June 20 2024
Author Aylara Hadjimova

How to Prepare for Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Implementation

Introducing a new marketing automation tool to your business is an exciting opportunity to enhance your operations and drive success.  Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (formerly Pardot) is a user-friendly and powerful tool that integrates seamlessly with Salesforce CRM. It streamlines marketing campaigns, enhances customer insights, and elevates reporting capabilities.

If you’re new to Account Engagement or implementing a platform such as Account Engagement for the first time, this guide will ensure a smooth transition, helping you get the most out of your new tool

Your Pre-Implementation Checklist 

A reliable implementation partner will provide you with detailed information and ample notice on what’s required throughout the process.  

However, gathering the necessary information and making key decisions can be time-consuming, potentially causing project delays and increasing costs. To avoid this, it’s wise to plan ahead and manage certain preparations internally before the project begins.  

Taking a proactive approach will help ensure a smooth and successful integration of your new marketing automation tool.  

01. Establish a project manager 

Having a dedicated project manager might not always be feasible, especially for smaller teams.

However, identifying a point person to oversee the project on your end can significantly increase its success. By assigning this role early on, you ensure accountability and streamlined communication with your implementation partner, paving the way for a smoother and more efficient implementation process.

02. Determine who needs access to Account Engagement and in what capacity  

Depending on your Account Engagement Edition, you will have either four predefined roles (Administrator, Marketing, Sales Manager, and Sales) or the flexibility to create custom roles tailored to your business needs. You can find more details on role permissions here.

Thanks to seamless integration with Salesforce CRM, Account Engagement users can be set up and managed directly from the CRM. If your Account Engagement users need access to CRM features, they may also need a CRM licence, which is worth considering. 

As part of project preparation, compile a list of users who will need access to Account Engagement. Decide which role they will need within Account Engagement and whether they need to be active CRM users.  

03. Conduct an inventory of your campaigns 

Campaigns play a critical role when reporting on performance and ROI. Virtually everything you set up in Account Engagement must be associated with a campaign. This ensures that when prospects interact with campaign assets like emails, forms and landing pages, their activity is accurately attributed to the relevant campaign.  

Account Engagement campaigns serve multiple purposes and structuring them correctly is vital for effective reporting. They help gather metrics to report on marketing efficacy and bridge the gap between marketing and sales, allowing internal stakeholders to see how marketing efforts drive revenue. 

One essential preparation step is to review your current campaigns and consider the following: 

  • How do you usually report on your campaigns: by business unit, region, department, product, or service? 
  • What marketing channels are currently used in your activities: email, events, webinar, social, paid ads, or other? 
  • What campaigns are you planning for the next 3-6 months? 
  • What metrics and dimensions are critical for your marketing campaign reports? 

 04. Review your website and privacy policy 

Account Engagement allows you to track and score individual prospect’s activity on your website, providing invaluable insights into their interests – insights that can be transformed into powerful actions.    

Implementing Account Engagement’s tracking code on your website will require support from your Website Management team. It’s a good idea to give them a heads-up and secure the necessary resources early on. 

With the recent changes in Cookie Policies across most browsers, new Account Engagement instances come with first-party cookie tracking enabled by default, offering greater control over your data. 

It is worth discussing with your compliance team whether you need to amend your Privacy Policy to facilitate first-party cookie tracking. 

And if your website hosts a lot of content pages, it’s best to identify the critical pages that need to be tracked in Account Engagement. Not every page view will be valuable, and tracking too many pages can unnecessarily skew prospect’s score.  

05. Inform your IT team in advance 

Account Engagement allows you to send emails from your main domain or a new dedicated domain. It also ensures a seamless transition between your website and Account Engagement hosted assets like forms and landing pages through a tracker domain. 

Before embarking on the implementation project, consider the following: 

  • The name of domain you’d like your Account Engagement emails to be sent from, i.e. from @cloudorca.com 
  • The name of a sub-domain for your Account Engagement hosted assets, i.e. www2.cloudorca.com or go.cloudorca.com/ info.cloudorca.com/ email.cloudorca.com 

Your IT team will need to make certain changes to your DNS management system to allow Account Engagement to use selected domains. Ensure to notify them in advance.  

 06. Brief your design team 

A standard Account Engagement implementation involves creating email templates, forms, landing pages, and an email preference centre, all requiring thoughtful design.  

Engaging your design team early on will ensure timely delivery and higher design quality. You can use any number of tools to achieve this. For instance Figma, which allows users to share design specifications effortlessly with external partners. 

If internal creative resources are scarce – as they often are – or if you collaborate with an external agency, you can ask your implementation partner for guidance to promptly start the briefing process.  

 07. Create a matrix of your customer profiles 

With so many ways to grade prospects, it’s easy to get stuck in a rabbit hole of approaches. To simplify decision-making, it’s best to resort to data.  

From past experiences, grading decisions can be time-intensive, involving input from multiple teams and relying heavily on data quality, which often requires thorough cleaning and preparation beforehand.  

To ensure project efficiency, I recommend a simple exercise. This exercise will yield a matrix that will serve as foundation for establishing grading profiles during your Account Engagement implementation project.  

  • Start by analysing your current customer base to identify common traits such as job title, industry, annual revenue, number of staff.  
  • Next, group them into cohorts and prioritise each based on their value and strategic importance to your business, creating a matrix of customer profiles.  

 08. Identify your customer segments 

Transitioning to a new system presents an ideal opportunity to review your customer database and segment it accordingly. This segmentation can be based on customer attributes such as job title, country, lifecycle stage, or products and services.  

The key here is to ensure these segments align closely with your marketing communication strategy. For instance, if you are planning to launch a renewal campaign, having a segment of existing customers in a renewal window is essential for effective campaign execution.  

09. Map out your customer lifecycle 

One of the most powerful features of Account Engagement is its Engagement Programmes, which enable multi-step customer journeys using triggers, rules and actions.  

Your implementation partner will guide you through understanding its capabilities and collaborate with you on designing effective journeys. However, they will depend on your business insights and customer knowledge.  

To provide your partner with comprehensive visibility and ensure journey accuracy, map out your customer lifecycle. Align this map with identified or potential gaps (or  ‘leaking buckets’) and your business objectives. Tools like Miro can assist in visualising each lifecycle stage, enhancing strategic planning.  

10. Assess the state of your data 

The success of any marketing automation tool relies heavily on the quality of your data. Before embarking on your implementation project, conduct an honest assessment of your data. If it requires cleaning up, it’s crucial to address this before integrating it into your new system.  

Data cleansing can be a time-consuming endeavour, so it’s best to initiate it as soon as possible. This step will ensure your Account Engagement implementation starts with accurate and reliable data, maximising the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing efforts.  

Summary

Successful Account Engagement implementation relies on strong collaboration between you and your implementation partner.  While the partner brings intimate knowledge of the system, you hold invaluable insights into your business processes, products, and customers.  

Following our pre-implementation checklist before kicking off your Account Engagement implementation can significantly streamline the process and ensure success!

Reach out to us to find out how we can assist your Marketing Cloud Account Engagement implementation!

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