bant-sales-process

BANT Sales Process

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.

Budget (B)

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.

Authority (A)

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.

Need (N)

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 (T)

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.

Key takeaways:

  • 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.

Related Business Concepts

Business Development

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Business development comprises a set of strategies and actions to grow a business via a mixture of sales, marketing, and distribution. While marketing usually relies on automation to reach a wider audience, and sales typically leverage a one-to-one approach. The business development’s role is that of generating distribution.

Sales vs. Marketing

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The more you move from consumers to enterprise clients, the more you’ll need a sales force able to manage complex sales. As a rule of thumb, a more expensive product, in B2B or Enterprise, will require an organizational structure around sales. An inexpensive product to be offered to consumers will leverage on marketing.

Sales Cycle

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A sales cycle is the process that your company takes to sell your services and products. In simple words, it’s a series of steps that your sales reps need to go through with prospects that lead up to a closed sale.

RevOps

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RevOps – short for Revenue Operations – is a framework that aims to maximize the revenue potential of an organization. RevOps seeks to align these departments by giving them access to the same data and tools. With shared information, each then understands their role in the sales funnel and can work collaboratively to increase revenue.

BATNA

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In negotiation theory, BATNA stands for “Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement,” and it’s one of the key tenets of negotiation theory. Indeed, it describes the best course of action a party can take if negotiations fail to reach an agreement. This simple strategy can help improve the negotiation as each party is (in theory) willing to take the best course of action, as otherwise, an agreement won’t be reached.

WATNA

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In negotiation, WATNA stands for “worst alternative to a negotiated agreement,” representing one of several alternative options if a resolution cannot be reached. This is a useful technique to help understand what might be a negotiation outcome, that even if negative is still better than a WATNA, making the deal still feasible.

ZOPA

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The ZOPA (zone of possible agreement) describes an area in which two negotiation parties may find common ground. Indeed, ZOPA is critical to explore the deals where the parties get a mutually beneficial outcome to prevent the risk of a win-lose, or lose-win scenario. And therefore get to the point of a win-win negotiation outcome.

Revenue Modeling

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Revenue modeling is a process of incorporating a sustainable financial model for revenue generation within a business model design. Revenue modeling can help to understand what options make more sense in creating a digital business from scratch; alternatively, it can help in analyzing existing digital businesses and reverse engineer them.

Customer Experience Map

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Customer experience maps are visual representations of every encounter a customer has with a brand. On a customer experience map, interactions called touchpoints visually denote each interaction that a business has with its consumers. Typically, these include every interaction from the first contact to marketing, branding, sales, and customer support.

AIDA Model

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AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. That is a model that is used in marketing to describe the potential journey a customer might go through before purchasing a product or service. The AIDA model helps organizations focus their efforts when optimizing their marketing activities based on the customers’ journeys.

Social Selling

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Social selling is a process of developing trust, rapport, and a relationship with a prospect to enhance the sales cycle. It usually happens through tech platforms (like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and more), which enable salespeople to engage with potential prospects before closing the sale, thus becoming more effective.

CHAMP Methodology

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The CHAMP methodology is an iteration of the BANT sales process for modern B2B applications. While budget, authority, need, and timing are important aspects of qualifying sales leads, the CHAMP methodology was developed after sales reps questioned the order in which the BANT process is followed.

BANT Sales Process

bant-sales-process
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.

MEDDIC Sales Process

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The MEDDIC sales process was developed in 1996 by Dick Dunkel at software company Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). The MEDDIC sales process is a framework used by B2B sales teams to foster predictable and efficient growth.

STP Marketing

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STP marketing simplifies the market segmentation process and is one of the most commonly used approaches in modern marketing. The core focus of STP marketing is commercial effectiveness. Marketers use the approach to select the most valuable segments from a target audience and develop a product positioning strategy and marketing mix for each.

Sales Funnels vs. Flywheels

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The sales funnel is a model used in marketing to represent an ideal, potential journey that potential customers go through before becoming actual customers. As a representation, it is also often an approximation, that helps marketing and sales teams structure their processes at scale, thus building repeatable sales and marketing tactics to convert customers.

Pirate Metrics

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Bootstrapping

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The general concept of Bootstrapping connects to “a self-starting process that is supposed to proceed without external input.” In business, Bootstrapping means financing the growth of the company from the available cash flows produced by a viable business model. Bootstrapping requires the mastery of the key customers driving growth.

Virtuous Cycles

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The virtuous cycle is a positive loop or a set of positive loops that trigger a non-linear growth. Indeed, in the context of digital platforms, virtuous cycles – also defined as flywheel models – help companies capture more market shares by accelerating growth. The classic example is Amazon’s lower prices driving more consumers, driving more sellers, thus improving variety and convenience, thus accelerating growth.

Sales Storytelling

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Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Enterprise Sales

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Enterprise sales describes the procurement of large contracts that tend to be characterized by multiple decision-makers, complicated implementation, higher risk levels, or longer sales cycles.

Outside Sales

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Outside sales occur when a salesperson meets with prospects or customers in the field. This sort of sales function is critical to acquire larger accounts, like enterprise customers, for which the acquisition process is usually longer, more complex and it requires the understanding of the target organization. Thus the outside sales will cut through the noise to acquire a large enterprise account for the organization.

Freeterprise

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A freeterprise is a combination of free and enterprise where free professional accounts are driven into the funnel through the free product. As the opportunity is identified the company assigns the free account to a salesperson within the organization (inside sales or fields sales) to convert that into a B2B/enterprise account.

Sales Distribution Framework

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Palantir Acquire, Expand, Scale Framework

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Consultative Selling

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Consultative selling is a sales approach favoring relationship building and open dialogue to adequately meet the needs of a prospective customer. By building trust quickly a consultative selling approach can help the customer better meet her/his expectations and the salesperson hit her/his targets more effectively.

Unique Selling Proposition

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A unique selling proposition (USP) enables a business to differentiate itself from its competitors. Importantly, a USP enables a business to stand for something that they, in turn, become known among consumers. A strong and recognizable USP is crucial to operating successfully in competitive markets.

Read: product development frameworks here.

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