The marketing universe has awesome acronyms, applications, platforms and gadgets to tackle virtually any problem. One of them is a lead qualification framework known as BANT, which refers to four core elements (Budget, Authority, Need, Time) that inform marketing and sales teams about the propensity, timeframe and likelihood for a given lead to close as a customer. BANT has been around for a while and remains a solid way of scoring leads early in the game and handing sales a list of winners.
We love how the BANT framework cuts through the clutter to hone in on core qualifying criteria proven to help marketing teams secure and convert leads more effectively. Let’s look at what makes BANT one of the most effective lead scoring frameworks.
All about the BANT framework
Coined by the clever folks over at IBM, BANT provides a realistic method for identifying leads that are most likely to be qualified internally and who will eventually close. While meeting a minimum of three of the four elements is advisable, there may be reason to apply tighter or looser forms to the framework. The elements in the acronym should be covered in your checklist in the order they appear, since each has a higher weight than the one following it.
For instance, if a lead meets the first, second and fourth elements, a looser form of BANT can be applied compared to one who meets only the last three. To clarify, let’s take a look at each of the four elements that make up BANT.
Affordability is the dealmaker or breaker for both leads and companies. This means determining a given prospect’s ability or willingness to allocate budget to a project or solution should be your first port of call. In many cases you’ll find a lead that’s willing, but who simply doesn’t have the budget. Make sure to frame questions that dig a little deeper into budgetary limitations.
Questions like “What projects have you implemented in the last 12 months?” or “What budget allocations have you made” or “What’s your spending limit on a project of this size and scope?” will help you discover your prospect’s ability to commit.
While establishing a prospect’s financial wiggle room is the number one priority, knowing who signs the cheques comes in at a very close second. You’ll need to determine who the person (or persons) are with buying power in the company and engage them. Is it the person you dealt with at initial contact? Great! If not, make sure you find out who makes the financial decisions and get in touch with them.
Note the BANT framework made its appearance at a time when single authoritative figures made most decisions. Today, decision makers can consist of a group of three to five people running a startup, or you could be dealing with a traditionally structured business. Just make sure you match your personas to the people making the decisions in whatever kind of business you’re targeting.
This one boils down to priority, which heavily influences how decisions are made within any company. Establish the urgency of your prospect’s situation and how their challenges are impacting their business. As a subject specialist, you may be in a position to highlight how other factors in the organisation are affected if your lead doesn’t implement a proposed solution. Dig deep here. Get context around what motivates your prospects and how your product/service addresses obstacles and adds value to the business.
Ask any seasoned marketer or salesperson and they’ll tell you that timing is indeed of the essence. If your lead’s got the budget, authority and a demonstrable need for a solution, timing becomes even more important. When qualifying a lead, make sure you’ve got a full understanding of what influences their given timelines.
While marketing and sales strategies have seen wide-ranging changes, logical frameworks tend to provide us with a compass when things get a little hectic. Customers and businesses browse, buy and change their minds very differently compared to five years ago – and we can expect such trends to change further.
Frameworks like BANT help sales and marketing teams navigate new playing fields with a trusted tool that helps them qualify leads in a logical and effective manner.
To discover more useful lead conversion hacks, make sure you download a copy of 5 Marketing Hacks to Qualify Leads Effectively today.