Use Pardot Forms and Form Handlers

Learning Objectives:

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to

  • Summarize what forms are and how they’re used in Pardot.
  • Set up progressive profiling with a form.
  • Use dependent fields in a form.
  • Decide when to use forms and when to use form handlers in Pardot.

Forms in Pardot

When you want to collect information about people visiting your website or landing page, then you’ll use a Pardot form. They help you turn anonymous visitors into identified prospects. But a form’s usefulness doesn’t end there! Once your visitors convert to prospects, you can continue to use forms to learn more about them, their needs, and their preferences.

This video provides a brief introduction to Pardot’s form building capabilities and highlights advanced features such as creating dependent fields and using progressive profiling.

In the last unit, Leung created a Contact Us campaign to capture any visitors who convert to prospects via the Contact Us form she’ll place on the Cloudy Consulting blog. She has three requirements for the Contact Us form:

  • Begin by collecting visitors’ first and last name, email address, and location.
  • Keep the form as short as possible so that it’s easy to embed on the blog.
  • Customize the form’s fields based on the respondent’s location.

Remember learning about custom fields in the Pardot Basics module? Great! We’re going to use that knowledge again here to create a custom field called Implementation Service. We’ll use the Implementation Service field as part of Cloudy Consulting’s Contact Us form.

To create a custom field:

  1. Navigate to Admin | Configure Fields | Prospect Fields.
  2. Click + Add Custom Field.
  3. Enter Implementation Service into the Name field.
  4. Leave the Custom Field ID as automatically generated.
  5. Leave Sync Behavior as is. For a full list of field settings, see the Resources section.
  6. To limit responses, change the field type to Radio Button.
  7. Under Values, enter the following values for the field:
    • Sales Cloud
    • Marketing Cloud
    • Service Cloud
    • Communities
  8. Click Create custom field to save your new field.

Create the Implementation Service custom field with four field values: Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud and Communities.

Now that you’ve built your custom field, you’re ready to use it on your form as part of progressive profiling!

First, Leung needs to build a basic Contact Us form to collect a prospect’s name, email address, and location.

  1. Navigate to Marketing | Forms | New Form.
  2. Step 1—Name:
    1. Enter Contact Us as the form’s name.
    2. Select any folder.
    3. Select the Contact Us campaign.
    4. Click Next.

Step 1 of the Pardot form wizard. The form is named Contact Us and is part of the Contact Us campaign.

  1. Step 2—Fields:
    1. Click + Add New Field.
    2. Select Country from the list of prospect fields
    3. Click Load Default Data next to the Country field to automatically load in a list of Countries. Note: You can use the tool icons to edit, rearrange, and delete fields.
    4. Click Next.

Step 2 of the Pardot form wizard with the First Name, Last Name, Company, Email and Country fields added

Note: Your form will have the First Name, Last Name, Company, and Email fields by default.

Leung’s second requirement is to keep forms brief. Short, easy-to-fill-out forms are a key part of boosting visitor conversion rates. Pardot shortens forms by using dependent fields. Dependent fields are hidden by default, but appear based on a value entered in another field on the form. Leung wants to know location data for her prospects, but doesn’t want to ask for information that isn’t relevant. Let’s create a dependent field that asks for a state based on someone selecting the United States as their country.

To set the Country field as a dependent field:

  1. Click pencil icon next to the Country field. Other fields will be dependent on this field’s value.
  2. Click the Dependent tab.
  3. Select Display other fields in this form based on the value of this field.
  4. For When this field equals, enter United States of America.
  5. From the Show this field dropdown, select the State field.
  6. Click Save changes.

Step 2 of the Pardot form wizard with the First Name, Last Name, Company, Email and Country and State fields added. The State field is dependent on the field value in the Country field.

Leung’s third and final requirement is to customize the form’s fields based on a submitter’s previous responses. This will keep her forms short without sacrificing the ability to gather more information about her prospects over time. This functionality is called progressive profiling in Pardot, and it displays new fields based on fields that a prospect completed on previous forms.

If a prospect has already submitted the Contact Us form on the blog, the next time they visit the blog, Leung can use Progressive Profiling to ask them which Cloudy Consulting implementation service they’re most interested in.

To set up Progressive Profiling:

  1. Click + Add New Field.
  2. Select Implementation Service.
  3. Click pencil icon next to Implementation Service.
  4. Click the Progressive tab.
  5. Select Show this field only if the prospect already has data in the following field(s).
  6. Select Company.
  7. Click Save changes.

You’ve successfully added the Implementation Service field to your form as a progressive profile field. Now you’ve just got to finalize your form’s look and feel before you can save it for future use.

  1. Step 3—Look and Feel
    1. Because this form will be embedded on the Cloudy Consulting's blog, select the Standard Form layout template.
    2. Click +Choose Selected.
    3. Enter Submit for the Submit Button Text.
    4. Leave the Above Form, Below Form, Styles, and Advanced tabs as is.
    5. Click Next.
  2. Step 4—Completion Actions
    1. On the Thank You Content tab, enter “Thanks for contacting us!” as the text that displays after the prospect submits the form.
    2. Click Next.
  3. Click Confirm & Save to save your form.

Great job! You’ve built a form that satisfies all three of Leung’s requirements—it’s short, it’s tailored to the individual prospect’s needs, and it collects the information Leung needs to market to her prospects.

Form Handlers in Pardot

With Pardot’s form handlers, you can keep all of your existing forms and still send the data to Pardot. This means if you have an extensive form infrastructure already in place, need total control of your form’s design, or just want to pass data back to Pardot from specific fields in pre-existing forms, you can use Pardot’s form handlers to collect the information you need.

In this video, you’ll get a brief introduction to form handlers and how they are used.

Deciding Between Forms and Form Handlers

Form handlers connect Pardot to your external forms so that you can send the relevant prospect information into Pardot. For most people, Pardot forms are the right choice. That said, we recognize that you may have different needs and requirements that could make it necessary to use a form handler. For example, maybe you’ve inherited forms from a predecessor or are under strict instructions from your web design team not to change your website.

To determine if you should use form handlers, ask yourself one question: Am I already collecting information on prospects elsewhere that I need to bring into Pardot? If the answer is yes, then create a form handler in Pardot to hook into your existing forms and pass those field values back to Pardot.

Depending on your company, this might look like one of the following scenarios:

  • You currently manage an existing, complex form structure with specific design requirements.
  • You already use Salesforce Web2Lead forms.
  • You don’t want to make any changes to your lead generation strategy that might disrupt the work of your sales team.

If you do determine that form handlers are the right fit for you, you can access documentation on how to implement them in this unit’s Resources section.

Now that you’ve learned about forms and form handlers as well as how to customize forms in Pardot, we’ll move on to the next unit and build landing pages in Pardot to host your forms.


Keep learning for
Sign up for an account to continue.
What’s in it for you?
  • Get personalized recommendations for your career goals
  • Practice your skills with hands-on challenges and quizzes
  • Track and share your progress with employers
  • Connect to mentorship and career opportunities