Why Pardot Scoring & Grading are Better Together

Other marketing automation platforms combine the rating of the prospect’s profile with the rating of how engaged the prospect is with marketing campaigns into one numeric value. However, this can get confusing. What if the prospect is a student doing research? They could have such a high engagement score that it outweighs their lower ranked profile and then sales receives a lead that is really a student. Pardot separates out these two dimensions so that there is a value for the prospect’s engagement and a value for their profile.

Pardot Scoring & Grading

Founder & CMO of Cheshire Impact, Casey Cheshire, did a webinar on Mastering Pardot Grading & Scoring which explained these features in detail and shared the best practice strategy. I like the way he simplifies the concepts, “Pardot Score is how interested they are in you. Pardot Grade is how interested you are in them.”

Pardot default scoring

A Pardot score is a numeric value that is given to the prospect based on their engagement with your marketing campaigns. By default, Pardot has a baseline scoring system that is used to add more value to a prospect that has completed a form, versus one that just clicked on a custom redirect. This concept can be seen as a Big Score versus a Little Score. Someone that has given you their information and took the time to fill out a form, may be more invested in your business than one that just clicked on a link on LinkedIn. Cheshire recommends not getting too overworked about adjusting all of the default scoring to be customized, unless it makes sense for your business processes.

Is there a particular score threshold that should be met before sending a prospect over to sales? This is a conversation that needs to be had among marketing, sales, and service. If a prospect registers for their first webinar, and their score increases to a 50, are they ready to talk to sales? Chances are probably not, but if a prospect has registered for a webinar and then also completes a form to download your white paper and their score is increased to 100, are they ready to talk to sales then? It depends on the content of the white paper and what it is geared toward. It is up to your team to decide how much interest a prospect needs to show, in combination with their profile and grade, before they are sent over to sales.

There is also the ability to do Scoring Categories, this could be beneficial if you have multiple products. For example, if a prospect is really interested in Product A and has barely interacted with any marketing around Product B, then this would be reflected on their prospect record. In Pardot, teams can assign scoring categories to a particular folder that would hold all of the marketing assets regarding that particular product. If a prospect interacts with any of those assets, Pardot would create a separate prospect score for that scoring category. To set it up, navigate to Pardot Settings, Automation Settings, Scoring, and click Add Scoring Category. The start date scores activity on the assets within that folder on the chosen date moving forward. If the team would like this to be retroactive, select Include all historical activity.

Creating a scoring category

A Pardot grade is a letter given to a prospect based on the criteria your team sets. The scale ranges from A+ to F, and each grade is one-third of a letter grade. When a visitor first converts to a prospect in your system they start out with a D letter grade. The grade changes based on the profiles established in Pardot. When a prospect matches the profile criteria, their grade increases based on the amount set, or if the prospect does not match the profile criteria their grade decreases.

To set up a profile, navigate to Prospects, Segmentation, Profiles and click Add Profile. The name given is the name that will be used in automation rules to assign profiles. Now, getting to this step assumes that marketing, sales, and service have all already sat down to agree upon the Ideal Customer Profile and discussed who sales wants to be talking to. For example, is your ICP in a particular Industry? If yes, then this would be a piece of criteria you would want to add to the profile. Do they have a particular role at the company? If yes, then this should also be added to the profile. The grade adjustment you choose per criteria depends on how much that matters to your business.

Creating a profile in Pardot

Automation rule to assign a prospect profile

According to this illustrated example, if a prospect is in the Banking Industry and is in the Role of CEO, then they will be assigned the Ideal Customer Profile. This notation helps to set apart and highlight prospects that are in that desired profile very quickly.

Why They Are Better Together

The grading and scoring combination helps marketing to avoid sending over a student doing research, from the earlier example, to sales. Depending on the lead hand-off process established, you could be keeping prospects in Pardot and then assigning them to a sales user to get the prospect in Salesforce, or if you are sending all of your prospects over to Salesforce to get marketing campaign attribution from the start, you could be using a Marketing Queue. Either way, using Pardot grading and scoring allows marketing to rate prospects based on two dimensions, allowing for a better MQL rating system for sending leads over to sales.

Aside from the lead hand-off from marketing to sales, using profiles and grading provides a new depth to marketing segmentation. Teams can create lists and nurture campaigns just for prospects with a certain profile and/or a certain grade. Imagine all of the prospects with an A grade getting an invite to an exclusive event or receiving a personalized nurture campaign. Profiles and grading can be crafted in conjunction with your account based marketing approach and be used to mark the prospects that fall into those particular segments. There are so many ways to get creative, it all just depends on how your team chooses to utilize the features.

Only using Pardot scoring without grading is like only ever having Oreos and never getting to dunk them in milk, which means your team does not get to experience the full benefits of Pardot’s functionality. Think about how your team could implement these features with your marketing processes and how you can take them to the next level to get the best return on your technology investment.

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