How to Pass Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Specialist Certification Exam

How to Pass Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Specialist Certification Exam

Last Updated on September 9, 2023 by Rakesh Gupta

Last month, after a couple of delays I finally managed to appear for the Salesforce Certified Pardot Specialist and Consultant exams and managed to pass it on the first attempt. I approached studying for the exam in a very methodical way, so I thought it would be good to do a write up on how I prepared and what materials I used. I took around 3-4 months time to learn Pardot and prepare for both the Pardot Certification exams.

Salesforce offers various certifications and Pardot is one of them. It can be an excellent opportunity to learn about Pardot and boost your career graph by demonstrating your Pardot knowledge along with your Salesforce experience. The most common Pardot certification is the entry-level Specialist Certification. The Salesforce Certified Pardot Specialist credential is designed for individuals who would like to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in designing, building, and implementing marketing workflows through the Pardot platform.


So, Who is an Ideal Candidate for the exam?

The Salesforce Certified Pardot Specialist credential is designed for individuals who want to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in designing and building marketing campaigns within Pardot. The candidate possesses the experience and knowledge to build focused marketing processes that incorporate the different strategies for email marketing, lead generation, and lead qualification. The candidate should also be able to use reports to make data-driven decisions effectively.

The Salesforce Certified Pardot Specialist candidate has the experience, skills, and knowledge outlined below:

  • Has familiarity with the capabilities of the Pardot platform
  • Understands the lifecycle of visitors to prospects
  • Understands how to create and manage Pardot marketing assets, automation, and workflows
  • Interpret metrics from Engagement History and standard dashboards in B2B Marketing Analytics
  • Understands administrative settings such as configuring scoring and grading models, configuring custom fields in Pardot, and using the Recycle Bin
  • Understands how to troubleshoot and solve fundamental platform issues (sync errors, field mapping, and supported objects)
  • Understand what Einstein features are available and how they compare to Pardot score

How to prepare for the exam?

Learning styles differ widely – so there is no magic formula that one can follow to clear an exam. The best practice is to study for a few hours daily – rain or shine! Below are some details about the exam and study materials:

  1. 60 multiple-choice/multiple-select questions – 90 mins
  2. 72% is the passing score
  3. The exam Fee is $200 plus applicable taxes
  4. Exam Outline
    1. Visitors and Prospects: 8%
      1. Describe the relationship between visitors and prospects.
      2. Given a scenario, apply the appropriate plan of action using Prospect Audits.
    2. Administration: 11%
      1. Illustrate how to create, edit, and map fields.
      2. Explain the relationship between Pardot and Salesforce.
      3. Describe the capabilities of the Pardot Recycle Bin.
    3. Pardot Forms, Form Handlers, and Landing Pages: 20%
      1. Given a scenario, identify the capabilities, use cases and interpret metrics of Pardot forms.
      2. Identify the capabilities, use cases and interpret reporting metrics for landing pages.
    4. Lead Management: 24%
      1. Explain the components and use cases of an automation rule.
      2. Distinguish between the capabilities of, use cases for, and how to create different types of lists.
      3. Define the capabilities of a completion action.
      4. Define the capabilities of page actions.
      5. Explain what a Score measures and how scoring is managed.
      6. Explain what a Grade measures and how grading is managed.
      7. Identify the capabilities and use cases of custom redirects.
    5. Email Marketing: 20%
      1. Distinguish between an Email and an Email Template.
      2. Given a scenario, identify the capabilities and use cases for email.
      3. Distinguish between the metrics collected in Pardot email reporting.
    6. Engagement Studio: 17%
      1. Explain the process of updating an engagement program including its assets.
      2. Distinguish between the components of an engagement program.

To learn more about exam details and exam objectives, browse the Salesforce Certification site.

If you are new to Pardot, have a few months of Pardot working experience, and want to learn more about this tool, then Pardot Specialist is the right certification you can focus on. There are so many training resources available online, but I suggest you use the recommended reference materials, i.e. Study Guide Salesforce has prepared.

