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How to avoid Pardot-Salesforce sync errors when importing lists

Field sync errors are one of the most common problems reported by Account Engagement (Pardot) customers.

The number of sync errors you have can catch you by surprise when you eventually find it in the connector. Pardot does not notify you that half of your leads aren’t making it into Salesforce – you have to find that out on your own.

Sync errors can be triggered for a number of reasons. One of the most common reasons is caused because the value in a synced field does not meet the requirements set in Salesforce for that field.

Sometimes those requirements are character limits, and other times it’s a format issue.

Error Message: Field Integrity Exception: There’s a problem with this state, even though it may appear correct.

Restricted picklist values and validation rules in Salesforce can’t be imported into Pardot. They are enforced when the Prospect tries to sync with Salesforce.

The above error message sounds a bit like Pardot is gaslighting you. Examples of this included restricted state values tied to the country selected.

For example: When selecting Australia, Salesforce requires that the state be spelled out. It won’t accept abbreviations; New South Wales not NSW. If the State value in Pardot is NSW, then Salesforce will reject it. And if the state is required in order to save a record, it means the lead won’t get created in Salesforce until it is fixed.

Error Message: Invalid picklist value: (insert Pardot custom field): bad value for restricted picklist field:

There are some subtle differences between how Pardot and Salesforce accepts multiple values into a multi-select pick list or drop down field. When entering multiple values, you will need to use commas to separate the different values. However in Pardot the values are separated using semicolons.

This difference comes into focus when importing a large list into Pardot and including field mapping for a multi-select field. The multi-select values are separated by commas and imported successfully into the Pardot records. The problem happens when those Pardot prospects sync with Salesforce.

Because Pardot accepts multiple values separated by semicolon, the multiple values imported into Pardot were added as a large text block, instead of unique values. Salesforce rejects the field sync because the values are coming in as a block of text instead of individual values.

How to prevent errors at import

When importing into data into a multi-select field in Pardot that is synced to a corresponding restricted pick list in Salesforce, make sure that the check box is checked for “Validate this field on import.”

By making sure this is selected, it will ensure that the bad values never make it into Pardot in the first place. Instead, the import itself will be rejected – or the records with non-compliant values will error and fail to write.

How to fix existing errors

If you need to resolve a large list of existing sync errors, you have a few options:

Automation Rule

If you have an issue like what I described above where the country’s state is abbreviated, you could create an automation rule to look for those situations and update the value.

Example: If Country is Australia and State contains NSW, update to New South Wales.

Having this automation rule running also ensures you have a fallback to correct future issues like it.

Manual Import

If you need to resolve sync errors involving the comma vs semicolon separation issue, you can resolve this issue by exporting the sync error CSV and navigating to the specific field that caused the problem. Note: You don’t need to go to the error itself, just the field that caused it.

In the CSV, highlight the column with the field values full of comma separation and perform a find-and-replace action to swap the commas for semicolons. Next I navigated to Import in Pardot and selected the file. NOTE: For the field you corrected, make sure to select Update Existing Value. This is critical.

Ben LaMothe

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