To qualify your lead, you need to assess their fit for your product or service and their decision-making authority. You want to identify prospects who can and want to buy what you offer. This will help you avoid spending time on unqualified leads who are unlikely to convert.
One of your main goals is to optimize your lead qualification process, right? However, not all leads are equally valuable. How can you identify the most promising ones? That’s where the BANT Sales Qualifying Methodology comes in.
You can use the BANT selling framework to evaluate your prospects based on four criteria. These criteria are Budget, Authority, Need and Timing. The BANT sales framework helps you determine how likely a prospect is to buy from you and how soon. Our guide will show you how to use it effectively.
What Is The Bant Sales Methodology and How To Use It To Qualify Prospects?
BANT is an acronym for a sales qualifying methodology used to determine the quality of the lead. This way, you can focus on the most promising leads and avoid wasting time on those who are not ready or able to buy. To qualify a prospect, you need to ask the right question based on four things: their budget, authority, needs, and timeline. These will help you assess if they can and will buy your solution.
Here’s what BANT stands for:
- B = Budget: Does the lead have a budget to afford what you’re offering?
- A = Authority: Does the person you are talking to have the ability or authority to make a purchase?
- N = Need: Do they have a need for your product or service?
- T = Timing: Does the prospect have a critical need for your solution now?
While these might seem like simple questions, don’t fall into the trap of believing that all you need to do is ask your lead these four questions. However, to maintain a healthy rapport, you must avoid making others feel like you are interrogating them. Simply asking questions is not an effective strategy to achieve outcomes anymore.
The most important thing in sales is to build a relationship with your prospect. This applies to any sales method you use. Therefore, you have to find a way to endear yourself while still finding out the answers to these crucial questions.
What Questions Should I Ask For Bant?
Let’s look at the four parts of BANT sales qualification to see how you can use it to qualify potential customers.
Budget – Qualifying Your Prospects Based On Their Budget
Before you target a company as a customer, you need to make sure that they can pay for your product. Your product may seem too expensive for some prospects. But you can convince them by showing how it can lower their costs over time. Then they may see that they can afford your solution after all.
Whilst it feels like the most crucial aspect, the word ‘Budget’ should not be in the first question you ask. Indeed, we are aware that it’s the initial letter in the BANT qualifying methodology acronym. However, you should not use it in a literal order. So consider how you can use skillful tact to determine the appropriate moment.
Once appropriate, use these questions to uncover the prospect’s budget:
- What is your budget range for this product?
- How much have you spent on a comparable solution in the past?
- How will price factor into the decision?
Your sales reps can determine how much effort they need to put into prospects by starting a conversation with them. By doing this, you will save valuable resources such as time and money in the future. Nice.
Authority – Identifying and Influencing the Decision Makers in Your Sales Process
You must be aware of who makes the final buying decision with the company you’re dealing with. When you encounter more than one decision-maker, you should prepare a solution that appeals to all of them.
You must remember that you need to pitch to the decision-maker, not the admin staff. Otherwise, you will lose the sale to your competitors.
So to mitigate this, start qualifying prospects, ask these questions to identify who has authority:
- Will anyone else be involved in the decision?
- Who else should we have at the meeting to make sure I can address everyone’s questions?
- Who will be the end-user of our solution?
- Do you want to invite the [insert buyer’s role] in our next meeting?
our goal is to find a decision-maker who can accept your proposal. Finding a prospect with authority is crucial for closing deals. Using the BANT sales method, you can find a prospect who has the authority to make these decisions.
Need – Uncovering Your Prospects’ Pain Points and Challenges
When a lead urgently needs to solve their company’s problem, they are more willing to buy a solution. So, you’ll need first to assess if they have a problem your product or service can solve. Then you need to establish the scale of the issue. Can your company provide a solution? Quickly gather the information you need to qualify prospects by asking:
- What have you tried in the past to solve this problem?
- What prompted you/your company to find a solution?
- What are the consequences of not finding a solution?
Timeline – Aligning Your Sales Cycle with Your Prospects’ Buying Cycle
Some of the best prospects are those who have a mission-critical project on the horizon. They need to implement the new solution by a deadline. The only remaining issue is deciding who will be providing this solution. By understanding your prospect’s timeline for making decisions, you can predict your closed deals better and know when to follow up with them. Learn about their timing by asking:
- Do you have a deadline to put this in place?
- We need X amount of lead time. Will that work for you?
- Do you have any dates in mind to implement this?
Here is a cheat sheet that you can save and refer to every time you make the sales:
Pros of the BANT Sales Methodology
Use BANT only as a guideline to help you understand your prospect better. It gives you some questions and answers to ask them. By doing so, you will be able to determine the appropriate course of action for each situation.
Questions should always be casual, and “Budget” should not be the first question you ask a prospect. One way to improve your qualifying questions is to rehearse them with your coworkers in a simulated scenario. This will help you avoid sounding too intrusive or aggressive.
Cons of the BANT Sales Methodology
The BANT methodology has been around since the ‘60s. In the decades it has been around, some people have taken an anti-BANT stance. Some people negatively connotate this qualifying method because many people get the implementation of it all wrong. Frankly, when misused, this qualifying methodology can come across as blunt to potential prospects.
One possible reason could be that BANT is an acronym. It implies that there is a fixed sequence of criteria to assess a lead. Doing this is the quickest way to damage your credibility as a salesperson and result in immediate rejection. However, a more flexible and effective approach is to use BANT as a guide, not a rule.
What Are The Best Practices of BANT?
Address their needs first. To qualify a prospect, you need to know what problems they face and how your solution can help them. You can do this by asking open-ended questions that reveal their needs and goals. Then, you can tailor your value proposition and next questions to their situation.
Follow up with Timing. Once you have established the need, you need to know when the prospect is planning to make a decision or take action. This will help you gauge their urgency and interest level, and align your sales cycle with their buying cycle. You can also use timing questions to create a sense of urgency and overcome objections.
Confirm Budget. Budget is often a sensitive topic for prospects, and they may not be willing to share it upfront. However, it is essential to know if they have the financial resources and approval to purchase your solution. You can ask budget questions indirectly, by exploring their current spending, ROI expectations, or funding sources.
Validate Authority. The last step in BANT is to make sure you are dealing with the decision-maker. This is the person who has the authority and influence to approve or reject the purchase.
You can ask authority questions politely, by confirming their role, responsibilities, and decision-making process. You can also ask if any other people might be interested in or affected by your offer.
Using Sales Qualifying Methodologies
Different qualifying methodologies exist out there, including MEDDIC, MEDDPICC, CHAMP, GPCTBA/C&I, ANUM, FAINT. Your product and who you’re speaking to determines which is the most suitable approach to use. Qualifying questions are crucial for assessing the value of your lead and building a good relationship with your prospect. At the end of the day, you should choose a method that suits your needs and apply it effectively to ask the right questions at the right time.
To secure large deals, your team need advanced skills. SOCO Sales Training can help them develop those skills with our training programs and learn how to close deals with confidence and competence.
Need to give your Sales Team that winning edge with The BANT Sales Qualifying Methodology? Ready to qualify prospects like a pro? SOCO Sales Training has you covered – Contact us today for more information on our training packages.
Here is an example of how one of our previous workshop attendees applied the BANT method to qualify leads. Enjoy!