What Are Lead Scoring and Grading in Pardot and How to Set Up Both

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Published on: November 2, 2021 Updated on: July 08, 2024 views Icon 655 Views

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  • Pardot

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Gaurav Rajpoot
Gaurav Rajpoot LinkedIn

Sr. Director - MarTech

Gaurav Raajput, with 15 years of experience, specializes in B2B marketing, campaign management, marketing automation (Marketo, HubSpot, Eloqua), and sales operations (SFDC admin, custom apps). He excels in SQL, CRM integration, database management, reporting, and SDLC. His expertise includes lead nurturing, data warehousing, customer targeting, and financial reporting. Gaurav's specialties are MS CRM 3.0, business process analysis, data mining, and marketing strategy.

Article Reviewed By: Rahul Sharma LinkedIn

Table of Contents

Pardot has already earned an incredible market share in the field of Marketing Automation and B2B marketers across the world are using it to drive their marketing campaigns intelligently. 

Pardot comes from the house of Salesforce, the world's leading CRM solutions provider, which makes it a very reliable solution. It offers various tools to B2B marketers like Lead Scoring and Grading. 

Let's talk about Pardot Lead Scoring

Let's assume that the marketing team of a B2B SaaS company generates a large number of leads through one of their campaigns. After some time,  they are forwarded to the sales team for conversion. The marketing team selects the leads manually without putting any science behind the customer behavior.

The sales team has limited resources to manage all the leads and push them towards closure. This results in a total mess up of the leads generated and the conversion rate continues to remain below par. The sales team will also complain about the quality of leads as well as wrong prospecting. 

To avoid such fiascos, it is important to put a mechanism in place to hand over only those leads to the sales team which can be converted into sales/subscriptions easily. This mechanism will ensure -

  • That the customer knows about product/service features and is qualified for sales
  • That the customer will not be followed aggressively by the sales team since they are not ready for purchase and needs more nurturing
  • That the customer will not unsubscribe from the emails as they will keep getting relevant content
  • That the sales team will only put efforts into closing those deals which are actually ready for purchase/subscription.
  • The Management will be able to get more accurate reports on Lead conversion rate, MQL to SQL conversion rate, and actual ROI from each campaign.

Enter Lead Scoring and Lead Grading

Pardot’s lead qualification system is called Pardot scoring and grading. Pardot score is to know how interested a prospect is in your product or service. Pardot grade represents how well that prospect fits our criteria.

What is Pardot Lead Scoring

Pardot lead scoring is a point system based on the number of interactions a lead/prospect has had with our websites, web forms, social media, etc. The higher the Pardot score, the more interactions they have had with our web properties or emails.

This gives us an indication that they are now more aware of our product or service. 

Let's take an example of Scott who is a lead in our database: 

If Scott fills out a form on our website, his Pardot score increases by 50 points. If Scott downloads a white paper from your email, his Pardot score further increases by 10 points. Thus, Scott’s lead score is  (50+10=60)

Pardot has two types of Scoring models:

1. Pardot’s Default Scoring Model

The default scoring model is a pre-set point allocation system that recognizes specific actions taken by the lead. These actions can vary from clicking on an email, page views, filling out a landing page form, etc. This is a generic scoring system.

If a lead takes one of these actions, the default numbers associated with that action are added to their Pardot score.

2. Pardot’s Customized Scoring System

Pardot allows us to make changes to these default scores and customize them according to our marketing strategy. We can add more customer touchpoints as per our needs.  

What is Pardot’s Grading

Pardot’s grading refers to matching leads with buyer personas and grading them based on their fit as an ideal buyer. This can be done on their professional, financial and geographical profiling. 

Let's take an example:

Managing Director in a Real Estate firm in Seattle = A+ Grade
Administrative Manager in a Law Firm in Montana = D Grade 

Here, we can see that a Managing director of a Real Estate firm is given A+ grade since he has financial resources and is a decision-maker. At the same time, an Administrative Manager is a Lower-middle level employee who might not have purchasing power.

Their geographical location also plays a major role in Pardot’s Grading. 

Since we know that Pardot has a default scoring system, let's explore how to set up a custom Pardot Lead scoring system.

Its quotes are easy to reset or customize the default scoring system. In the pardot Administration menu, go to Automation Settings > Scoring rules. Just click on Edit Scoring Rules and select the criteria you want to change.

