In business, customer is everything and every customer was once a lead.
With so many businesses coming forth and the competition increasing like crazy, lead generation has become a huge priority.
Sales and marketing departments work day and night to find the right prospects for their products.
We now have the entire internet on our side, with marketers on social media, messaging apps and any other digital space the providers will allow them.
But this hustle hustle isn't new, nor is it restricted to digital marketing.
BANT is a sales framework that came into existence in the 1950, which is also around the beginning of the marketing era.
We are telling you that BANT is still relevant and equally useful.
Don't believe us?
Read more to find out why.
What is BANT?
BANT is a simple lead qualification framework, used to determine the ranking of sales opportunities and prioritize leads that are worth pursuing immediately.
This opportunity-identifying criterion was developed by IBM in the 1950s to improve efficiency in sales and has been used since.
What does BANT stand for?
BANT is an acronym that stands for:
Budget-To evaluate if the prospect has a budget that allows them to invest in your solution.
Authority- To determine if the prospect has any decision-making authority or an influencing position in the organisation.
Need- To understand if the prospect's organisation has a need or requirement that your product can solve.
Timing- To estimate the timeline by which the prospect may want to implement the solution and purchase the product.
This B2B sales framework helps sales and marketing teams generate better quality leads and improve overall efficiency. Prospects who meet at least 3 of these BANT criteria have a higher chance of closing sales. If a lead meets all four BANT criteria, they would be contacted by a sales team immediately.
Similarly, if a lead meets 2 out of the 4 criteria, they would be directed to the marketing department and targeted for future sales.
This way no possible leads are wasted and the speed of targeted customers increases.
Why is BANT relevant?
BANT is a basic framework that was developed in the 1950s. So the question of its relevance is bound to arise. A lot of sales experts no longer favour the program and find it outdated.
Although the questions answered through this framework are helpful, it is argued that they are too simple and can easily be replaced with an improved, more detailed framework of questions. Opponents of BANT also find that the gathered information is discovered far too late in the sales process
But this does not make BANT irrelevant.
In fact, These factors are variable and have nothing to do with the relevance of the framework.
There are other methods like GPCT (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline), that focus on more complex questions in order to understand their prospect's intent, but we would argue that BANT answers all of these questions if used the right way.
BANT as a framework must be followed right from the beginning of any interaction. Most sales representatives use the structure like a checklist, asking direct questions to see if a prospect fits the bill. This approach fails more often than not since there is no conversational flow. When dealing with a prospect, one needs to understand that every conversation is important. Even chatbots have natural language programming (NLPs) that allows them to hold a personalised conversation with prospects at any point of the interaction.
Including these questions as pointers in the natural trajectory of your conversation, allows you to confirm your checklist while getting more relevant details and building your prospect's interest in the product.
Then the obvious next question becomes:
How to use the BANT Framework?
Since BANT is a conversational framework, the best way to use it is by asking the right questions. Every conversation has an intent, therefore having a structure in mind really helps.
Here are things you can keep in mind while using BANT in your sales and marketing process.
Understand the prospect's budget
Getting a number from an organisation is easy. But it is crucial to understand how much the organisation is actually willing to invest in the problem and your product. If their financial vision aligns with your price, you can easily go ahead and qualify your prospects in terms of budget.
Identify those involved in decision-making.
It is important to know who you're talking to and what role they play in the decision-making process. Your prospect may be the director of marketing who has the most use of your product but he/she might not have any decision-making powers. Generally, organisations do not have just one person making decisions, but a group of stakeholders who get the final say. It is important to know who you're talking to and how much influence they have in the decision-making process.
Uncover the severity of the Need.
You need to know how badly your prospect requires your services and if they have a requirement at all. For this, you need to first figure out how important the problem is to them. Ask questions that help you understand their motivations with respect to the problem and the repercussions of not solving it. It is essential to uncover your prospect, team, and leaders' needs as early as possible.
Decide an estimated timeline.
Once you understand the severity of the problem, along with the knowledge of prospective organisations' budgets and decision-making authority, it is time to calculate and decide on a possible timeline. If you already know that your prospect's need to solve their problem is dire, focus on closing the deal as soon as possible. If not so, prepare your timeline for the organisation accordingly and follow up for confirmation.
