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Suppose I have an existing Pardot visitor_id I get through cookies and then after a user submits a web form to me I invoke a Salesforce web service that creates a lead for me. How do I associate the lead to an existing Pardot visitor?

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I don't know the definitive answer to your question but I think I can point you in the right direction.

Assumptions

  1. You've configured a CRM connector between Pardot and Salesforce
  2. You have access to the Pardot API

Here's your sequence of events

An anonymous visitor has browsed your site and a Pardot cookie was created by the Pardot tracking code, and you gain access to the visitor_id value from that cookie.

Somehow you've gained information from this person without telling Pardot and you've created a Lead record that represents them.

Pardot and Salesforce will synchronize (here's my assumption that you configured a connector) and a new Prospect will be created in Pardot that matches the Lead record in Salesforce.

At this moment the newly-created Prospect is not associated with the Visitor (visitor_id) that YOU know is the same human being.

Here's where the API comes in. You can use the API to tell Pardot that a specific visitor_id should match a specific Prospect.

/api/visitor/version/4/do/assign/id/<visitor_id>?prospect_id=<prospect_id>&api_key=<api_key>&user_key=<user_key>

Scroll to the bottom of this API documentation to see more: Visitors API Documentation

You can get the prospect_id from the API by searching for your new Prospect.

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