Once you Save these changes, your new scoring criteria will be updated.  For all the existing prospects scored in your system based on the old criteria, Pardot will re-score them and match as per the new scoring rules.

What is Advanced Customization

There are some advanced settings available to take your Pardot Scoring and Grading to the next level. For example; you can allocate a score of 10 to the page which gives information about pricing against the score of 1 for the normal pages. 

Let's see some advanced customization options you have in Pardot. 

1. Page Actions

Re-set scoring by augmenting the point value you allocate to your most important pages on the website.

From the Marketing Menu click on Automation > Page Actions

2. Select Add Page Action

Type the name of the most important page, page URL, and the revised score you want to assign to it. If you want the page to be called out separately in a lead’s activity, then check “Priority Page”. This will make it easier to identify leads who viewed this page. 

3. Completion Actions

Completion actions work exactly the same way, but apply only to form submissions, email opens or clicks, and file downloads. 

4. Forms and Form handlers

Access your form or form handler in the Marketing > Forms menu then click on the completion actions portion of your form or form handler. Adjust your score to the desired point value.

5. List Emails

Access your email in the Marketing > Draft Emails menu then click on the completion actions portion of your email. Adjust your score to the desired point value.

6. Files

Go to the Marketing menu and select Content > Files. Upload and name your file. Adjust your score to the desired point value.

7. Automation Rules

Additional customizations can be done using automation rules. These are like completion actions but apply to broader criteria than just forms, emails, files, and pages. 

8. Moving MQLs to Nurturing

When a lead has a score between 0-50, add them to an “MQL” (marketing qualified lead) email list for nurturing.

Go to Marketing > Automation rules and create a new automation rule. 

The rule automatically looks for prospects that have a score less than 50 and executes every 10 minutes.

When prospects are found to meet the criteria, they are put into the MQL list which can later be used for email nurturing campaigns.

9. Moving SQLs to Sales

When a lead’s score goes above 50, send them to the sales team.

Once again, navigate to Marketing>Automation Rules and create a new rule

This time, your rule picks up prospects with a score higher than 50. Your action is to remove them from the MQL list and add them to the SQL list. Additionally, you can use the “Assign prospect to user” action to assign them to a sales rep.

10. Sales Alerts

If an SQL’s score increases to over 100, they are a super hot lead. They should be your highest priority.

You want to alert the sales team to follow up with them ASAP. To do this, we can create a third automation rule.

Again, navigate to Marketing>Automation rules and click to create a new rule.

This time, your rule captures prospects with a score greater than 100. If the prospect matches your criteria, you notify the assigned sales rep via an email alert. 

Wrapping Up

Understanding how Pardot’s lead scoring and grading system works is important to leverage the full capabilities of Pardot’s automation tools. In order to get the most out of Pardot, you might want to enlist the help of experts.

Pardot experts at Growth Natives can provide you with the services needed to ascend your marketing automation processes to the next level. To know more about getting started with Pardot, email us at info@growthnatives.com or visit our website

Frequently Asked Questions

Lead scoring focuses on evaluating leads based on their engagement and behavior, while lead grading focuses on assessing leads based on their characteristics and fit with your target audience or ideal customer profile. Both are essential for prioritizing and qualifying leads effectively.

Lead scoring and grading are important in Pardot because they help marketing and sales teams prioritize their efforts, identify high-quality leads, and improve lead conversion rates. By focusing on leads that are both engaged and a good fit for your business, you can increase efficiency and effectiveness in your sales process.

When setting up lead scoring and grading in Pardot, consider factors such as your target audience, buyer personas, ideal customer profile, typical sales cycle, and key behaviors or characteristics that indicate readiness to purchase. Tailor your scoring and grading criteria to align with your business goals and sales process.

To set up lead scoring in Pardot, you first define the criteria and behaviors that indicate a lead’s interest and engagement level. Then, you assign point values to each criterion and behavior based on their importance. Finally, you configure automation rules to track and adjust lead scores over time.

To set up lead grading in Pardot, you define the demographic and firmographic criteria that are important for your business, such as job title, industry, company size, and location. Then, you create grading profiles and assign letter grades (e.g., A, B, C) based on how well leads match these criteria.

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