Sales

What Is BANT?

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Sidney Jones
October 20, 2022
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4

min read

Sales person going through BANT with a prospect.

Are you new to sales, but not sure what BANT is? In this article, we break down this game-changing acronym and share why BANT is so important if you want to avoid wasting time on prospects who aren’t a good fit.  

If you’re looking for a fast and efficient way to qualify a lead, keep reading. Plus we added some bonus questions at the end that you can ask on your next sales call. 

B.A.N.T.

IBM created the acronym BANT in the 1950s to quickly qualify prospects and gauge if they were worth the investment it takes to close. 

BANT stands for the following…

  1. Budget: Does the prospect have the budget to buy your product or service?
  2. Authority: Is the prospect the ultimate decision maker to say “Yes” or “No” to your solution or are there other stakeholders?
  3. Need: Is there a genuine need for your product or service?
  4. Timing: When will the prospect be able to purchase your product or service?

You essentially use BANT to evaluate a prospect. And depending on what your organization is looking for, if a prospect passes at least three of the four criteria, they will likely be a solid, buying customer.

Why Is BANT Important?

The brilliance of BANT (and one of the reasons it’s stuck around for so long) is that it organizes qualifying criteria in order of importance.

If you’re on the phone with a prospect, and it’s established early on that there just isn’t the budget for your product (take a look at this Entrepreneur article on tips to handle the “I can’t afford it” objection by the way), you can quickly disqualify them and move on to the next prospect. 

Or if you find out that the person you’re speaking with isn’t the only decision maker, you can take efforts to find out all the decision makers and get everyone on the same page fast. 

BANT is so valuable because it allows you to get all the information you need to move the sales process along (whether that involves moving on to the next steps or moving on to the next prospect). 

Check out some sample questions you can ask for each of the four criteria of BANT below…

1. Budget

It’s easy for someone to say your solution is too expensive and hang up. To get useful information on your prospect’s budget, your questions here have to move past sticker price and budget, and you need to highlight what it’s costing your prospect to go without your solution as well as the results your solution can deliver…

  • Are you investing in a solution that helps with this now?
  • (If yes): What are you spending on this solution?
  • With our product, you can achieve Value X. Would those returns line up with your budget? 

2. Authority 

According to The Sales Board, 85% of sales opportunities involve multiple decision-makers. More often than not you’re going to have to work with several people on a deal. With this in mind, you want to pinpoint who will be involved in the buying process, as well as the relationship dynamics…

  • When evaluating products like this, who else over there is involved?
  • What’s their position?
  • What would they like to see in a solution?
  • Can you transfer me real quick over the phone to {{other decision-makers}}?

3. Need

Your goal with this criteria section is to find out the prospect’s pains (or show them pains they didn’t realize they had) and how your product or service can resolve those pains. In addition to this, you also want to get a sense of the urgency here. This LinkedIn article shares how to turn prospect pains into a fire pitch.  

You want to find out how big of a priority solving this pain is for the prospect because that will let you know if there will be any urgency with purchasing your solution… 

  • What are you all focused on at Company X right now?
  • How are you feeling about how things are going?
  • What’s keeping you from accomplishing these goals?
  • What will happen if Pain X isn’t resolved?

4. Timing

With this criteria section, you aren’t just asking a straightforward question here about the prospect’s timeline to find out how long you have to invest for a closed-won. You also want to ask questions that highlight the urgency of the prospect’s situation and goals…

  • What are your sales goals for the quarter? 
  • How plausible are these goals? 
  • Do you think you’ll be able to crush them?

Word of Warning With BANT

Avoid using BANT as an excuse to establish ZERO rapport with your prospect. In other words, don’t get on the phone and start shooting off one BANT question after the next without asking any follow-up questions. Your prospects are not robots, and your sales calls are not interrogations.

Instead, use BANT as a framework for genuine conversations. For example, when you start finding out the prospect’s pain points, don’t merely list them off and move on to the “Timing” criteria. Find out what the real stakes of those pains are. What would it cost the prospect to go another month or another year with the same problems? Or don’t just find out if the prospect has the budget to afford your $X product, but also find out what they’re spending now to try to resolve this problem. What have they spent in the past? Remember, your goal is to transform prospects into lifelong customers. 

If you’re looking for a fast and efficient way to qualify prospects sooner rather than later, try the framework salespeople have faithfully used for decades: BANT.

In addition to BANT, check out this article for more questions you can ask during your initial, sales discovery stage. 

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