Because DemandGen provides services around all of the major B2B marketing automation (MA) solutions (Marketo Engage, Salesforce Pardot, Oracle Eloqua, and HubSpot Marketing Hub), marketers often ask us for help evaluating which platform is the best fit for their business. The answer is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The right platform is the one that can both support your business needs today and, more importantly, grow with you as your team and marketing strategy mature over time.
We wanted to provide marketers with a comprehensive look at how the various platforms stack up against one another, so we dug in on two fronts: 1) I interviewed our Solutions Architects who are working within these platforms to support our clients; and 2) DemandGen CEO David Lewis took the question directly to marketers on LinkedIn to gather real-world feedback on Marketo Engage vs. Salesforce Pardot and Marketo Engage vs. Oracle Eloqua.
In this post, we boil down the feedback we received on Marketo Engage vs. Salesforce Pardot into seven key differentiators to consider when determining which solution is a better fit for your organization.
Differentiator #1: Scoring
While both Marketo Engage and Salesforce Pardot support lead scoring, all lead scoring functionality is not created equal.
Salesforce Pardot offers an out-of-the-box, one-dimensional lead scoring model that allows marketers to score on behavior. This basic model makes it easy for marketers to quickly setup lead scoring, which is appealing for organizations that are just getting started. However, it’s challenging to build a two-dimensional model that considers both behavior and demographics. You also won’t be able to incorporate external activities like trade show demo requests and frequency or recency of interactions into your scoring model with Salesforce Pardot. We find that many of our clients outgrow Salesforce Pardot as they move up the marketing maturity curve and their lead scoring models become more nuanced and complex.
Marketo Engage provides greater customization and can support more complex, multi-dimensional lead scoring models. With Marketo Engage, you can score all buyer interactions, including external activities, as well as prioritize scoring based on frequency and recency of interactions. While it isn’t as easy to get started with lead scoring in Marketo Engage, less mature organizations can be confident that they won’t outgrow the platform’s lead scoring capabilities as they move up the marketing maturity curve and more mature organizations will be able to operationalize the sophisticated lead scoring models they already have in place.
Why Scoring Matters: More advanced and relevant lead scoring helps marketers pinpoint the right leads to send to Sales, building trust, increasing conversion, and ultimately leading to higher marketing contribution to revenue.
Differentiator #2: Lifecycle
Salesforce Pardot provides a one-size-fits-all set of predefined funnel stages, definitions, and conversion rules with basic lifecycle reporting capabilities:
While Salesforce Pardot allows marketers to quickly setup a lead lifecycle, the out-of-the-box lifecycle is rigid and can’t be customized to align with the sales model a more mature organization may already have in place.
Marketo Engage gives marketers the ability to tailor funnel stages and conversion rules to align with their organization’s sales model. Marketers can set follow-up SLAs with Sales and report on stage movement and number of days spent at each stage with more in-depth lifecycle reporting:
Why Lifecycle Matters:
The ability to align your campaigns with your unique buyer’s journey makes it possible to deliver the right message at the right time, improving conversion rates and increasing marketing’s contribution to revenue.
Differentiator #3: Segmentation
Salesforce Pardot provides basic segmentation capabilities at an individual campaign level, such as viewing the number of email opens:
While Salesforce Pardot may be sufficient for a subset of marketers, others will find that they can’t build out granular segments based on how a buyer has engaged across campaigns and channels.
Marketo Engage offers more complex segmentation capabilities, such as email opens within the past week. You can segment prospects using a holistic view of buyer engagement across both campaigns and channels, and you can build out marketing strategy with follow-up campaigns and lead nurturing programs based on specific engagement:
Why Segmentation Matters: Better segmentation leads to better targeting, allowing marketers to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time. Ultimately, this leads to better conversion rates and improved marketing efficiency and effectiveness.
Differentiator #4: Reporting
Salesforce Pardot provides column-based reports and simple dashboards that provide insight into individual email performance. However, marketers cannot save these reports for future use or easily share them with others in the organization:
Marketo Engage delivers advanced reporting and dashboarding capabilities with Marketo Performance Insights. Marketers can see what’s working at each stage in the revenue lifecycle, optimize based on these insights, and easily share results with the rest of the organization. Intuitive, visual dashboards quickly show which programs and campaigns are driving revenue:
Why Reporting Matters: Greater insight into marketing effectiveness helps marketers optimize investments and drive better results. Providing executives and other departmental leaders with easily consumable analytics builds trust and substantiates marketing’s contribution to revenue.
