Sales teams play a crucial role in business development. Your sales reps hold the key to converting prospects into customers who significantly contribute to the sustainability and growth of your business.
With a diverse pool of customers and purchasing behaviors, sales reps are bound to be flexible and adaptive to get desired results.
One of the many functions that people in sales have is the lead qualification, which is the starting point of any sales process.
A lot of digital tools have spurred the lead qualification process through the years. But sales experts know that the lead qualification process has never been a walk in the park.
Every sales expert knows that finding qualified leads is hard, but carrying out the sales process is much more complex – especially among SaaS companies.
In fact, the normal SaaS sales cycle takes about 6 months to complete, while nearly half of all B2B cycles take 7 months or more. So if you’re a sales manager in a SaaS company, you would not want any time wasted on leads who are not in the pursuit of making a purchase. Check out some related guides, B2B sales, SaaS sales, tech sales.
Qualifying leads is an essential move in strategizing your sales process efforts toward the ideal customers. However, some leads may come off as avoidant, while others may come in ready to move further in the sales funnel.
Not all leads are the same, so your sales team should know the right approach to varying customer behavior.
Since the coming of digital marketing, different lead and sales qualification frameworks have also come to the surface. The majority of sales teams have adapted to using digital tools for their lead generation and lead qualification process.
But as they say, classic never gets old.
And one of the most classic sales frameworks known for converting leads is the BANT framework. But you may think, would it still be relevant in 2023?
Read on to find out more about the BANT framework!
What is the BANT framework?
While creating your sales process, you may have come across the BANT framework.
The BANT framework is an approach used in lead qualification that helps in identifying qualified leads by considering the four BANT criteria:
B – budget
A – authority
N – need
T – timeline
This lead qualification methodology was created by IBM in the 1950s to shorten the sales cycle and save time. A sales rep can utilize the BANT framework to remove ineligible prospects and focus on qualifying prospects who are more likely to purchase your product.
Most sales reps have this ‘push the product’ mentality without any sales qualification framework. Doing this, however, can incur more time and budget without assurance of closing a deal.
Basically, each factor of the BANT method consists of guide questions that help the sales representative identify qualifying leads.
The budget is a very crucial indicator of the prospect’s purchasing decision. It basically tries to answer the fundamental question:
“Can your prospect afford my product or service?”
The best way to qualify prospects is for you to find out whether or not they have a dedicated budget to purchase their needed product or service.
You would want to know what your clients expect around the pricing of your product. Another factor that one should also consider is where the prospect’s budget would come from.
Understanding your client’s budget so your sales reps would know whether your prospect can flexible enough to work around the price that you offer. When you’re fully knowledgable about the prospect’s budget range, you can have a clearer picture of whether you can move for lead nurturing or even modify some of your pricing.
So if you feel like there is a big possibility that a prospect has enough power to purchase, then this client might just be worth pursuing.
It takes a long while to persuade someone to hop into the buying process and purchase your product – only to find out that they do not have enough power to make a purchase decision.
Often, in B2B sales processes, the purchase decision lies with several different stakeholders. So you would want to be sure that you would be talking to someone directly involved with the decision-making process.
“Who is the authority figure?”
In doing business with anybody, it is essential to figure out who makes all the buying decisions. For bigger companies, assigned individuals may become your sales rep’s point of contact.
In this case, you would want to know further about their role in the buying process or whether or not this potential customer has the decision-making authority to purchase.
You would want to know whether the person you’re dealing with has the budget authority to make the purchasing decision right away or they need to undergo a budget approval process.
Because if not, your sales representatives may find themselves nurturing the wrong people.
Knowing who makes the final decision in the company can help you leverage your sales team strategies.
Of course, the primary reason why you would want to sell products in the first place is to address a business’s pain points. You have to help them figure out what challenges they face in order to make them realize that your product could be the right solution.
“What are the challenges that the business is facing right now?”
Having a deeper understanding of how your product can help address challenges is crucial to the decision process. Therefore, is to not only identify their pain points but also offer them a great solution.
So, if your product does not seem to address any of their presented challenges, it may be a poor fit.
In understanding your client’s needs, you also get a picture of what other current business priorities they have. Through this, you may be able to modify and adapt your sales pitch accordingly. Find the top guide about sales prospecting.
The last criterion for the bant sales framework is your prospect’s timeline.
