Searching for new business opportunities takes time and resources. Sales teams get a large number of leads that they are emailing or calling to see if these leads have a real interest in the product. Sometimes they spend hours talking to prospects before understanding that they don't have the potential to become an opportunity any time soon.
To make a difference and direct the strength of the sales team to work with the “right” customers, a well-defined strategy for qualifying potential customers is needed.
Pardot does an excellent job of solving this problem. This is a powerful marketing automation platform that provides marketers with an efficient way to track, segment, and qualify prospects, identify the most interesting leads, and send them to the sales team.
Pardot Lead Qualification - is a tool of marketing automation that is based on two systems working together which are Scoring and Grading.
Scoring at Pardot evaluates how interested Prospect is in your product or service based on his interaction with your assets and communications.
Grading - evaluates how Prospect fits your business in terms of profile. It evaluates whether the lead information meets the criteria you have specified to define your ideal buyer profile.
Let's take a look a bit closer at both evaluation systems.
As mentioned above, grading is based on the respondent's profile data. It is a useful tool for aligning sales and marketing about the quality of leads. Grades take into account information such as business area, company size, annual income, position held, and location.
You can define and customize Grading criteria yourself, depending on the specifics of your business. The potential customer rating is expressed as a letter rating from F (worst (Fail)) to A+ (best). Pardot assigns a default score of D to all potential customers. Grades can be adjusted positively or negatively by (⅓, ⅔, 1).
Let's take a look at the way Pardot Grading works, using the example of an educational company, alias XEducation, that sells courses to professionals.
After analyzing current and past clients, together with sales leaders, a profile of the ideal buyer was compiled - the head (C-level) of a large company located in City 1. Thus, the main criteria that are necessary for Prospect’s grading were identified - the size of the company, location, and job title - and it was established how strong each criterion is in determining the quality of prospects.
Based on the resulting matrix, a Pardot Profile was created and called Clients. Thereby, we set a condition, which criterion and how much will increase the Prospects Grade in case of a match.
Next, we created Automation rules. The first (1) action defines the rules that the prospect must meet, and the second (2) action specifies what criteria these rules will meet. Thus, we set the condition that the choice in the job title field of one of the listed positions -CEO, CMO, COO, CFO- is compared with the Job Title C-Level criterion, which increases the prospect's grade by 1 letter.
To fully customize Prospects Grading, similar Automation rules must be created for the rest of the criteria.
After we totally customized Pardot Grading, XEducation can easily identify Prospects that fit the ideal target profile and have a higher purchase potential.
If Grading is based on the prospect's profile and who he is, then Scoring is based on actions that the Prospect takes. Score increases when a potential customer performs actions on a marketing asset, whether it's filling out a form, downloading a file, opening an email, clicking a link, or viewing a specific page - all of these actions change the score of your prospects. This helps you evaluate potential customers based on their level of interest in your business and its products, how well they fit as a target customer for your product, and their current stage in the buying cycle. The higher the score, the more the potential customer interacted with the marketing assets.
Out-of-box, Pardot comes with a baseline scoring system. However, depending on the specifics of the business, you can change points for a particular action, thereby making the assessment individual for the company. There are several ways to change the points of action: manually in Pardot Setting or using automation rules or completion actions. Let's look at an example.
XEducation sells courses in three areas A, B, and C. The main marketing elements for interacting with customers are website, landing pages, forms, webinars, videos, information files, and email templates. Prospects that registered on the site, downloaded a file with prices, and attended a webinar have the highest percentage of conversions. By default, we have the following points for these actions.
Since the actions listed above are a strong indicator of a purchase, new points for Webinar Attended (40) and Price-list access (35) were determined in conjunction with the sales team.
Set a new score for participation in the webinar with the following action: Pardot Setting -> Automation Setting -> Scoring -> Edit Scoring Rules
Not only the price list but also other files (for example, timetable, course description, etc.) are available to the client for downloading. To change the score for downloading the price list, we will use the Completion Action.
For X Education, it is important not only the actions that the prospect took, but also when he took them. If the prospect has not been active for more than 3 months, then the willingness to buy is assessed as low, despite the overall good score. You can set up a negative score using the Automation rule.
A full prospect scoring, including a negative one, will help eliminate unjustified overscore, and make it objective, reflecting the real stage in the buying cycle
As mentioned earlier, XEducation offers courses in three areas. In order to adapt the engagement with the prospect depending on his interests, it is important to understand what area he is interested in. Scoring Categories will help you achieve these goals.
To implement Scoring Categories, you need to assign Pardot assets to separate folders that group the relevant activities for each category. Then, on the Scoring page, create a category and designate an asset folder.
Identifying categories shows both the overall score and the score for interaction with assets for each product. In the example above, you can see that Prospect is more interested in Course A. This knowledge will allow you to build engagement with Prospect based on its priority.
Let's suppose that prospect has started downloading a piece of content that belongs to another product's folder. With scoring categories, XEducation employees can track this new interest in an additional product and begin the process of developing cross-selling.
Using Scoring and Grading together is a powerful combination. And now, having dealt with these two Pardot systems, and understanding what their features and differences are, you can start developing the Lead Qualifying model.
LEAD QUALIFYING MODEL
It is very important at this stage, together with the sales team, to determine prospects that will go to the "basket" of the sales department, and which ones should remain for further marketing nurturing. The final goal of lead qualification is to maximize the number of prospects that are ready to interact with the sales team.
Based on the previously set Grading and Scoring parameters, a Lead Qualifying matrix was built for XEducation and the following criteria for assigning a prospect to a sales department were defined - Grade A + Score more than 110 and Grade B + Score more than 130.
The only thing left is to install Automation rules and assign Prospects to the Sales team.
Now we can say with confidence that the Sales Team will receive only qualified leads with a high percentage of conversion, which will help reduce the cost of the lead and increase the company's profit. The remaining avenues will remain for further marketing cultivation, built solely on their priorities.
Pardot Lead Qualifying is a great tool that will improve the quality of leads coming to the sales department, provide improving the performance of the sales department, ensure a high increase in conversions and help to grow the company's profit.
A huge advantage of Pardot is the ability to customize the lead qualifying model, taking into account the specifics of the company, business, and product, and full automation of processes allows you to effectively implement your marketing strategies and plans.