Differentiator #5: Productivity
Salesforce Pardot provides basic out-of-the-box email and landing page templates, which helps marketers get started quickly. However, creating a new template from scratch requires custom HTML (and usually the services of an email developer). If you make changes to an existing Salesforce Pardot template, those changes will not be automatically applied to any emails you’ve already created based on that template:
Marketo Engage provides an intuitive drag-and-drop interface for building campaign assets. Marketers can easily create different visuals and layouts by dragging and dropping different modules into an email or landing page and then updating the content, images, and hyperlinks. Support for asset templatization and tokenization and the ability to quickly clone programs also improves efficiency:
Why Productivity Matters: Marketers’ ability to send effective campaigns hinges on their ability to quickly and easily create and modify email templates, assets, forms, and landing pages. Advanced features help marketers do more with less, improve brand governance, and more easily personalize communications with buyers.
Differentiator #6: Account-Based Marketing
Salesforce Pardot calculates an account score based on all contacts associated with an account. You cannot segment out accounts based on score ranges or use this information to run targeted campaigns.
Marketo Engage helps more mature marketing organizations operationalize and activate their ABM strategies with built-in lead-to-account matching and support for account targeting, account scoring, multi-channel account nurturing, and handoff to Sales.
Why ABM Matters: Advanced ABM features help organizations focus on the right accounts, engage across the buying committee, align marketing and sales activities and messaging, and convert more accounts into customers.
Differentiator #7: Sales Enablement
Salesforce Pardot shares engagement data directly with Salesforce, including Creation Date, Last Activity, Engagement History, and Google Analytics tracking data (if any). This gives sellers basic visibility into a prospect’s engagement so they can tailor their outreach:
Marketo Engage tracks engagement and identifies specific behavior through Interesting Moments. Visual indicators of fit and engagement give sellers immediate visibility into buyer behavior in the CRM, which they can easily act on by adding contacts to specific campaigns and sending emails directly from Salesforce:
Why Sales Enablement Matters: Being able to track engagement is great. Being able to act on it is even better. Advanced sales enablement features help sellers focus their time on the most promising prospects, and arms them with better insight into buyer interests and behavior — so they can have more relevant conversations and convert more prospects into customers.
Your path to digital transformation is unique
These seven key differentiators tend to be what sets Marketo Engage and Salesforce Pardot apart for most of our clients.
Some marketers prefer Salesforce Pardot’s out-of-the-box capabilities. Pardot is easy to use, but not easy to customize. It’s often a better fit for smaller or less mature organizations that don’t plan to go beyond basic tactics and want something that can support those business processes out of the box.
Marketo Engage is a more customizable platform that can support larger organizations and more sophisticated go-to-market strategies. Marketo Engage can also grow with less mature organizations as they become more sophisticated and move up the marketing maturity curve. However, with flexibility comes complexity, and it can take more time and expertise to properly set up Marketo Engage.
Which platform is right for your organization will depend on the size of your organization, your current level of marketing maturity, and whether you have plans to scale and use more sophisticated features in the future. For long-time DemandGen client Global Atlantic Financial Group, moving from Salesforce Pardot to Marketo Engage was the right choice as they moved up the marketing maturity curve. But that decision may not be appropriate for every organization. As David pointed out in his LinkedIn post, “It’s less about the company size and more about go-to-market approach and requirements.”
Get the most out of your current platform — or make the switch
DemandGen has supported clients on the four major B2B MA platforms for years and we have a team of certified Marketo Engage, Salesforce Pardot, Oracle Eloqua, and HubSpot Marketing Hub specialists standing by to help.
Considering which MA platform is right for you? DemandGen offers an in-depth Marketing Automation Assessment and tools like our helpful guide, “5 Steps to Optimizing Your Marketing Automation Instance.” Once you find the right fit, you can turn to our team for deployment, migration and consulting services as well as a variety of lead management framework optimization, training, and enablement service offerings, to make sure you’re getting the most value from your investment.
Did we miss any features or capabilities you find especially beneficial in either platform? Help other marketers make an informed decision by commenting below!
A presence in the world of B2B MarTech alliances for the past decade, Anita Covelli is the VP of Alliances at DemandGen. She is responsible for building and driving value from relationships with strategic partners like Adobe as well as MarTech ISVs who are members of the DemandGen Alliance. Before joining DemandGen in 2017, Anita helped scale and grow the AppCloud technology partner program at Oracle Marketing Cloud and built a successful partner program from the ground up at webinar and conferencing provider ReadyTalk.