BANT is a process initially created by IBM as a method of quickly spotting leads who were more likely to make a purchase, and ever since then, BANT has been the old-school technique of selling and qualifying customers. BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline and works as a qualifying method to find customers that are worth the time and resources needed. BANT is incredibly straightforward for a sales method, and the aspects of the process allow salespeople to follow a simple routine to identify a lead. Those aspects are: \tBudget - Can the potential buyer afford to buy from me? \tAuthority - Does the potential buyer have the authority to go through with the purchase, or are the more people I need to converse with? \tNeeds - What pain points can your solution aid the business? \tTimeline - When does the potential buyer need to purchase? According to the elements of BANT, a potential lead that fits three of the four BANT aspects is considered worthy or targeted. However, a sales team or salesperson may opt to deviate from this depending on what they have seen, heard, or identified themselves from the customer. Usually, a BANT customer lead is looked at from the Budget aspect. This is mainly due to the customer's absolute need to afford the product or solution. It is relevant to how they fit the other BANT aspects if they still need the budget. A qualifying method like BANT can help save sales teams resources by leaving opportunities or potential customers that have little to no potential of becoming a customer. Lead generation can occur in many ways, whether through marketing, emails, signups, or inquiries through ads or word of mouth. This does nothing to qualify a lead, though - just because someone gave you their phone number or email address does little to indicate that they are a good fit to do business with. The adage of sales was focused on chasing leads. That the most hunter got the prized meat that could not be further from the truth, and modern-day sales have shown that it is not the most determined or hard-working salesperson that gets the dinner. It is the smartest and most qualified salesperson. If you find yourself with a potential buyer, you can use follow-up questions from the BANT method. Budget \tDo you have a budget that is solely dedicated to your department? \tDo you have a purposefully allocated budget to buy a new solution or product? \tIf budget was not a factor, what would you do next? Authority \tDo you currently use any products that are like ours? Is there any future overlaps? \tDo we need to add more people to our conversation? \tHow did you onboard solutions or products before? Need \tWhat future obstacles do you expect in the future? \tWhat remedies do you have for them? \tWhat is the biggest pain point of your current job? Time \tAre you considering competitor solutions? \tAre there any other issues? What is your priority in solving the issues? \tWhen are you looking to solve your problem? A sales cycle is rarely ever straightforward - the deal is often complex, and no deal is usually the same. You will often be dealing with multiple people and processes that need to be signed off before closing a deal, so you should keep these in mind when asking questions based on BANT’s aspects. BANT works in any order, so it is essential to tailor the order to the customer’s needs. If they have a budget issue, that should be the priority. If a timing issue is the biggest factor in qualifying a customer that should be at the forefront of the qualifying process. Therefore, it is not always ‘BANT’ but can be ‘TBAN’ or ‘BNTA’. To know if you qualify correctly, there is a process of ensuring you are diligent and efficient in this area. After you put a significant amount of resources, time, and effort into qualifying a lead, you need to know whether there is fruition at the end of the road. Does this potential buyer have a genuine interest in buying? There is no surefire way to answer that question, but there are things you can keep an eye out for to know you are on the right track. If you spot the following, you could be on the right track: \tThe potential customer is keen and wants to continue the conversation by asking relevant questions. Adding your open-ended questions in this process is a good idea, as it will keep the conversation flowing. \tThe potential buyer has been enamored with this pain point or roadblock for a while and can bring up relevant examples. Detailed and precise answers will show that the customer has been focused on this problem for a while and is ready to pull the trigger on a solution. \tThe lead has an idea in mind for their solution. By encountering genuine pain and wanting to solve it, they will have examples or ideas of what can solve their problem - this is a hugely positive sign in their pursuit of closing a deal with you. As you continue to define what a customer looks like for you, your customer qualification process will only get better and more efficient. A substantial lead qualification for your business will eliminate unpleasant surprises as you become more successful and your sales team heightens its success rate with opportunities. Suppose you find that your qualification process is giving you leads that are not going anywhere. In that case, you should reevaluate your strategy and consider whether you need to change your customer base. Further Reading \t Entrepreneurs Must Adjust to the Changed Concept of Sales and Marketing in the Digital Space \t How Enterprise Content Management Helps Business Processes? \t What Are the Benefits of an Employee Ownership Trust Sale?