clearing errors

How to Clear Large Prospect Salesforce Sync Queues in Pardot

Pardot is a feature-rich marketing automation platform. It is easy to lose track of what is happening when, how many prospects are in moving through automations, and more. 

For the most part Pardot does a good job of sending automated emails when Automation Rules and Engagement Studios have sat idle for a period of time. 

However the one area where an automated notification would come in handy is with the Salesforce-Pardot sync queue. I have talked with several clients who did not know where it was, what it meant, and how many records were sitting there. 

Because of the lack of visibility to this corner of Pardot it is reasonable that the prospect sync queue could stack up. Large sync queues can have significant downstream effects on the entire business. 

Lets say you are new in your role and you are inheriting a Pardot instance that has been in existence for several years. You are the third or forth administrator. While reviewing the current set up, you go to the Connectors settings, click the gear icon and your heart drops: 120,000 records in the sync queue. How?!

First, don’t panic. While it was missed by others, you can come in and save the day. 

When dealing with this for the first time and trying to devise a way to dig myself out of the hole, happened across a Knowledge Article about prospect sync priority levels. Before that moment I hadn’t considered there would be a priority level. Sort your prospects by UPDATED AT date and you may notice some of these records are waiting on a sync from updates that happened months or even years ago. They haven’t been processed due to sync priority. More about that:

“The order in which prospects sync has different priorities that vary depending on the activity or action that triggered the sync. There are four different priority levels: Instant, High, Medium, and Low. Prospects will enter the CRM connector’s Sync Queue, syncing in accordance to the priority level assigned to them, based on the action or activity that first caused them to enter the sync queue.”

Here are the sync priority levels:

Instant
Manual prospect assignment

High
Form submissions

Medium
Field updates in Salesforce

Low
Field updates in Pardot
Creation in Pardot

What does this mean to you as someone facing down hundreds of thousands of records just sitting there in the sync queue?

Because priority exists, you need to develop a plan to clear the sync queue in batches. Here’s what I did:

  1. Do NOT turn off or pause the Salesforce-Pardot sync.
  2. Export the sync queue as it exists now. Because the sync is still running it is probable that more records will come in to the sync queue after you export. You can address those separately.
  3. Notify sales and anyone else with interests in the Salesforce Lead/Contact database that you will be clearing the queue. This could trigger actions in Salesforce that you are not involved with.
  4. Begin to re-seed the Pardot database. I recommend doing this in small batches to start. This will allow you to see if there are other sync error issues that need to be resolved. The last thing you want is to re-import hundreds of thousands of records only to have them all error out. For those older records that have not synced with Salesforce in a while, there could have been changes introduced that will cause them to error.
  5. Progressively increase the amount of records you are uploading into Pardot. Keep an eye on the sync queue for any new errors. You also want to watch the overall queue for bottlenecks or long sync intervals. Pardot documentation says syncing between Pardot and Salesforce occurs every 2–4 min. 

Importing overwrite the existing priority level for the records stuck in the sync queue. Every record in the queue now has the same priority level and will process together.

Once the queue is cleared you will want to again check on any sync errors and resolve them. Moving forward you will also want to evaluate the system and data flows to identify potential causes of the bottleneck so this doesn’t happen again.

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