions – Action taken by the program on a prospect, like sending out an email etc.
  • Important areas to cover:
    • How does “Pause” work in an Engagement program?
    • Handling prospects that are exiting and re-entering a Program
    • Behavior if a Prospect who was on a paused step is removed from the Program, and is again added back to the Program, either within the pause duration or after the pause duration has expired?
    • Relevance of “Upto a maximum of” setting on the Wait action (works like a “Yes/No” decision split)
    • Behavior of Date-based Wait vs a Duration-based Wait
    • How does Wait work if you are using custom Business Hours on the program
  • Engagement studio is a significant part of the exam, so make sure you are well versed with the areas that I have listed above

That’s all I wanted to cover in this post. While this exam can be perceived as relatively easier as compared to some of the other Salesforce exams, in my opinion, no exam is easy if you are not prepared for it. Your level of preparation will determine whether you find the exam easy or difficult. If you are not prepared well enough, even the Pardot Specialist exam can be daunting.

So if you are preparing for this exam, all the best for your preparation and hope you find this useful. Good luck with your exam, keep learning & keep sharing!

Author: Anup Arora

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