The task of setting up the Salesforce Connector to Pardot can seem daunting. Before you begin, review our top 6 tips for Salesforce-Pardot connector success.

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What to Know Before Connecting Salesforce and Pardot

Before You Begin…..

Always start with the Salesforce connector to Pardot in a paused state. Everyone says this, but it’s true. Check the box beside Marketing Data Sharing and review all of the settings before you unpause the connector. This will save you from sync errors, which can be a real hassle to correct down the line.

Salesforce Person Accounts and Pardot

If your SFDC instance uses Person Accounts (i.e. also uses the Contact’s name as the Account name) it is very important to understand this one simple fact before you being configuring the Salesforce connector. You must ask your Pardot account rep to set you up with the Person Account edition of Pardot (see this KB article: Pardot is not configured out of the box to deal with Person Accounts from Salesforce, and there is no setting to switch it on. Before you initiate the Salesforce Pardot connector set up, you must contact your Salesforce rep or Pardot support to configure Person Accounts. salesforce connector pardot person accounts

connecting salesforce and Pardot

Syncing with Person Accounts Only vs. Person Accounts & Leads

By default, Pardot will create Leads when syncing a new prospect to Salesforce. While Pardot was designed to automate lead generation and nurturing, it isn’t always necessary to use these aspects of Pardot. This is especially true for businesses who offer both B2C and B2B services. Once the option to use Person Accounts is available, you actually have two Person Account connector types to choose from. You can sync with Person Accounts only, or sync with Leads and Person Accounts.

If you don’t require Pardot to create Leads in Salesforce from new Prospects or vice versa (SFDC Leads to Pardot mail lists), then disabling the lead-creating connector behaviour is the best step for your business. However, if you do track leads in SFDC, enabling Person Account syncing with lead creation in Pardot is the choice for you. This means that once a Salesforce Lead becomes a Person Account, the new Person Account record can sync with both the Pardot Prospect record and the Prospect Account record. Thankfully, once the Salesforce connector to Pardot is enabled, any leads that are converted to Person Accounts in SFDC will automatically also be converted in Pardot. Just to sum up, when it comes to Person Accounts:

  • SFDC Leads = Pardot Prospects

  • SFDC Contacts = Pardot Prospects (once the Lead is converted)

  • SFDC Person Accounts = Pardot Accounts

Create and Map Custom Fields

Chances are you have some custom fields in Salesforce. Before enabling the connector, you will have to create these same custom fields in Pardot and then map them between the two services. This ensures that valuable information isn’t getting lost between Salesforce and Pardot. 

To create and map a custom field:

  1. Navigate to Admin on the left menu, hover over Configure Fields and select Account Fields
  2. Scroll down past the Default Fields to Custom Fields and click the Add Custom Field button. 
  3. I recommend selecting the Field Name from the drop menu first, and then give your new custom field the same name. 
  4. Select the Type. In the case pictured below, I used Text because it will be a person’s name. You want to make sure it matches with the value found in Salesforce. An easy way to do this is to check the box beside “Use pre-defined values (for checkboxes, radio buttons, drop downs, and multi-selects)”. 
  5. Once you are ready, click the Create Custom Field button. 

connecting salesforce and pardot custom field

You can repeat the process with Prospect Fields, leaving Use Salesforce Value in the Sync Behaviour dropdown menu. 

The Initial Sync Between Salesforce and Pardot

Before you turn on the sync between SFDC and Pardot, it is important to understand that once activated, all SFDC Lead, Contact, or Account records will not automatically just flow into Pardot. It doesn’t work that way, for better and for worse. On the upside, this means that you have a lot of control (see below) over what SFDC records will actually flow into Pardot and start syncing automatically between the two platforms. On the downside, it means that you will have to take further deliberate action to migrate existing SFDC records to Pardot. You will also have to setup the rules for which SFDC record types you would like to have automatically sync when created. In order to start the sync between the two, you can do it one of three ways:

  1. Manually – You can click the Send to Pardot button for every single Salesforce record. This is time consuming, particularly if you have a great deal of records. This is something you want to reserve for individual record updates down the road. 
  2. Enable the Salesforce connector option to automatically create Prospects from Leads and Contacts – This is a great option and will save quite a bit of time. The catch is that it only works for new Leads and Contacts being created from that moment on. It will not migrate all existing Leads/Contacts/Person Accounts automatically. 
  3. Upload Prospect email addresses into Pardot prior to creating the Sync – This is the method I prefer, and I’ll explain why below. 

Because the unique identifier in Pardot is an email address, it presents the opportunity to perform a bit of list hygiene before connecting Salesforce and Pardot. I highly recommend exporting your raw email list from Salesforce, or the marketing automation or email service you are migrating away from, and running it through an email validation and cleaning service like Neverbounce or ZeroBounce. Removing improperly formatted emails, bots and inactive accounts from your email list will help you start afresh in Pardot. This will hopefully improve your open rate once you are ready to start emailing from Pardot. 

Once the initial sync is completed, however you choose to do so, Pardot and Salesforce will continue to sync every 2 minutes. As mentioned above, you can also perform a manual sync at any point once the initial sync has been performed. 

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Automation Rules

Once you have the connector set up, you’ll want to move immediately to Pardot Automation Rules. They are incredibly useful, but especially when you are first connecting Salesforce and Pardot. My big Automation Rule tip is to create an automation that syncs Account data to Prospect data for the custom fields in Pardot once the connector is active. This ensures all of your custom field information appears the same on both the Account level and Prospect level. 

In my example below, I have created a custom field that denotes if a Prospect is in an Engagement Studio Journey. To ensure this information appears at both the Account level and Prospect level, I have created an Automation Rule to sync the two. 

connecting Salesforce and Pardot Create Rule

Best practice is to make the rule name descriptive, which is why I have called the rule “Account to Prospect InJourney Custom Field Sync”. Rule names should be obvious and not ambiguous, so other administrators can easily understand the action the rule takes. You can also add a description for further details. 

Because Prospects can be added to and taken off of journeys, I have checked the box beside “Repeat Rule”. This allows the rule to match Prospects more than once, and I have it set to run every day if necessary. 

connecting salesforce and pardot rules and actions

The next step is to create your rule and the action it takes. Because I only used one rule in this example, I selected Match All. For in depth information on whether you should choose Match All or Match Any, see this guide

You can check the box beside “Execute in Real Time.” However, the speed at which it executes will depend on the number Prospects and Accounts that will be affected by the rule. As the warning says, intensive real-time rules do cause slower load times; I once had a complex Rule Automation take seven days to run on a list of 40,000 Prospects. 

Troubleshooting Help

I always recommend that you keep the trusty Salesforce-Pardot Connector Implementation Guide with you. Whether it is your first time connecting Salesforce and Pardot, or you have done it before. It helps to methodically go through the steps to ensure you haven’t missed anything. 


I find most of the Salesforce Help documentation quite dry and not always helpful. It was when I dove into Trailhead to freshen up my skills that I found the true support gems. Trailhead is a guided learning path in the Salesforce Trailblazer Community. The modules help you learn or better understand many aspects of Salesforce programs. 

What makes the modules that much better that the Help articles is the simple way in which they present information. There are videos, screen capture images and easy to follow instructions, as well as examples of real situations in which features might be used. The modules are much more appealing than the Help articles, which makes the information easier to digest. And you earn badges, which makes the process more fun than not earning badges with the Help documentation. 

Connecting Salesforce and Pardot isn’t too difficult when you prepare yourself before you jump in. Use the 6 tips above to give you an edge in the connector process. If you’re not feeling confident after reading the information above, contact us for assistance.

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