Marketing Automation, Salesforce Marketing Cloud

SFMC | How to use journey exit criteria and goals

Salesforce marketing cloud journey exit criteria and goals

I might be really slow learning but I learned about this feature two years into working with salesforce marketing cloud, and I said to myself what a nice feature to have. Let me tell you what it is and give you some real life examples when to use it.

Exit criteria and goals share a common objective—they both work to remove contacts from a journey when specific criteria are met. However, there is a fundamental distinction between the two.

Goals: Goals allow you to establish the purpose of your journey and the specific objectives you aim to achieve. When these objectives are met, they contribute to your journey’s goals and are counted as such.

Exit criteria: Are also captured and you can see them in the  in the Health Stats panel on a running journey.

When both exit criteria and goals are configured in a customer journey, it’s important to note that goals are evaluated first. In other words, the system will check whether the goals you’ve set have been achieved before considering the exit criteria for removing contacts from the journey. This ensures that goal achievements take precedence in determining the journey’s progress and the fate of contacts within it.

Both exit criteria and goals are evaluated after the contact leaves the wait activity. This means that if your journey has a wait activity set to 15 days, and any of the contacts have already met the exit or goal criteria, they will be removed from the journey after they exit the wait activity.

How to work with exit criterias / journey goals

Journey criteria can be found on the administration panel of each journey and can be set / removed or changed per each journey version separatelly.

In journeys, you have the capability to work with two types of data:

  • Journey Data: This refers to data that enters the journey alongside the contact. These data points remain constant throughout the entire duration of the contact’s journey. They provide a fixed reference point for the journey’s operations.
  • Account Data: Account data is dynamic and can be refreshed at any point during the contact’s journey. This allows you to access the most up-to-date information about the contact’s status or attributes. To achieve this, you simply need to link a data extension in the attribute groups, ensuring that you have real-time access to the contact’s current state.

This fact makes it obvious that, for a contact to be removed from the journey, we need to utilize account data. Account data consists of sendable data extensions that have been linked in Contact Builder’s Attribute Groups. Don’t worry; it’s not complex at all. Simply create a new attribute group and link your data extension to the contact key. Additionally, consider the reusability aspect while setting this up.

For instance, you can collect form captures from all lead-capturing cloud pages or add data to the contact segmentation table. Avoid creating an attribute group that will be used only for a one-off activity.


We have a journey where our objective is to send reminders to:

  • Contacts who have not clicked on a specific call-to-action (CTA) or opened an email.
  • Contacts who have not submitted a specific form.
  • Contacts that purchased products in abandon basket journey.

We aim to conduct a thorough check of contact data before one or more multi-step journey sections are executed. This check involves:

  • Verifying marketing consent before sending them another email. If their marketing consent has changed, we may also consider sending them an SMS or push notification.
  • Evaluating whether they have received a certain email in the past.

Our ultimate goal is to remove contacts from the journey where they reached the goal or we no longer need them to continue the journey.

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#journey builder
Marcel Szimonisz
Marcel Szimonisz
MarTech consultant As a marketing automation consultant, I specialize in solving problems, automating processes, and driving innovation in my clients' marketing platforms.

I hold certifications in Adobe Campaign v6 (3x certified) and Salesforce Marketing Cloud (5x certified).

Additionally, I serve as a community advisor for Adobe Campaign, offering expert insights and guidance.

In addition to my professional pursuits, I also enjoy exploring various programming languages, CMSs, and frameworks, further enhancing my technical expertise and staying at the forefront of industry advancements.
Take a look at our subscription offering in case you are looking for a Marketing Automation Consultant.

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