Pardot is the veteran marketing automation platform. However, its functionality, customer support, and price tag are not suited for some SaaS companies.
We've made a comprehensive list of alternatives to check out, so that you can pick the marketing automation tool to fit your SaaS needs.
In this article, you will learn:
- What do SaaS companies love about Pardot?
- The 12 Pardot alternatives – and how to know which is best for you
- How to choose the best Pardot alternative for your SaaS
What do SaaS companies love about Pardot?
Pardot, now known as Salesforce Account Engagement, is one of the most popular tools there are thanks to its many features that include:
- Email marketing: email builder and personalizer, email response automation, outbound email marketing, and email deliverability management
- Online marketing: landing pages and form builders, all optimized for mobile
- Lead management: marketing lead database, lead scoring, grading, nurturing, automated alerts and tasks, data quality management, CRM lead integration, segmentation, and tracking of online behavior
- Reporting and analytics: simple reporting features
Pardot comes at a price range of $1,250 to $15,000 per month, depending on the number of contacts billed annually. If you're looking for something that better suits your budget or has more, or fewer, features than Pardot, keep reading.
Why look for a Pardot alternative for your SaaS?
Although Pardot has a good reputation and offers some great features for B2B companies, there are still some reasons that people want to look for an alternative to Pardot.
As James Parkinson, Head of Marketing Content at Personnel Checks, states Pardot's main problem seems to be its price point, which isn't really friendly for small or starting up businesses. He says:
"One of the main reasons we wouldn't even consider Pardot is the cost; it doesn't appear to offer a level of additional functionality that would justify the extra expense.
It is also mainly aimed at Salesforce users; if you use a different platform, better alternative marketing automation softwares are available."
Or as Kendall Aldridge, the Marketing Manager over at OnePitch, shares:
"For a smaller company, Pardot seemed too hefty for our needs. It also seemed to lack the intuitiveness that other alternatives offer. It required a lot of coding and backend work that made the processes longer and more complicated for our team.
This was a negative being that we work quickly and have fast turnovers. It wasn't the right tool for our current needs."
If you find yourself looking for an alternative to Pardot, the twelve solutions below should give you plenty of options to find one that meets your budget and needs.
As Padmaja Santhanam, the Growth Manager at FirstPrinciples, points out there are four important aspects to look at when choosing a marketing automation tool for SaaS companies, those are: scalability, support, features and price.
Check the comparison of the alternatives with these four factors in mind and you're sure to find the alternative that best works for you.
The 12 Pardot Alternatives and how to know which is best for you
Let's look at these alternative tools worthy to be on your tech stack radar.
From each of the alternatives, you'll find out what they do, what's their ideal company size, their main features and integrations, and their pricing – everything you need to make an informed decision.
Userlist (disclaimer, it's our product!) is a dedicated email marketing software program built with SaaS companies in mind.
Unlike other email marketing tools, it's build specifically for SaaS businesses, which allows us to better meet SaaS email marketing needs.
Userlist lets you automate lead nurture, user onboarding, behavior-based email campaigns to one-off broadcasts, and in-app messaging. Everything you need to make your SaaS email marketing strategy a winning one.
The unique feature is supporting account-level data and account-level automation, which helps you manage complex many-to-many relationships between users and companies.
Ideal use case. All SaaS companies, with a special focus on B2B SaaS.
- User onboarding emails
- Lifecycle emails
- Marketing emails
- In-app messages
- Behavior triggered emails
- One-off broadcasts
- Company accounts
Jonny Platt of SEO Scout:
"Userlist is a great tool that allows you to build compelling email sequences to nurture and engage your customers and trial users without getting too bogged down in the nitty gritty of marketing automation.
When using competing tools I had a tendency to overthink my behavior-based emails, but Userlist's slick and simple design allows me to focus on what matters – creating emails that really engage users on my site.
Yet the apparent simplicity is deceptive – under the hood there's plenty of power and flexibility to get clever with your sequences when you want to, while keeping things simple and intuitive for your everyday campaigns."
Pricing. The monthly fee is based on the number of users and scales organically as your SaaS grows. Plans start at $149 per month for 10,000 users.
Intercom is not a dedicated email marketing platform. However, it offers robust messaging capabilities that allow companies to automate communications across multiple channels – including email.
The messaging features it offers help improve customer engagement and satisfaction, onboarding, increase conversions, and even improves team productivity.
Ideal use case. SaaS products of all shapes and sizes. However, they have been moving towards enterprise companies lately, especially with custom pricing and high rates.
- Product tours
- Proactive messages
- Email campaigns
- Self-serve support
- Live chat
Pricing. For more features, you'll need to provide your information about company size to get a more specific pricing. However, for early-stage companies they offer the Starter pack at $74 per month.
HubSpot is a platform that has pretty much everything a business needs to attract and convert leads, and close and retain customers. It offers a suite of marketing automation tools that have intuitive UX, and a unified codebase.
HubSpot helps companies better manage their marketing, sales, service, and operations efforts. It offers HubSpot CRM, HubSpot Marketing Hub, and HubSpot Sales Hub each with their own unique features.
Ideal use case. HubSpot is suited for companies of all sizes, and doesn't focus on SaaS.
- Contact and account management
- Opportunity and pipeline management
- Task and activity management
- Territory and quota management
- Desktop integration
- Email marketing
- Campaign management
- Lead management
- Marketing ROI analytics
Guanlin L. (review from G2):
"HubSpot is super strong and capable with the CRM and marketing functions, it's their core. But what I love is the advanced integrations where you can connect everything you need to one place. The pricing for some HubSpot features is comparably higher than some of its competitors, like the pricing for marketing contacts compared to Constant Contact and Mailchimp."
Pricing. HubSpot offers a Starter subscription for $45 per month and it includes up to 1,000 marketing contacts. Email automation features start at $800 per month.
Sendinblue is an email automation tool that focuses on helping small businesses have the tools that big businesses use – without the price tag.
Their all-in-one platform aims to help small businesses automate all their marketing, ecommerce, and email needs so that they can focus their time and energy on the things they do best.
Sendinblue offers various personalization options to ensure better open and click-through rates, increasing your leads and chances for closing deals. Additionally, its users say it offers great deliverability – less bounces, spam issues, and bulking.
Ideal use case. Small companies that are in the early stages and looking to grow quickly.
- Email campaign management
- Marketing automation
- eCommerce marketing
- Sandbox and test environments
- Customer relationship management software (CRM)
- Transactional emails
- Live chat
James Parkinson of Personnel Checks:
"We use Sendinblue for our marketing automation. It is a really affordable solution and very user-friendly, which means the whole team has been able to adapt to using it quickly with very little guidance.
It has a lot of functionality for the price. It allows us to segment our audiences easily, trigger emails based on user interactions on our website, and use surveys to collect user feedback. It also has some good integration options and allows for a lot of customisation."
Pricing. It offers a free subscription for up to 300 emails per day, unlimited contacts and chat. If you're looking for something more, there's the Lite version for $25 per month, and they also offer a Premium and Enterprise subscription.
ActiveCampaign is another all-in-one platform that offers a wide range of automation tools and automation workflows to help businesses grow. They offer email marketing automation tools, a visual email builder and a full set of email templates. They allow their customers to communicate with clients via SMS.
Although ActiveCampaign has a great variety of features, it's designed for eCommerce businesses and generic B2C and B2B companies – leaving SaaS businesses wanting more. It's all about "creating incredible customer experiences."
Ideal use case. B2C and B2B companies of all sizes, without focus on SaaS.
- A/B testing
- Marketing automation
- Email campaign management and analytics
- Calendar and reminder system
- Contact management
- Drip campaigns
Erin E. (posted on Capterra):
"So far, the system has more functionalities than I will likely ever use. However, this is not a 'dislike'. While there are many functions I don't currently need (or understand) there may be a day that I use them, and there are several tutorials and documents available to help me understand these other features."
Andrea L. (posted on G2):
"I enjoy all the automation features, the contact page and the easy CRM. Only issue that makes it weaker is the "pay per contacts" model, which makes it too expensive for those who need large amounts of leads to make a sale, at a small margin."
Pricing. ActiveCampaign offers a Lite subscription that starts at $9 per month for 500 contacts. It also offers a Plus, a Professional, and an Enterprise subscription depending on the size and needs of your company.
Customer.io is an automated messaging platform made with customer engagement in mind. It enables marketers to create their most sophisticated automated messaging campaigns.
This software solution allows marketers to be data-driven as it provides real-time behavioral data – exactly what you need if you want to engage customers and stop churn.
