Identifying qualified leads and scoring them on the basis of their maturity are some basic marketing methods followed by sales teams.
A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is a targeted customer who has started his journey through the marketing funnel. This customer has already gone through the Awareness and Consideration Phases of the sales cycle, thanks to the efforts of the marketing team, and is ready for the last step of the funnel – Conversion.
On the other hand, Lead Scoring is the process of defining whether a lead is worthy enough to be pursued. This can either be point based, or simply categorized under heads such as ‘cold’, ‘warm’ and ‘hot’.
Though these concepts offer valuable insights into the sales process, there was a need for a concept to help recognize qualified leads. This is where BANT Analysis comes to the rescue.
What is BANT Analysis?
BANT is a method that was initially developed by IBM to measure the quality of sales prospects and analyze their likelihood of converting into successful customers. The chief aim of the practice is to identify areas of opportunity and stakeholder level qualifications. Data is gathered with the help of targeted questions to understand the requirements of prospects in depth.
B.A.N.T stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe. Let’s look at each step in detail.
4 Steps of the BANT Qualification Framework
The BANT Analysis involves the following 4 steps –
This step simply aims to answer the following – Is the prospective lead capable of affording our products/services? And if it does have the minimum funds, how deep are they willing to dig their pockets? There is no point in wasting valuable company resources to chase leads which cannot convert.
Some viable questions that can be asked to prospects in this step are –
a) What is your Budget for this project?
b) Where does this project/activity stand in the current operational priority of your organization?
c) What are other avenues where you are currently investing?
Another crucial step of the process, the aim here is to determine whether the person whom you are in contact with has the authority to make the buying decision. Is it crucial to target the decision maker and hence this is an important initial step.
Questions in this step can include –
a) Who all have the authority to make this purchase decision?
b) Have you made any similar purchase decisions in the past?
c) What all challenges did you face at that time?
This is the most important aspect of closing the sale since it gives an insight into the pain points the lead is facing, which can be used to motivate the sale. Once it is understood how deep the need goes, one can then pitch about the solutions that are on the table.
Viable questions here include –
a) What are the challenges being faced by your organization?
b) What factors have stopped you to address them earlier?
c) What are your expectations from us in solving the issues at hand?
The final step in the qualification framework, the span of the sales cycle is gauged here. Is it important to determine how soon a solution your prospect is looking at. While one prospect may want an immediate solution, another might just be gathering facts to use in the future.
Questions such as following may give crucial insights here –
a) How quickly do you need the solution to your problem?
b) What is the priority of this project in your timeline?
c) How soon can the project be implemented?
Example of BANT Analysis
Let’s consider a case to understand the concept in depth.
Sam is the CEO of a cardboard box manufacturing company Cardster Inc. whose factory can produce 150,000 boxes in an average month. Sam has recently bagged a deal from a huge bakery which requires him to buy a new machine to increase his monthly output by 50,000 additional boxes. His budget is $100,000 and the first order has to be delivered after 90 days.
Now suppose that Clarke is in the sales team of Machinist Inc. that sells such machines. Their box-making machines range from $60,000 to $85,000 and through the analysis of past data, Clarke considers a sales cycle of 150 days as the industry average. Here is how Clarke can use B.A.N.T to determine whether Sam is a qualified lead.
a) The price of the machine is well within the budget of Sam.
b) Being the CEO, he has the authority to make the decision.
c) The Need to make the purchase is very strong because of the new deal.
d) The timeline of delivery is well within the expected sales cycle.
Hence, with the help of BANT Analysis, Sam qualifies as an effective lead for Clarke.
Importance of BANT Analysis
Although BANT is sometimes referred to as an outdated concept of sales, it still adds effective value to the selling process.
1) It is a great tool to categorize leads based on their maturity level. The sales team can quickly analyze whether a lead is worth chasing for. In other words, it makes the sales pipeline more realistic.
2) Since BANT Analysis helps to avoid obvious pitfalls in the sales process, it saves a lot of time and resources by optimizing the sales process. Thus, it has a direct impact on the ROI of the sales department.
3) BANT also helps to improve the quality of the service provided to the clients since the team now has sufficient knowledge about their requirements.
4) Since the quality of service is improved, it leads to a positive impact on the client retention rate.
5) Apart from having a direct impact on the number of sales, the data collected through the practice also acts as a crucial means for market analysis.
Is Better Enough? Better Alternatives to BANT Analysis
Although BANT Analysis has been one of the founding steps of modern sales processes, its relevance has deteriorated over the years. Meanwhile, better alternatives such as GPCT and BA have emerged which are more in-tune with the requirements of today’s market. Here is what they stand for –
1. GPCT: Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline
2. BA: Budget and Authority