What I learned this week about Pardot Business Units

Okay, listen.

I started out with Marketo. I cut my teeth with it, learned what marketing automation was, re-acquired some HTML and CSS skills to make email templates better, and I yelled a lot about how important it was for us to be segmenting our content. So much power.

I say that because now I work with Pardot. Pretty much exclusively.

And it’s different. Different.

There are parts that I have really enjoyed learning, things that I think it maybe does better. There are things it doesn’t do as well. But I’m not talking about that now. Just sort of setting the stage here.

What I want to talk about today is Business Units. Because I’ll tell you…over the past few weeks I have learned a LOT. Almost exclusively through trial and error because the documentation is thin on the ground.

What’s a Business Unit?

I have two very distinct teams – a US-based sales group and a UK-based sales group. I don’t want them touching each other’s data, but historically when I bring them into Pardot, they get all blended together.

Business Units.

Marketo had a similar function back in the day that my at-the-time company considered, but it wasn’t necessary.

Business Units create two distinct databases within a single Pardot instance. Or more. I’m using two because it’s simple.

What are the prerequisites?

Hooo boy. Hold onto your pants for this one.

Pardot changed their connector in February (2019). In theory, if you purchased Pardot any time after that, you’d be using the Version 2 Pardot Connector – this is a prerequisite for business units. It’s also not entirely true? I definitely had clients onboard in April who didn’t have the Version 2 connector.

But that’s the first prerequisite.

Also you need to, you know, pay for them.

Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, you need to read, re-read, and re-re-read the documentation. Plan this out. Know your business units ahead of time:

  • What will the name be? You cannot change it in Setup after the fact.
  • Who will be the admin for that Business Unit? If you purchased BEFORE April 25th, you will be UNABLE TO SWITCH BETWEEN THEM.
  • Which users will be assigned to which Business Units? (see note above)
  • Which Contacts and/or Leads will be assigned to which business units? Like users, a Contact/Lead can only be assigned to ONE Business Unit.
  • How will you identify the appropriate Contacts/Leads for each Business Unit?

Go over that list of questions more than once. I promise if you think you have it in your head and are ready to go, it will not hurt you to 1) go over it one more time and 2) write it down.

Know what you have available

In one year alone we’ve had all of these changes to options. If at all possible, figure out ahead of time which version you have. If you have the earlier version of Business Units, again, you cannot switch between them. That means duplicate user records, if you intend to have users in more than one business unit.

Plan Ahead

If this theme hasn’t been made clear enough, it is so important that you plan through this ahead of time. If you encounter an issue, it could take weeks before it is resolved.

Ultimately the idea is a good one – we have multiple corporate entities that share a Salesforce instance, but their marketing efforts are different, and we need to keep them separate. Once upon a time you would have done this by potentially purchasing multiple Pardot instances and connecting to them to your shared Salesforce org, but with the way Pardot’s connector behavior is changing, that would no longer be possible.

Thus Business Units.

It’s a good idea, and with the most recent updates to the product, they are moving in the right direction. Just be diligent. And plan ahead.