Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to marketing data. If you’re one of the 50k+ businesses leveraging Pardot (aka Marketing Cloud Account Engagement or MCAE) for marketing automation and account engagement, sync errors can result in faulty data and reporting, taking a toll on your team’s time and financial resources.
As a growth marketing agency, as well as the Pardot User Group leader for the Bay Area, we’ve seen it all when it comes to the frustrating, yet common sync errors that Pardot users face. So, we’ve documented all the most common issues we’ve seen and how to address them in this article.
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Pinpointing Pardot Sync Errors
It’s critical to recognize these errors as they arise. Thankfully, Pardot is built to notify you when there’s an issue through the “Errors & Warnings” tab within your account’s Settings page. Let’s dive in now.
1. Pardot Sync Queue Errors
The Pardot sync queue is a mechanism that holds the records in Pardot that are waiting to be synced with Salesforce. Whenever an update is made to a record in Pardot, the change is placed in a queue to be synced with Salesforce.
This synchronization typically happens every 2 to 4 minutes, but it can take longer depending on the size of the queue and the number of changes being made. Issues can arise when the sync queue gets backed up.
If there are a lot of changes to be synced, it can take a significant amount of time for the updates to be applied in Salesforce. This delay in synchronization can cause data discrepancies between the two systems, leading to confusion or incorrect data usage.
In extreme cases, if there’s a large backlog of changes, the sync process might time out or fail, causing sync errors. These errors could mean that some changes are not synced at all, leading to significant data integrity issues between Pardot and Salesforce.
Furthermore, during peak usage times, the time it takes for changes to sync from Pardot to Salesforce can be significantly longer than the typical 2-4 minutes, due to an increase in the number of changes that need to be processed. This can impact the timeliness of marketing activities that depend on the most current data.
To avoid this, you should regularly monitor the sync queue, understand how much data your systems are processing, and manage the data flow effectively to prevent Pardot sync errors.
Regular auditing, data clean-up, and ensuring correct setup and usage can help prevent an overloaded sync queue and maintain the integrity and accuracy of your data.
2. Data Formatting Errors
A Pardot data formatting error, also known as a “field integrity exception“, occurs when the format of the data for a prospect record in Pardot doesn’t match the expected format in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, such as Salesforce.
For instance, a specific field in Salesforce might require a number (numeric format), but the data coming from Pardot is text (string format). Since the two formats are incompatible, the sync fails and a data formatting error occurs.
These types of errors are quite common when dealing with different systems that have specific requirements for data types. For example, if you have a field in Salesforce that is a dropdown (picklist field) with specific values, but the data sent from Pardot doesn’t match one of these values (e.g., “invalid picklist value“), you will encounter a data formatting error.
Data formatting errors can cause significant issues because they disrupt the synchronization process between Pardot and Salesforce. This could lead to inaccurate data, missing information, and overall inconsistency between the two systems.
If the sync errors aren’t resolved promptly, they could lead to larger data integrity issues and negatively affect marketing automation and account engagement efforts. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that the data fields in Pardot and Salesforce are consistent and compatible before trying to sync data.
To address this, thoroughly review your data and field mappings to prevent these types of sync errors from happening in the first place. Regular auditing of the your available values and the sources from which your data originates (forms, imports, ect.), addressing discrepancies, and correcting them as they occur can help maintain the integrity of the data and smooth operation between Pardot and Salesforce.
3. Access Errors
A Pardot access error occurs when Pardot doesn’t have the necessary permissions to write or update data in Salesforce (or another CRM system).
This can happen if the Salesforce connector user, which is the entity that bridges Pardot and Salesforce, doesn’t have the appropriate permissions, or if a specific Salesforce object isn’t accessible to the connector user.
For example, if Pardot is trying to update a field on a Salesforce record, but the connector user doesn’t have permission to edit that field, an access error will occur.
Similarly, if a Salesforce object like a Lead or Opportunity isn’t visible to the connector user due to Salesforce‘s security settings, Pardot won’t be able to read or write data to that object, leading to an access error.
Access errors can cause significant issues in terms of Pardot sync errors because they halt the data synchronization process between Pardot and Salesforce.
This means that crucial marketing data and account engagement activities might not be reflected in Salesforce, leading to discrepancies in data, potential loss of crucial information, and misalignment between marketing and sales efforts.
Therefore, to avoid Pardot access errors, it’s crucial to ensure that the Salesforce connector user has the appropriate permissions and access levels. This includes checking Salesforce‘s role hierarchy, sharing rules, and field-level security to make sure that the connector user can access and modify all necessary objects and fields.
Or, you might be able to avoid all of this by using the B2B integration user provisioned within the installed Pardot package from Salesforce. Using the integration user as you connected user takes the guesswork out of ensure your sync permissions are correct.
By proactively managing permissions and regularly reviewing access levels, you can prevent access errors and ensure smooth and accurate data syncing between Pardot and Salesforce.
4. Process Alignment Errors
A Pardot process alignment error arises when Pardot is not correctly configured to sync with Salesforce or another CRM system. This usually happens when there’s a misalignment between the data or processes in Pardot and Salesforce.
A common instance of a process alignment error is when Salesforce has a validation rule that requires a certain field to be populated, but Pardot does not provide that field during the sync. Validation rules in Salesforce are set to ensure data integrity, but if Pardot doesn’t abide by these rules due to configuration issues, the data won’t sync properly, resulting in a process alignment error.
For example, if a Salesforce validation rule requires a new lead to have an email address but Pardot tries to sync a prospect record without an email address, a process alignment error will occur.
These errors can lead to significant issues as they disrupt the synchronization process between Pardot and Salesforce. They can result in missing or incorrect data in Salesforce, which can negatively impact marketing automation efforts, account engagement, and overall data accuracy.
