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Get Started with Lead Qualification

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Define lead qualification.
  • Differentiate between scoring and grading as prospect measurement tools.
  • Consider lead qualification models.

Lead Qualification: Get in the Game

There’s a lot to be said for showing up. But in this case, when you have a sales team with both a quota and limited time to meet it, there’s no room to give participation trophies to prospects or leads in your database. So instead of an intramural league, treat qualifying your prospects in Pardot like the Olympics. Reserve a place on the team for those prospects that have earned it through engagement and by meeting your ideal requirements for customers. 

This process of building your dream-team client roster and then sending it off to your sales team for the next stage is called lead qualification. Lead qualification blends two measurement indexes—scoring and grading—to create a full picture of a prospect’s interest and suitability. You define how important various interactions with your marketing content and website are by assigning point values to activities with a score. You define how valuable specific information about a prospect is with a grade. In this way, defining an ideal score and an ideal grade and codifying your ideal prospect creates a lead qualification model for your business. 

With Pardot, you can then automate your lead qualification model using a variety of automation tools (see the Automate Marketing to Businesses with Pardot Lightning App trail) and apply it across your database. This makes it simple to send high-quality prospects over to sales. 

So what does this process look like? Let’s have Leung Chen from Get Cloudy Consulting show us. 

We’ve been following Leung as she sets up her Pardot Lightning App account to Get Cloudy Consulting’s specifications. To recap: Get Cloudy is a high-tech consulting firm specializing in CRM implementations. They’ve built a successful business as a Salesforce System Implementer. Their implementation experience includes Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Communities. This information is all important to keep in mind as Leung builds her lead qualification model. 

You first set parameters for what makes someone a compelling lead and prospect. We look at both score and grade in detail in the next two units, but here’s a simple definition for both prospect measurement tools. 

Measures implicit interest in your product by assigning a points value to activities, such as opening an email, attending a webinar, and submitting a form.
Measures explicit information provided by the prospect, such as job title, location, and company size.

As you build your lead qualification models, it’s crucial to involve sales leadership in order to get an accurate picture of what information is important. The leadership team has anecdotal data and tracks purchasing trends year over year. They’ve also built benchmarks and profiles to determine what makes an ideal prospect. Not only is this extremely valuable information for you, it also increases their buy in. 

Running the Play

Leung met with Alan Johnson, the Get Cloudy sales manager, to determine their lead qualification model and strategy. Alan’s goals for his sales team can guide the ideal prospect profile creation, which can be used to grade prospects for fit. And Leung’s engagement goals for her team’s marketing content can be used to set a score framework. Both Leung and Alan have some ideas to blend score and grade into a comprehensive model for their company’s objectives. 

Step 1 - Scoring - Identify Key Marketing Assets and Pages that Signal Buyer’s Intent

Let’s start with Leung, she knows that Pardot’s out-of-the-box scoring model will make her life easier by not requiring additional configuration. However, there are key assets that sales-ready buyers commonly request such as case studies, implementation readiness guides, or customer referrals.

To run the play, she sits down with Alan to discuss which assets and actions their sales team finds qualified buyers usually take. Alan mentions that the top actions qualified buyers usually takes that should increase the prospect scores:


Asset Type
Prospect Action
Score Impact
Request a meeting
form submission
Preparing for your (service) implementation
webinar attendance
Preparing for you (service) implementation checklist
opening whitepaper from email


There are also actions that should decrease the score or have lesser impact, because they indicate the individual is not a likely buyer. Knowing this, Leung can use automations to decrease the score or disqualify the prospect. 


Asset Type
Prospect Action
Careers Portal
Web page
Applying for jobs
Blog articles about local users group meetings
Web page
User’s Group blogs
Decrease score


Step 2 - Grading - Research and Define your Ideal Buyer

Leung has some assumptions about who GetCloudy’s ideal buyers are, but starts by asking Alan about his top 10 accounts across all services offerings. What they discover in running the Salesforce closed Opportunity reports is that Get Cloudy’s top customers have a lot in common.

These top customers:

  • Typically had more than 50 employees but less than 1,000
  • They were primarily technology companies with a few in Financial Services and Health Care
  • Most were located in city centers on the East and West Coasts of the United States.
  • The primary executive decision maker was usually the CEO or CTO
  • The primary product champion and influencers had Manager or Director titles and were either in IT or aligned directly by the product they were purchasing services for. e.g. the Director of Sales was buying Sales Cloud.

Knowing that these buyers have the common explicit information will make the process of setting up grading rules much easier. 

Over the next three units, we look at how Leung can create this lead qualification model using both scoring and grading, and then automate it across her Pardot account to provide Alan with high-quality leads.


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