In order to get a proper review of Pardot together let me first point you towards some useful websites. On, and you can find reviews from other marketers about Pardot.
Pardot is a part of Salesforce, so it’s a mainstream product with a ton of users: you’ll find many reviews on those websites, including from marketers with use cases that match yours.
As for my opinion: I’ve been a Pardot Certified Consultant since 2015. I’ve worked on several implementations and optimizations since then, so I think I’ve got a pretty good view of the product. That said, I’m not going to give you a comprehensive review: just my opinion on some of the features that stand out to me.
Let me start by saying that Pardot has a lot of good things, some bad things and then a couple of things I can’t stand.
Review of Pardot: The Good
Pardot looks good (UI wise) and, once you get used to it, is pretty intuitive. That seems like a paradoxical statement, but this is coming from someone who’s also worked with competitors like, and . Pardot was my second marketing automation tool, after working with , and it took me quite a while to get used to it. This is something you’ll find in other reviews as well: there’s a steep learning curve involved.
Said learning curve, however, applies to most marketing automation tools if you don’t have experience using them. Once you do have experience with one or two, however, you’ll start to see Pardot’s actually pretty easy to use.
Functionality wise, I like that Pardot gives you several angles to work with: you can run segmentations, you can run automations and you can run actions. These are the things I used the most: segmentations to create a list of specific contacts (one-time), automations to make Pardot do stuff I want it to do (add someone to a list based on certain conditions (continually) and actions to provide logical follow-ups to prospect behavior (on the website or otherwise).
On an entirely different note, as another positive I’d like to mention that the Salesforce ecosystem is great to work in. Businesses that invest in these tools tend to need specialists and are willing to pay well for their services. You know that if a company has a Salesforce product, they’re likely to take you serious (especially if you have certified knowledge).
Review of Pardot: The Bad
What’s less convincing about Pardot is the limited amount of parameters you can based your segmentations/automations/actions off of. It’s not like it’s not sufficient for most folks, but if you’re an advanced user you’ll catch yourself thinking: “Hmm, I wish I could create an automation rule based on this and this… but I can’t.”
For example, in case of actions, if a prospect fills out a certain form, I’d like to be able to assign a task to a sales user in the connected CRM (usually Salesforce CRM). You can’t do that, you can only assign or notify sales users. Just an illustration, there are many others.
That’s another thing, by the way: the much touted integration with Salesforce isn’t really all that special (even if installing it is easy enough with your Salesforce login). Pardot, after all, is an acquisition and wasn’t natively built on Salesforce. Salesforce likes to pretend its integration is special, but it’s really no different from the competitors (and, interestingly enough, sometimes worse).
Also, I should mention that Pardot doesn’t natively integrate with Dynamics 365 or SugarCRM. I understand that from Salesforce’s perspective, but considering all the major competitors have these native integrations, I think they’re just leaving money on the table.
Review of Pardot: The Ugly
Some of the stuff I can’t stand about Pardot.
First, lack of support. It’s no different from what their competitors are doing (onlyseems to have this part in order), but still: Salesforce support is a disaster. They rely fully on their documentation (recently moved to Salesforce Help, but without updating materials accordingly!) and Implementation Partners to help you out. Good luck getting a quick answer to a ticket. Phone support, of course, costs extra.
Second, lead scoring. It’s got only a single profile to measure against. So, while you can assign scores based on what a prospect does (Scoring) and whether that prospects fits your ideal customer profile (Grading – which is neat, btw) you can’t tell Pardot to give Prospect A a completely different score for visiting your pricing page than Prospect B.
Suppose Prospect A is a CMO and Prospect B is a student, don’t you think Prospect A should get more points than B? I think so, but I can’t tell Pardot to do that.
Salesforce’s attempt to give you some customization here is lacking. Pardot’s “Scoring Categories” are typical of the way the company thinks these days: it allows you to score prospects based on their interactions with different products.
Operating product-focused (as opposed to customer-focused) is exactly what we’re not trying to do as modern marketers. But it’s what every large company can afford itself to do, anyway.
The only anwer is for Salesforce to implement multiple scoring profiles, just like Eloqua or Net-Results.
Finally, Pardot’s pricing is hefty, especially considering it’s positioned as an SMB tool. If you’re an upper-middle-size business heavily invested in the Salesforce ecosystem, they might be a good fit. If you’re not, do yourself a favor and look at the competition.
For most SME companies, the excellent support and functionality of Net-Results is likely the best option. If you’re a significantly smaller company, you should just get a tool like , which has very good functionality for its price point.
I first answered this question on Quora: