5 Best Practices for Successful Pendo.io Implementation

October 23rd, 2019

Today’s Community Contributor is Eddie Driver, a Product Marketing Manager at PaySimple. Eddie is a seasoned product marketing manager that has worked at SaaS-based companies on a wide range of technology products. These include payment gateway software, survey software, and corporate performance management applications. Check out some of the detailed reviews Eddie has written on tools he has used during his career on TrustRadius.


Any Product Marketing or Product Management team should always strive to know as much as they can about their users. Not only why they use your product, but how they use your product. Where do they spend most of their time? How can you use that data to promote relevant features and functionality? Pendo.io is a product analytics and messaging software that allows you to do all of that (and more). 

Purchasing Pendo.io is a great step towards being able to learn more about your users and use in-product messaging to drive product adoption. However, Pendo is valuable enough that as soon as people hear it’s being implemented, the requests to get a piece of the action will start piling up quickly. Knowing this, there are a few best practices that will help your organization get up and running with Pendo quickly and smoothly.

1. Keep the implementation team small

Implementing new technologies can get out of hand and the scope can increase very quickly if the team is too large. The goal of implementation should be to get the software functional and ready to use, not check off every use case that arises from day one. 

Keeping the implementation team to a few members (3-4 max) and prioritizing the use cases that need to be ready at launch will help make sure scope creep doesn’t hinder your progress

To help create an ideal implementation team, pick one person from Product Management (product analytics focused), one from Product Marketing (in-product messaging focused) and one from UX/Design (product UI focused). Having all three parties on this team will ensure all key functions of Pendo will have representation in the implementation group.

2. Only plan for the first 90 days

Commonly, that implementation starts with a documented plan/goal and changes throughout the process. A common mistake is trying too hard to set up the product for “long-term success” right away. This can cause lost focus during the implementation process because people are thinking too much about how things might be a couple of years down the road and trying to plan for it now. 

For your initial implementation, ask yourself where you want to be in 90 days and use that as your guiding light. This will ensure you’re not focusing on too many use cases from the start and letting implementation scope increase before even getting Pendo into your product. When you are learning throughout your implementation, let that guide how your 90-120 day plan shapes up. 

3. Identify key integrations before implementing

Pendo surfaces a ton of product usage data without doing anything other than turning it on. But one of the most valuable parts of Pendo is that you can bring in external data sources to segment, target, and track users and accounts, something many other tools can’t do. Before kicking off implementation, have your small (remember?) implementation group decide if there’s third-party software containing data that would be valuable to integrate with Pendo. 

One common use case is combining Pendo and Salesforce data. With the Pendo—Salesforce integration, you can import data from Account and Contact objects in Salesforce to combine with product analytics data to create hyper-targeted segments for analysis, product messaging, and more. By identifying these other data sources early and integrating other software at the beginning of implementation, you will be able to open the door to additional use cases and bring more value into Pendo from day one. 

Do it later down the road…and you might need to restructure workflows you’ve already created and spend time undoing existing work.

4. Set up roles and permissions early

Once you’ve gotten up and running with Pendo, you’ll want to start thinking about who else will be granted access to the software. Scaling slowly and controlling access to the product is key. Pendo is designed to be collaborative, but if people are not properly trained or given too much access too quickly, that can quickly turn into a negative. 

After your (again) small implementation team has a handle on how to use the product, identify another handful of individuals to be granted access and structure their user roles to only have access to what they need. Consider giving them the ability to build and modify in-product messages, but still requiring approval from an implementation team member. Or perhaps they can build new reports and dashboards, but not change or modify existing ones. As more people get ramped up, this will ensure that they won’t interfere with existing workflows or public messages and confuse other users.

5. Get ready to experiment!

Lastly, Pendo is a tool that has an almost unlimited amount of use cases. Virtually everything a user does in your product can be tracked and analyzed. During implementation, always have your 90-day goal top of mind, but run small experiments on top of it. 

For example, pick a small target of users and try to create a two-question survey to get quick feedback, send help center content to users that are visiting new areas of the product, or promote features that haven’t gotten much love for a while. Little experiments not only help you get practice building and using a new tool, but also help you uncover new ideas and use cases for the future that you can put in your Pendo idea backlog. Pendo is made for experimentation—use it that way!