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BANT is not dead…And not Bunk!

BANT is not dead…

Some say that BANT is dead. BANT, if you remember, is the acronym for qualification criteria for a lead which represents:

1. Budget
2. Authority
3. Need
4. Timeframe IStock_000017286981Small

Some marketers will attempt to get a rise out of others by declaring that these criteria are wrong, and then they proceed to add other qualification criteria and still include some form of BANT.

The reasoning for declaring BANT dead is misleading; and it is usually a marketer that is making the declaration. Not a salesperson.

If you ask a salesperson what their qualification criteria for an inquiry, sales lead, suspect or prospect is (pick you poison), they will always say,

“Ultimately I have to know if they have money (budget), if they don’t have money or a budget, I have to be sure they can get it.   If not, this is dead before it starts. It is a waste of my time.”

When I ask about authority, they say, 

“Selling to the “Leaf Level” person is out. I may talk to them but I have to get to the person with the authority to buy or OK the deal. If the person has no authority I am often wasting my time.  But I still need to know the title.  It need not be a c-level person.”

But I say, what about need; do they have to have a declared need?

“Without need, no one will be able to make the argument that they want the product. The buyer must articulate that a product over-comes a problem, and the need-payoff is in saved time, increased productivity, or saved money.”

And lastly, we come to Timeframe. If there is no declared timeframe for the sale, the deal is just a pipe dream. Salespeople say, “Without a timeframe I can’t forecast and that is a deadly sin in sales.”

Of course,
• Only 20-30% of the inquiries will answer the budget question.
• 60% will answer the authority question.
• Need will garner the most answers at 60-70%.
• Timeframe is similar to budget only20-30% are answered.

Add in a few questions about the application of the product, etc., and a sales representative will have a good feeling of the qualification level of the prospect. If you stop asking these questions you will not be able to judge the value of the lead source when it first arrives and later when the lead is closed out as lost or won. The salespeople will also say you are out of touch with sales.

No, BANT is not dead, not even close. If marketers stop trying to get these questions answered, they are doing their reps a disservice. A large disservice.   But...

Inquirers Lie

And please remember the universal rule of the inquirer, they lie.  They lie about budget, they lie about need, seldom about authority, but sometimes, and they give the wrong time frame.  So if they lie, why ask?   Because they don't always lie.  And the sales rep must ask the questions anyway.   Why not help them up-front and help them prioritize the leads with meaningful answers?  See opposing views below.

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