It’s been a lead generation standard for years.
The acronym BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline and serves as a guide to basic lead qualification for almost any B2B sale.
However, the BANT approach is no longer the best method for how your sales team should be selling to today’s buyers, especially when taking a metrics-driven approach.
Why BANT Needs To Go
It’s important to have a linear sales process, a lead qualification method and a way to measure your sales pipeline, but BANT is no longer ideal for the task.
The BANT approach sets your sales team up for failure for many reasons. Not only does it walk your prospect through the qualification process in the wrong order, but it’s entirely sales-centric instead of customer-centric.
Here are reasons why each stage of BANT isn’t the right order or fit for your sales process:
- Budget: If a prospect has the budget for your product or service, they’ve likely already been shopping for a solution for a while. Waiting to qualify this aspect of a sale means you’re probably late to the game.
- Authority: While the final decision maker is never the one who begins the buying process, each person in the process is important to understanding need. If you fail to speak with the end user or influencer (who usually starts the conversation), you’ll fail to understand their pains. Instead, engage in a business-level discussion with whoever is on the phone, regardless of authority.
- Need: Need is the primary reason why a buyer is shopping for an offering like yours. You must lead with Need in order to effectively close the sale.
- Timeline: Relationship building is more important than timing, so don’t push for a particular purchase timeline. If you do, then you aren’t actually building a relationship with the prospect.
Lead With Need By Leveraging ODAC
When you lead the sales conversation with Need (instead of the other three facets of BANT), your efforts are ultimately more successful. However, keeping your sales team on track with a needs-based approach requires a new acronym so no one slips back into the old habit of BANT.
Replace your team’s BANT philosophy with ODAC:
- Open: Have your team start sales calls by opening the door to a conversation with the prospect. From the first call to the last, their approach must be open and customer-centric.
- Discovery: The next step is to discover the prospect’s current pains and problems. Find their reason to proceed with the call and then show them the potential impact of your product or service.
- Agreement: Your sales team should then ask the prospect, “What could features like X, Y and Z do for your business?” By getting the customer to envision your product working for them, you’re getting them to tacitly agree to the sale and helping your team overcome any later objections.
- Close: Once you’ve gotten a prospect to agree with the vision of your solution, guide them through the final aspects of Budget, Authority and Timeline. By this stage in the sales process, you only need to guide them through the logistics of their decision.
As your team adopts the ODAC approach, remember to measure and analyze every aspect of the process. Only with clear sales metrics in hand are you able to optimize each stage of ODAC for a smoother sale.
It’s time for BANT to go. Not only is it not customer-centric, but it inhibits your team’s ability to close deals faster. Harness the power of the ODAC approach to streamline your sales cycle and keep your team effectively turning leads into customers.
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