Prospect List Building and Segmentation Rules

By November 29, 2018 No Comments

We could dump all our contacts into the Pardot database, but we’re not marketing to the best of our ability if we give everyone the same message all the time instead of segmenting our data.

As b2b marketers, we not only target people by various buyer personas, we also target people by offering and by which stage they stand in their buyer’s journey. Lists give us the ability to target people at different stages of their journey, by specific form submissions, by a particular trade show they attended, and more.

How prospects are added to Pardot

There are three primary ways that prospects are added to Pardot:

  • Form submissions: Form submissions can be made through standalone forms on web pages, Pardot landing pages, app integrations, kiosk forms, and more. They are the ideal way of capturing prospect information.
  • Data Imports: The data might be from an existing database, emails collected through a trade show, or even just a list of contacts. These imports are usually done through a .csv file.
  • Sync: If contacts are entered in your sales CRM, their information can be synced across both platforms and create prospects in Pardot.

Your preferred method of adding prospects can vary depending on your marketing strategy, but form submissions are typically a marketer’s most reliable method.

When tracked visitors on your website and Pardot-hosted landing pages convert by submitting a form, Pardot uses cookies to retain their prospect information. This information can be used to populate the lead source field, and it will help you understand how prospects are arriving on your website and what they do on your site before they convert. This type of data is extremely important when it comes to reporting on what sources are driving the most leads to your database. At EBQ we utilize the Lead Source field to determine which marketing channels are attracting the most MQL’s, and also which of those MQL’s are converting to customers.

Importing data into Pardot is a common way for companies use lists skimmed from databases or other lead purchasing services. Just make sure you follow Pardot’s permission-based marketing policy while pursuing these leads. Read our chapter on permission-based marketing to learn more.

Synced contacts will generally include existing customers and prospects who have already been contacted by your sales or SDR teams. Similar to importing data lists, you should always follow Pardot’s policies and best practices before enrolling them in email lists and automations.

List types and how to use them

List Creation

Pardot has two kinds of lists:

  • Static Lists: Static lists are ones you build manually or through a form of automation. Once it is created, prospects are not added or removed unless you do so manually or through a rule.
  • Dynamic Lists: A dynamic list is rule-based and can be considered more of a “living” list, automatically updating when contacts meet your specified criteria.

Static Lists

You might make a static list of people you don’t want to contact by email, a list of trade show attendees, or maybe a list of your existing customers. Static lists have many uses, but no matter how you apply them, they are intended to set aside a group of contacts for a specific reason.

Static lists are typically most useful when you don’t plan on removing prospects from the list you’re making. You can add contacts to static lists through a .csv import, a segmentation rule, or manually adding them.

Dynamic Lists

Dynamic lists are generally more involved, inherently existing as automation rules themselves. We can create these lists based on factors such as score, assigned user, number of emails opened, specific form completions, and many more.

These lists are best used in cases where you expect your data to change often. Dynamic lists are an opportunity for your business needs and creativity to flourish, allowing you to segment your database into living lists that represent different stages of your buyers’ journey.

You can even create dynamic suppression lists that ensure a prospect who is enrolled in multiple campaigns doesn’t receive too many automated emails at once by using recency and frequency rule types.

Dynamic lists, or smart lists depending on the platform, are one the most valuable features in a marketing automation tool. In essence, they’re a form of automation as well. If paired up with an engagement program, they can be an amazing way of marketing in the background that more than justifies the cost of the platform.

Splitting lists

Pardot gives you the ability to split lists and randomly assign users to one list or the other. Since lists are divided randomly, splitting the same list twice using the same method will give you different results.

If you split a dynamic list, the result is two static lists, but the original will remain dynamic. The split list feature can be useful for A/B testing, staying under a sending limit, or if you want to email members of the original list in batches.

Segmentation Rules

Segmentation Rule Creation

Segmentation rules are a form of automation that only runs once. While segmentation rules are often used for lists, they do have other functions:

  • Add prospects to an existing list
  • Add prospects to a new list
  • Add prospects to a Salesforce campaign
  • Apply tags to prospects
  • Remove prospects from a list
  • Remove tags

Ultimately, segmentation rules are a clear and easy way of performing a simple bulk action in your database.


Now that you’re familiar with Pardot lists and how prospects are populated, let’s move on to forms, your primary means of capturing prospects through Pardot.

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