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Business folk, like self-researching buyers everywhere, have largely made up their minds by the time they’re ready to make a purchase.
To better respond to the prospective buyer’s quickly changing needs, Salesforce’s B2B marketing platform Pardot is today announcing more integrated nurturing, new campaign visualizations, and more marketing options for sales reps.
“The buying cycle has changed,” Pardot senior vice president and general manager Adam Blitzer told me by phone. “It’s now in the hands of the buyer.”
To propel quicker and more effective responses, there’s Pardot’s new Intelligent Engagement Platform, which Blitzer calls “the brains behind our marketing platform.”
It now integrates more signals, so the brand can better see when to step in to nurture you along and what to offer. These “adaptive nurture campaigns” now draw on over a hundred potential triggers to automatically recommend ways to move a prospect along toward a sale. To counter a low open rate for an email campaign, for instance, the system might suggest shorter subject lines.
Before, the Pardot tools to encourage a prospect — sending a white paper, emailing a coupon — were separate from other pertinent information.
For instance, Pardot could only offer such basic trigger data as email open rates. Information on where the prospect was on the sales path — from Salesforce’s own customer relationship management system — was not combined on one screen with the “behavioral” information of whether the prospect had downloaded a white paper.
This meant it required more effort to decide what content, message, or incentive to offer next, because it wasn’t clear whether the paper was being read at the very beginning of deciding on a new product or near the end.
Those were the days when you could move over to the CRM to check on the prospect’s status. Now, the prospect is out there getting closer to a decision, while you’re paddling between systems.
So, this integration — along with new visual indicators that show green when the prospect is engaging with the material and moving forward on the sales path, and red when not — is designed to let marketers react more quickly to what you do.
The other major release, Sales Cloud Engage, provides what Blitzer calls “marketing automation for the individual rep.”
It now gives sales reps more flexibility to respond to dynamic conditions. Marketing, for instance, can now let reps create their own, small-scale email campaigns right from their Salesforce app.
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Reps can also now see reporting — is my prospect opening the email I sent and clicking on the link? — as well as obtain access to a prospect’s engagement history or send sales materials to prospects, without getting marketing’s blessing first, as was needed before.
Stanley Black & Decker senior brand manager Alan English told me by email that the new Sales Cloud Engage “will really tie the sales and marketing sides together in one view for our sellers in the field.”
“Today, we do things from the Pardot side in marketing and we [then] inform sales with the Salesforce platform, but our sales team doesn’t have the flexibility they will soon.”
The enhancements could impact a significant number of sales. In VB Insight’s recently published “Marketing Clouds: How the best companies are winning via marketing technology,” Pardot came in third among marketing clouds in general in percentage of revenue generated for clients, behind Oracle/Eloqua and Marketo.
Even as Salesforce tries to increase the nimbleness of its enormous platform for the age of the nimble buyer, it sees the advantages of size.
Blitzer said that Pardot’s biggest competitive advantage is its position in Salesforce, so marketers and reps can stay with “one vendor and all [in] one stack.”
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