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Pardot Automation or Process Builder?

pardot automation or process builder

Why choose? Learn when to use Pardot Automation or Process Builder, and how to configure helpful Process Builder processes to strengthen marketing automation.

Some use cases for Pardot Automation or Process Builder are advanced topics. If you need help, our certified Salesforce and Pardot Consultants would love to chat about bringing your ideas to life. Shoot us a message!

You’re a Pardot power-user. You’ve segmented your audience into targeted lists, set up completion actions for form fills, created engagement programs to nurture prospects, and used automation tools to do cool things like assign leads once they reach a certain lead score. You’re using Pardot and Salesforce pretty efficiently! 

But is there more that you want to do and you find yourself limited by Pardot automation? You can use Process Builder for marketing automation, too! Understanding that Process Builder is another tool in your Salesforce toolbelt is helpful for marketers wanting to achieve even more than Pardot automation rules.

Found in Salesforce, Process Builder helps you automate business processes like tasks, emails, and record updates with a user-friendly visual flow. Pardot Automation Rules and Process Builder share common elements but have a few key feature differentiators to consider. They are each powerful on their own and can be used together or to supplement each other for even more advanced automation. Understanding when to use Pardot automation or Process Builder opens a whole new world of automation possibilities for marketers.

Let’s take a look at 4 Process Builder for marketing use cases (when Pardot automation just isn’t enough).

Send Custom Email Notifications

Keep your sales users updated by creating custom email notifications and adding merge tags with critical information that are not included in Pardot’s out of the box email notifications. For example, when a lead is created or converted you can send an email notification to the lead owner. In Pardot the notification email looks like this:


You can’t customize that notification in Pardot. BUT luckily, you have Process Builder at your disposal. In this case, use Process Builder to send an email notification that includes prospect fields, like lead source, through a merge tag. The Process Builder email notification looks like this:

How to Set up Custom Email Notifications in Process Builder

The first step is to create a custom email template in Process Builder:

Go to setup, search, and click on Classic Email templates

  1. Click on New Template, and select Text type
  2. Select a folder, like Unified Public Classic Email Template and Mark the checkbox for Available for Use
  3. Write the subject line, for example, “Lead Converted: {!Lead.Name}”
  4. Then write the email body and pull in desired merge tags for example, 

***LEAD CONVERTED INTERNAL NOTIFICATION***

This lead has been converted. Please take the appropriate next steps.

Lead: {!Lead.Name}

You can access this here: {!Lead.Link}

      5. Click Save 

The next step is to create an email alert to indicate who will be receiving this email alert. 

  1. From setup, search and click on Email Alerts
  2. Add a description like “Notify Lead Owner of Lead Conversion”
  3. Select the object, in this case, it would be Lead
  4. Select the email template that we just created: Lead Conversion
  5. Lastly, select the recipient type- in this case it would be: Owner

The final step is to indicate when this email will be triggered to the owner which can be done with Process Builder: 

  1. From setup, search and click on Process Builder
  2. Click New, add a name and select the process starts when A record changes
  3. Set the main object to Lead and save
  4. Select the “Add+ Criteria” diamond and input in criteria name: “Lead has been converted”
  5. Then set the following Criteria with All conditions are met: 
    • (1) Field: [Lead].IsConverted, Operator: Equals, Type: Boolean, Value = True, Click Save
  6. Then set the following action: 
    • Immediate Action- Action Type: Email Alerts, Action name: Notify Owner of Conversion, Email Alert: Notify_Lead_Owner_of_Lead_Conversion, Click Save
  7. Activate the process 

Post Lead Updates to Chatter 

Improve collaboration by keeping your team updated on a working lead. When a new lead meets specific criteria – for example, if their Pardot score reaches a certain threshold – you can create a Process Builder that posts the lead to Chatter. This is especially helpful for group collaboration and when you have several sales users working on a lead. 

