How to

bench-accounting-49023Understanding – and better yet, prioritizing – your prospects doesn’t need to be complicated. Pardot’s dual capability of being able to evaluate prospects based on engagement and inherent characteristics means that your sales team won’t be left guessing about who to call or better yet, who’s ready to buy. Below we break down the differences between Lead Scoring & Grading, explaining how to get up and running with one, the other, or both quickly and easily. Let’s get started.

What is Lead Scoring?

The process of ranking a prospect’s level of interest based upon their interactions with your website and collateral.

  • Scores are numerical.
  • Initial scores are 0.
  • Score values are infinite.

Scores are measured on an ongoing basis. A score can be increased when certain actions are completion; and similarly, a score can be decreased provided a prospect undertakes an action that indicates irrelevant or non-marketable activity (like checking out the Careers page). For example, here are some actions that impact a prospect’s score as dictated by Pardot’s default scoring model:

  • Form Submission (+50)
  • Landing Page Success (+50)
  • Olark Chat Opening (+10)
  • Form Error (-5)

If you know what actions are most indicative of a prospect’s interest, you’re able to change your scoring model to one that works best for your organization. It’s easy:

On the Pardot dashboard, navigate to Admin > Automation Settings > Scoring Rules and click ‘Edit Scoring Rules’

What is Lead Grading?

The process of determining whether or a not a prospect or their business is sales qualified based on their characteristics.

  • Grades are letter-based.
  • Initial grades are D.
  • Grades range from A+ to F.

Applying a grading model allows you to measure things like the authority of a prospect (i.e. are they an intern completing a form, or the VP of Marketing?), the industry they work for, or the size of their company, and much more. Evaluating these characteristics help you prioritize leads, showing you which are the best and biggest fish to fry. Just like in grade school, grades are awarded for ‘correct’ answers – in Pardot’s case, we award grades for our ‘favourite’ prospects.

Check out the example below.

william-stitt-196804XYZ Corp usually fulfills wholesale orders to companies that are larger than 200 people in size, and typically these orders are made by employees with ample authority – like the VP of Sales or a Sales Manager. In Pardot, we can make sure that prospects with these jobs titles (or similar) and who work at companies who have at least 200 people, are prioritized by XYZ’s sales representatives using the following criteria:

  • If the prospect field ‘Job Title’ is ‘VP Sales’ or ‘Sales Manager’ or contains ‘sales’, then increase the prospect’s grade by a whole letter grade (B to A)
  • If the prospect field ‘Company Size’ is ‘200+’, then increase a prospect’s grade by 1/2 a letter grade (B+ to A-)

Similar to scoring, we are able to adjust letter grades down provided we wanted to ensure job titles like ‘intern’ was a accounted for the prioritization of prospects. Some other criteria that you may way to adjust your grading model for may include*:

  • Location (based on City, State, Country)
  • Industry
  • Annual Revenue

Creating a Grading Model requires the use of Pardot’s Automation Rules. As a general rule, one automation rule is required per grading criteria.

Below are the steps for quickly implementing the grading criteria for Job Title using Pardot’s default profile:

  1. On the Pardot dashboard, navigate to Marketing > Segmentation > Profiles
  2. Click on ‘Default’
  3. Click on ‘Edit profile’
  4. Click ‘+Add new criteria’
    1. Complete the ‘Criteria name’ with ‘Job Title’
    2. Select the grade adjustment you would like to see provided their Job Title matches that of your ideal prospect
  5. Click ‘Save profile’

Great! The next step is to get an Automation Rule to set up to ensure this grading criteria is applied to your prospects.

  1. On the Pardot dashboard, navigate to Marketing > Automation > Automation Rules
  2. Click on ‘+Add Automation Rules’
  3. Name your Automation Rule (i.e. Job Title Grading Criteria) and select a destination folder
  4. Select ‘Match All’
  5. Click ‘+Add New Rule’
  6. Select ‘Prospect default field’ from the dropdown box
  7. In the second dropdown box that will appear, select ‘Job Title’
  8. Select ‘Contains’ from the subsequent drop down
  9. Type ‘Sales’ in the last empty text box in the sequence
  10. Click ‘+Add new action’
    1. Select ‘Change profile criteria’
    2. Select ‘Default’
    3. Select ‘Job Title’
    4. Select ‘Matches’
  11. Click ‘Create automation rules’

Voila! Now, any existing prospects you have (and any future ones) who have ‘Sales’ anywhere in their job title will receive an increase in their letter grade.

What if I have different types of prospects that I’m looking for?andrew-neel-218073

Within Pardot, you can create grading criteria within the ‘Default’ profile (which we have done above), or you can create individual profiles for different personas. For XYZ Corp, we may be looking for prospects that are part of a different line of business: we provide wholesale products to nonprofits at a discount price. Typically, nonprofit sales are made to those in the Executive Director role. As such, we can create a profile for the nonprofit sector that will adjust grades based on more relevant, persona-based criteria – prospects across different verticals and areas of businesses need not be treated the same way in Pardot.

What is a blended Lead Scoring & Grading model?

By measuring a prospect’s level of engagement in conjunction with characteristics, we are able to evaluate their decision-making likeness based on authority and activity. A prospect may be a a VP of Sales, but may have only been on to your website 1 or 2 times. The grade may be high, but their score would likely be low.


At Bubblebox, we are proud to have Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultants aboard our team. When it comes to Pardot, there’s no better team to help you get up and running, or help you craft customized personas; whatever stage you find yourself at in your Pardot journey, Bubblebox is here to help. 

Get in touch with us today to learn more about what Pardot services we offer, and how our team can lend a hand. 



*the ability to grade prospects based on any information is contingent on it being present on the prospect’s record (what information you have available in your data)