Pardot Forms vs Form Handlers: Understanding the Benefits

Jul 4, 2024

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Pardot Forms vs Form Handlers? | Many times that we’ve implemented Pardot solutions, clients have asked us the same question: what are the benefits of Pardot forms vs form handers? I recommend the use of Pardot forms. Let me explain why in a bit of depth here. I hope it will help you make an informed decision.

Pardot is a powerful marketing automation tool by Salesforce, and choosing between Pardot forms and Pardot form handlers can significantly impact your lead generation strategy. Both options offer unique benefits, but Pardot forms provide more comprehensive features and seamless integration with Pardot and the Salesforce CRM, making them the preferred choice for innovative marketers.

What are Pardot Forms?

Pardot forms are built directly within the Pardot platform, offering an easy-to-use interface for creating and managing forms. They allow for seamless integration with your marketing automation processes, ensuring you capture and use lead data effectively.

What are Pardot Form Handlers?

Pardot form handlers allow you to use your own custom forms and send the data to Pardot. While this provides flexibility in form design and placement, it requires more complex setup and maintenance.

The Many Benefits of Pardot Forms

1. Seamless Integration

Pardot forms integrate directly with your Pardot account, ensuring that all captured data is automatically synced and available for your marketing campaigns. This seamless integration reduces the risk of data loss and ensures your marketing efforts are based on the most accurate information.

2. Enhanced Tracking and Reporting

With Pardot forms, you can easily track form submissions and generate detailed reports on form performance. This helps you understand which forms are driving the most conversions and where improvements can be made. Form handlers require additional setup to achieve similar tracking capabilities.

1a/2a. Adding it to Pardot landing pages, and adding Automations

Once you have a Pardot form, you can add it onto a Pardot landing page, and add completion actions to that page.

E.g. you can send a bespoke autoresponder, or add to a certain campaign. Or you could assign the lead based on form entry values to a particular team or team member – the sky seems the limit — almost.

3. Progressive Profiling

Pardot forms support progressive profiling, allowing you to gradually collect information from your leads over time.

This means you can ask for additional details in subsequent interactions, reducing form abandonment rates and improving the quality of your lead data.

A friendly, professional way to get to know strangers.

CTA Meaning | Marketing call to action examples: irresistible that convert

4. Built-in Spam Protection

Pardot forms come with built-in spam protection features, such as CAPTCHA, to prevent fraudulent submissions. Form handlers do not include these protections by default, requiring additional configurations to achieve similar security.

5. Advanced form building

Pardot forms benefits - dependent fields

Over the years, I’ve put some fancy logic behind Pardot forms. This is sometimes based on chosen values in the form.

For example, Pardot forms give you the options of displaying dependent fields that are only shown if someone chooses a particular value in a prior question.

At other times it is based on javascript being added behind the scenes which then draws in additional data such as last touch UTM codes and adding campaign attribution.

6. Advanced data-driven journey building

As Pardot forms offer you form views and error data, you can also leverage this customer action information and drive follow up activities to generate the call-to-action you were after. For example if you send a known lead to a webinar subscription form. They clicked the link, saw the form but then did not complete sing up for the webinar, you can quickly send off an email to encourage them to complete their form submission. Or, have the assigned Sales rep send them a quick SMS to see why they did not join. And you can put all this into a webinar management Engagement Studio programme. Of course, we start companies new to Pardot off with the basics and build some fantastic sophistication to their buyer journeys over time, with their marketing managers. (See: Reasons Why Pardot – why we consider Marketing Cloud Account Engagement to be a fantastic platform.)

6. Lead Scoring and Grading

Pardot forms automatically integrate with Pardot’s lead scoring and grading system. This ensures that leads captured through forms are immediately evaluated and prioritised based on your predefined criteria, streamlining your lead management process. This used to be touted as the single most important benefit of Pardot forms vs Pardot form handlers, but I think the others are at least as valid if not more important to many of our clients.

Pardot Forms vs Pardot Form Handlers – Comparison Table

Did that help you decide between Pardot forms and form handlers?

While Pardot form handlers offer great flexibility in form design to web designers, Pardot forms provide a more integrated and innovative solution for capturing and managing lead data. Better for CRO and sales, really. With features like progressive profiling, built-in spam protection, and seamless integration with Pardot’s lead scoring and grading system, Pardot forms can significantly enhance your lead generation results and marketing automation efficiency.

Still on the fence? Visit the Salesforce help documentation, or simply contact us for a chat. We’d be happy to talk to you about your needs and share with you how you in your case can leverage the benefits of `Pardot forms to streamline your marketing processes, improve data accuracy, and ultimately drive better results for your business. Sounds good?

Pardot templates

Don’t like making a Pardot form from scratch on your own? We don’t blame you. Thank goodness we are experts in that and can set you up in no time with whatever Pardot templates you wish for. Just ask.

Further reading

I’ve written a lot of articles on Pardot over the years. Some of the most relevant ones here related to this topic:

Or simply follow our blog with articles with insights on Salesforce marketing

Interested to learn more?

We would be very happy to help you.