Available Resources

  1. The Pardot Expert Coaching Session videos on YouTube are a great place to start. 
  2. Also, check out the Intro to Pardot video by Iman Maghroori
  3. In the meantime, visit the Salesforce Success Events page to find the Pardot Expert Coaching session and signup for it.
  4. Pardot has an excellent Client Advocate team. They will help you learn it from scratch, providing consultative advice on Pardot strategy, marketing automation best practices, and industry trends. If you have a query or want to learn Pardot from basic, I suggest signing up for the New User Overview webinar. Thanks to the Pardot Advocate Team for offering webinars and open office hours and providing the roadmap for achieving it.
  5. Once you have the proper understanding of Pardot, open the Pardot Specialist study guide and visit the Pardot knowledge base; search for every topic mentioned in the Study Guide. Don’t forget to browse the FAQs page for every case mentioned in the study guide.
  6. Once you are ready to appear for the Pardot Specialist or Consultant certification exam, visit the Official Salesforce Certified Pardot Specialist Preparation page and expand each section to access the collected resources.
  7. Finish the Trailmix to prepare for your Pardot Specialist exam.

What you Need to Know to Smoothen your Journey

On a very high level, you have to understand the following topics to clear the exam:

  1. Visitors and Prospects: 8%
    1. Describe the relationship between visitors and prospects
      1. An anonymous visitor is someone who has visited a page with your Pardot tracking code on it, but hasn’t converted to a prospect yet. Prospects are visitors who have an associated email address in Pardot. 
      2. Pardot tracks visitor and prospect activities on your website and landing pages by setting cookies on their browsers. Cookies are set to remember preferences (like form field values) when a visitor returns to your site. We also set a cookie for logged-in users to maintain the session and remember table filters.
      3. Pardot sets first-party cookies for tracking purposes, and sets third-party cookies for redundancy. Using first-party and third-party cookies together is standard in the marketing automation industry. Pardot don’t store personally identifying information, only a unique identifier. First-party cookies are set on Pardot domains and tracker subdomains. If you don’t have a tracker subdomain configured, we use third-party cookies on https pages.
      4. Below are two of the cookies that Pardot sets:
        1. Visitor Cookie: The visitor cookie includes a unique identifier for the visitor (visitor_id) plus the unique identifier for your account, which is derived from the tracking code placed on your site. For example, cookie name “visitor_id12345″ stores the visitor value “123456789,” where 12345 is the account identifier and the full string 123456789 represents the visitor ID. Using these tracking values, the cookie stores the activities of visitors and prospects on your site.
        2. Opt In Cookie: Pardot uses a persistent cookie named “pi_opt_in”  to stay in compliance with the “Do Not Track” initiative.  It allows  people to opt out of types of browser tracking.
      5. The difference between visitors and prospects
      6. Managing Pardot Visitors and Prospects
      7. Control Tracking Opt-In Preferences
    2. Pardot Lead Generation for Pardot Lightning App
    3. Given a scenario, apply the appropriate plan of action using Prospect Audits.
      1. Each prospect record includes an audit table that displays details about changes to the record.
        Type Definition
        Assignment / Reassignment The prospect was assigned or reassigned.
        Campaign Change The prospect’s Pardot campaign was changed.
        Completion Action Triggered The prospect triggered a completion action. This links to the asset that the action was triggered from.
        Form Error The prospect attempted to submit a form and received an error. The audit displays the field name and error.
        List Added The prospect was added to a list.
        List Removed The prospect was removed from a list.
        Opportunity Added Opportunity added for the prospect. Opportunities sync down to Pardot from Salesforce.
        Prospect Assignment Rule The prospect matched an assignment rule and was assigned to a user.
        Prospect Created — Form Submission The prospect was converted from a visitor via a form submission.
        Prospect Created — Landing Page Submission The prospect was converted from a visitor via a landing page submission.
        Prospect Custom Field A custom field value was updated.
        Prospect Default Field A default field value was updated.
        Prospect Deletion The prospect was deleted or restored from the recycle bin.
        Prospect Geolocation Autofill The date and time a prospect’s country or state was updated through geolocation autofill.
        Prospect Reviewed / Unreviewed The date and time a prospect was marked as reviewed or unmarked as reviewed.
