Sales lead qualification – BANT still rules, okay!

Months back, we wrote a post on Sales lead qualification. It was called A meaningful Sales Forecast.

Our qualification process, what is employed by Saleswah, is still driven by BANT- the sales model that IBM introduced decades back. Several recent attempts aver that it is an outdated method, but, we continue to believe in it. We still believe that getting a proper answer to the Budget, Authority (Decision maker), Need and Time (time frame of decision making) questions are critical to proper forecasting.

Lead qualification using BANT
Saleswah CRM Windows 8 App: Coming soon!

Among all the attacks on BANT that you see on the web, there are two broad categories:

One notion is that BANT is an early stage lead qualification process. Further, the way it is employed is by somehow getting customers to fill up a form with several leading questions. (Are you planning to purchase in the next 3 months? What is your budget? Do you have approval to spend? And, so on). Customers are no more likely to answer those questions, truthfully than a terrorist answer the security related questions on the DS-160 form (“Are you a member of a terrorist organization?” LOL) ! The broad thrust is argued here, see below:

Fifteen years ago I worked for a B2B marketing agency that had an outbound call center focused on lead generation.  The goal for the majority of our programs was to have our telemarketers qualify names, gather some information and qualify these prospects by the famed BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe) criteria.  We were quite successful in developing these programs for our clients and the leads were graded based on the answer to the BANT questions.  That was then, this is now.   We are smack in the middle of marketing 2.0, a more “modern” way of marketing that makes BANT no longer effective for several reasons.
via Why BANT No Longer Applies for B2B Lead Qualification | ANNUITAS.

BANT was never, and should never have been employed as an early stage sales lead qualification process. It is lazy marketers with pretenses to understanding a sales process who introduced those “response cards” and “seminar feedback forms” with those leading questions. Leads qualified through those, have always found their way to the trash. For BANT to work for sales lead qualification, the revenue responsible sales person has to be responsible for qualification. It always was and it always will be. BANT is a B2B sales lead qualification process and it is NOT employed at early stage.

Having got that off my chest, let me tackle the other attack on BANT; which is: “it is outdated, and we have something better”. So, we have acronyms like FAINT.

Impact
This is – to my mind – the critical addition. It’s not enough for your prospect to agree that a need exists. They also need to acknowledge that not dealing with the issue will have a measurable impact on their organisation in terms of reduced revenues or increased costs. If you can’t get your prospect to calculate and agree the negative impact of doing nothing you would be well advised to try harder or qualify out.

–via Why the case for BANT qualification is getting FAINTer.

Now, it is quite a well written piece, the one above. And I do concede that your solution must have Impact (that is what the I stands for in FAINT) on the customer’s organization far more than its cost. But, I contend that big ticket salesmen anyway interpreted the Need question to include Impact- if no impact, the customer had no need for your solution anyway.

But, for most B2B sales, BANT still rules for sales lead qualification. Not enough case has been made for its abandonment.

Running a telemarketing operation? Get Saleswah

Do you want to improve lead conversion?

Are you running a telemarketing operation? Are you evaluated by how many sales inquiries your team sends to the sales team? Take a look at how you can improve lead conversion and help increase the conversion of leads into orders.

Running a call centre to improve Lead Conversion?Out of every 100 “leads” your team gets, perhaps 5 will become paying customers. Your team is paid to identify perhaps 20 out of the 100 who the direct sales team will call. That is all the more reason why need to improve lead conversion process, backed by a robust lead management software.

Leads comes in throughout the day; your telemarketing team works through the list to shortlist the best few. While it is important to not miss out a great prospect, it is equally important to not send the frivolous enquiries for follow up to the sales team. That is what Telemarketing teams do. They improve lead conversion.

How Saleswah Basic will help improve lead conversion

0. Get your entire sales team, telemarketing executives on Saleswah Sales (at around Rs 1150/- per month per user, the cost is incidental).

1. Assign your direct sales team (s) to territories.

2. Assign your telemarketing team to groups/ teams of direct sales persons.

3. Implement a lead qualification process that your direct sales people will only chase prospects (leads) that have been vetted/ qualified by your telemarketing team.

4. Achieve sales quota, productive team, higher sales productivity and happy boss!

As a bonus, see instantly updated reports on how many sales leads are being converted to deals (to be followed up by direct sales people), how many to deals are being converted into orders and even, how many orders came from leads your telemarketing team passed on to the direct sales team.

 

CRM at Hanover Fair or at Pragati Maidan

Why participate in trade-fairs, if you have no follow up plan?

Have you ever participated in one of the large trade fairs? I mean, actually stand behind the counter? Man the booth?

What’s your takeaway from the fair? More awareness for your brand and/ or products? Hopefully. Some good partnerships signed up? Perhaps. A few large orders? Maybe. But, if you are in a competitive market and new customers are your lifeblood, then quickly having your visitors turned over to your sales people to follow up is important.

In a nutshell, that is what Saleswah Basic  does.

Think about it. Your prospect came to your booth, spent time looking at your exhibits and then,  either filled out a form or dropped his card in the fishbowl. If you wish to make an impact, sell to him when the visit is still fresh in his mind; not a week later, when the sales team gets handed out these “leads”.

How about following up the same day? How about calling his mobile as he is leaving the fair-ground, seeking an appointment to meet?

You sell automotive car seat covers? And you have tens/ hundreds of dealers? What if you could directly send the sales lead to the dealer best placed to serve him? What if, you did it right in front of the customer and told him, “the Monday after, when you go back to Cochin, please land up at this store where I have already made an appointment for you. And, someone will call you to confirm”. And, someone actually does?

Whether your customer is best served in Cochin or Cologne, Begusarai or Budapest, a delay in passing on the lead to your sales team is not going to help anyone.

Except perhaps the competition. Get Saleswah! Try for a month, absolutely free.