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When to Use Salesforce Web-to-Lead or Pardot Forms

A common question our clients ask us is whether to use Salesforce Web-to-Lead or Pardot forms on their websites. The answer is… both, and it depends. While that doesn’t seem immediately helpful, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. 

We’ve compiled everything you need to know about when and why to use each form option in this blog post so you can choose what’s best for your specific needs. 

Let’s Start With the Basics

Salesforce Web-to-Lead Form

Web-To-Lead is the process of using a website form to capture visitor information as a new lead in Salesforce. The setup requires creating a form in Salesforce then adding the HTML to your website. Once the form is set up and added to your website, it will create new lead records when website visitors submit their information.

Pardot Form 

Pardot forms are designed and managed completely in Pardot. You can use them on your website (either via the WordPress plugin or iFrame) and on Pardot landing pages. 

Pardot Form Handler

Another Pardot form option is form handlers. Form handlers connect your external forms, like a contact form on your website, to Pardot so that you can funnel prospect information into Pardot. Forms handlers are created in Pardot first, then require adding a line of code to your third party form’s POST action.

You can learn more about the differences between Pardot forms and form handlers here

When to Use Salesforce Web-to-Lead or Pardot Forms (or Form Handlers)

Many Salesforce Admins are familiar with and use Web-to-Lead forms. Introducing Pardot forms/form handlers in the mix is a foreign concept at first. Here’s a quick list to help you understand when to use Web-to-Lead or Pardot forms.

When to use a Web-to-Lead form:

  • For lead generation, if you are generating less than 500 leads per 24 hours (otherwise Salesforce will email you the Web-to-Lead records as they come in)
  • Your form serves a non-marketing purpose (like submitting a support ticket), you can use it for marketing purposes, but you may risk duplicate or spam entries.
  • You have complex processes or workflows dependent on your existing Web-to-Lead form that would be difficult to recreate or migrate
  • You need to gather field values from the Lead/Contact as well as Account, Opportunity, or Custom Objects. You’d need to use Lead Conversion Field Mapping to map the Lead field values to the related field values on the Account/Oppty/Custom Object
  • You prefer to edit CSS on your website once the form is in place (there’s no styling customization on Web-to-Lead forms out of the box) OR you prefer to use your own form or form plugin

When to use a Pardot forms/form handler:

  • Your focus is lead generation and/or you expect to generate a lot of leads per day – more than 500
  • Your form is for marketing purposes (like a contact submission, content download, event registration…)
  • Tracking activity (like page visits and conversions) and micro-analytics in Pardot is important to you
  • You want to use lead scoring/grading for better lead qualification
  • You do not want duplicate records created for existing leads/contacts who fill out a form
  • You prefer to edit form styling through CSS in the Pardot form builder (or for a no-code option, you can use this handy resource) OR you prefer to use your own form or form plugin (in this case, you just need a form handler)
  • You only need to gather field values from the Lead or Contact (i.e. Prospect) Objects
  • You want your form to prefill return-visitor data and use progressive profiling to capture more data with each form fill

Can you use both? Yes!

If you are already using Web-to-Lead, you can also integrate a Pardot form handler. The main benefit of using both Web-to-Lead and Pardot forms is to take advantage of Web-to-Lead capabilities while gathering Pardot’s micro-level web analytics. The integration allows for a dual post of form data to both Salesforce and Pardot

To learn how to integrate Web-to-Lead and Pardot form handlers, follow the steps here. Please note that this method could cause duplicate leads if you use completion actions to assign prospects in Pardot.

Navigating the ins and outs of using multiple tools is tricky. When it comes to deciding whether to use a Salesforce Web-to-Lead or Pardot form, as you can see, you have several ideas to analyze first. 

We’re here to help. Let us know if you have any questions about Web-to-Lead or Pardot forms or if you need assistance with your Salesforce/Pardot environments. 

About Adrianna Ramos
Adrianna is a marketing consultant for Kadence Collective and Kadence Digital. She is a content creator fanatic and loves creating campaigns both paid and organic to help companies meet their goals. In her free time, she likes to explore the city of Austin, trying new restaurants, going to concerts and networking with others.
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