Database cleanup – now there’s a term which really gets the juices flowing. As much as account maintenance in Pardot – or in any MAP – is really bleh, it’s crucial for so many reasons. Let’s look at some ways you can clean up your database – from reducing the number of contacts you have to removing old users.

There are several tactics you can take to reduce your database in the short-term:

  • Build a dynamic list of prospects matching certain criteria and use a table action to delete them from the list.
    • Run an automation rule to look for prospects matching certain criteria and check off their Do Not Email field
    • Check your Salesforce connector settings – if the setting “Automatically create prospects in Pardot if they are created as a Lead or Contact in Salesforce” is enabled, disable it

    So about these dynamic lists – what should you be searching for?

    Type of criteria  Criteria to look for in Pardot  When and why to use 
    Score Prospect score Prospects with a low score have had minimal activity. Don’t use this logic alone – use it in combination with any of the below.
    Last activity date Prospect time > last activity days ago Best used in combination with prospect creation date and score to represent overall level of activity combined with age. Indicates last time prospect took non-passive action.
    How many times has the prospect been emailed?* Prospect has been emailed Good to include if you want to clean prospects out depending on whether or not you have emailed them recently thru Pardot.
    How many emails has the prospect opened? Prospect opens Good to include if you consider email opens as engagement, since Pardot considers them a passive action and they don’t count towards last activity date criteria.
    Prospect creation date Prospect time > created days ago Best practice to use this in most scenarios. Tells you how long that prospect has been in your Pardot database—the older they are, the more likely they are stale. Combine with criteria such as score or last activity date to let you know if they are old AND unengaged.
    Grade Prospect grade If you actively grade your prospects, experiment with including this criteria. If you have graded them poorly (below a D), then why keep them in your marketing database?
    Email domain Prospect default field > Email Do you have competitors or internal employees in your database? Look for this field containing @domainname to keep tabs on how many there are – from there, you can choose to keep them, delete them, or mark them as Do Not Email

    What about deleting prospects?

    Pardot never really “deletes” anything. Any contact you do delete sits in the recycle bin. They also don’t count against your database limits, which is excellent. For this reason, definitely delete contacts before you opt them out. Marking them as Do Not Email is significantly harder to undo.

    The easiest way to delete prospects is to run one a dynamic list, open it, and select all contacts with the checkbox at the top-left of the table and select “Delete” from the dropdown at the bottom-left.

    Common Database Clean Up Examples

    Dynamic List – Prospects who haven’t opened emails in 90+ days

    Dynamic List – Prospects who haven’t been active in 90+ days

    If this feels little overwhelming to you, get in touch with Nurturelabs and we’ll be happy to help get your database all ready for 2018.


    Ryan Axford

    Ryan is the founder and Principal Automation and Optimization Consultant at nurturelabs. Over the last several years he has been the face behind lead generation programs driving triple digit results for various software companies. He has experience managing the optimization of the content lifecycle, landing pages, and automation platforms both large and small. Ryan has written Pardot trainings, and has most recently worked with clients including the University of California and HPE Software, as well as clients across SaaS, Services, and Technology Hardware.

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