Mar 232010
 
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There’s a good conversation going on over at Focus.com about whether the sales concept of BANT — Budget Authority Need Timeframe — is no longer valid in light of how the modern B2B buying process works. The question has been asked: “Is BANT dead?”

I commented on the post, and as part of my continuous effort to drive my own personal “return on contribution” I’ve re-published my answer to the question in this space. But there are lots of great expert opinions from B2B marketing thought leaders in the original post, so hop on over and have a look!

— begin answer —

“BANT is not dead but it is definitely under the weather and needs better care from its primary care physicians (sales and marketing executives).

As a salesperson’s tool for measuring a prospect’s relative readiness to buy, BANT remains valid and useful to the sales process.

However, there are times (too many times, by my observation) that BANT is used as a rigidly applied internal service level agreement between sales and marketing (or between sales and pre-sales lead development). In some environments, BANT is set up such that the sales team literally can’t talk to buyers unless BANT is fully achieved, or until a certain score threshold has been satisfied. This is a good idea when every sales person’s time is fully utilized talking to BANT-qualified prospects. However, most of the time this is not the case. There is always some “excess capacity” in the revenue factory, which can actually be good thing. So to the extent that BANT is ever used to keep a less-than-maxed-out sales person from talking to a buyer who is less-than-fully-BANT-qualified, it’s not a useful metric.

I think BANT is most useful when applied at the level of the individual salesperson, who must prioritize his/her time as if it were money to spent (time is the salesperson’s most valuable currency). As an operational metric, BANT is not flexible enough for practical application, in my opinion.

BTW, marketers have their own version of BANT. It’s called Cost per Lead (CPL). It’s another metric that is useful in a narrow context, but can needlessly limit outcomes if applied too rigidly. For more on the perils of excessive adherence to CPL (and 3 metrics that are better to use), see this post:

http://www.focus.com/ugr/research/marketing/asdf/

— end answer —