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BANT’s Death is Premature, Just Ask Salespeople

IStock-993060416Regardless of what you might read or hear from some marketer or consultant who wants to make a mark by adding or changing the BANT questions,   it is not dead because the salespeople say it isn’t.

In addition, with all of the effort of AI to produce a qualified leads, the best qualified leads, regardless of how they are created and sourced, need the BANT questions answered.

BANT, if you remember, is the acronym for qualification criteria for a lead which represents:

  1.  Budget
  2.  Authority
  3.  Need
  4. Time Line

Salespeople need the basic information about a lead and the more marketing is able to deliver the better. 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.

Why It’s Important

“If marketing has to deliver qualified leads, they must answer the BANT questions or it isn’t qualified in the minds eye of the 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 asked about authority, they say:

“Selling to the “Leaf Level” person is almost useless. 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.   I still need to know the title of the person making the decision.  It need not be a C-level person.”

But 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.  Need is also a urgency question, if it is a big enough need it accelerates the time requirement and even their willingness to spend money to solve it.”

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

Of course,
• Only 10-30% of the inquiries will answer the budget question.
• 60% will answer the authority question.
• Need will garner the most answers at 60-70%.
• Time-Line
is similar to budget only 20-30% 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 BANT 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.    If you are a marketer, delivering leads with BANT answers will endear you to your salespeople and boost sales. 

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