BANT is an acronym for Budget, Authority, Need and Time Frame. I have written articles and blogs against BANT (as a lead qualifying criterion) for years.
A couple of months ago I read a blog by Ardath Albee entitled “BANT is Bunk, BS and Irrelevant”. I summarized Ardath’s thoughts, and mine, in a blog published on July 11, 2013. Next, I reached out to my Power Opinions team (PowerViews alumni) to find out what they thought about BANT. I think you will enjoy their comments:
Jill Konrath (author, consultant)
"BANT has always been BUNK for salespeople. The savviest sellers must create opportunities; they don’t wait for them to be fully funded."
Ginger Conlon (Editor-in-Chief, Direct Marketing News)
"I would add timing back to the list. … Think: lead nurturing. … More buyers self-educate long before they contact a prospective seller."
Craig Rosenberg (TOPO and Funnelholic)
"I believe that this is market dependent. BANT is not dead in high traffic, SMB offers. BANT is dead in most complex B2B sales. If the right person has the right pain and is in your target market, work the deal."
Paul Gillin (Paul Gillin Communications)
"I completely agree on the authority issue. … Marketers and salespeople waste too much time selling to top executives who can’t be reached in the first place."
Jonathan Farrington (Top Sales World)
"The quality of leads passed across from marketing will continue to be questionable as long as marketing is allowed to qualify … in most cases marketing does not have the appropriate skills to weight the value of leads. This has traditionally been a sales team responsibility, and in my opinion should remain so."
Dan Waldschmidt (an ordinary dude with an outrageous vision)
"BANT isn’t BUNK. It is not the magic wand either. It’s the studs of an ugly structure for the finishing work that makes it beautiful. Build on it." [Note from McDade: don’t he talk pretty :)]
Carlos Hidalgo (ANNUITAS)
"If you have not killed BANT in your lead qualification process, do it now. Start smart and begin focusing on the buying signals and behavior to get a more qualified lead and ultimately more conversions for sales. BANT is dead."
Anthony Iannarino (The Sales Blog)
"The rule now is to get there early. Build the need yourself. Waiting is a recipe for failure."
Jamie Turner (60 Second Communications)
"Ardath Albee’s blog makes a lot of sense. In addition to Need, Connections and Company, I’d add one more item—Context. In other words, what environment is the purchaser in and how can a sales person leverage that context to make a compelling case for their product or service?"
Tony Jaros (SVP, Research, SiriusDecisions)
"SiriusDecisions believes that it is need that has emerged as the most important element in this acronym, doing the best job of cutting through an often-confusing set of factors and clarifying direction for the rep or channel partner."
Lori Richardson (Score More Sales)
"… budget is not the issue when qualifying, but more about how their process works. Questions such as ‘How do projects like this normally happen’ or ‘What are the next steps if you were to proceed’ are more appropriate than ‘what is the budget’."
Jeff Ernst (Forrester)
"First our sales people have to show that the buyer is in a role that is a fit for our research in order to create an opportunity. Then they have to identify issues that the buyer has that we can solve. They then need to determine the sequence of events that need to happen in order for the buyer to do business with us. Only then do we propose a solution."
Dave Brock (Partners in EXCELLENCE)
"… perhaps a customer having a budget might be a red flag or a warning sign. It means they’ve been thinking of the issue for some time, long enough to reserve money to invest. It may mean they’ve been researching alternative solutions, it may mean they have some favorites. It may mean you are late to the party and disadvantaged. You have to assess this, but maybe having a budget might be a disqualifier. They may be so far along in their decision making process, you don’t have a chance."
My final note: Demanding BANT qualified leads ensures that you are going to be competing against an entrenched vendor that has probably already won the business. In other words, if you are waiting for BANT, you are waiting to become column fodder.
By Dan McDade