The BANT process was conceived at IBM in the 1950s as a way to quickly identify prospects most likely to make a purchase. Despite its introduction around 70 years ago, the BANT process remains relevant today and was formally adopted into IBM’s Business Agility Solution Identification Guide.
Understanding the BANT sales process
The BANT sales process is a framework used by sales teams to gather information and spend more time selling to qualified prospects.
The qualification methodology within the BANT process enables sales teams to determine upfront whether a prospect is likely to be a good fit for the company’s products.
This process is performed relatively quickly, meaning that the sales representatives can devote more time to building a relationship with qualified leads.
The four components of the BANT process
BANT is an acronym for four components that form the sales qualification methodology. Let’s take a look at how each can be used to determine whether the prospect is a good fit.
Can the prospect afford the product or service? It is critical at this juncture to determine whether the prospect has a dedicated budget for the company’s product, what they’re expecting to have to pay, and whether there is any flexibility on price.
If whatever the prospect is willing to pay is too far apart from what the product is worth, it is best to discount them from the sales process.
Does the prospect have the power to finalize the sale? Are there multiple individuals involved in making the decision? Do stakeholders need to be consulted or informed?
Efforts should be made to involve more powerful individuals if the company’s point of contact does not hold sufficient sway. For more complex situations, using an account mapping tool such as Miro may be worthwhile.
What pain points does the product or service address? Pain points and their possible solutions can be clarified with the following exploratory questions:
- What is the most frustrating part of your job? For how long has this been so?
- What measures (if any) are in place to address this problem?
- What role do you believe the product or service has in solving the problem?
Sometimes, the prospect itself will be unaware of their needs and what they are potentially missing out on. Other prospects will be less motivated to buy since the product or service is the solution to a minor inconvenience at best. In either case, the above questions do bring clarity to the BANT sales process.
Timeline describes the immediacy with which the prospect wants to solve their problem. Those motivated to solve a problem in the next few months are worth persisting with, while prospects with a timeline measured in years are less of a short-term concern. In the latter case, the company can pause communications or create a sense of urgency to move the deal forward.
The BANT sales process best practices
While each of the four components of BANT encourages a sales team to ask exploratory questions, it’s important to remember that it should never feel like an interrogation.
Questions should be asked in a natural, conversational, or even convivial manner to build rapport. Subtlety is also key. Ideally, each question should be asked in a way that emphasizes or touches on the benefits of a product or service.
- Budget (B):
- Example 1: “Do you have a dedicated budget for this project, and if so, what is the budget range you’re working with?”
- Example 2: “Could you share what you’re currently spending on similar solutions, if any?”
- Authority (A):
- Example 1: “Who in your organization holds the final decision-making authority for this purchase?”
- Example 2: “Are there any other stakeholders or departments that need to be involved in this decision?”
- Need (N):
- Example 1: “What challenges or pain points are you currently facing in your day-to-day operations?”
- Example 2: “Can you describe any specific goals or outcomes you’re hoping to achieve with our product/service?”
- Timeline (T):
- Example 1: “How soon are you looking to implement a solution to address these challenges?”
- Example 2: “Are there any specific milestones or deadlines you need to meet in the near future?”
- The BANT sales process is a framework used by sales teams to gather information and spend more time selling to qualified prospects.
- The BANT sales process has four key components that comprise its qualification methodology: budget, authority, need, and timeline.
- While each component encourages the asking of exploratory questions, the sales process should never feel like an interrogation. Natural interaction with a subtle emphasis on product benefits is key.
Key Highlights of the BANT Sales Process:
- Origin and Relevance:
- The BANT process was created at IBM in the 1950s to identify potential customers likely to make a purchase.
- It remains relevant today and is part of IBM’s Business Agility Solution Identification Guide.
- The BANT sales process is a framework for sales teams to efficiently gather information and focus on selling to qualified prospects.
- It helps determine if a prospect is a good fit for the company’s products.
- Four Components of BANT:
- Budget (B): Assess whether the prospect can afford the product and if their budget aligns with the product’s value.
- Authority (A): Determine if the prospect has the power to finalize the sale and whether multiple stakeholders are involved.
- Need (N): Identify the prospect’s pain points and their recognition of the product as a solution.
- Timeline (T): Evaluate the urgency with which the prospect wants to address their problem.
- Best Practices:
- Use exploratory questions to gather information but maintain a natural, conversational tone.
- Build rapport with prospects and subtly emphasize the benefits of the product or service.
- Adjust communication based on the prospect’s responses to the BANT components.
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