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Sales Teams Are Still Using BANT? Seriously?

A subscriber attending a SellingBrew webinar asked a question that really made me think. Now, the question itself was pretty straightforward:

What’s the problem with using BANT for prospect qualification?

And the answer was fairly straightforward as well:

While BANT (budget, authority, need, and time-frame) is certainly a popular set of qualification criteria, it’s got at least one major flaw:

By definition, prospects who have already established a budget and time-frame are most of the way through their decision-making process.

On the surface, this seems like a great thing because the prospect is much closer to making a purchase. However, a prospect who’s already this far along in the decision process probably has a vendor in mind already. In fact, that vendor has most likely helped the prospect to define the needs, determine the budget, and establish the time-frame.

In other words, a BANT-qualified prospect has very often already been won by another vendor, and you’ll have to work extremely hard to dislodge that competitor from their incumbent position.

But after answering the question at-hand, I couldn’t help thinking about just how long it takes for some of these shopworn concepts and practices to finally fall out of favor and stop being used.

I mean, we’re certainly not the first to point-out the problems with BANT qualification. The flaws, limitations, and huge strategic ramifications have all been discussed before…by many others…for many years. Yet, some B2B sales teams are still using BANT qualification!

For me, this actually reinforces other lessons I’ve learned while playing “change agent” earlier in my career:

  • The status quo is a hundred times more powerful than you think it is.
  • Companies resist change even in the face of overwhelming evidence.
  • Anything you turn into a process is much more likely to stick around.

When it comes to sales performance improvement, identifying the “better ways” is not the hard part. The hard part is getting the organization to actually change the status quo and adopt those better ways.

And if you need overwhelming evidence of that simple truth, just remember that some companies are still using BANT 🙂

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