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How I Transformed’s Onboarding Strategy with Pardot

By August 17, 2017

First and foremost, you should know that I’m 100% not a marketer, I’ve sold to marketers in the past but that’s about the extent of my knowledge. Now my job is to onboard and train all customer facing new hires at This involves making sure every new hire is successful from Day 1 to Day 180. I was facing a challenge with my onboarding program that required me to put on my non-existent marketing hat.

My challenge was that new hires were not completing the onboarding materials that I had created for them. I needed a way to push the most important information to them and fast! As the sole onboarder at, I needed a scalable way to automate personalized emails coming from me, based on each new hires start date. I kicked around the idea of creating a calendar reminder for when a new hire reached day 60 and then day 90, but that wouldn’t work because new hires start at different times during the month. If only I could find some way to automate this!

In a moment of clarity, I realized Salesforce has an amazing marketing automation tool that allows you to do just this. Quickly, I scheduled time with one of our Marketing Cloud Solution Engineers to validate my idea. Once he reassured me that I wasn’t coming out of left field, I hit the ground running!

With a couple hours of ProBono help from a wonderful Pardot Product Manager, I had a clear path forward.

First, I needed to set up a landing page for each new hire to fill out during their first week on the job.

Onboarding form

Remember how I’m not a marketer? The beauty of the Pardot instance is that what you see is what you get. Without reading any documentation (I tend to be a renegade and try to figure things out on my own), I was able to put up a landing page in 5 minutes.

After I had the landing page up and running I was feeling pretty accomplished and then I remembered that I needed to come up with a plan. How many emails is this Engagement Journey going to contain? What is the topic for each email? Pardot’s intuitive journey building application, Engagement Studio, allowed me to think about my new hires’ onboarding experience in a holistic way.

Once I had my plan, I started building my journey in Engagement Studio. I was scared of it at first, but again, the ease of what-you-see-is-what-you-get kept me on track. What I love the most about Engagement Studio is the ability to create triggers. For example, if a new hire doesn’t click on a link that would take them to an important learning module, after a set period of time, Pardot will automatically send them an email reminding them to visit the module.

Onboarding Journey

Now I had my entire plan created, all there was left to do was create 16 emails. In order to simplify the process, I created an email template to use throughout the emails. Creating cheeky and engaging text for these emails was the hardest part (again, not a marketer!).

In summary, there are three key things I learned along the way.

1. Pardot is SO easy to use!

What you see is what you get. The ease of use of the entire platform makes Pardot super approachable. I’m also able to easily administer it alongside my day job. It truly is a solution that anyone can use.

2. Just do it.

Don’t over think your first campaign. I sat paralyzed until I set a goal of launching it at the beginning of the month. Once I had that goal in mind, the creative juices started flowing. As Julia Child once said, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking [marketing] you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

3. It’s working

In the first two weeks I’ve seen new hires completing the modules and higher engagement than ever before. It only took 3 previous versions of this program to finally get it right and Pardot is what helped me get there.

So, what are you waiting for? I’d love to hear what you plan on automating to make your life easier!

Check out the demo video for more details on Pardot.