In the world of B2B sales, the BANT Sales methodology, more than a tool, is a lifesaver.In the world of sales, every “no” from a customer can feel like a direct blow to the heart. You might think that the product wasn’t to the customer’s liking or that they simply didn’t have the funds.
It all started in the 1960s, IBM (International Business Machines) changed the sales game with its revolutionary model for identifying potential buyers: BANT Sales. But what does BANT Sales really mean, what is it for, and how can it be effectively applied in today’s sales environment, especially in B2B sales?
BANT Sales acts as a criterion for identifying opportunities. In other words, it is an analysis that collects data to determine whether a lead is ready – or not – for the moment of purchase. But what does BANT really mean, what is it for, and what is the best practice for implementing it?
Today, years after its creation, is this method still effective in qualifying your leads? What role does BANT play in lead qualification in the world of B2B sales?
To answer these questions, we will first explain the meaning of this acronym, the effectiveness of this methodology today and why it is no longer so common to see it as a decision-making parameter.
Keep reading to find out!
BANT Sales, what is it and what is its origin?
The first thing we must be clear about is that BANT Sales was developed as a method to determine if the leads met all the necessary requirements to make a purchase. Therefore, the main objective of this method was to collect information to evaluate whether a specific prospect met the necessary criteria to purchase the product or service being offered. So, to carry out this assessment, IBM devised an acronym consisting of several stages that would indicate whether the “prospect” was ready to make a purchase.
That is, if the buyer did not meet the initial BANT criteria, the salesperson would guide the prospect through the buying process until he or she was ready to make a purchase.
Each time the customer affirmed one step of the method, he would advance to the next identification step, and so on, until he was fully prepared for the presentation of the proposal made by the company.
Now, let’s explore the meaning of BANT Sales and how salespeople used it in their work.
The budget is the first pillar in our BANT journey. Its purpose is to define whether the prospect has the financial resources to invest in your solution. There is nothing more disheartening than navigating through the entire sales process only to discover that your prospect is swimming in a sea of copper coins when you need a chest of gold.
Keep in mind that the goal of BANT Sales was to gather data to verify whether a given prospect met the specifications necessary to purchase the product/service offered. In the case of the budget, it is essential to show the potential customer if there was a necessary value for that investment, only then it is possible to move forward in a negotiation.
The next pillar is Authority. In other words, it involves locating the person in the prospect’s company who has the power to say “Yes, let’s buy this!”. In the B2B world, this pillar can be a little more difficult to locate. Sometimes, buying authority may be distributed among several individuals or departments. Don’t despair! With a little boldness and determination, you can find the right people.
For that, it is necessary to find out if the contact has the power to influence the buying process as a whole and if he/she gathers the necessary information to add value to the proposal to be presented. Talking to the decision maker is a key point even to understand if your solution will be efficient for your potential customer.
The third pillar is the Need. This pillar exists for the purpose of understanding if your prospect has a problem that your product or service can solve. If the answer is yes, you are on the right track! If the answer is no, you may be navigating in the wrong waters.
For that you need to have technical skills to know if the value proposition of the service/product will be very important. Verifying whether you can meet the customer’s needs is critical to making the sale worthwhile.
The last pillar in our BANT journey is the Timeframe. This pillar refers to when your prospect plans to make the purchase. If they are ready to buy now, great! If not, don’t worry. With a little patience and follow-up, you can keep your prospect on your radar until they are ready to buy.
It is at this stage that you can project the potential pains that the implementation process may suffer. This tends to minimize the side effects of the defined timeframe between the parties. Closing the purchase is not enough, it is necessary to identify when and where the prospect is ready to buy.
Advantages of using BANT Sales in B2B lead qualification
Using BANT Sales in B2B lead qualification offers several significant advantages, here are the main ones:
Improves sales team efficiency.
By using BANT, your sales team can focus on the most promising leads, saving time and resources.
Increases the sales closing rate
With BANT, your sales team can identify and focus on the leads that are most likely to convert into customers, thus increasing the sales close rate.
Improve sales predictability
BANT can help your sales team more accurately forecast how many leads will convert to sales, which can be invaluable for planning and forecasting.
Challenges of BANT and how to overcome them
While it’s a useful strategy, it also has its challenges. Here are some of these challenges and how to overcome them:
Lack of flexibility.
BANT is an excellent tool, but it is not foolproof. Make sure your sales team is willing to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances.
The need to adapt to market changes
The world of B2B sales is constantly evolving. Make sure your sales team is always up to date with the latest trends and changes in the market.
The importance of continuous sales team training
Ongoing training is key to keeping your sales team up to date with BANT best practices and other sales techniques.
BANT Sales and Lead Qualification, beyond a simple scale
The “B2B Lead Qualification Scale” is an essential tool for any sales team looking to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness. By using a qualification scale for each of the BANT criteria (Budget, Authority, Need and Time), sales teams can gain a clear and quantifiable view of the quality of their leads.
For example, let’s consider the Authority criterion. We could set up a rating scale as follows:
0: The prospect has no authority.
1: The prospect has no authority, but can refer to the person who does (intermediary).
2: Prospect has basic authority, but cannot make the purchase decision alone (influencer).
3: The prospect has authority and is sufficient to make the purchase decision.
4: The prospect has authority and it is greater than necessary to make the purchase decision.
Authority is an often controversial criterion because, unlike other criteria such as budget, which is clear and easy to measure, authority can be more difficult to determine. In many companies, the buying decision may be in the hands of several people, which means you will need to get approval from all of them before you can move forward in the sales process.
Once you have added up the values of the four criteria, you will get an overall score that will allow you to determine the lead’s qualification level. For example:
0 – 4: Disqualified
5 – 8: Poorly qualified
9 – 12: Qualified
13 – 18: Highly qualified
These rating ranges can be useful in determining what actions to take with each opportunity. For example, you might decide not to spend time with disqualified leads, as they are unlikely to make a purchase. Low-qualified leads may need to be nurtured to build their interest and address any gaps they may have. Qualified leads should be managed on a step-by-step basis, while highly qualified leads should be followed up immediately to capture them and prevent them from leaving with competitors.
In conclusion, B2B lead qualification using the BANT method is an essential strategy for any business looking to optimize its sales and marketing process. This method, created by IBM, allows companies to identify and rank leads based on budget, authority, need and time, allowing salespeople to focus on the most promising leads.
Using BANT in B2B lead qualification offers several advantages. It allows companies to save time and resources by focusing on the most qualified leads, improves the efficiency of the sales process by providing a clear framework for evaluating leads, and increases the conversion rate by ensuring that salespeople communicate with the leads that are most ready to buy.
In addition, implementing a rating scale for each of the BANT criteria can help companies establish how qualified a lead is overall. This scale can range from a lead that has no authority to make buying decisions to one that has more authority than necessary to do so. Although authority can be a controversial criterion, its consideration is crucial to the lead qualification process.
Finally, it is important to remember that lead qualification is a dynamic process that must adapt to the changing needs of your business. Therefore, it is essential to regularly review and adjust your lead qualification process to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.