The early stages of a B2B sales process can be tricky. Few people are happy to admit that they do  not hold the power implied in their role, and those in a corporate purchasing role are particularly reluctant. Rarely will they admit that they are not able to sign a purchase order, or that they are just tyre kicking, price checking, or otherwise filling their time and wasting yours.

How do you know?

That question arose a short while ago while working  with a medium sized business struggling with a wealth of so called leads but a very poor conversion rate.

One of the frameworks that  used to be deployed quite a bit, but seems to have been forgotten is “B.A.N.T.”

Budget: The ability to buy.

Authority: The authority to sign a contract.

Need: The capabilities of the offer matched the clients requirements, and/or solved a problem.

Timeframe: Articulated a sales timeline that accommodated the selection, transaction and implementation of the solution.

It was a simple and pragmatic way of sorting the real leads from the chaff, and enabled simple metrics to be applied.

It was most famously used by IBM in the 80’s who required a documentation of BANT variables , and a positive on three dimension before any significant development resources could be allocated.

The world has moved on a bit since I first saw BANT applied. Sales funnel automation, online selling, relocation of the power of information from the seller to the buyer, consensus decision making, and all the rest, but the foundations of success have not changed at all.

The simple application of the BANT parameters to the prospect list of this business, and the subsequent prioritisation of effort and resources delivered a very quick return.

The world is a more complicated place, but sometimes the simplest ideas are still the best.