Your client might have enough budget to purchase your product, but you still have to consider their urgency.
“What is the prospect’s purchase timeline and how soon do they need to make the purchase?”
One of the most important things to consider is your prospect’s timeline. The urgency of your prospect can help you understand whether what you offer is realistic and assigned to your sales cycle.
Understanding timelines can help a sales rep determine which prospects should be prioritized.
Say a company needs to make a purchase in the next month, they should receive an immediate focus. On the other hand, if a company plans to make a purchase next quarter, you can send them resource guides to help them hasten their decision-making process.
When you’re hunting for a prospect using the BANT sales framework, keep in mind that instead of interrogating your prospect, you’re more of establishing a connection with them. Thus, talking to them in a conversational manner using your active listening skills should be your top priority.
Using the BANT Framework for your Sales Process: Pros and Cons
Given that the BANT methodology caters to an age-old sales problem, the framework itself is also considered old.
However, you cannot move away from the fact no framework perfectly suits all sales teams. Just like any other approach toward sales, it also has its pros and cons.
1. BANT helps save the time your sales teams spend
When you focus on qualified leads, you can achieve seamless sales processes. The BANT qualification framework can effectively weed out a lead who may cause delays or deadends in your sales cycle. As a result, you may see better performance in your customer acquisition expenses because of reducing unnecessary costs allotted for convincing leads to purchase your product.
2. BANT lead qualification process is adaptive and flexible
The BANT sales qualification methodology may be used by a wide range of industries in the B2B market. No matter what type of product or service you offer, you can adapt and modify the questions for each criterion to fit your leads during the discovery phase. Every company may find these questions applicable to their experiences.
3. BANT is still reliable (according to sales reps and sales managers!)
Despite being an old framework, a lot of sales managers still believe that the BANT methodology is still reliable! It remains a proven framework that has been used for decades. The best leads in the market believe that using the questions is still a great starting point in forming conversations during a sales meeting.
1. BANT can waste a lead’s time
With modern technologies and digital marketing available today, it has become for leads to find your product in just a few mouse clicks. Therefore, we can say that the BANT framework is much more helpful in saving time for the business than for its clients.
Although this could be a drawback for customer-focused selling, this can be addressed through practicing active listening during a sales meeting. Instead of focusing on their answers to confirm whether they want to purchase your product, turn it around by helping them find the best solutions for their needs.
2. BANT may not be fast enough for your sales team
In a fast-paced world, the BANT method may not be the fastest lead qualification. While it saves time in the long haul, there are many available sales management software available that features lead generation functions with data analytics and forecasting.
However, the BANT method will still be more reliable in dealing with qualitative factors that look deeper into your prospect’s preferences.
So, can you still use BANT in 2023?
The answer is quite simple. YES!
Given its track record of reliability among long-time sales experts, the BANT sales framework is still reliable in 2023.
BANT has changed the gameplay in business development. No matter how old it may get through the years, the strategy remains suitable for a variety of buyer personas. Its broad scope can be used by a number of industries while having the opportunity to really listen to what your clients need.
If you’re a company that does not have a dedicated budget for sales management software, then the BANT method can be your friend. You still hold power to make your sales team focus on looking for excellent leads through the four bant criteria.
We cannot deny that the information we can get from all these questions that the BANT method can generate may still be relevant for many companies.
The BANT methodology may be old, but it can adapt. These questions can be used in other lead generation strategies such as in cold calls, emails, and even surveys.
And if you do it effectively, your company can enter the next stage of the sales process while forming strong relationships with your clients.
But if you’re not running on a tight budget and you want to fasten your lead qualification process, there are available sales management applications out there that are not just affordable but are effective as well!
The world of sales is thriving with new technologies that can be easily acquired.
But we should not completely say goodbye to old ways.
At the end of the day, what matters is what your brand’s message wants to convey. Despite the digitalized approach in marketing, where content should be top-notch, you should never lose the personalized touch in creating sales.
It is vital that organizations assess the right approach towards connecting with the people they hope to help through their products.
Once this is understood, you can weigh all the options that you have in order to come up with the perfect lead qualification plan. Whether it be an old approach or a new one, the brand message should remain clear.
Old marketing strategies and new ones should not clash with each other. Let’s just say that we can merge the old ways and new ways to have a stronger approach towards sales. You can also find some sales related guides, sales funnel template, sales productivity, and sales analysis report.