If you’re a Salesforce trailblazer, odds are you know Andrea Tarrell. She’s a Salesforce MVP, Certified Salesforce Admin, founder of consulting company Sercante, and a total Pardot pro. We sat down with Andrea to hear her story and get her take on the latest B2B marketing trends.
MR (Maura Rivera, Qualified Team): Can you tell me a bit about Sercante?
AT (Andrea Tarrell, Sercante Team): Sercante’s mission is to help marketing teams be successful on the Salesforce platform. We work primarily with Pardot but also with Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and other products in the martech stack.
MR: Let's talk a little bit about The Spot for Pardot, your blog that has become a source of truth for all things Pardot. How did it get started?
AT: My early beginnings in this industry were in inbound and content marketing. When I was thinking about starting a consulting business, I started the blog as an exploratory step. It was actually really cathartic. I had been blogging for years on behalf of other businesses, so it was really refreshing to be able to write about things that I was passionate about. I definitely had some pent-up creative energy, and no shortage of opinions to write on.
MR: How'd you get into this B2B Marketing space and become such a Pardot expert?
AT: Like many people in this ecosystem, I totally stumbled into it. The company I was with at the time got onto Salesforce when a random salesperson bought it, haphazardly over-customized it, and then rolled out admin access to everyone. It was a mess!
The VP of Sales came to me with a hand drawn picture of what he wanted Salesforce to look like—it was a lot like Sales Path in Lightning, actually—and told me if I could learn how to build it at Dreamforce, that the company would pay for me to go. I had no idea what a tall order I was committing to when I said yes, but I went!
The rest is history! Dreamforce is where I originally heard about Pardot and I've been an admin and a logged in, hands-on-a-keyboard user pretty much every day since.
MR: So many trailblazers “fall into the role” and it opens up so many doors, it’s incredible. Let’s shift gears and let's talk about the B2B marketing space. What trends are you seeing right now?
AT: One of the trends we're seeing is a trend towards heavy personalization. Consumers are used to Netflix, Pinterest, Amazon style customization. Like it or not, they have those same expectations when they're operating in a business capacity. They’re looking for tailored experiences that cater to exactly what they're looking to do next. And that's a huge opportunity for B2B marketers.
MR: In addition to expecting personalized service, consumers are also expecting real-time service. How do sales and marketing teams keep up?
AT: You have to have the data of where that person is on their journey, so that you can get up to speed quickly and take action based on where they are in the funnel. Another huge part is having systems that are tightly integrated so that you can act on all that data that you're gathering in separate systems.
MR: This is a great segway into conversational marketing, a new software category that helps companies identify their most qualified leads, engage with them in real time on a company’s website, and then move them through the sales cycle. What are your thoughts on conversational marketing?
AT: Conversational marketing done right is the culmination of a lot of the trends that we've just talked about: providing a personalized experience to people who are interacting with your website and using data to get the right information to the right people at the right time.
In B2B, buyers are more self-sufficient than they've ever been before. They're doing a lot of research online. Nobody likes to talk to sales until they're ready to talk to sales. There's a huge opportunity with conversational marketing to help with the qualification process. And then once somebody does have the information that they need, put them in touch right away with a salesperson that can help with that last mile push.
MR: Why should marketers be excited about conversational marketing?
AT: They can leverage conversational marketing as an opportunity to build a better relationship with sales. They can also look at it through the lens of reporting and analytics. Marketers are being held accountable for generating revenue in a way that they haven’t been in the past.
Marketers have talked about attribution for the last decade, but very few teams have been able to execute the closed-loop reporting where they say “we generated these leads, this amount of revenue, this campaign influenced this amount of pipeline." But we have all the tools to do that now with Qualified and Salesforce. Qualified is another opportunity to demonstrate what marketing is doing and the digital properties we’ve built have a huge impact and directly influence pipeline.
MR: How do you think conversational marketing complements the Pardot solution?
AT: There's just so much that you can do with the two tools together.
MR: Speaking of Pardot… What’s hot in the Pardot world right now?
AT: There’s definitely a lot of buzz around Einstein. There's some new functionality related to Einstein Campaign Insights where it analyzes your marketing efforts and tells you what's what's new and interesting about particular campaigns. There’s some awesome improvements around Einstein Behavior Scores and using all the Pardot activity data to generate a predictive lead score.
And there’s a huge source of buzz around ABM. Marketing’s pivot to focus more on ABM is really a function of marketing and sales finally getting aligned and marketers working hand-in-hand with sales teams to focus on the same thing: target accounts. Organizing resources around “how do we reach out to this specific group of people or accounts in a different way?” is definitely something all marketing teams are talking about. Or if they’re not, they should be.
MR: Mash Conversational Marketing and ABM together and you get Conversational ABM: being able to engage in with your target accounts when they land on your site. What’s your advice to those thinking about Conversational ABM?
AT: The key to conversational ABM is speed and integration. Marketers have so many tools that they're working with, and if they're not tightly integrated, they aren’t effective. Every second lost to data processing and things passing between platforms or teams slows things down and decreases your chance of success.
MR: If you had any advice for someone who’s looking to get started with Pardot, what would it be?
AT: You can go slow, you can go fast, but you need to GO. Don’t just buy the product and sit on it. Identify some use cases, get some early wins, and start playing with it.
MR: If you had any advice for someone who’s looking to get started with Qualified for Pardot, what would it be?
AT: Start by talking to your sales team about lead quality: what the handoff looks like today, getting feedback on what's working well in the process, running some analytics on what leads are most likely to close. If customers are using Sales Cloud Einstein they might be getting some of those insights already, but if not, just use good old-fashioned Salesforce reports and dashboards to try to pick through what's happening.
Then use that as a jumping off point to think of ways to take your conversion rates to the next level. Look at conversational marketing as a way to identify sales-ready visitors and drive more leads to the next stage in the buying process.
Qualified makes it easy to iterate and try things. So maybe you start with using it on a pricing page and then try something else the following week and continue exploring ways to get better.
MR: You’re amazing. Thank you for joining us today!
Want to keep the conversation with Andrea going? Cruise on over to The Spot for Pardot or follow Andrea on Twitter. Need a quick refresher on the Qualified for Salesforce Pardot functionality? Check out the demo video.
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