Pardot Knowledge Base

Best Practices: Scoring

Last Updated: Apr 26, 2016 | Print this Article
For basic users, scoring helps you determine which behaviors indicate when a lead is sales ready. More advanced users can use scoring to indicate their buying stage.

Before you begin

Before you set up a scoring system, you need to define with your sales team what a marketing qualified lead looks like. How do you deem a prospect as sales ready? What criteria is involved in that decision? We're going translate that criteria into Pardot functionality. To determine what pieces are important to score, analyze leads that became customers. Identify what the typical buying path looks like, what pieces of content did they engage with, how many touches did it take to turn a prospect into a customer? If you don't have this historical data in your CRM or Pardot, ask one of your sales reps. Chances are they know exactly what types of activity leads engage in before they close.

Interest versus Intent

Scoring reflects activity or engagement, and can measure a prospect's interest. Examples include page views, accessing white papers, attending webinars, etc. These activities get lower scores, unless of course there is a specific page view that indicates they are ready to buy. Some scoring activities reflect intent. Examples include contact me form/page, searching by company name, requesting a product trial, etc. You probably already have content that indicates an strong interest in buying i.e. trials, pricing pages, contact forms, buyer's guides. You may want to weight these heavily, or even trigger alerts for some of these behaviors. Now you can determine what score a prospect must achieve before being sent to sales.

How scoring and grading work together

Grading reflects persona, fit, or demographic. Consider things like job title, industry, and company size. Still popular is BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing). Some questions to ask in order to establish these criteria: Who are you selling to? What industries are interested in your product? Do these companies need to be of a certain size or in a certain location? Who within a company is qualified to buy your product? Ideally having both a high grade, meaning the prospect is a good fit, and a high score, indicating the prospect is engaged, will signal to sales the lead is ready!


A few ideas for scoring models, consider if they are appropriate for your organization.
  • If this is your first time setting up a scoring model, don't be intimidated or put it off because you don't think you have enough information. Use Pardot default scoring and pick time at which you will re-evaluate. Will you revisit it the model in three weeks, two months? Ask your sales team about the quality of leads they have received during this time. Come back to Pardot and adjust accordingly.
  • Come up with a scoring model for each individual product line if you have multiple products.
  • Decay - deduct points if the prospect is idle for a period of time.
  • Identify which pieces of content indicate interest and what indicate intent. Not sure? Try adding a strong call to action on the ambiguous pieces and see how they do. You can always readjust.
  • Always make sure you set a time at which you will look at your results and reevaluate your scoring model.

Need more? Start a conversation with other Pardot users in our Success Community