Follow up and stay connected.
No matter which part of the sales process you're in, it is important to stay connected with your prospect throughout. Follow their social media channels, keep tabs on their events and sign up for their newsletter to stay updated with them along the process. Follow up to make sure you close the deal and keep track of any competitors, internal objections or possible delays.
This way you can also keep track of any new needs/problems that you can solve for them and acquire additional stakeholder information that could help your current and future sales with the organisation.
Divide the work
This is a very important point as it helps understand the division of work. Oftentimes BANT is confused solely as a sales model but that is just because its goal is to help make a sale. If BANT is looked at as a checklist, it may end up being pushed to the final sales call almost at the end of the lead generation process. But BANT isn't a checklist and needs to be used by both the sales and marketing teams.
It is important to divide the criteria of the framework between both teams. The Marketing team can take care of the 'Need' and the 'Time' criteria the Sales can focus on the client's budget and the decision-making authority involved. This way the leads that have an actual need for the product will be sent through first while the rest can be nurtured by the marketing team as future prospects.
Keep track of processes using automation.
Automation is a huge part of today's sales and marketing processes. It is normal and convenient to partner with business solutions companies like Engati for automation and chatbot assistance. Having an AI chatbot that interacts with prospective leads can save you a lot of time. It is hard to keep track of and manage all client relations. Hence implementing the BANT process in your chatbot's conversational framework can help ease the process and keep track of exactly where you left off with which client. This way you can close the deal more easily.
Questions you can ask with BANT.
Here is how you can structure questions by using BANT as the foundation of your conversation.
1. Do you have a dedicated budget for new technology purchases? What would that budget be?
2. What team’s budget would this product fall within?
3. According to our estimation, your team spends (number) per (week/quarter/year)on this issue. How does that correspond with your planned budget?
4. How do you typically get approval to spend your budget?
5. Usually, a project of this nature falls under a budget ranging between (number) to (number). How does your fit with your current budgeting plans?
6. What risks and expenses would you have to bear if this issue remained unresolved for another five years?
7. What ROI are you expecting to see?
1. Who will be using this product?
2. Is there anyone else you would need to involve in the decision making process?
3. What is your position/role in the company?
4. Are there any possible issues we can face during this purchasing process?
5. Will there be anyone else accountable for this decision?
6. Typically, this is the stage where our customer brings in (the head of Finance/ the stakeholders/ their manager) to discuss the other sales details. Would you want to invite them to the next meeting?
1. How did you realise your need for this product?
2. Have you taken any other steps to address this problem?
4. How important is solving this goal in your company's priority list?
5. What happens to your work/goals if you do not address this problem?
1. Are there any upcoming events/deadlines by which you would need to have the product in place?
2. Are there any other problems you are facing that are of higher priority at the moment?
3. Are you preparing for any big event (like lead generation/marketing campaign/hiring spree, etc)?
4. What are your objectives for the next (quarter/half of the year)? Do you think you can meet that goal without applying any sort of solution?
5. Are you currently considering any other solution/ product for this problem?
6. Working backwards from the date you've provided, we would need to finalise this agreement by (earlier date). Does that sound doable to you?
Why choose BANT for sales?
Ofcourse, there are newer, updated frameworks that have some up for sales. We already mentioned GPCT -Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline. Some other alternative frameworks would be:
FAINT- Fund, Authority, Interest, Need, Timing
ANUM- Authority , Need , Urgency, Money
CHAMP- Changes, Authority, Money Prioritisation
Then why choose BANT? The answer is simple, beyond any explanation. Most of these processes have the fundamental framework of BANT. Apart from that they all have their own issues in terms of complexity(GPCT), requirements for a pre-qualification(ANUM) and so on. At the end of the day, they are all frameworks that need to be integrated in our conversations and interactions with prospects. Conversational frameworks only require to cover the major pointers that not only require answering but also trigger the answers to many other secondary questions. BANT has been doing this the best for decades now. This makes it the most trust worthy choice of them all.
Do you agree? Do let us know.
Till then here is an article on 10 effective lead generation tips for your digital marketing agency.