Since its release with 8 other certifications in 2015, the Pardot Specialist has been on my radar to complete due to my never ending quest to get as certified as possible! Since starting my blog just over 2 years ago, I’ve also got quite a taste for learning more about marketing in general, as well as some of the automation platforms out there like Pardot. So with some time freed up and the creation of a study group at EMPAUA, myself and my colleagues set a date of Friday the 13th (Why?!) to take the Pardot Specialist exam.
If you are brand new to Pardot, let me give you a quick summary:
Pardot was acquired through Salesforce’s acquistion of ExactTarget in June 2013 (Who acquired Pardot 9 months earlier). Pardot is a B2B marketing automation platform that deals with, email marketing, tracking visitors and prospects to your website and subsequently turning them into Leads/Opportunities in the Salesforce platform. This of is course a perfect match for any business that wants to ensure the quality of their leads funnelling into Salesforce. Pardot does this with a number of techniques, including scoring prospects based on how they interact with your website and emails.
The Pardot Specialist Certification focuses on ensuring you are qualified to run the platform for your organisation, including integrating it with various other vendors, including Salesforce Sales Cloud. This differs from the Pardot Consultant Certification, as this focuses on being able to implement Pardot for clients using best practises.
Before starting to organise my revision and plan for the weeks leading up to the certification, I had no prior experience in using Pardot or marketing automation platforms. Luckily, all the material you need to pass the exam is available online for free.
As always, the first place to start is with the exams home page. Here you will find the basic information around the exam, registration information and of course the study guide. One of the stand out elements about this exam is that ALL certification study material is available online for free. Yup that’s right! No restriction due to not having premium support. The main place to find the structured revision content is on the user certification page. Here you will find revision modules that mirror that of the study guide, each section includes E-Learning modules (the formal training), knowledge base articles (supporting information) and Videos (mini videos to support learning). The E-learning modules are definitely a prerequisite to taking the exam and cover pretty much everything, the videos and knowledge base articles are great for clarifying anything that you didn’t understand. I would also highly recommend writing notes while watching these videos to refer to later.
In addition to this material, I found and read a couple of blog posts by Hamza Abib & Mayank Srivastava who give a great overview of the certification and where to go for the revision material. I’d really recommend reading as many opinion blog posts like these before taking any Salesforce exam, I find it extremely helpful reading different angled blog posts that all have unique information.
Also I have to give a shout out to Ben Edwards for putting together a comprehensive training guide based entirely on the Pardot study guide. Don’t take the exam without reading through this at least a couple of times, I missed out a few key bits of information that Ben filled in for me.
As well as the fantastic amount of material available to us, Pardot are offering training environments to existing clients studying for their certification upon request. There are a number of restrictions on these Orgs that you can read in the FAQ linked here, but if you are brand new like I was, It’s great to familiarise yourself and get used to some of the features.
I’m not going to talk too much around the specific content in this post, as Pardot have done a fantastic job of this. What I do want to highlight is how much the exam focuses on automation (Marketing automation – makes sense right?!). There is a HUGE amount of focus on the different features available to you, when to use them and in what combination. As I didn’t have much hands on experience, learning the foundations of each tool is imperative to passing. If you know exactly how each of these features work, then you can work out exactly which feature is best to use for a given scenario. The below image provided by Pardot is a perfect visual representation of some of the features. There is also a number of videos on the Pardot Website titled similarly to Automation Rules & Completion Actions, giving you a comparison of when it’s appropriate to use one over the other.
- Don’t be put off by not knowing what or how the Pardot platform works
- Eliminating the wrong answers first was key to me making sure that I was confident with my answer
- Go through all of the Pardot modules whilst making notes
- Read through other blog posts to get a feel of what to expect
- Read through Ben Edwards’ training guide