The BANT framework (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeliness) is the long-time standard for qualifying leads. If a lead misses any of these points, many salespeople will walk away.
While BANT is an incredibly useful tool, it’s far from flawless. This is particularly true if your product or service is outside the normal parameters of the business.
To understand the BANT approach better, read our blog, The BANT Approach to Streamline Lead Generation.
In this blog, we’ll look at how the BANT method can be problematic and discuss some ways to overcome these issues.
1. BANT doesn’t create a need
This is a relatively new concept in many cases. For example, an SaaS (Software as a Service) is often solving a problem that the lead doesn’t even know they have yet.
In some cases, the salesperson must “create” the need by extracting from the lead what their struggles are, then offering solutions. For example, few of us would have considered needing a CRM twenty years ago. Today, few businesses operate without one.
BANT assumes the need is already there and obvious. If yours is a business that might require the “creation” of a need, be careful that BANT doesn’t eliminate leads that are otherwise qualified, but they don’t know they need you.
2. BANT often doesn’t look at all the budget considerations
BANT is a pretty straightforward budget assessment. For example, if someone is looking to purchase a new manufacturing machine, the BANT method will simply ask if they have enough money to buy the machine. It often won’t account for things like wages for people to learn to use the new machine, the need to replace older feedstock, and more.
A responsible salesperson or lead generator will take these ideas into account when working with a lead. If they don’t, at best, the lead will be unhappy when they look at their bottom line and see their purchase cost them much more than planned. At worst, they will simply return the item and make sure no one else ever buys from you again.
Review budgets more thoroughly than simply asking if the lead has the money for the initial purchase. Show them that you have their best interests in mind by pointing out to the buyer the other costs that might be included in the purchase.
3. Look at everyone who might be affected by a purchase and account for their needs too
Software is an excellent example of where a decision by one person can affect an entire corporation, even internationally. If your prospect is considering buying a new software from you, everyone who will work on it is going to be affected. If you’ve been in a company when a bad piece of software was rolled out, you know it can lead to massive frustration. If it’s bad enough, the contract will be canceled and another solution will be put in place.
Consider everyone in the organization who might be affected by this purchase. Sure you might get the sale now, but those who work for someone today might be the decision-maker tomorrow and they’ll remember what pain your sale caused them.
4. BANT doesn’t create its own urgency
The “T” in BANT is for timing. It assumes a buyer-driven timeline. While that’s fine, it’s often up to the lead generator or the salesperson to create a sense of urgency.
If the prospect doesn’t really see how this purchase will make their organization stronger, they might not feel the need to move quickly.
An effective salesperson will move the timeline gently and imperceptibly to create the timing that leads to an immediate sale.
5. He needs to understand the upheaval their decision might cause.
While it might be nice to gloss over the pain that will be caused by changing methods in a company, it’s up to the salesperson or lead generator to discuss that when it’s appropriate.
If it’s a software product, a new machine, or a new method, it might cause people to have to change things they’ve been doing for decades. It’s important this situation be discussed and a plan is put in place by the seller to help the buyer mitigate these issues as much as possible.
6. BANT is seller-centric in a buyer’s world
BANT is focused only on the needs and concerns of the seller. The world has changed a great deal since this qualification method was created.
In the world of the 21st century, it’s imperative for the lead generator and the salesperson to look at everything from the customers’ perspective. The world is filled with competitors and the ones that lead the market are the ones that deliver the most user-centric sales process and final product.
Remember: We’re in a buyer’s world; act accordingly.
7. BANT doesn’t create or even sell value.
By going through the BANT question process, you create no value for the lead. They will never know why your product or service is something they need.
It’s important that every lead generation program and sales process includes creating value for the client at every level.
BANT is still a very useful framework for lead qualification, but it lacks some of the finesse that’s required in the 21 century. There are other methods that include many of the same basic criteria, while adding in the buyer-centric portions that are needed for today’s buyer, whether B2B or B2C.