Many organizations, in the past, used to follow the BANT methodology for qualifying the leads. This is important even in today’s difficult B2B sales cycle that a company’s marketing and sales team build a clearly defined definition of a qualified lead that both have agreed upon. If you are able to identify distinctly where the lead handoff takes place, it can act as a first step towards creating a seamless transmission between marketing and sales.
What is BANT?
BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline, which was developed by IBM as a method of identifying new opportunities.
The question you need to ask for implementing the BANT strategy will be:
Budget: What is the budget of your prospects and how much are they willing to spend?
Authority: Who is the key decision maker?
Need: Can you fulfil the need or solve the problem of your prospect?
Timeline: Do they have time to purchase or need your solution immediately?
This method is used to identify more information about your prospect for each of the above categories. You can determine a quality prospect for your business through this strategy. This helps you decide if the effort you put in the long working hours is worth it. This way, it saves a lot of your time in the end.
Questions for BANT Lead Qualifications
Instead of creating a checklist and making the prospects feel like you are interrogating them, ask questions that are more tactful. While doing so, make sure it is a two-way conversation so that you can discover what you need for each category without affecting a sale.
It gets easier for you to quote on a value based system when you know the budget parameters of your prospects. Instead of simply going around asking what their budget is, consider the following alternative questions:
How much will it cost you to solve the problem internally?
How much are you spending on the problem?
What kind of ROI do you want to achieve?
How much will you lose if the problem sticks around for 5 years?
Identifying the people who are behind the decisions and then targeting them correctly can be beneficial to your business. It makes the tone of the voice, research and finding the pain points a little easier.
However, instead of asking who makes the decisions outright, try asking following questions:
Who will be using your product or service?
Tell me about the decision making process if you have used a similar product?
Who all will be included in the decision to take our product?
You cannot serve a prospect who doesn’t need your product or service. Therefore, finding the need of your prospects will help you decide whether you want to pursue the lead or submit a proposal in any way. For example, if you ask how long a prospect has had the problem, their answer can reveal quite a bit about their situation. You need to be mindful about the question you ask in this situation and ensure to reveal the value that you offer which they cannot receive without your help.
How long are you having this problem?
What will happen if you don’t solve the problem?
Is your problem on priority right now?
Have you tried to address these problems internally?
The saying ‘timing is everything’ stands true in a lot of aspects of life.
Timeline in this method is one of those cases. Obviously, the more important their need will be the more urgently they’ll require your solution. Depending upon your delivering capacity, you can determine the least time that you can solve their problems.
It may also happen that they need your solution only for the next year. These people may take your solution once and forget about you in a few days or months down the line. You need to use all your sales skills to push the urgency of such a problem so that they don’t forget about you.
The least you can do is to prepare for a long term client acquisition process. You can ask the following questions:
What are your goals and how not solving the problem will affect your goals?
Do you have a deadline for solving your problem?
As we have mentioned earlier, having a ham-fist approach for your BANT process will not do your business any good. Subtle and polite conversations will help you get the required information without pushing off the prospect.
Your first contact will be to secure the time of your prospect, after which, it is up to BANT to decide how to move ahead.
When you apply BANT carefully, be it emails, calls or face-to-face, you will save a lot of time. Face-to-face identification is recommended followed by a phone call but in case you get only an email conversation, try to make the best out of it. This provides you will all the time you need to formulate your BANT questions.
The way people qualify B2B sales lead has changed a lot since BANT was introduced.
Multiple Decision Makers
For medium to large business we have already adapted the ‘Authority’ part of our BANT formula. You no longer have to find the decision maker, you have to instead seek them out. Here you may have to deal with more than one person and as long as you are aware of this, the formula for BANT remains unchanged.
Is Budget Still Your Problem?
A lot of businesses offer a subscription model these days and if you are running this model you need not worry about the client’s budget.
Many businesses can afford 100 USD a month and by this method you can earn easy ROI.
If you are this business, stop worrying about the budget and spend time on finding out if your solutions are a good fit for them.
To use BANT you need to adapt it to every prospect that you encounter. Customize it and then use it in your sales process.
To measure the effectiveness of the process ensure that your sales pipeline is well structured and looked after. It should measure all the metrics that you need. If you have a better sales pipeline, you will be able to make changes in your sales cycle. BANT lets you have more information on hand when you decide to scale operations.