BANT – Over Used and Still Misunderstood.
The subject of the good old qualification acronym BANT rears its head again in a blog post by Erin Bohlin from Sirius Decisions.
I’m reluctant to accuse them of stating the obvious, but they are. The use of BANT depends on the maturity and type of the market you are selling into as well as the stage you are at with the prospect. BANT only provides limited vision with early stage prospects, and is of similar use with New Concept Demand Types. Therefore, think before “BANTing” anyone. Obvious, I know but it gets used so clumsily these days, it makes you wonder.
BANT is of limited use in its literal form in New Concept sells. Transformative and visionary propositions are never (B)udgeted for. However, that does not prevent you from testing the prospects financial appetite for the investment you require. You must sell New concepts at the highest levels anyway so it is assumed that you are talking to those in (A)uthority. Companies don’t have a (N)eed as they don’t know they have a problem (or opportunity), but they will display the subcategories of need. Those being Pain and/or Interest. Again, they won’t have a (T)imeframe for the problem they didn’t know existed. You can test their commitment to time once have created the need, activated pain, or shown opportunity through a transformational proposition.
As a “target” or inquiry is developed into a Suspect, and then a Marketing Lead, and then a Marketing Qualified Lead, and so on, the use of BANT becomes more meaningful and rigorous. The time frame of lead development will vary from business to business. Early stage leads need to demonstrate the characteristics and subcategories of (A)uthority. For example, authority can be satisfied with the subcategories of Influencer and Recommender, not just "decision makers".
(N)eed has the subcategories of Interest, Pain, and Projects. Projects are clearly the most mature, but maybe too late for you to impact. Earlier stage expressions of Interest, or Pain are just as meaningful. They just require more work and nurturing.
The use of BANT and the definition of Demand Types are both worthy practices. It is the responsibility of leadership to best establish how to use these best practices within the organization. Leadership must consider the maturity of the organization and market and make the necessary refinements to some best practice ideas to ensure they work considering the unique facets of your organization. A final thought - Best Practices are like alcohol...they are both best taken in moderation.