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Master Marketing Cloud Account Engagement With These 10 Training Recommendations

By: Kirsten Kippen

Many nonprofit clients that I work with are frustrated by the state of Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (formerly known as Pardot) documentation. It is marketed as a B2B tool and there is ample documentation about how a “typical” marketing to sales cycle could be enhanced by using Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (MCAE), yet very little about how nonprofits can use it. 

I am here to advocate for learning the basic MCAE functionality, even if it feels like it doesn’t apply to you. MCAE experts also need to work on better documentation for nonprofits, but we will save that for another day. 

Why? Because when you are working with a new tech solution, it can be enticing to blame the technology, which in some cases is fair. But in many cases, if you understand the underlying logic and structure of how a tool is set up, you can feel more confident tinkering around with either your business process or customizing the tool. 

Whether you want to become an MCAE expert or see it as an obstacle, if you learn how to approach it with curiosity, it can open unexpected doors in your career.

Here are my top tips to take your Marketing Cloud Account Engagement skills to the next level, no matter where you are today.

Basic: I just want to get more comfortable sending an email and creating a list

Start with Trailhead and Google.

Trailhead has grown up a lot in the past few years and now has ample MCAE training material. Here are my top picks.

Google may seem like a throwaway tip, but once you learn how to best search for Salesforce and MCAE terms, you can find volumes here. I Google Salesforce questions on a daily basis, as do most admins. The trick is to make sure you are as specific as possible with the technical term for what you’re doing, and learn to evaluate what a good or a bad source is.

Here are some of the resources I trust most:

Intermediate: I’ve got the basics but want to learn more best practices or how to use Marketing Cloud Account Engagement for more than just email

Look into user groups and other events

Trailblazer Community Groups, formerly known as User Groups, have evolved tremendously during the pandemic. It has become commonplace to advertise your user group widely on LinkedIn and Twitter, and attract people from all over the country or even world since they now occur virtually. The Twin Cities Pardot group is particularly strong, with frequent guest presenters from the MCAE product team. In addition to a great presentation, you can typically expect ample time to ask your own questions and get to know other MCAE users.

Attend ParDreamin’ October 27-29, 2021.

ParDreamin’ is a free Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (formerly Pardot)-only event with heaps of technical and specific sessions. Last year this is where I learned about the new Email Builder and got some advanced tips for HML. Expect to set some time aside and really pay attention to make the most of this. All sessions will be recorded for future listening as well.

Run a campaign start to finish

There is truly no substitute for just using MCAE deeply and forcing yourself to learn as you go. If you have been relying on 3rd party tools or other colleagues for stuff that Pardot does (forms, landing pages, etc.), rip off the bandaid and give it a try on your next campaign. If you give yourself time and ideally partner with someone who knows a bit more than you, you can learn a lot.

Advanced: This stuff is cool! I want to become our in-house resource and/or expand my career in the Salesforce ecosystem

Great! This industry is only growing, and by embracing Salesforce and MCAE you will see doors opening all over the place. 

Get certified

Start by getting your Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Specialist Certification. This Trailhead is a good place to begin your studying. Idealist Consulting produced a study guide a few years back that is admittedly out of date but does link to many helpful study resources. On the paid front, Sercante also has bootcamp for Pardot Admins

Also consider getting your Salesforce Admin Certification. MCAE is only getting closer to the Salesforce platform with recent releases, and any marketer would be well-served to get cozy with the basics of Salesforce. Once you cross the threshold from fear to curiosity, things get much more interesting and you will see many possibilities open up for reporting and cross-departmental collaboration. 

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