BANT Criteria in a Buyer-Centric World? No More

Everyone in sales and marketing knows what BANT stands for – Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe. This concept was first introduced by IBM in the early 2000s and was the gold-standard for qualifying sales and marketing “leads.” It was used religiously to determine sales-ready leads and almost every sales representative (inside as well as outside) and marketer knew the value of these qualifiers.

No more BANT criteriaIs BANT still meaningful in 2016? Not so much. The ways in which buyers buy is fundamentally different today than when BANT was first introduced. Vendors and sales people are not the gatekeepers of information any longer and multiple analyst reports state that buyers are generally through 50-70% of their buying journey by the time they first interact with sales. Information is at a buyer’s fingertips anytime, anyplace and generally speaking, for free ( it may cost an email address).

In a 2016 article by SalesHacker, BANT Sales Qualification for a New Era the idea of BANT today, especially for SaaS companies and in our buyer-centric world, is outdated. I’m not suggesting qualifying questions aren’t necessary anymore, but asking these static questions as a way to gain insight into if a buyer is ready to buy is just not useful or realistic anymore.

Why?

  • If we are a buyer-centric organization, the buyer’s behavior (offline and digitally) and content consumption patterns will show and tell us when they are ready to buy.
  • If we are a buyer-centric organization, we know there is generally a buying committee for B2B organizations, not a single buyer.
  • If we are buyer-centric, we know our buyers well enough not ask if they have purchasing authority or budget, because it doesn’t really matter when engaging a buyer to help them solve their problem.

With strategic demand generation, sales and marketing work together to help educate our buyers as they proceed through this buying process. In doing so, the buyers obtain the information they need to solve their challenges and address their needs. As the consumption of content occurs, they are also qualified as they indicate various buying signals. This approach is far more complex and accurate than BANT.

If your organization is still using BANT as a primary or even secondary method of qualifying sales-ready leads, it might be time to reassess your lead management process. The era for BANT is over in a buyer-centric organization because we all know that buyers will buy when they are ready, and not when they fit our pre-determined buying criteria.

Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg Vice President, Marketing, ANNUITAS