How to Set up Lead Updates to Chatter in Process Builder

  1. From Setup, search, and click on Process Builder
  2. Click New, add a name and select that the process starts when A record changes 
  3. Set the Main Object to Lead and save
  4. Select “Add+ Criteria” Diamond and input Criteria Name: “Pardot score is greater than 100”
  5. Then set the criteria for executing actions: Conditions are met, Set Conditions: 
    • Field: Pardot Score, Operator: Greater than, Type: Number, Value = 100, Click Save

  1. Then set the following actions:
    • Immediate Action – Action Type: Post to Chatter, Action name: Lead Score is above 100, Post to: This Record, Click Save
  2. Activate the process 

Trigger Actions Based On Field Value Changes

One limitation of Pardot automation rules is that you can only set a rule to match a prospect’s field if it is or isn’t what you’ve specified. If you’d like to trigger an action when a field changes at all, then it’s best to use Process Builder. For example, say that you want to notify a sales user when a prospect’s field like “product interested in” changes to anything. You can use Process Builder.

How to Set up Actions Based on Field Value Changes in Process Builder

The first step is to create a Process Builder: 

  1. From Setup, search and click on Process Builder
  2. Click New, add a name, and select the process starts when A record changes 
    • Set the Main Object to Lead and save
    • Select “Add+ Criteria” Diamond and input Criteria Name: “Product Interested field has changed”
  3. Then set the following Criteria: Conditions are met, Set Conditions: 
    • (1) Field: [Lead]product.interested, Operator: Is changed, Type: Boolean, Value = True, Click Save
  4. Then set the action, for example, an email alert (which you need to create before creating the Process Builder)
    • Immediate Action- Action Type: Email Alerts, Action name: Notify Owner of Product Interested Changed, Email Alert: Notify_Lead_Owner_of_Product_Interested_Changed, Click Save
  5. Activate the process 

Create Actions Based On Completed Tasks 

Another Pardot automation rule limitation is that it is unable to trigger based on sales user’s activities, like completing a task. This can be done with Process Builder. For example, if you assign a task for a sales user to call a prospect, you can create a Process Builder to send an automated email to the lead after the task of logging a call is completed.

How to Create Actions Based on Completed Tasks in Process Builder

The first step is to create a custom email template:

Go to setup and search for and click on Classic Email templates

  1. Click on New Template, and select Text type
  2. Select a folder, like Unified Public Classic Email Template and Mark the checkbox for Available for Use 
  3. Write the subject line. 
  4. Then write the email body and pull in desired merge tags.
  5. Click Save 

The next step is to create an email alert to indicate who will be receiving this email alert: 

  1. From step up, search and click on Email Alerts
  2. Add a description like “Thank you email: log a call complete”
  3. Select the object, in this case, it would be Task
  4. Select the Email template that we just created: Autoresponder after logging a call
  5. Lastly, select the recipient type – in this case it would be: Email Field (This will pull up the email related in the task object) 

The final step is to create a Process Builder: 

  1. From setup, search and click on Process Builder
  2. Click new, add a name and select the process starts when A record changes 
    • Set the Main Object set to Task and save
    • Select “Add+ Criteria” Diamond and input in Criteria Name: “Log a Call Completed”
  3. Then set the following Criteria: Conditions are met, Set Conditions: 
    • (1) Field: [Task].TaskSubtype, Operator: equals, Type: Picklist, Value: Call
    • (2) Field: [Task].Status, Operator: equals, Type: Picklist, Value: Call
    • (3) Field: [Task].WhoID, Operator: Is null, Type: Boolean, Value: False
    • Click Save

*This will only work if the contact name is set in the task

  1. Then set the action, for example: Email Contact  
    • Immediate Action- Action Type: Email Alerts, Action name: Email Contact after Log a Call task is Completed, Email Alert: Autoresponder_after_logging_a_call
    • Click Save
  2. Activate the process 

By learning when to use Pardot automation or Process Builder (or both together), marketers can open up a new world of automation possibilities.  Leveraging these two powerful tools strengthens marketing activities,  streamlines the sales process, supports sales teams, and further blends sales and marketing – the ultimate goal. 

About Alicia Palomares
Alicia is a Digital Marketing Analyst for Kadence Digital.
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