Lead Scoring & Grading in Pardot

By November 29, 2018 No Comments

Wouldn’t it be convenient if you had someone monitoring visitors on your site to keep a running tally of every visitor interaction and send the best-suited ones to your sales team? Well, it’s not a person, but that’s precisely what Pardot Scoring and Grading can do if set up correctly.

With Pardot and marketing automation in general, it’s essential to measure and record activity so that we can correlate it with fit and interest in our brand. Depending on how high of a score they’ve accumulated, we can show them relevant dynamic content, enroll them in applicable emails, and know when it’s appropriate to assign them to sales.

When working with Pardot, there are two methods we can use when evaluating a prospect:

  • Lead Scoring: Lead scores are a point system used to determine how much a prospect has interacted with your brand.
  • Grading: Pardot can use letter grades to determine how much a prospect aligns with your ideal customer profile.

Why qualify your leads with Pardot scoring & grading?

The main point of scoring and grading systems is to automatically qualify your prospects based on their interactions with your brand. Mostly, we use automation rules, which we will discuss in a later chapter, to convert prospects to MQL status then assign them to a salesperson in your CRM.

Lead scoring criteria

Out of the box, Pardot gives numerous options for adding to or subtracting from a prospect’s score, such as page views, landing page successes, and email clicks. Each of these has a default point value which can be modified to fit your particular needs.

If your business has multiple business units or products, you can use scoring categories to assign scores differently for different products. You can view all scoring categories applicable to each prospect. You can then set up automation rules to assign those qualified leads to different teams once they pass your specified threshold.

Grading criteria

Pardot options for grading are not quite as robust as the ones for scoring. Grading uses a simple system that increases a prospect’s grade by one-third, one-half, or one whole letter grade depending on the criteria you define.

Should you have multiple products or business units, grading doesn’t use categories quite as scoring does. You can create multiple grading profiles assigned on a user-by-user basis, which you can do through completion actions or automation rules. Further, you must also make changes to grade manually or through some form of automation.

How scoring and grading intersect

At EBQ, we generally find scoring more useful than grading for our particular needs. However, there are drawbacks to relying only on one or the other. The intersection between grading and scoring can be illuminating. Let’s look at some examples:

  • Low Score & Grade: These are your lowest value prospects. They probably have not interacted with the brand in any respect, and you may even want to remove them from your database.
  • High Score & Low Grade: These prospects show plenty of intent and interest in your brand, but they might not be a potential customer. They could just be doing research or looking for a job.
  • Low Score & High Grade: These prospects meet your buyer persona and seem like an excellent fit for your product, but they just aren’t interacting with your brand. You may be able to nurture these prospects through marketing or outbound calls.
  • High Score & Grade: This is the dream prospect. You should contact anyone who meets your score and grade thresholds as soon as they cross your MQL threshold.

Getting started with lead scoring

It’s crucial that you standardize your lead scoring to prevent confusion and ensure that goals of your sales and marketing teams are aligned. Your marketing and sales teams should meet together to discuss what should be considered an MQL or simply a qualified lead record in the platform.
Determining an MQL can be based solely on a score of:

  • How much interest they’ve shown towards your tracked assets
  • Their grade as an ideal prospect
  • Alternatively, can be customized to the client’s business model/business process


Pardot lead scoring and grading is an integral part of the platform and can be used for other functions besides just qualifying leads for sales. Scoring and grading are effective for segmenting your more developed contacts into lists and targeting them with relevant emails and dynamic content. In the next section, we’ll go over how you can start building out those lists.

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