Pardot on Wednesday announced that it is adding new social networking features into its already strong marketing automation service.
VentureBeat took a little heat last week when it came to the topic of marketing automation after a seemingly innocuous guest post ended up mischaracterizing some of the biggest players in this emerging space. Needless to say, we’re much more in the know about marketing automation and looking to explore how it can help businesses.
Pardot and competing marketing automation providers like Eloqua, Genius, Marketo and Silverpop make it possible for businesses to improve sales lead generation and use a content management system to better connect businesses to potential customers.
The new features Pardot is introducing today at Dreamforce are focused on using social networks and social data to help businesses find leads with more ease. They’re also designed to help business schedule the dissemination of social content across several networks.
“Social is becoming an increasingly important element in marketing and in what services businesses are demanding,” Pardot co-founder and COO Adam Blitzer told VentureBeat. “Businesses want to share content and better trace who’s responding to that content.”
The first major feature in Pardot’s new social toolbox is social discovery. Through an integration with Qwerly, Pardot can now pull public information and photos automatically from networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to create better prospect lists. Pardot can then display that social data through a new social widget, which can be viewed alongside the dashboards in Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM or NetSuite. Ideally, sales reps will be able to view social profile data before they have to call a lead. (See above for a social profile example.)
The next big social feature Pardot is adding is social sharing. Launching out of beta in September, this feature makes it possible for Pardot’s customers to schedule updates on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in advance. (Think HootSuite on steroids.) Those posts can then be tracked using Pardot’s existing bit.ly connector and provide data like click-through rates.
Finally, the last new social feature Pardot is putting out is social optimization. Using the data pulled from social media campaigns, Pardot can tell its customers which areas of social media were most effective at reaching the desired people. For example, they could learn their Facebook posts result in more prospect engagement than Twitter posts.
“With this feature, not only can Pardot tell you how many prospects clicked through, but it also it can tell you how many prospects actually generated revenues,” Blitzer said.
All in all, Pardot is partly playing catch up to the evolving demands of businesses who care about social, but it’s also taking the challenge seriously by making their social feature set robust. Ideally, we’ll see even more social integration over time with marketing automation services and see more ways sales teams can use social data to better meet their goals.