What is BANT?
BANT is a sales qualification methodology that lets salespeople determine whether a prospect is a good fit based on their budget, internal influence/ability to buy, need for the product, and purchase timeline. It stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timing
BANT used to be an incredibly popular methodology in the sales world, but it’s fallen out of favour in recent years, not so much because of the methodology, but rather how sales people use it. It fails when salespeople use it like a checklist, meaning they ask prospects a series of standard questions without truly listening to their response or attempting to add value.
Consider this example:
Rep: “Do you have a budget set aside for this?”
Prospect: “Not yet, but it should be finalised on Tuesday.”
Rep: “Great. And who will be signing off on this deal?”
Prospect: “My manager.”
Rep: “And you’ll be using (product) to (product benefit), which currently you’re not able to do easily. It seems like your current system is hard to manage and scale.”
Prospect: “Yes, that’s correct.”
Rep: “Is there a specific date you’d like to have a solution in place for?”
Prospect: “Probably sometime in the spring.”
Rep: “Okay, great. I think the next step is arranging a demo between you and a product specialist — what do you think?”
Prospect: “I’d like to look around a bit more first … I’ll send you an email in a few weeks.”
The salesperson is unlikely to hear from that prospect again.
So what went wrong?
First, this was an interrogation, not a two-way dialogue. No one enjoys being quizzed. Unfortunately, BANT can cause reps to stick to a memorised list rather than asking questions that build on each other.
Second, the rep missed several opportunities to dig deeper. They didn’t learn anything about the decision maker, the budget approval process, or the reason for a spring implementation.
To use BANT successfully, think of it as a concept rather than a to-do list. You need to qualify on all four characteristics, but you don’t need to do them in a particular order or way. In fact, you should change your approach every time to fit the prospect.
Here are some suggested questions you can use to work through the BANT process more effectively.
BANT Lead Qualification Questions
What do you currently spend now on this problem or need?
We’ve calculated your team is losing X amount per [week, quarter, year] on this problem. How does that compare to the budget you’ve set aside?
We’ve calculated your team could potentially gain X amount per [week, quarter, year] by making this [change, investment]. How does that compare to the budget you’ve set aside?
Whose budget is this coming out of?
How much would it cost to build the system by yourself?
How much would it cost if you haven’t fixed this issue in five years?
How heavily will price factor into the decision?
Have you identified a budget range for this purchase?
What’s the ROI you’re hoping to see?
Who will be using the product?
What was the last time you bought a similar product? How did the decision making process go?
This is normally the stage where my customer brings in [the head of Finance, the other stakeholders, their manager] to [discuss X, get their perspective on Y]. Do you want to invite [Z person/people] to our next meeting?
Will anyone else be involved in this decision?
When did you identify [problem, opportunity]?
What steps have you already taken to address it?
How important is addressing this to your personal goals at [company]? Career goals? Your department’s?
What are your top priorities at the moment? Where does this fit on that list?
What happens if you don’t address this?
Are there any upcoming events/deadlines that you’d like to have a solution in place by?
Are you planning any [insert relevant project here, i.e. lead generation campaign, major hiring spree, program overhauls, etc.)?
What’s your [lead generation, revenue, retention, etc.] goal for [next quarter, half of the year]? Will you be able to meet that goal without some sort of change?
Working backward from the date you gave me, we’d need to finalise our agreement by [earlier date]. Is that sound doable?
BANT has lasted through the years because it’s effective when used correctly, memorable, and applicable to a range of products, price points, and sales processes. Adapt it to your situation, then ruthlessly target the best fits.
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