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BANT Sales Process: What It Is And How To Use It

Your brain is probably full of endless sales industry jargon, including various acronyms to remember strategies and methodologies. And one of those might be the BANT sales process. Sound familiar? BANT is an acronym for a common sales method, standing for:

Budget: How much is the prospect able and willing to spend?

Authority: Who is the ultimate decision maker?

Need: Does the prospect have a problem your product can solve?

Timing: Is there urgency?

BANT Sales Details

Let's take a minute to consider what each of the points mean. Knowing the prospect's budget early in your discovery process is crucial. If they are not in a financial position to afford your solution, you may find it more lucrative and efficient to move on. And regardless of how well you get along with a prospect, you must figure out who exactly has the buying authority in the organization. That is the person you need to get in front of.

If your 'prospect' is selling shoes and you are selling rockets, you've got a problem. The contact you've been speaking with doesn't have a problem you can solve. While this is an extreme example, getting to the heart of what you can do for a prospect is critical.

You likely always feel a sense of urgency in terms of getting a deal done. Prospects can be all over the place in their decision-making process. Once you know whether a prospect plan to make a purchase decision this month, versus next year, you'll be able to plan your efforts accordingly.

Qualifying Leads

The BANT sales process helps sales reps qualify prospective client leads, determining if the prospect is worth pursuing or is better left alone, at least until later when a new product comes out or a need arises. While BANT has fallen out of favor among some sales reps, HubSpot’s Aja Frost believes it is due to sales reps’ misuse of it rather than an actual lack of efficacy. “[BANT] fails when salespeople use it like a checklist, meaning they ask prospects a series of rote questions without truly listening to their response or attempting to add value,” she explains.

When utilized properly, the BANT sales process can save you both money and time by effectively qualifying every lead that comes your way.

Frost advises sales reps not to use the BANT sales process as an interrogation of their prospective clients. Instead, they should think of it as concept rather than a checklist. You should be creating a two-way dialogue with prospects and taking every opportunity to dig a bit deeper with each question. Also, BANT questions do not need to be asked in order, so feel free to sprinkle them throughout your conversation so it flows more naturally.   

Still not sure about using the BANT sales process? No worries, as Frost shares a list of excellent questions for each category (budget, authority, need, timing) that will get the prospect talking. Also, make sure to read the potential challenges she includes as well, which will help you prepare for potential roadblocks or issues along the way. As she points out, “BANT has lasted through the ages because it’s effective (when used correctly), memorable, and applicable to a range of products, price points, and sales processes. Adapt it to your situation, then ruthlessly target the best fits.”

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jessica is a senior research analyst for SalesFuel focusing on selling to SMB decision makers. She also reports on sales and presentation tips for SalesFuel and Media Sales Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.