What is BANT in Sales? Back to Basics
BANT: The true goal of qualification
My core mantra for sales has always been the fastest path to “No”. Immediately qualify and find the prospects that meet set criteria and minimize your time wasted. BANT is the standard for qualification and we sometimes lose our insight into qualified opportunities as we grind to build pipeline. Leaving out one of the key qualifiers can waste precious resources and time; time that could have been spent with a faster path to close. It can also help tighten our forecasting and pipeline management if we dig in and uncover the true sequence of events of the purchasing process. Determining this sequence is the overall goal of the BANT methodology.
What does BANT stand for in Sales?
Let’s break down each component and what they truly mean for the prospecting or qualifying sales rep.
Budget – Is your prospect backed by dollars?? Or just dreaming hopefully of one day owning your product? Don’t beat around the bush with this question, it is directly tied to timeline and authority. If the prospect has not received budget allocation or submitted for budget approval, you can bet on a longer sales cycle, especially in larger orgs, gov and specific verticals. Questions to ask:
- Do you have approved budget for this purchase?
- How much has been allocated?
- Is this purchase slated for this budget year?
Authority – Delegation is the delayer of all sales. Managers will almost always delegate the research and fact finding to those who really have no authority to pull the purchasing trigger. Finding out who can actually sign or initiate the purchasing process in key. But “Authority” goes way beyond this in larger organizations. You have to build the purchasing “sequence of events”, or SOE. What is the internal process for approval and purchasing? Does it go up the chain and then to purchasing and CFO sign off? Or is it an elongated process with vendor relations, security team sign off and extended budget committee routing.
Need – Drilling down into need will help establish just how important the purchase within the organization. Is your product critical in managing a compliance issue that has led to fines? Is it necessary for managing a newly acquired business partner? Or is Joe in IT excited to add a new technology to his resume and hoping his manager will sign off? Find the business problem and outcome the customer is looking to solve and achieve, and the importance of resolution.
Timeline – Note, this is not time, it is timeline!! When we ask these questions and drive this conversation, we are looking to establish not only the estimated purchase date, but also establish the SOE from a timing perspective. Drive into the steps of the SOE, and how long they take. Sample questioning or dialog: ” ok, so you want to purchase by year’s end, so I can be ready when we get to that point, how long does it typically take for your approval process? Can you breakdown the timing for me so I can set expectations internally and help things run smoothly? What is the typical bottleneck in the process?” Having a timing map will help you better forecast and answer timing questions when your manager inquires.
Do you know your SOE? Remember, using BANT to lay this out will make you a better rep, help you close more business and add efficiency to the overall process.