The BANT sales framework, which stands for Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline, is a sales process that helps you find high-potential customers. This approach provides a structured way to identify high-potential customers and detect sales opportunities.
With many evolving sales techniques, you might wonder, “Are the BANT criteria still relevant?” While some may argue that newer methodologies have emerged, many sales experts continue to advocate for BANT’s efficacy, especially in lead scoring and qualification.
Let’s uncover BANT definition, the nuances of this sales method, and how to harness its potential in this article.
What is BANT?
BANT sales is a four-part sales qualification methodology for selling something. It’s a simple way to ensure you’re asking the right questions and getting all the information you need from your potential clients. By doing that, you can determine whether or not you should pursue a certain prospect.
Alt text: Using BANT sales to gather information about prospects
Note that BANT sales is different from BANTER sales. BANTER sales builds upon the foundation of BANT by adding two more elements: engagement and review. Specifically, engagement examines how leads interact with marketing channels, and review focuses on understanding what motivates a prospect to make a purchase. So, while BANT prioritizes budget and authority, BANTER delves deeper into the customer’s journey and what pushes them to buy.
As mentioned earlier, BANT stands for Budget, Authorization, Needs, and Timing. See below for their definitions and examples of BANT questions.
Budget refers to the cost of the product or service that you’re offering.
Does the client have the budget to purchase your product? If not, how much can they afford? Are there any restrictions on when they can pay? Do they need a discount? These budget questions should be answered before you move forward with them.
Authorization refers to who is empowered to make decisions about purchasing your product or service.
Authority questions to ask can include “Who has authority over this purchase decision?” “Who needs to sign off on it before moving forward with the deal?” and “Can someone else approve it instead of waiting for a manager’s approval?”
Need refers to what your customer wants and how it fits into their goals or vision for their business.
What problems does your product solve for them? What value will it bring to their business if they buy from you instead of your competitor? How will this product impact their bottom line? Think about these need questions that can allow you and your prospect to know what benefits you’re providing each other.
What is a prospect’s timeline? Do they need your solution now or a few months later? Are there other factors that might prevent them from buying (and if so, how long will they last)?
Timeline refers to how long they want the product or service delivered and how quickly they expect it to be implemented after purchasing.
BANT Sales Pros & Cons
BANT Sales Pros
- Helps you avoid conflict with your prospective client by ensuring both sides understand what’s at stake before going into a conversation about price or terms.
- Helps clarify what prospects are looking for so that you can better tailor your pitch accordingly.
BANT Sales Cons
- Might not always be accurate or effective.
- Doesn’t take into account other factors like product quality or customer service practices.
- Might not work well with complex products.
How to Use BANT Sales Method
Alt text: 4 steps to use BANT sales method to identify qualified leads
Follow these steps to apply BANT qualifications to your sales process:
Step 1: Determine Your Prospect’s Budget
Understanding your prospect’s budget helps you tailor your offer and make it easier to communicate how much money your prospect can save by using your solution.
To find out your prospect’s budget, ask them directly. If they aren’t comfortable answering this question, offer up some options that might be within their price range. You can also try to guess based on their industry, where they work, or even their online presence.
Step 2: Identify Key Decision Makers
The person who will sign off on the purchase and allocate the budget is the “key decision maker.” Identifying them is an important step in selling to any company.
To know who the decision-makers are, you can ask questions like “Who has the final say on this project?” “Who is responsible for making sure that everything goes smoothly?” or “Who will be making sure that we don’t run into any problems?”
Step 3: Detect Your Prospect’s Problems
Once you’ve identified a prospect, it’s time to figure out their problems. This can be tricky, but here are some questions that might help you get there:
- What does your prospect want?
- What is it costing them not to have it?
- What is holding them back from getting what they want?
Another thing to consider is whether prospects’ problems are technical or functional.
- Technical problems involve the functionality of a product or service. Think about seeing only some analytic metrics in one dashboard or the software working slowly over time.
- Functional issues are related to how your product will fit into your prospect’s workflow or business model. For example, a client who is running their store with Shopify might want a tool that integrates seamlessly with their ecommerce platform.
