By Chris Isham, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer
In theory, BANT sounds like a great way to tell if leads are qualified. In practice, BANT causes you to push people out of your funnel or miss leads altogether. Here’s why you should stop using BANT and start using lead qualification tactics that work.
The Pitfalls of BANT Lead Qualification
BANT is an outdated way to qualify leads and should never be used as an exclusive requirement for lead generation or as a way to interact with leads.
BANT Is A Conversation Killer…
Imagine a call where the prospect is only asked BANT-specific questions that directly assess their Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline:
“What’s your budget?”
“Are you the one who has the authority to make this purchasing decision?”
“How urgent is your need? Do you have a timeline to solve this problem?”
You’d be hard-pressed to have a call that doesn’t end in an immediate hang-up. Technically these questions are buyer-focused, but really only in a way that centers around what they can do for you and your sales quota.
Your prospects are busy and you’ve likely interrupted their day with a sales call. Asking BANT questions is not the best way to use that time. Instead, you should be using those precious moments to understand their current challenges, or even illuminate a challenge they might not know they have, and introduce how you can solve it.
BANT questions don’t lend themselves to natural conversation, which is how you build rapport with prospects. It’s uncomfortable for the prospect to be asked BANT questions outright and upfront, and a bad way to introduce your brand to a potential buyer.
…Which Means You’re Missing BANT-Weary Prospects
Aside from making the conversation awkward, BANT disqualifies prospects who just aren’t ready to share those details or who aren’t aware of their needs yet. You’re pushing buyers out of your funnel by forcing BANT on them.
If a prospect has gone through a nurture process already, then some BANT questions may be appropriate to further qualify them. But in the early stages of outreach, BANT does not allow for an educational nurturing process that speaks to a lead’s needs.
If you immediately disqualify leads because they don’t meet your initial BANT criteria, you’re depriving yourself of the opportunity to educate them on your solutions. Do you really want to rule out a decision maker who has identified a need for your solution just because they haven’t revealed their budget?
How You Should Qualify Leads
If BANT isn’t a good way to qualify leads, what is?
“Need” Is Still “Need to Know”
Ultimately it’s still important to understand a lead’s need so that you can align your value proposition to any pain they’re experiencing. But you should uncover that need in a natural way.
Ask your prospect how they’re currently solving a certain problem or who their current provider is. From there, use direct, yet open-ended questions to identify pain points. This sets you up to position your product as the solution to their problem. At this point, the conversation also opens to allow you to ask about their timeline to solve any pain points.
Understanding Your ICP to Qualify Leads
To have better conversations with leads, you should have a solid understanding of your ideal customer profile and have different talk tracks for different job titles within your ICP. You need to know who the influencers and decision makers are so that you can have appropriate conversations.
Your call scripts should reflect this and the goals of each job title. A Manager is not always trying to solve the same problems as a C-suite title, so you cannot use the same script to qualify all leads.
Uncovering BANT Criteria In A Better Way
Using good data eliminates the need to ask authority questions at the beginning of the prospecting process. Incorporating intent data in your lead generation campaigns greatly increases the likelihood of talking to leads who meet BANT criteria. If an account is exhibiting researching behavior, and you have an accurate source of contact data, then you know who to target and that they’re likely interested.
Sales discovery meetings allow you to gain more insights into your prospect’s needs, but also gain a better understanding of their budget and authority. At that point in the sales process, it’s appropriate to ask about other stakeholders involved in decision making and whether they’ve allocated budget to this need. Through their discovery conversations, Account Executives can further qualify prospects.
Leave BANT in the past and start using these approaches to qualify your leads with better results.