To avoid process alignment errors, it’s crucial to ensure that Pardot‘s configuration aligns with Salesforce‘s requirements. This involves cross-checking your Salesforce validation rules and making sure they align with the fields and data Pardot sends to Salesforce.
Regularly reviewing and testing the configuration settings between the two systems can help identify and rectify any potential issues, leading to more effective data syncing and fewer errors.
5. Customization Errors
A customization error in Pardot occurs when there is a mismatch or incompatibility between customizations made in Pardot and those in Salesforce (or another CRM system). Customizations can involve adding custom fields, custom forms, custom validation rules, and more.
For instance, if you have a custom field in a Pardot form that is not properly mapped to a corresponding Salesforce field, it will trigger a customization error. Another example could be a form submission in Pardot that tries to populate a Salesforce field that doesn’t exist or is not accessible due to custom settings.
These types of errors are quite common, especially when Pardot and Salesforce are not correctly aligned or updated after changes are made to either platform’s customizations.
Customization errors can create significant issues in data syncing and can lead to Pardot sync errors. Inaccurate or missing data in Salesforce can be a result of such errors, leading to misinformed decisions, ineffective marketing automation efforts, and problematic account engagement activities.
In essence, when data fails to sync correctly due to a customization error, it can disrupt the seamless flow of data between Pardot and Salesforce. This lack of continuity can reduce the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, the accuracy of reporting, and ultimately, the overall performance of sales and marketing efforts.
To avoid customization errors, it’s crucial to ensure that all customizations in Pardot align with the corresponding customizations in Salesforce. This requires regular audits of both platforms to check that all custom fields, forms, validation rules, and other custom elements are correctly configured and mapped.
Regular testing of the integration and keeping an eye on error notifications can also help in catching and addressing these errors promptly.
Other Miscellaneous Errors
Apart from the primary categories of Pardot sync errors we’ve discussed, there are a few other potential errors that could disrupt the synchronization between Pardot and Salesforce.
One such error category includes issues stemming from technical difficulties, bugs, or issues on Salesforce‘s side. These could be transient errors that resolve themselves over time or could require intervention from Salesforce support.
Duplicate Record Errors
Another potential error category includes errors arising from the handling of duplicate records. Both Pardot and Salesforce have duplicate rules to prevent the creation of duplicate leads, contacts, or accounts.
However, if these rules aren’t correctly set up or aligned, or if duplicate records are inadvertently created in one system, you may encounter sync errors when trying to sync these records. Regular deduplication of your database, and review of recently imported CSV contacts is crucial to prevent such errors.
API errors can occur if your Salesforce org hits its daily API limit–it’s rare, but it does happen. Pardot syncs with Salesforce using API calls, so if the limit is reached, Pardot will be unable to sync until the limit resets. Monitoring API usage and ensuring you have a sufficient API limit to handle your sync volume can help avoid these errors.
Deleted or Merged Records
Lastly, deletion or changes made to records in one system that haven’t been mirrored in the other can also lead to sync errors. For example, if a prospect is deleted in Pardot but remains in Salesforce, it could cause errors the next time Pardot tries to sync with that prospect.
Keeping record changes/deletions consistent across both systems can help avoid these issues. In all these cases, a good practice is to routinely monitor the “Errors & Warnings” tab within Pardot or the error notifications in Salesforce, to catch and correct sync errors as they occur.
A Note on Data Governance
Goverance is no joke. Without a proper data governance strategy databases can quickly become messy, out of sync, costly to maintain, and ultimately unuseable. By having a robust data governance strategy, including proper setup and maintenance of custom fields, duplicate management, and regular audits of system errors, you’ll be able to stay ahead of your database cleanliness challenges and prevent data inconsistencies.
Preventing Pardot–Salesforce Sync Errors in the Future
If you’re attuned to the subtleties, you’ve probably noted that most Pardot sync errors boil down to improper setup during initial implementation, or changes made without a subsequent review of integration properties.
To aid you in planning your next Pardot optimization or migration project, we’ve curated best practices to prevent sync errors from happening.
- Formulate a Plan. Before you begin an Pardot optimization or migration project, develop a comprehensive roadmap of necessary steps for a successful project+. This will ensure proper setup and highlight any potential problem areas.
- Review Mappings. Ensure that all fields and mappings between the systems are accurate before data sync and import/export starts. This includes scrutinizing field types (number vs. text) as well as mapping validation rules, form fields, custom fields, etc. Ensure you remove/merge any duplicate records during this process as well.
- Conduct Tests. Once everything is accurately set up, test the integration by running trials or using sample data to ensure your data is flowing as expected. It’s important to do this before the actual syncing of data between the two systems to prevent any major issues or errors from arising. Consider using a sandbox environment as it will save you a lot of head ache if and when something doesn’t go to plan.
- Regular Monitoring. Finally, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the integration for any errors or warnings that may surface due to alterations in either system. Ensure you have a process for regular deduplication as well to ensure your database does not degrade over time.
By adhering to these steps, Pardot users can ensure data accuracy and efficient functionality of their integrations. Now that you’re armed with knowledge about the most common sync errors and how to handle them, you can refer to this guide whenever you encounter these issues.
Interrupt Media: Your Pardot Partner
If you’re grappling with more than just a simple Pardot sync error, help is at hand! Interrupt Media, a B2B growth marketing agency based in San Francisco, CA, has been assisting Marketing and Sales teams to optimize their operational tools and maximize their investments since 2012.
If you need a partner to help identify, troubleshoot, and prevent Pardot sync errors, or assist in planning, implementing, or optimizing a tool migration or integration, then contact us today. Our team of experts can offer insights into your system setup, configuration, and best practices for avoiding future Pardot sync issues.