        Prospect Webinar Sync The date and time a prospect’s webinar attendance information (registered, attended, did not attend) synced from the webinar vendor.
  2. Administration: 11%
    1. When you delete an asset, it’s moved to the recycle bin in your Pardot account instead of being permanently deleted. You can restore most assets from the recycle bin. You can’t empty the recycle bin.
    2. Consider the following when moving items to the recycle bin.
      1. Items in the recycle bin don’t count toward usage limits.
      2. If you delete a campaign, the prospects associated with the campaign remain in the system tagged with the deleted campaign. Before deleting, Pardot warns you if elements associated with the campaign, such as lists, rules, and landing pages, are in use. You can then delete the assets or associate them with another campaign.
      3. Admins can permanently delete prospects in the recycle bin. Pardot no longer tracks prospects when they’re permanently deleted.
      4. A deleted prospect is restored when the Salesforce record it’s syncing with is undeleted. When you permanently delete a prospect in Pardot, you must delete associated leads and contacts in Salesforce.
      5. Opportunity and Prospect Account custom fields are deleted permanently and don’t appear in the recycle bin. You must manually re-create the field. To recover field values, run a full sync with Salesforce.
      6. Tags and content files are deleted permanently and don’t appear in the recycle bin.
    3. Pardot Salesforce Integration for Lightning App
    4. Basics of Pardot and Salesforce Integration
    5. When Pardot’s default fields don’t capture the prospect data you need, create your own custom fields. You can map and sync your custom fields with the CRM.
    6. Relabel values in custom fields and assign profiles, and add prospects to lists based on the value prospects choose.
    7. Pardot’s default prospect fields use character limits, measured in bytes. Most simple letters use one byte each, but more complex pictographs use more bytes per character. As such, the number of characters doesn’t always match the number of bytes used, but can be a helpful guideline.
    8. Syncing Prospects Between Pardot and Salesforce
      1. When you change a contact or lead email address in Salesforce, it can sync the new address to the corresponding prospect record in Pardot. This functionality is useful if your sales team updates email addresses manually or via a data append service like, or if you merge lead records.
      2. When a synced lead or contact is deleted in Salesforce, Pardot flags it as [[crm_deleted]] and sends it to the recycle bin. Pardot does not recreate the lead or contact in Salesforce.
    9. Considerations for Using the Salesforce-Pardot Connector
      1. Mapping a Pardot custom field with a Salesforce field does not trigger a sync with the CRM.
      2. Before you can map Pardot and Salesforce custom fields, you must create the corresponding custom field in Pardot.
  3. Pardot Forms, Form Handlers, and Landing Pages: 20%
    1. Basic marketing automation terminology
      1. Lead: The act of creating interest in your products or services through marketing efforts.
      2. Visitor: An anonymous person who visits your website and is now tracked in Pardot.
      3. Conversion: Once a visitor gives you their contact information, such as an email address, by submitting a Pardot landing page or form, they are converted to a prospect.
      4. Prospect: An anonymous visitor that has converted and is now identified. A record of the prospect will exist in Pardot, similar to a lead record in Sales Cloud or other CRMs.
      5. Lead nurturing: Sending targeted messages at specific intervals based on a prospect’s actions and whether or not they’ve met certain qualifying criteria.
      6. Lead qualification: You probably have thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of people interacting with your organization. Your sales teams can’t contact each of them, so as marketers it’s your job to help send them the best prospects. This process of finding the gold needles in the haystack of prospects is called lead qualification. You decide the threshold for when a prospect is ready to be assigned to a salesperson for them to follow up.
    2. Pardot Lightning App Basics
    3. Metrics for lead qualification: score and grade
      1. Prospect score: A prospect’s score is a numerical value indicating how interested they are in your product or service. A prospect’s score can increase or decrease based on how they interact with your marketing materials.
      2. Prospect grade: A prospect’s grade is represented by a letter (A, B, C, D, etc.).  It indicates how closely a prospect fits the profile of your ideal prospect.
    4. Pardot offers a few ways to collect visitor information and create identified prospects. Design and manage Pardot forms using the Form Wizard. Or, funnel data from external forms into Pardot with a form handler
      1. How to create a Form that prospects actually want to fill out
      2. How progressive profiling is not as bad as you think
      3. How to use dependent Form fields
