Guide

The Pardot Time-to-Value Guide for Small and Medium Businesses

What proves the return on marketing investment and how you can achieve it fast? Learn how it's possible with Pardot.

Are you a small or medium business (SMB) considering a tool to make your marketing smarter? Pardot, Salesforce’s marketing automation solution, can help. But you might be curious about its time to value — how can you minimize the time between getting it and seeing if the benefits are worth it?

In this guide, we cover what proves the return on marketing investment, how you can achieve it fast, and why Pardot is the premium solution for businesses of all sizes.

The best part? We’ve made a downloadable checklist with questions to ask yourself before choosing the right marketing automation solution for your business.

Chapter 1: What Proves the Return on Marketing Investment?

Whenever your business invests in a new undertaking, you need a way to measure the outcome. The effectiveness of a marketing investment is all about the return your company receives from its marketing activities.

The return on marketing investment (or MROI for short) is a catch-all measure that accounts for all of your marketing. You can use the data within your MROI to learn how each of your marketing channels and campaigns performed, and make adjustments accordingly. Identified your most effective and profitable channels? Pivot your marketing spend to focus on those channels and reach more customers.

But what about a marketing automation solution? How do you measure the return on marketing investment for automation? Here’s a guide to the basics, a summary of which follows below.

First off, don’t underestimate what marketing automation can do for your business. A properly implemented and adopted marketing automation system will give your company a widespread boost across all of your sales and marketing operations. Businesses that have adopted marketing automation systems commonly report a quicker time to revenue, increased insight into the performance of marketing operations, and streamlining of outdated sales and marketing processes among the most visible benefits of their investment. In other words, you can expect great things once your marketing automation system is up and running.

Measuring return on marketing investment for automation can be broken down into four basic categories that track back to the commonly reported benefits mentioned above:

  • Increased revenue
  • Generation of more high-quality sales leads
  • Time saved in marketing
  • Money saved in marketing

To measure your MROI, you’ll need a solid measurement strategy. Start with the basics:

  • Set clear goals
  • Identify costs
  • Get the right technology (for example, marketing automation)
  • Create a formula for calculating MROI

The basic formula is MROI = (Marketing Value − Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost.

You can also get a quick estimate on your MROI using this ROI calculator.

Keep in mind that MROI doesn’t always have to be financial in nature. Beyond the financial value of your marketing activities, you can fold in soft metrics like webinar registrations, delivered mailers, social media engagement, email open rate, and so on.

Ultimately, calculating MROI is about determining the best way to consistently deliver the best engagement to your customers. Hard numbers will give you clear insights into the messaging and channels that connect best with your customers. Use that data to personalize their journeys and cultivate long-term customer relationships.

Chapter 2: How Can You Achieve Return on Marketing Investment Fast?

Digital technology has put scores of potential leads easily within the grasp of most small businesses. But when it comes to marketing success, lead generation is about quality over quantity. A smaller database stocked with qualified leads is worth far more than enormous stockpiles of dead-end prospects.

Rapid adoption of a quality marketing automation tool is a proven way to boost your MROI fast. Marketing automation works to improve the quality of your leads in two key ways:

  • Lead scoring and grading separates quality top-of-funnel leads from the pack, so you can focus resources where they matter most.
  • Lead nurturing campaigns tighten your funnel, ensuring that quality leads don’t slip through any cracks.

Passing quality leads to your sales team not only improves their chances of making sales, it saves them from wasting time chasing unqualified prospects who are unlikely to buy anything.

Of course, you have to find leads before you can qualify them and pass them to your sales team. That’s where it helps to have some good lead generation tactics at the ready. According to Salesforce’s “State of Marketing” report, the three channels with the highest lead generation ROI are social media, customer communities, and paid search engine marketing. You can learn more about how to use these channels, and about lead gen and marketing funnels more broadly, with our How to Grow Your Business with Lead Generation guide.

But today’s customers aren’t just looking for great products and services at fair prices. They want to trust your brand and feel good about what they’re buying from you. Earning a new customer’s trust means building a relationship with them over time. Ultimately, lead generation is about using the right channels to find high-quality leads you can turn into relationships.

 

From there, a process called lead nurturing helps your leads get to know you, and vice versa. Lead nurturing can take many forms depending on the customer and products or services at hand, but it essentially boils down to delivering relevant content and information to leads based on their preferences, interests, and interactions with your brand.

As mentioned above, automated lead nurturing tightens up your sales funnel by making sure that every one of your leads receives the right content based on their behavior pattern. Content drips can be triggered by customer actions like visiting your website, opening emails, or filling out forms. Drips can also be scheduled at preset time intervals. Marketing automation makes it easy to try different tactics, compare results, and create custom campaigns and journeys for different customer personas and product offerings.

