Marketing Term of the Week: BANT

“Tell me what you know about BANT qualified leads.”  It’s pretty much guaranteed that you will face this question while interviewing for marketing positions.  If you don’t have a clear answer, you will be immediately ruled out.  The good news is that BANT is a clear, easy-to-understand concept that you can put into immediate use right now.

So what is BANT?

BANT is a formula developed by IBM for the most essential pieces of information you need to know in order to present a great sales opportunity to your sales team.

B = Budget (are they out getting educated, just looking, or is there a budgeted project underway?)

A = Authority (are you talking to the right person? if interested who else will we need to involve?)

N = Need (does your product solve their pain, address KPIs, and provide adequate ROI?)

T = Timeframe for purchase.  The answer to this will help you figure out where they are in the buyer’s journey and how quickly sales should reach out. 

A BANT Qualified Lead is a lead where you know this key information.  Are they looking for what you are selling? Are you talking to the right person?  Can they afford it? Do they know the date they plan to pull the trigger?  Knowing this information, your salespeople can speak more intelligently about the sales stuff in the relationship while they begin to simultaneously work to remove obstacles to the BANT criteria. There isn’t a sales rep on the planet that will not gratefully accept your leads if you can provide this information.  If you bring your salespeople leads that look like this, they will all become your new best friends and will stop ignoring the leads you bring them.

With the advent of inbound marketing (social media marketing, growth hacking and marketing platforms such as HubSpot and Marketo) the earlier stages of what used to be “push marketing” has been very effectively replaced with inbound marketing tactics (a.k.a. pull marketing).  

Knowing that your prospects go out looking online in the early and middle stages of looking for answers, the prevailing mindset is that as a potential seller you had better be where your prospects are looking. True.  

Later after your prospect has decided on a solution direction, then you  should talk about your product.  At this stage a more traditional sales cycle works and BANT is a great way to gauge how sales ready the lead is.  When they buyer is finally in the Decision Stage, BANT criteria works exactly as it is supposed to.  The earlier you are able to discover BANT criteria the better for your sales reps.   I have heard it said by seasoned sales professionals that when they closed a deal without knowing BANT, it was luck.  Think about it, if you are afraid to ask who the check signer is, if there is a budget and timeframe for purchase, and you still close the deal…they wanted your product despite your sales reps, not because of them.