Not All Prospects Are Alike – Grade to Prioritize!

Not All Prospects Are Alike – Grade to Prioritize!

Last Updated on February 10, 2022 by Rakesh Gupta

In my last article Delight Sales Team with Pardot’s lead scoring and grading frameI discussed what is lead scoring and how you can use it in Pardot. If you did not get a chance to read it then, I suggest you do so now – it will help you to better understand this article. 

Just to recap, Lead scoring lets you assign a value (point) to each prospect based on (1) information they share with you; and (2) their engagement with your website and brand across the internet. 

What is Lead Grading?

As mentioned, lead score provides a numeric value that is based on the prospect’s interest level — the higher the lead score, the more interested they are. The problem with this one-sided model is that it is difficult to differentiate between the leads that are legitimately interested in your product and the leads that are on your site either because their friend suggested that they check out career opportunities, or because they are doing some research on your industry.

Unlike lead scoring, lead grading helps marketing departments to differentiate between leads that are mere visitors on your site and the ones that are sales qualified based on explicit information – (industry, title, company size, and so on) captured about the leads. 

Applying a grading model to your marketing automation allows you to sort leads based on their profiles and characteristics; and this in turn enables you to identify which leads are a good fit for your company. Grading captures information like whether the lead is an intern completing a form for research purpose or, an EVP of Marketing; which industry do these leads belong to; the size of their company, and much more. Evaluating these characteristics helps you to categorize the prospects into ‘hot’ and ‘not-so-hot’ category. This prevents sales reps from wasting their time on leads that either have no intention, or ability, to make a purchase.

Reference – world wide web

Grades are letter-based. Grades indicate how interested a company should be in their prospects. Pardot assigns a letter grade to each prospect; a prospect can get anywhere from an F to an A+ – ranging from worst to best.

  • A+
  • A (Great)
  • A-
  • B+
  • B (Good)
  • B-
  • C+
  • C (Average)
  • C-
  • D+
  • D (Below Average or Not Graded)
  • D-
  • F (Poor)

By default, all Prospects are assigned a grade of D. Then, each prospect’s grade either rises or falls based on how well his/her persona aligns with a company’s ideal customer profile.

Default Profile in Pardot

All Pardot accounts come with a default profile set to measure prospects against five criteria: 

  • Company size: 2/3 letter grade
  • Industry: 2/3 letter grade
  • Location: 2/3 letter grade
  • Job title: 2/3 letter grade
  • Department: 2/3 letter grade

All prospects are assigned a default profile upon creation. Since the default profile is already applied to every prospect, it is best practice to edit the default profile to match your ideal prospect profile. To jump prospects from D+ to C- s/he needs 1/3 letter grade. 

Let us take a deeper dive to understand the mechanism of letter grade. Use Case – Tony’s current grade is D. Then he receives 2/3 letter grade for company matching; furthermore, he again receives 2/3 letter grade for Industry matching. As a result, Tony’s new Garde jumps upwards from D to C+.

Applying grading to prospects

In light of the above, you have attained a good understanding of what is grading and how it is different from lead scoring. Now we will learn how to apply this understanding. 

Let us start with a business use case. David Haditsch is working as Marketing Manager at GurukulOnCloudGurukulOnCloud offers corporate training to companies that are larger than 100 people. Typically these training requests are made by employees with ample authority – like the VP of Learning and Development (L&D) or a Senior HR. In Pardot, we can ensure that prospects with these jobs titles (or similar) – and those that work at companies who have at least 100 people – are prioritized by GurukulOnCloud’s sales representatives using the following criteria:

  • If the prospect field Job Title is VP of Learning and Development (L&D) or a Senior HR or contains HR, then increase the prospect’s grade by a whole letter grade (For example, from D to C)
  • If the prospect field Company Size is 100+ then increase a prospect’s grade by 1/2 a letter grade (C to C+)

Solution for the above business requirement

Before going ahead with the solution, the first thing we have to do is update the default profile and adjust the letter grade as per above business scenario. Then each Grading Model requires the use of Pardot’s Automation Rule to match the criteria. As a general rule, one automation rule is required per grading criteria.

To customize the default profile – to make sure that all of the letter grades are same – perform the following steps: 

  1. Click on Marketing | Segmentation | Profiles
  2. Then click on the Default profile, and then click on the Edit profile button 
  3. Adjust the grade weights (⅓, ⅔, 1) in the default profile to reflect the following:
    1. Adjust Job Title weight to 1 letter
    2. Adjust Company Size weight to 1/2 letter
  4. Once you are done with all the changes, click on the Save Profile button.

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

  1. Navigate to Marketing | Automation | Automation Rules
  2. Then click on the + Add Automation Rules button, as shown in the following screenshot: 
  3. The next step is to enter few details, as mentioned below:
    1.  Name for new automation rule – for this scenario, enter Job Title Grading Criteria as name
    2. Select a Folder where you want to save the automation rule – for this scenario, select Brand Awareness (If folder does not exist, create one)
    3. Add Tags to organize your automation rule. In this scenario, enter Brand Awareness as a tag. If you want to learn more about folders and tags then, refer to this article Overview of Folders and Tags
  4. The next step is to define the rule criteria. To add or modify rule criteria, perform the following actions
    1. First, select a Match Type. Below are the match types Pardot offer 
      1. Match All: – It will return results that match ALL of the criteria.
      2. Match Any: – It will return results that match any of the criteria. 
    2. In our scenario, select Match Any and defined criteria, as shown in the following screenshot: 
    3. The next step is to define the action. In the Actions section, select at least one action to take place when your rule criteria are met. To add or modify actions, perform the following actions
      1. To add an action, click on + Add new action button. To remove an action, click on the trash icon.
      2. Using the drop-down define the actions as per our business scenario, as shown in the following screenshot:
  5. Once you are done with all the changes, the final step is to click on the Create automation rule button to save the rule. Your rule will be saved in paused mode. This will allow you to complete all the components of your campaign before activating the rule.
  6. To activate the rule you have just created, navigate to Marketing | Automation | Automation Rules and locate your new rule; then click on thResume button. 

Voila! Now, any existing prospects you have (and any future ones) that have VP of Learning and Development (L&D) or a Senior HR or contains HR in their job title will receive an increase in their letter grade.

Great! Now fly solo and create one more Automation Rule to match Company Size grading criteria! Good Luck!

In this blog, you learnt what a prospect’s grading is and how to adjust them. Lead scoring and gradings help you to really understand your prospects so that you, as a marketer, can be more effective. Go ahead and conquer your own lead scoring system – your sales team will thank you! If lead scoring and grading still seems daunting, contact me and I will be happy to help.

Please feel free to add constructive comments and insights to the blogs.

Note: – I am thankful to and for sponsoring my blog.

Proofreader: - Munira Majmundar
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