Build and test your most creative messaging flows, send emails, push notifications, text messages, and more all through their intuitive and powerful visual building experience.
Ideal use case. Customer.io is for all company sizes. It supports ecommerce, SaaS, FinTech, EdTech, mobile apps, marketplaces companies and similar.
- Dedicated CSM
- Automated email campaigns
- SMS messaging
- Push notifications
- Data warehouse sync
- Contact management
- CRMs and CSVs
Verified user (posted on G2):
"I love how technical Customer.io allows me and my team to be — from creating complex customer journeys spanning multiple marketing channels, to syncing with third-party services like Snowflake, Slack and Facebook, to standing up triggered, data-driven campaigns.
Customer.io is definitely geared toward technical marketers, which made it a little intimidating at first, as I had never used the tool."
Max V. (posted on Capterra):
"Easy-to-use and intuitive email and marketing automation platform. Especially the ability to send out webhooks makes it very strong. The initial setup requires some help from a developer but if you have that sorted out, it's really easy to use."
Pricing: Their Basic subscription starts at $150 per month for up to 12,000 profiles, and unlimited emails.
User.com is a marketing automation platform. Through real-time customer and user engagement tools, it helps boost engagement and improve conversion by using a single data source for customers.
With user.com, you can reach your customers in whichever channel they are – through emails, live chat, chatbot, push notification, dynamic page content, and many other ways to connect with them. What's best is that you can do all of this in the same all-in-one platform.
Use all the data you can collect and put it to good use by implementing trigger automatic in-app messages and other ways to seize this data. Overall, a tool that will help you communicate with your customers and increase conversion.
Ideal user case. Best for small businesses, startups and agencies in the B2B, B2C, and SaaS industries.
- Live chat, push notification, SMS
- Audience targeting
- Behavior analytics and targeting
- Automated scheduling
- Drag and drop email builder
- Marketing automation
- Visitor tracking
George D. (posted on G2):
"User.com is great in many ways, not least with their customer support and willingness to help out. Overall, this is a one stop shop for so many things so for me, I like the fact that user.com offers so many solutions to so many problems.
The learning curve can be sharp at the start and some of the tutorials are a bit out of date, but these are nitpicking!"
Jakub N. (posted on Capterra):
"I was truly satisfied we chose User.com. It wasn't easy to learn, but it was a profitable investment. Make sure you share your know-how with your team so that you're not the only one who understands what's going on under the hood."
Pricing. There's no public information on pricing.
Act-On is an integrated marketing platform. One of their most important features is the Automated Journey Builder. It helps to easily map and construct workflows.
Act-On's email design software allows users to create responsive messages that look professional, are intuitive to use, and adapt to all devices. Their Email Deliverability Services Team is there to help users follow email marketing best practices and ensure top email reputation.
An overall great tool for those looking to attract and nurture customers at all stages of the customer journey. Many switch from Marketo to Act-On as a marketing automation software alternative since it is cheaper and has, as they claim, better features and support.
Ideal use case. For SMEs and enterprises. It focuses on the financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, education, and tech industries.
- Automated journey builder
- Transactional event-triggered email
- Email design and templates
- Adaptive sending
- Behavioral segmentation
- Demographic segmentation
- Firmographic segmentation
Collin W. (posted on G2):
"The platform is easy to use and navigate without having to be a coding expert. I primarily use it as an account support to over 100 users. It would be nice to have a way to communicate directly to the users within the platform. We would also like a way to share content with selected groups of these users, rather than all 'all or nothing' options."
Ashley S. (posted on Capterra):
"The ease of use which is visually appealing with drag-and-drop, list segmenting, lead scoring options and integrations all work for our organization on both the user level and administrator level. However, pricing of this tool is at the higher end of some marketing resources."
Pricing. Their Professional subscription starts at $900 per month for 2,500 active contacts.
Vero offers two marketing tools: Newsletters and Workflows.
Their Newsletters tool has been specifically designed for the modern data stack. It lets you directly connect your data to send better emails. It also has templates and building tools to create appealing email content. Plus, you only pay for the messages sent, not the users stored.
Ideal use case. SaaS companies of any size.
- Email and mobile preview
- Manage email lists
- High-volume sending
- Automated email responses
- Personalizing emails
- Basic reporting
Nathan F. (posted on Capterra):
"Ability to send web, mobile and cloud events to Vero, in order to segment and send emails at a granular level dependent on customer behavior in our products. Because the system is built around 'what a customer did', segmentation based on 'who the customer is' is more limited."