      4. How to Use Pardot Form Handlers
    5. A landing page is a web page that a visitor reaches after clicking a link or advertisement. This page generally displays content that is specific to the advertisement, search keyword, or link clicked. Landing page visitors can be more likely to convert when you present them with relevant, actionable content.
    6. How to Use Pardot Forms and Landing Pages
    7. Use form reports to gain insight into the total number of views, submissions, and conversions generated by a form or form handler. To access reports, select Reports (Pardot Reports in the Lightning app), and then Marketing Assets | Forms.
    8. A submission is when a visitor or prospect completes a form and submits it to Pardot. A conversion is a specific type of submission during which an anonymous visitor provides an email address and converts into a prospect.
    9. Landing Page and Multivariate Test reports show how many people viewed a page and how many visitors submitted a form and converted to prospects.
      1. Landing Page Statistics
        1. Error Rate
        2. Submission Rate
        3. Total Errors
        4. Total Submission
        5. Total Views
    10. Together, Pardot and Salesforce track valuable engagement data that can tell you how well your marketing assets resonate with your customer base. Turn on Engagement History and choose where to surface this valuable data throughout Salesforce in the form of fields, related lists, and Lightning components.
      1. Engagement History requires a verified Salesforce-Pardot connector.
      2. Connected Campaigns must be enabled for most features. When campaigns aren’t connected, values show 0.
      3. Engagement History metrics are refreshed every few minutes, typically less than 10.
      4. Engagement history data in the custom Lightning component is visible in Salesforce, but isn’t available for reports. To see the most up-to-date information reload the page.
  4. Lead Management: 24%
  5. Email Marketing: 20%
  6. Engagement Studio: 17%
    1. Engagement Studio lets you build, test, and report on engagement programs that send targeted emails based on prospect behavior and critical qualifying values.
    2. Four main step types you see when building an engagement program
      1. Actions
      2. Triggers
      3. Rules
      4. End
    3. Engagement program best practices
      1. Describe engagement program best practices
      2. Always Tailor Content to the Recipient
      3. Use Scheduling to Follow Up with Customers After Events
    4. Three prospect stages in stage-based marketing.
      1. Cold: Prospects don’t know they have a problem that you can solve. They need to be educated about why they should consider spending money with anyone, let alone you.
      2. Warm: They know they have a problem your service might solve. They need to be nurtured on a frequent cadence to get them to be hot.
      3. Hot: These prospects are ready to buy and should talk to sales.
    5. 3-2-1 nurture program – help you to quickly identify your sales-ready prospects without sacrificing the ability to nurture your warm and cold prospects
      1. Send the first email, 3 – Hard Hitting CTA, targeted to hot leads.
        1. Wait a short period (for example, 7 days).
      2. Send a follow up email, 2 – Medium CTA, targeted to warm leads.
        1. Wait a slightly longer period (10 days).
      3. Send a follow-up email, 1 – Soft CTA, targeted to cold leads.
        1. If they reach the bottom without ever clicking a link, you know they are not ready to engage. Put them on a cold leads list, and follow up at a much later date.
    6. Engagement Studio demo
    7. Engagement Studio Implementation Guide

The Certified Pardot Consultant exam is a bit difficult compared to the Certified Pardot Specialist exam, but gaining the credential can give you a significant advantage over other marketing automation professionals.

Formative Assessment:

I want to hear from you!

Have you taken the Certified Pardot Specialist exam? Are you preparing for the exam now? Share your tips in the comments!

Have feedback, suggestions for posts, or need more information about Salesforce online training offered by me? Say hello, and leave a message!

3 thoughts on “How to Pass Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Specialist Certification Exam

  1. I just finished reading your article on preparing for the Salesforce Certified Pardot Specialist Certification, and I couldn’t resist dropping a comment. First of all, let me express my gratitude for sharing your insights. Your blog post is nothing short of a lifesaver for someone like me who’s diving headfirst into the world of Pardot. Your step-by-step guide is incredibly well-structured and comprehensive, making it easy for newcomers to grasp the intricacies of the certification process.

  2. Hi Rakesh,

    Thank you for giving detail information about how to learn Pardot. Just wanted to let you know that the link you mentioned above for eLearning is not working.

    Pardot eLearning Modules.

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