Step 4: Create a Timeline and a Mutual Action Plan
Once you’ve understood your prospects’ needs, it’s time to create a timeline and an action plan.
- The timeline lets both parties know how long it’ll take to complete the project. It should also highlight milestones that can be used for measuring progress. This timeline helps you stay on track with your sales process, so you can keep your team on schedule and ensure everyone is moving forward together. Keep in mind that your timelines should be realistic but ambitious enough that both parties can see an end in sight.
- The action plan should include details on how often you’ll communicate with your prospect (e.g., weekly calls), what form those communications will take (e.g., phone calls, emails, etc.), and any other information that will help move the sale forward (e.g., relevant documents).
Deal Analysis with BANT
Here is how to use BANT to fine-tune your deal analysis process:
1. Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Begin by determining which leads are dissatisfied with their current solutions or are open to exploring alternatives. Identify who has an urgent desire for a change to distinguish a warm-bant lead from a cold one. By doing that, you can tailor your BANT marketing strategies to resonate with prospects genuinely interested in shifting dynamics.
Budgeting might seem straightforward, but in reality, it can be more nuanced. A prospect can be aware of their challenges without having a clear vision of the possible solutions and the associated costs.
Hence, when planning a budget, you should approach it with flexibility and understanding. Guide your prospects and help them craft a budget that fits their unique needs and timelines; don’t expect detailed budget criteria early in the process, as emphasized by Forresters’ researchers.
Look at key persons in the prospect’s organization that are responsible for making purchasing decisions. These stakeholders should understand the tangible business value of a proposed solution and possess the power to secure budget approvals.
Unpacking the “need” in BANT involves a two-fold approach. First, dive into the core business challenge your prospect hopes to tackle. What is the exact issue they’ve been trying to solve? Second, how well does your solution align with their requirements? Answering these questions will help you position your product more convincingly.
Every prospect has its unique timeline dictated by factors like budget, manpower, and the capacity to prioritize. Hence, you need to provide delivery and handoff requirements that align with your prospect’s timeline to ensure a smooth transition from lead to buyer.
Tools That Help Make the Most Out of BANT Sales
To use BANT sales effectively, you can consider using the following tools:
1. Revenue Grid
Known as the leading Salesforce integration solution, the Revenue Grid app simplifies your sales process by giving you a clearer view of every deal, ensuring you never miss a single opportunity.
Revenue Grid also actively guides your reps through complex deals and provides them with AI-powered actionable insights, from pinpointing risks to suggesting the next best move. With this platform, you’re not just selling; you’re strategically navigating your way to success.
2. Activity Capture for Salesforce
Activity Capture for Salesforce is here to save your day — no more manual data entry. Tailored for Salesforce users, this tool automates the tedious task of inputting sales data.
Imagine every email, every meeting, every call – instantly captured and logged without you lifting a finger. It also ensures that your data is always up-to-date and accurate. This means when it’s time to analyze performance or strategize, you’re working with fresh, reliable information.
Typeform reinvents how you interact by turning boring forms into engaging experiences. Perfect for BANT sales, it allows you to ask questions and collect answers from leads. With Typeform, you can dive deep into customers’ needs and engage with them in a more conversational way.
You can use FindThatLead to find email addresses associated with a particular domain or company. The tool also provides a feature to verify if an email address is valid or not. This can be especially useful for cold outreach, sales prospecting, and lead generation.
5. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is designed to help sales reps tap into the vast network of LinkedIn’s professional community. With LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can sift through profiles, company updates, and shared content to understand the core issues your prospect might be facing. By doing so, you can tailor your pitch to highlight the specific “Need” aspect of the BANT framework.
BANT Sales Method Alternatives
BANT helps you assess whether or not you should pursue a deal with a particular buyer. However, as said above, it’s not a one-size-fits-all sales methodology.
That’s why you should also consider other sales methods like MEDDIC, which stands for Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identifying pain, and Champion. This sales method is effective because it uses a structured approach to identify your prospect’s needs and why they need it. It also enables you to understand the decision-making process to ensure your product or service fits into that workflow.
For more information about effective sales methods, you can read our blueprint for sales methodology.