Pardot grades and scores

by | Aug 29, 2022 | Pardot (MCAE)

Date last updated:

Your marketing efforts are paying off and you’re generating prospects in Pardot. Now it’s time to take it past the top of the marketing funnel. How do you qualify Pardot leads to determine which ones should be forwarded on to sales? And which ones should perhaps remain in Pardot and enter an engagement program? In this post we tackle Pardot grades and scores so that you can get started with leveraging these powerful features for qualifying your leads.

Pardot grades

Simply put, Pardot grading tells you how interested you should be in a prospect. Pardot grades give you a good indicator of how closely a prospect matches your ideal buyer persona. Grades are based on explicit factors and information prospects supply about themselves. In theory, the higher the prospect grade, the better they are a good fit for your product or service.

Pardot grade weighting

Pardot grading ranges from A+ to F. Initially, all prospects are assigned to the default profile and have a grade of D, which is a below average fit. The default profile cannot be deleted or renamed. The default grade is determined by five categories: account type, company size, department, industry, job title and location. A grade is not displayed on a prospect until they match, or unmatch, the assigned profile’s criteria.​

Pardot grading range

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Pardot profiles

The default profile set for Pardot grades is as follows.

Pardot default profile

The default profile is applied to every prospect at the start. Salesforce recommends tweaking the default profile to match your ideal prospect profile. Depending on how complex your buyer persona profiles are, you may wish to keep the default as is—for reference—and create new ones for your ideal customer profile.

Creating a new prospect profile

To create a new profile we recommend listing out all of your key criteria in a spreadsheet or document. 

Here are some profile criteria questions to consider: 

  1. Company size to target? (small, medium, large)
  2. Industry to target? (legal, medical, manufacturing)
  3. Department to sell to? (technology, sales, services)
  4. Level of prospect to target? (mid-level, manager, C-level)
  5. Specific locations you do/don’t sell to? (US, Canada, Europe)

Once you’ve determined the criteria for your new profile, it’s time to create it in Pardot. To do this, head to Prospects>Segmentation>Profiles and click on the button ‘Add Profile’. The first thing you’ll notice is that there are no default criteria in place, leaving you free to choose all the criteria as you deem applicable. For each criterion you will allocate a score adjustment in increments of 1/3. The better the criterion match, the greater the score adjustment.

Pardot ideal prospect profile

This is an example of what an ideal customer profile might look like.

Automation rules for profile matching

Now that you’ve created a new profile, you need to create an automation rule to match prospects to it. Under Automations>Automation Rules create a new rule with the same name as field you’re matching. If your best industry match is banking, for example, create a rule called Banking profile match. You’ll then match prospect default field containing ‘bank’ and an action to change prospect profile to your newly created profile.

Automation rules Pardot matching

It’s best to create an automation rule for each criterion. According to Salesforce, it’s important that the grading rules are created as individual automations to ensure that the profiles are increasing and decreasing prospect grades across each criterion. With any automation rule, always preview matches before running the rule. Once the automation rule is running, it will match current and new prospects.

Pardot scores

Simply put, Pardot scoring tells you how interested a prospect is in your company. A Pardot score is a numeric value that is based on actions the prospect takes, such as web pages viewed or email links clicked. These actions are scored and measured as implicit interest in your company and/or its products and services.

Prospect scoring is valuable from a business perspective because you can calculate the amount of interest a prospect has in your marketing efforts by measuring their level of engagement.

Pardot scoring rules

When a Pardot visitor converts to a prospect it is assigned a score. Pardot has default scoring values on 24 actions set up in the baseline scoring model.

Pardot scoring rules

Some users find the baseline scoring model sufficient. Others want to modify the numerical values and/or add new criteria. To customize your baseline scoring model in Pardot go to Pardot Settings>Automation Settings>Scoring. Here you can increase or decrease points. Pardot will show you an approximate number of prospects that will be affected by each rule change.

Where to find Pardot scoring

Changing a prospect’s score

Pardot gives you several ways in which you can adjust a prospect’s score.

  • Manually—on their prospect profile
  • Completion action—for example, a successful form completion adds 50 points on to a prospect’s score
  • Automation rule
  • Page action
  • CSV import—when importing prospects, you have the option to adjust the score of every prospect in the import by x amount


How can I leverage grades and profiles?

Marketers want to qualify prospects to provide warm (or steaming hot!) leads to sales, and at just the right time when a prospect is expressing interest. Salesforce provides a suite of functionality that you can use to better understand and qualify your prospects.

Scoring quantifies how interested a prospect is in your digital assets.

Grading qualifies your prospects based on attributes your business deems as important.

Profiles help you differentiate how you are grading different groups of prospects.

Savvy marketers can leverage Pardot functionality to qualify leads for sales. They can also use Pardot to segment prospects, based on engagement and prospect attributes, to provide them relevant information from your company.

Have questions on Pardot grades and scores? Feel free to reach out. We can help optimize your current lead management model in Pardot or create a new model from scratch using best practices.

For reference

Guidelines for grading prospects

Automation rules

Scoring prospects


About the Pardot rename

In April 2022, Salesforce announced the rebrand of Pardot to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. While the rebrand unfolds and the world adapts to the new nomenclature, we'll keep the Pardot name in our blog posts.

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