Lead ScoringPardot

Set the High Score on Pardot

Welcome Marketer to the Pardot scoring grid. The Master Control Program has chosen you to serve your system on the scoring grid. If you lose your disc or fail to follow commands, you will be immediately de-resolution…

If this sound like outdated techno-speak from some 1980s film, you would be right. Watch any film with computers in the 1980s or 1990s and you’ll find technology long thrown away.  When is the last time you fax someone?  Do you show off your PDA?  What the hell is a floppy disk? Yes, old technology isn’t anything to be proud of.

Before you start laughing at how bad technology was in the past, lets talk about your lead scoring in Pardot. Lead Scoring has long been a feature of Pardot.  In fact, the custom scoring rules has been around since January 24, 2011.  Yeah, you remember 2011!  Back when the most popular smartphones at the time were made by RIM. (who Starlord?)  Yes, you are using a decade old lead scoring model in Pardot.  Now is the time you should feel a little embarrassed. Before you shout out your best Bill Paxton imitation of “Game over man, game over” (again with 1980s reference), I got a solution to make scoring new again.

Did you have a Blackberry back in 2011?

Why is old (original) Pardot lead scoring both good and bad?

Before I tell you the problems, lets first tell you what Pardot’s lead scoring is designed to do.  Lead scoring is there to help you qualify prospects in Pardot. A score is created for every prospect based on recorded level of interest a prospect has shown. However, this interest is limited to your digital marketing efforts including web page visits, email engagement, form completions, webinars and 3rd party link clicks (and a few more listed here).  Basically, your lead score in Pardot is logging activity and aggregates all the data into a single numerical value.  Using this value, you can determine if a prospect should be assigned to Sales or not.  This is good, but not great.

Basic lead scoring has worked well for many years, but we have identified many limitations over the years:

  • Not all activity is recorded in Pardot including phone calls, print campaigns, physical events (you can’t just pick and choose either).
  • Doesn’t help with marketing to existing customers who are already qualified (you can infer it, but that doesn’t work well in data driven segments).
  • Difficult to distinguish activity over time with no way to segment by dates.
  • Rules around scores can change over time so its hard to know what a score means long term (the score they converted on isn’t recorded, you just have to remember it).

Introducing Lead Scoring Modified

So what can we do to improve a lead scoring system that is a decade old? We develop our own modification to make lead scoring better. The first modification is to be able to reset the score back to zero.  This is a basic concept of any activity. At some point, you’ll want to stop and reset back to beginning to some initial point or value. In digital marketing, you may want to reset the score based on different scenarios such as:

  • When a lead prospect changes lead status (marked dead as an example)
  • When a lead prospect converts to a contact (designate when sales takes over versus marketing)
  • When a lead becomes inactive over time (when a lead has expired or known as the “Chunky Milk Date”)
  • When your sales cycle takes a long time (multiyear deals may require per year tracking)

Another modification we need to do is to capture the lead score value (and the date it was achieved) before resetting it. I like to call this the high score and high score date. By capturing this information, we can compare later the prospect’s lead score before and after a reset.

So how does this work?

Let do an example to show you how effective the high score modification will help your marketing.  Let’s say Jenny Smith at Flynn’s Arcade Corp shown interest in your company back in 2018. She downloaded materials, open emails and visited your website back in 2018 reaching a Pardot lead score of 250.  This year, you have Lynn Jones at Alt-Delete Corp who also has shown some interest. Lynn also has downloaded materials, attended a webinar and visited your website resulting in a Pardot lead score of 245.  Looking at just the lead scores alone, you would think both Jenny and Lynn were both equally qualified based on the lead score.

2011 marked the year Facebook wanted to be like foursquare

Lead Scoring Alone

Jenny Smith

  • Pardot Lead Score: 250

Lynn Jones

  • Pardot Lead Score: 245

Now, lets look at the results if we have implemented our high score and reset modification (where we reset the lead score each year).

Jenny Smith

  • Pardot Lead Score: 0
  • Pardot High Score: 250
  • Pardot High Score Date: 2018

Lynn Jones

  • Pardot Lead Score: 245
  • Pardot High Score: 245
  • Pardot High Score Date: This Year

With the high score and reset, we can see that Jenny had been active back in 2018 and is no longer a good lead.  You could put Jenny in a win-back campaign, but you wouldn’t want to consider her ready for sales.  However, Lynn is currently active and should be directed to Sales to see if there is an opportunity. This is the advantage of the high score and reset model.

So are you ready to roll out this modification?  You just have to build some of it in Salesforce and some in Pardot.

High Score and Reset Modification Build

In our modification, we are going to modify lead object to help us retain the high score and date in Salesforce.  The high score and date will allow you to track the following:

  • Know if the activity is recent or from the past
  • Be able to score only recent activity
  • Be able to compare scores from different dates

First Step: Lets create some fields in Salesforce

Navigate to Setup in Salesforce then proceed to Objects and Fields to select the Object Manager. From there we are going to select the Lead object and then select Fields & Relationships . We are going to create two new fields.

  • Field Name: Pardot High Score
  • Field Type: Number (should be an integer as Lead Scoring does not allow decimals)
  • Default Value: 0

  • Field Name: Pardot High Score Date
  • Field Type: Date

Next Step: Create a custom workflow rule in Salesforce

Our workflow rule is going to determine if the existing Pardot lead score is the high score or not. We always want to record only the higher score from Pardot. Thus, we need the ability to compare two values. Unfortunately, we can’t do this in Pardot, but we can in Salesforce.

In Setup, Navigate in Salesforce to Workflow Rules and add the following new rule.

  • Rule Name: Pardot High Scores
  • Object: Lead
  • Evaluation Criteria: created, and every time it’s edited
  • Rule this rule if the: Formula evaluates to true
  • Formula: AND(ISCHANGED(pi__score__c), pi__score__c > Pardot_High_Score__c)


Our workflow is nearly done, but we do need to add some actions.  Under workflow actions, we are going to add two new actions. The first is to update the Pardot High Score Date field. Just click on the Add Workflow Action and select the Field Update option.

  • Name: Set High Score Date
  • Field to Update: Pardot High Score Date
  • Formula Value: Today()


Next, we will add another workflow action to update the Pardot High Score field. Just click on the Add Workflow Action and select the Field Update option.

  • Name: Set High Score 
  • Field to Update: Pardot High Score 
  • Formula Value: pi__score__c

When this all completed, you can activate the workflow inside Salesforce.  Salesforce will then update your custom field anytime your Pardot score is higher than your existing high score and record the date when it happened.

Final Step: Update Pardot and add an automation rule

After building out Salesforce to keep track of the high score, we now need to setup Pardot to manage when the scoring should reset. To do this, we are going to build out a repeating automation rules inside Pardot.  In our example here, we have built out the rule to repeat once a year and look for only those prospects who have no recorded activity over the last year.  If the prospect has not engage in over a year, then we reset their lead score back to zero.

If you want to reset your Pardot lead score based on different criteria or on a different interval of time, you just need to modify the Pardot automation rule.


So this lead scoring modification works well if you plan to reset your lead scores for another 6 months.  However, it would not work well if you plan to reset your lead scoring the next day. The reason is how the Salesforce workflow is triggered. The high score can only be written when there is a change in the prospect’s lead score.  So if you want to reset all the prospects’ scores tomorrow, I would ask your Salesforce Admin to update the high scores in Salesforce beforehand.

Bonus Level

Hopefully, you will find that using high score and reset modification will improve your marketing efforts. Using Salesforce and Pardot together, you can turn even old technology into something new and better.  However, I can’t guarantee on upgrading your vocabulary (End of Line).