One last piece to the puzzle when it comes to achieving MROI fast is togetherness. An automation system can do wonders when it comes to getting your sales, service, and marketing teams on the same page. We call this the unified platform value proposition.
Traditionally, sales, service, and marketing have worked in separate silos within organizations. Self-sufficiency is good, but siloed information is not. When the different parts of your company are sharing information, accessing the same customer records, and generally communicating with one another, delivering awesome customer experiences is a much easier proposition.
Marketing automation can help facilitate cross-team sharing of key business data, especially when your automation system is part of a unified business platform. Take Pardot, for example. It’s built to handle everything we’ve discussed so far, and then some. But it’s also built to seamlessly integrate with your sales team’s technology, and your service team’s technology, and the rest of your company’s tech stack.
From automated routing of marketing leads to sales, to putting complete customer histories at your service team’s fingertips, Pardot weaves marketing automation into the fabric of your organization. Instead of siloed, partial views of each customer’s marketing engagement, sales history, and service tickets, you get a complete 360-degree view of every customer.


Chapter 3: Why Pardot Is the Premium Marketing Automation Solution

As clear as the benefits of marketing automation are, choosing the right system for your small business can be a daunting task. Small and growing businesses don’t have time or resources to waste. You move fast and need tools that are affordable and easy to set up. But it’s important to also look for a marketing solution built to help you grow, and to scale along with you.

Turn Data into Insights

Start with a big one: Do the solutions you’re considering offer data-driven insights? Decisions informed by data have a way of working out better. That’s especially true when it comes to marketing decisions. The most successful small businesses have learned that aligning marketing and sales yields insights into the overall impact of marketing. Those insights drive better decision-making, which leads to more success the next time around. Before you know it, a virtuous cycle is born.


Pardot helps marketers align with sales and understand which marketing efforts drive revenue. Reporting and analytics give you insights you can act on: What’s moving the needle for sales? Is it time to pivot resources elsewhere? Customers using Pardot with Salesforce report saving 20–40 hours a month.

As this review shared, "Pardot is so closely aligned to Salesforce now, making it my top suggestion for organizations who use Salesforce and are looking to improve their marketing and marketing automation tools." It added, "Reporting on Campaigns, attribution, and general ROI is easier and more intuitive than any other platforms I've used."

  • AI-powered lead scoring and lead grading help you pinpoint top leads to nurture into lifelong customer relationships.
  • Workflow automation streamlines business processes, saving you time while making sure nothing slips through the cracks. For example, Email Template Builder makes it easy for all of your teams to create rich, engaging emails using the same process.
  • Connected campaigns bring sales, marketing, and service data together for better and more succinct ROI reporting.
  • Seamless integrations let you connect Pardot with other key business tools:
    • Integrate with your CRM to help sales and marketing work together seamlessly
    • Integrate with video platforms like Zoom to harness data from virtual events
    • Gain visibility into advertising spend with Google Ads Integration

“Being able to automate more communications has freed up a lot of time for both the marketing and sales teams,” one small business said of Pardot. “We were also able to implement a lead scoring system to help prioritize leads being sent to the sales team, making them more efficient.”

Reap the Benefits of the Salesforce Platform

Things work better when sales and marketing work together, right? It’s true for people, and it’s true for the tools people use. Making it easy for the different parts of your company to share information and insight is good for business. That’s what the Salesforce Platform was built to do.

Businesses that use Sales Cloud and Pardot together see leads get from marketing to sales faster than those who use a third-party marketing automation solution. The faster you get leads into your sales team’s hands, the higher your conversion rate. That’s good for business.

And because Sales Cloud and Pardot are both built on the Salesforce Platform, you don’t have to integrate them through application programming interfaces (APIs). That saves you time and money now, and makes it easier to grow and add new functionality down the line, too.

But don’t just take our word for it. This marketing manager left a review titled “Great system, integrates with Salesforce.” She mentions having the ability to create emails, landing pages, forms, and engagement campaigns that nurture leads automatically — and most importantly, she’s able to do it all in one place. “It tracks prospect and lead activity in an easy-to-follow format. We are able to see our data in Salesforce as well, making it seamless with our sales team,” she said.

How Sunset Transportation Accelerated Its Return On Marketing Investment

One SMB that’s seen firsthand how marketing automation can jumpstart ROI is Sunset Transportation. As reported by Inc., Sunset adopted Salesforce in 2019 after realizing the potential benefits of automating its CRM and sales prospecting data tracking. “We calculated that if we were able to implement Salesforce and utilize all of its tools and campaigns and integrate it with Sunset’s main business operations platform, we would improve productivity by 35%,” Tracy Meetre, Sunset’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said. “By improving the number of qualified leads, the number of opportunities, and closing more at the end of the day, we were easily able to justify the ROI on the investment in Salesforce.”

We calculated that if we were able to implement Salesforce and utilize all of its tools and campaigns and integrate it with Sunset’s main business operations platform, we would improve productivity by 35%”

Tracy Meetre | Sunset’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Sunset’s viable lead count jumped by 160% in its first year with Salesforce. The company also realized a 102% increase in new customers between June 2019 and June 2020. “Through Salesforce’s automation, we have been able to sustain the loss of one full-time employee and still contribute to the goal-exceeding numbers,” Meetre said.

Make Marketing Automation Worth It for Your Business

Then, use this checklist to help you choose the right tool — like Pardot — to grow your business.

More Resources

 
Research
Sixth Edition: State of Marketing
Webinar
Intro to Pardot
 
 

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