Redefining BANT: The Need for a Quality Lead Qualification Criteria

By Neil Smith

Most of us in sales would be aware of and familiar with the oft used acronym BANT. Whether it was qualifying leads or handling objections, BANT was the go to framework. However as years have passed on most prominent sales leaders have started feeling that the acronym has become overused, outdated and more worryingly – obsolete! Is the criteria even working? If so how well?

 To analyze this further let’s first have a quick recap of BANT.

  • Budget – money a prospect has to allocate towards your services/ product
  • Authority – does the prospect have the authority to make a purchase decision about your offering? If no can he help you get in contact with the decision maker? Can he act as an influencer?
  • Need – there exists a specific pain point that has been identified and your product or service can fix it
  • Timeline – you have a potential decision timeline or expected time by when the company wants a solution in place

Most sales and marketing leaders we talked to felt that though BANT was still relevant to an extent, the classical way of looking at things within BANT had to change. In today’s times buyers and markets are changing; they’re more interactive, more social and more relationship-oriented. Thus any relevant qualification criteria should be adaptive and dynamic to reflect these changes.

So we revisit BANT today and try to figure ways to think about each criteria with a new mindset.

Budget

These days most companies don’t have a pre allocated budget for your offering. There may be a situation wherein they didn’t even know the problem existed before yours truly walked in. Thus instead of thinking in terms of budget, think in terms of resources.  What kind of resources does the prospect’s company has to allocate towards your offering. More importantly when a prospect raises this objection try and understand the real value your solution will add to your prospects business. As an example you could explain how on the long run your product/ service could help them save resources.

Authority

Whenever a prospect raises an objection based around authority first try and validate if it even makes sense. Your prospect may not be the decision maker but you might still benefit from earning his respect and forging a connection. Thus instead of authority, think in terms of connections. Can he/ she mould the company opinion towards you? Remember in this era of delegation there could be several “right persons” to talk to within a company. Don’t limit your options by looking for just one key authority figure.

 Need

Most sales leaders we talked to felt that need was one of the criteria which remained almost constant. If a prospect doesn’t have a need for your product or service he/ she won’t buy it. However always understand the difference between need and want. At times you might have observed that coming at the solution from a different approach or highlighting a need your prospect may never have considered, helps you in pushing your product successfully.  Thus the only real change with regards to need as a criteria is to understand how to communicate that need to others. Help them decide by using collaterals such as case studies and guides that showcase how other companies in similar situations benefitted from a solution like yours.

Timeframe

Most sales leaders referred to timeframe as the most complicated of all the criteria. It’s important for sales rep to understand that while meeting quota in the immediate future is important, forecasting for the future could be even more beneficial. On the long run you might be able to create more value for your company and thus for yourself. If a prospect doesn’t show keenness to buy now, don’t try pushing him for a sale instead why not communicate them the value they’ll be missing out today and schedule a call for a few months in advance. So instead of timeframe think in terms of time allowance.

In the end you need to understand that BANT alone is not a reliable indicator of a good lead anymore. It might have been valid some years ago but today it makes sense to further refine the criteria. Nothing like it if:

  • You have an ability to build a relation
  • Can leverage that relationship to better understand prospects problems
  • Are able to identify the key pain point causing the problem
  • And finally manage to position your offerings as a clear solution to the pain points

Feel free to leave your thoughts with us via comments below.

Comments

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