Daniel L. (posted on G2):
"The ability to pull in data from external sources is a game-changer for both ad-hoc and drip campaigns; I love pulling in manual data from a Google Sheets API to enrich & personalize ad hoc campaigns. Complex interface making it harder for non-technical users to get started."
Pricing. You can use Vero's Newsletters platform for free for up to 20,000 messages sent per month. Their Workflows platform starts at $49 per month.
Ortto (previously Autopilot) was initially an email platform. However, it is now a tool that focuses on data analytics to better understand customer behavior – a customer engagement software, if you like. With this data it brings together customer data platforms, customer journey marketing and analytics to acquire, convert, and retain customers more effectively.
It offers features like personalized email, in-app messaging, SMS, and postcard to improve communication and customer engagement.
Ideal use case. SaaS, ecommerce, B2B or B2C, from startups to big enterprises.
- A/B testing
- Activity dashboard
- Behavior tracking and targeting
- Campaign analytics
- Campaign management
- Contact database
- Contextual targeting
Aleksander P. (posted on G2):
"The reporting and dashboard system is well designed and saves us an immense amount of time when it comes to reporting to management. There is no central hub for reviewing and editing existing email templates. Templates can only be saved by building out an actual email as part of a campaign."
Pricing. It offers a free plan that requires no credit card information and allows you to send up to 100 emails per month. For more features, their plans start at $29 per month and include 2,000 contacts and 8,000 emails per month.
Dotdigital, formerly known as Dotmailer, and its Engagement Cloud platform helps businesses acquire, convert, and retain customers at scale.
It helps digital marketers and developers deliver communications across the customer journey. Through customer data, powerful insights and automating predictive cross-channel messages, it empowers engagement, conversion, and customer loyalty.
Dotdigital also offers personalization tools to draw in audiences and simplify workloads.
Ideal use case. Medium to large companies.
- Building and personalizing emails
- Sending outbound emails
- Manage email deliverability
- Automated email responses
- eCommerce management
- Online behavior tracking
Jennifer K. (posted on Capterra):
"I was quickly able to build my skill in creating emails, reach a wider audience, and push relevant content to the email list. I would like for there to be a few tweaks to the address book and segment functionality.
I feel in some ways the system requires you to choose one or the other, when I'd like to be able to use a segment vs. an address book."
David S. (posted on G2):
"The platform is easy to use for simple email marketing. Setting up Programs (Automations that are triggered by actions) are easy as well if you have a little technical understanding.
I dislike the total lack of account management entirely. If you're a small or medium-sized business, go with another platform that will value your business."
Pricing. In order to obtain price information, you have to fill out a form and wait for a sales representative to contact you.
Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is an all-in-one CRM, sales and marketing software. Built with entrepreneurs in mind that want to keep the guesswork out of growing.
Keap's automations allow businesses to create repeatable sales processes and marketing campaigns so that business owners can focus on what they do best – their product and sales, not repetitive tasks.
Ideal use case. Businesses of all shapes and sizes.
- Email marketing automation
- B2B marketing automation
- Appointments managements
- Recurring payments
- Lead scoring
- Analytics, reporting
Tammy S. (posted on Capterra):
"The pipeline feature and the ease of moving customers through the pipeline for various actions to occur. Without an outside company guiding us there was a large learning curve to learn all of the features."
Eliaquim S. (posted on G2):
"It's a complete platform for everything you need. It has a scheduling feature that does help with the lead capture process. Sometimes it just seems too much. The platform can be overwhelming. If one has no experience with this kind of platform before one needs the training they offer."
Pricing. Keap has two subscription plans. Pro starts at $129 per month and includes 1,500 contacts and two users. Max starts at $199 per month and includes 2,500 contacts and 3 users.
Time to choose the right email marketing platform
Marketing automation software is crucial if you want to see your SaaS business grow. It helps you better capture new leads and stop churn. These tools free up your time so that you can focus on your product, your customers, and your company growth.
That's why it's so important to pick a tool tailored to your needs. We hope our roundup helps you make the right choice.If you ever need a consultation, welcome to book a free strategy call with the team at Userlist.
About the author. Cristina Rojas Colloridi is a creative and content writer at DSLX. She has been working as a freelance writer for the past four years. Besides content writing, she has a scientific background in Chemistry.