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BANT is a sales technique that separates hot leads from time-wasters through a series of questions.

Instead of putting effort into a lost cause, you identify deal breakers right from the start.

bant

Know which prospects engage with your emails [invisible tracker].

What is BANT? The Breakdown

BANT is a formula used to determine whether it’s the right time to sell to a prospect. It stands for: Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing.

This sales acronym was introduced by IBM as a simple opportunity identification to tell if your prospects qualified as leads based on the following criteria:

Understanding Your Prospect’s Side Of The Story

There are two sides to every story.

And while you’re trying to sell your product, prospects are on their own journey of making a purchase decision.

Enter— The Consumer Buyer Process.

To stop wasting time, identify customers who are already in the “purchase decision” phase:

BANT

These prospects know that there’s a problem, they’ve looked into solutions, and they’re ready to make a commitment.

There are no grey areas.

Here’s how you can use the BANT technique to identify these buyers from the time-wasters.

BANT: How To Identify Qualified Prospects

1. Budget: Is Your Solution A Priority For Your Prospect

Your first concern in finding qualified leads? Budget.

If you were a car dealer, your first question when someone walks onto your lot would be about budget, right?

You wouldn’t try to sell a Jaguar to someone with a Honda budget.

When your prospect doesn’t have the budget for your product/service and there’s no way around it, the deal won’t pan out.

It’s a fundamental dealbreaker in the sales qualification process.

Questions to ask:
1. How much would you spend on similar products/services?
2. Who is in charge of financial decisions?
3. How much money is budgeted for this solution?

2. Authority: Understand Their Decision-Making Process

When it comes to decision-making, most companies don’t have a top-down approach. 

Today, there are two different groups involved in the decision-making process:

  1. Decision-makers: Who will ultimately make the call and sign the paperwork. According to the Harvard Business Review, the average buying-group size is 5.4 people.
  2. Advocates: Who will do the research, take the calls, and pass the information onto the decision-makers.

And that’s not all. Decision-makers and advocates often defer to end users to make decisions because this group’s buy-in drives adoption.

Let’s look at an example. Yesware sells to these groups:
Technical decision-makers: VPs of Sales, Sales Managers
Advocates: Sales Ops
End users: Sales Development Reps, AEs

As Basile Senesi, the Head of Sales at Fundbox explains, his end users are the ultimate decision-makers:

When you’re evaluating a sales acceleration tool, you need to understand your reps’ capacity […] Don’t just consider it from a macro-down view, but look at the user-level, too. Will it stick with your team? Part of why Yesware works here is our reps have bought into the value.

Try Yesware for yourself with a four-week free trial.

What it means: Instead of focusing on one person, find the advocates and end users, too.

Questions to ask:
1. What is your decision-making process?
2. How can I help you meet your expectations?
3. Who on your team would be using this solution? What are their values? Obstacles?

3. Need: How To Gauge Their Pain Level

When it comes down to it, you’re not selling — you’re solving problems.

If you’re wasting time pitching your product or service to a customer who doesn’t really need it, it won’t end well.

Best case scenario: You end up selling to someone who doesn’t need the product/service. They end up unhappy because you wasted their time and broke their trust.

A simple way to gauge your prospect’s need for your solution? Get medical.

Ask them how much their pain points bother them on a scale of 1 to 10.

Prospects who rate their pain between 7 to 10 are your most qualified.

Questions to ask:
1. What does your current process look like?
2. Where do you run into hurdles?
3. What problems are you trying to solve by looking at solutions like ours? How often do you run into those problems? How much do they bother you on a scale from 1 to 10?

4. Timing: Find Out How Soon They’re Willing To Act

In the sales qualification process, timing and transparency go hand-in-hand. 

There shouldn’t be any surprises: It’s important that you have a clear understanding of when your prospect will be ready for your product or service.

The bottom line: Knowing their timing helps you estimate your timing for first-touch to conversion.

If their timeline is longer than your average sales cycle and the revenue isn’t worth the wait, you’ll want to revisit the opportunity when the timing is right.

To gauge this, you need to understand:

  • Their buying stage: Have they already passed through Problem Recognition, Information Search, and (at least begun) Evaluation of Alternatives?
  • The urgency that drives that timeframe (so that it doesn’t slip into the next quarter).

Questions to ask:
1. Walk me through the evaluation process. How long have you been looking for a solution?
2. What types of time constraints are you working with?
3. What are the implications if you don’t meet the timeline?
4. Are there any contracts from other solutions you’re already signed to? Until when?

NoteUse this template to follow up with prospects who you need to loop back with later:

Hi {!First Name},

I know we’re still in a holding pattern, but I wanted to send over a customer case study that speaks at how {!Customer Name} leveraged {!Type of product/service you offer} to {!What they accomplished — HARD METRIC}.

What sort of timelines do you think we’re looking at to pick this back up?

Thanks,

Pro Tip: Use this tool to schedule your email out right after the “let’s revisit” conversation.

Here’s a cheat sheet with all of the questions — for quick reference.

Moving Forward

Like your customer’s needs, the sales industry keeps changing. Instead of having tunnel-vision on making your prospect work for you, focus on their needs and what’s best for them.

BANT

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