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 Several recent attempts aver that it is an outdated method, but, we continue to believe in it.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.

Sales lead qualification - BANT still rules, okay! 1
BANT is still the most easily understood method for sales deal management

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.

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.

The story of Saleswah CRM

Saleswah CRM is a new product, but it rides on 2 years of experience with its predecessor the Salesgenie CRM++.

We launched Salesgenie CRM++ more than 2 years back. It was a web-based comprehensive CRM software that allowed sales, marketing to share data and collaborate. Salesgenie CRM++ focused on the sales process tracking and monitoring. We launched it in the Nasscom Product Conclave, 2010- among the top ten products Nasscom chose to introduce in the Product Conclave that year.
We acquired customers and learn a lot from their usage experience. Among the most important things our customers told us were:
– they wanted to monitor activities as much as processes
– they wanted to have a CRM which sold to individual owned businesses much as enterprises
– they wanted a more comprehensive reporting capability
– they wanted to be able to assign tasks and see if they are being closed.

We listened, and the result is Saleswah!
We could have called it Salesgenie CRM++; the “new, improved”. There are two reasons we did not.

1. We have gone way beyond what Salesgenie CRM++ set out to do or indeed was able to do. Salesgenie CRM++ was meant to be a pure-play B2B Sales and Marketing automation product. It was more a profile and event logging and  process tracking tool. Saleswah does much more- it adds significant task and activity management features, adds process triggers and significantly enhances the reporting capabilities and adds a some really useful dashboards. We also have blurred the distinction between B2B and B2C- you are now as much able to use this products for selling to other businesses as to individuals.

So, it is not just an improved product- it is in many ways, a different product.

2. On Salesgenie CRM++, we did not have a domain! On, we do.

This matters to us. It did not matter to you, our customers of Salesgenie; but, it mattered to us. Also, we discovered those who owned the dot com domain in Salesgenie, had a database service. Different service; but, we felt we did not want the confusion.

Two things that are new:

Saleswah CRM adds two features that Salesgenie CRM++ did not have.

1. An evergrowing set of reports and dashboards; to make sense of all the information you are capturing to gain insight into your business.

2. Task Management: Saleswah has a comprehensive task management functionality- define tasks like “Call”, “Meet personally”, “Demo”, “Collect cheque” and assign them to your executives, set deadlines and monitor closures. Simple to use, easy to track on the Tasks Dashboard. You will love it.

What about the existing Salesgenie ORM++ users? Well, if anything, they will see all the improvements when the migrate to Saleswah, and we will help them through the process.

Some things that do not change: Saleswah continues to be web-based and if anything, even easier to use and definitely easier on the pocket. You see, we now have 3 levels of user licensing – so, you can choose just the level of your individual users – don’t pay for features that your users do not use! Our licenses can now start at as low as US$4 (Rs 220/- for customer based out of India) per user per month!