BANT for Lead Qualification Just Won’t Work
About two years ago I wrote a blog post on Why BANT No longer applies for B2B Lead Qualification. I was recently reminded of this post in a conversation and upon reviewing it, am more convinced than ever that this holds true. Given the environment in which we live as B2B Marketers, BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timing) is not a trustworthy indicator of the qualification status of the leads.
In addition to the reasons I stated back in 2012, let me add a few more to those who still may have an issue with striking BANT from their lead qualification process.
- BANT is not Aligned to a Buying Process
“I am in the sales accepted stage of my buying process” said no B2B buyer ever! Yet organizations who use BANT as part of their qualifications stages use this at a certain funnel or waterfall stage as a way to determine if the lead should be passed on. Truth is, the B2B buying process is hardly linear and trying to use BANT at a defined stage of an internal sales process runs contrary to the buyers approach. Consider the following insight from the Demand Gen Report B2B Buyer Survey:
- 58% of buyers spent more time researching their purchase
- 51% spent more time conducted a detailed ROI analysis this year than last
- 41% of B2B buyers wait longer to initiate contact with vendors
So where does an organizations BANT qualification fit into that buying process? It doesn’t.
- BANT Does Not Account for Buying Committees
The approach to BANT qualification focuses on an individual not a buying committee – yes, I am aware that one of the questions is authority, but rarely will a B2B buyer provide the list of people who are on the buying committee and pave the way to the key decision maker(s) – this will happen once they have a good working relationship with sales.
Corporate Executive Board (CEB) has reported that there are now more than five people involved in a buying process and the Demand Gen Report study referenced previously has shown that 34% of companies have more people involved in the purchase process than last year. Each one of these people have a different view of the purchase process and insert themselves at different times in the process. BANT qualification does not account for this as it is focused on an individual not a committee of buyers
3. BANT Does Not Support a Perpetual Demand Generation Approach
When organizations think about Demand Generation they need to begin to think in terms of building a perpetual program as opposed to tactical campaigns. As discussed on this blog previously, most B2B organizations are still in the practice of a campaign led – point in time – tactical approach to marketing. This is where BANT is used most often, because you have that one time (insert email campaign to promote a white paper here) to capture that prospect, get their information, and call them in the hopes to qualify them to pass to sales.
However, when building a strategic perpetual program that aligns content to the discrete stages in the buying process and provides a “what’s next” pattern that Engages, Nurtures and Converts the buyer according to their purchase path. There is no room for BANT as that becomes the job of sales, not marketing.
When you plan your demand strategically and map the content to the buyers buying process, you are then able to qualify them more accurately and progressively as a dialogue has developed between vendor and buyer. This approach not only takes into account the demographics of the buyers, but also their behavior – how they are engaging with your demand generation content. This approach provides a more comprehensive view of the buyer(s) and allows reps to have a more substantial and fluid conversation.
Figure 1 – ANNUITAS Progressive Profiling – Qualification Example
One of the key objectives of demand generation is to provide quality leads to sales. However, trying to do the job of sales during this process is a fool’s errand and does not align to the buyer. If you are using BANT as part of the lead qualification process, it is time to re-think this approaches the buyers of today are far too sophisticated for those antiquated methods of qualification.