B.A.N.T. criteria have been a valuable guidance system for sales people for decades. Its four elements serve as the minimum requirements for a sales team to engage further with a potential client. The simple acronym provides an easy four points system for determining whether or not a lead is qualified based on its …
However, the question increasingly rises: does this system still serve its purpose?
Should its elements still be the determining factors in whether or not a lead is qualified and could potentially move further in the sales cycle? Or is it time to move beyond this qualification system on to a more inclusive framework that better suits customers’ evolving buying attitudes and sales teams’ ever evolving approach?
To better understand if the B.A.N.T. model is the best fit for your team in the qualification of leads, it is important to understand the goal of each stage and how your target customers’ evaluation process impacts it. Remember, if certain aspects of the B.A.N.T. model keep your team from moving leads along in the sales cycle and are less relevant to the evaluation process, they should be removed or replaced.
Let’s discuss each aspect in greater detail and introduce some hints on how to make the best use of B.A.N.T.:
B-Budget: It is obvious that the customer must have a budget or funding available for a deal to be closed, however, the budget is not always a hard boundary and many organizations may not have the budget for your specific product or solution at the time you are pitching it to them. They may budget for the funding after having a better understanding of what the ROI could be on investing in your product. Hence make sure to provide the prospect with real, concrete benefits that meet their needs.
Understanding a customer’s budget is also something that is generally done after a detailed discussion with the key decision-makers – something that may not be happening in the early stages of the sales cycle. So a better initial evaluator may be the motivation of the individual you are engaged with and the pain points motivating them.
A-Authority: A decision-maker is key to provide a final approval. But to determine authority, instead look for key players or promoters and make sure to define the decision-makers from this group. The one approving the budget must definitely see value in terms of ROI and then approve the funding. Yet, that individual may also want to involve other members of their team to evaluate what you are selling. It is crucial to be sure that you are engaging the right audience from the organization. And: depending on the organization, the final decision may in fact be made by many individuals.
N-Need: You are selling in a world full of products, solutions and hence choices. So why would the customer need what you have? Do they even know they need it? Because they may not. It is the job of the sales team to create the actual need in many cases. But how do you do that? By leading the customer to see the value in your product. Their willingness and desire to change and adopt what you are offering must be uncovered. You can achieve this most effectively by researching the potential buyer’s need in detail. Public information or conversation with contacts can help. Be aware of the level of “need” – “fear of loss” creates a great need – “opportunity to improve” may not create an urgency for the buyer.
T-Time: If a customer has no interest or ability to make a decision based on what you determine to be a timely manner, they should not be automatically disqualified as a potential lead. When customers are presented with concepts that challenge their current system, it can take longer to get their buy in. Adding pressure or disqualifying hurts both parties. Adapting to their timelines can allow for more opportunities for your organization, as well as a way of showing the customer you are investing in what best meets their needs and decision process.
So has this relatively straightforward method of lead qualification lost its importance and value in the modern sales playground? Not necessarily, the B.A.N.T. model certainly has its place. But it is most important to make sure your organization isn’t missing out on business because your sales process is following a framework that may not fit your customers’ buying attitudes or requires irrelevant criteria to be met. Thus, act as a trustworthy consultant for your customer, but also learn from their behavior and adapt your approach to their needs. Maybe mixing traditional B.A.N.T. elements with a more customized approach tailored to your needs works better for your process. We suggest to simply build your own model by bringing in additional elements, such as your prospect’s goals, challenges, interests or current providers – always doing this in line with your individual requirements and circumstances. SELLBYTEL, with many successful sales programs, can act as a consultant on helping your organization create the best model to engage with your target market.
Shaping your sales journey and qualification criteria to your target audience and their buying journey will help your sales team better determine what quality leads are for your organization. Utilize what will guide your team to the best outcome and remove unnecessary obstacles that are impeding them from reaching the best results.
Ask yourself: what is most important for my team to uncover and at what stage? These questions will help you identify the best lead qualification framework for your needs. And reach out to us to learn more about best practices we have implemented with our customers.
What do you think about the use of B.A.N.T.? Let us know in the comments below.
Text by Laurel Kraus, SELLBYTEL Sales Manager Global Account Development