Qualifying sales leads is a vital responsibility of a Sales Development Representative (SDR) as it evaluates the likelihood of the prospect’s willingness to engage in a new business relationship.
To accurately dissect the customer’s buying power, you must ask specific qualification questions. Consequently, the objective of the dialogue is to understand their current needs. The more you grasp the customer’s needs, the better your chance of selling the product and understanding your customer segment. To streamline this entire process, many salespeople use the BANT framework.
What is BANT?
BANT is a sales qualification methodology that enables sales reps to determine how fitting each prospect is based on four factors – budget, authority or the influence to make a purchasing decision, need for the product or service and purchase timeline.
- Budget - How much is the customer willing or able to spend?
- Authority - Who is the decision-maker of the transaction?
- Need - Do they have a genuine need for our product/service?
- Timeline - How much time will the customer lead need to make a final purchasing decision?
IBM first introduced the BANT framework in the 1950s, and since then, it has become a simple yet staple sales framework.
Furthermore, BANT helps establish an effective sales process since it makes it convenient to understand which prospects have the highest potential of becoming customers. If a particular prospect isn’t deemed a good fit, they would initially be disqualified from the sales process, saving the time and energy that could go to leads that are likely to convert.
Each letter of BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. Let’s dive into each qualification process.
No matter how much a prospect is impressed with the product, nothing will be finalized if their budget does not align with what is needed. As a result, checking the prospect’s budget in the first meeting is important before moving forward.
Startups and small businesses are likelier not to have a solidified budget in advance. In such instances, it may be more beneficial to analyze their purchasing power - are they willing to find a solution to their current business need? Other factors to weigh may be their most recent fundraising status, revenue, and prior purchases of similar solutions you are selling.
Due to the nature of B2B businesses, the buyer may differ from the actual product user. The user may act as a decision-maker in the sales process or utilize a procurement team to finalize the process. Therefore, you must acknowledge every role involved in the entire sales process, and, more importantly, who the stakeholders are. Remember, the more people are convinced of your offerings, the higher your chance of selling the product or service.
The #1 question to ask is – how significant is this problem to the prospect?
Do the rest of the team and the company also feel the urgent need to solve this problem? An individual prospect’s need may not align with the leadership’s priorities.
Having a cohesive agreement on a company level will ease the entire process for every party involved.
Now that we have the budget, authority figures, and the need down, we must understand the prospect’s timeline.
Lastly - how quickly can they finalize a decision?
If a lead does not meet all the requirements in the BANT framework at this time, the SDR may pause the process as “nurturing” in their CRM and reevaluate the opportunity when needed.
Applying the BANT Framework
All the information you need to know about your customer comes from sales meeting notes down to their smallest aggregate. The first crucial step of an effective sales process is understanding the customer’s current business situation and then follow up with your colleagues to keep everyone in the loop.
It saves tremendous time to take initial meeting notes based on the BANT framework as it organizes necessary information early in the process. There is no need to drill down the prospect with unanswered questions later on.
How to Utilize CRM to Store BANT Information
Sales teams can and should utilize CRM tools to their advantage – by systematically managing information retrieved from the BANT framework. Based on the framework, Sales Development Representatives can add new deals to the sales pipeline while simultaneously building relationships with other prospects and existing customers.
The communications exchanged between numerous customers can all be stored in a single platform. For example, Relate provides a way to organize dialogues rooted in the BANT framework throughout the entire pipeline.
Using the Lead Status Feature
Relate lets you break down BANT by each letter - Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline - by entering the data accordingly. The Lead Status and the Data View features make it easy to grasp where each prospect remains in the process – e.g., qualified, bad fit, potential customer, etc.
Taking Sales Meeting Notes in your CRM
CRM tools foster collaboration with your colleagues and easily organize sales and customer information based on the BANT framework.
From the meeting notes, the team can further discuss topics such as assigning a figure to lead the sales process and offering appropriate solutions to each prospect’s business needs.
This can also be applied beyond your direct sales team if you use Relate CRM. Relate lets you share sales meeting notes with product managers, product designers, and engineers with a link —making it a breeze for sales teams to give feedback to product teams.
BANT Qualification Questions
Here are a few good examples of BANT qualification questions you can use in your next sales meeting.
- How much is the business currently spending on this particular problem?
- (For startups) What is the total amount of investment the business has been able to source?
- How much would it cost to build the solution yourself?
- Is there a predetermined budget for this specific purchase?
- How much did the business spend on alternative solutions?
- (For SaaS Sales) What is the maximum spending allowed using business cards?
- Who will be the prime user of the solution?
- Could you walk us through the solution introductory process?
- Who else will be looped in throughout the sales process?
- When was the last time the business need was identified?
- What steps have already been taken to address the problem?
- What are your top priorities, and does it align with the team and company’s goals?
- What are the hardships you face within your responsibilities?
- Is there another business need you are currently attending to?
- When would you like to have the issue solved?
- Are you considering alternative solutions to this problem?