In sales, following the principles of BANT the acronym for budget, authority, need and timeline is always a useful strategy and one worth remembering.
The first thing to determine in a deal is whether a budget exists. Do they have the money? You need to know this before spending valuable time on an opportunity that may not even be there. The longer time you’re in a deal that you can’t win is costing you and your company. So, before pursuing what might be something that hasn’t been budgeted for, you need to ask your contact if your solution solves their needs will funding be available to move forward. It will also be helpful to know the process for getting funding approved or how decisions will be made. Getting more information can’t hurt. It can only help.
Determining authority should be something that happens sooner rather than later in a deal. Who is in charge? Does your contact have the authority to make the purchase? Chances are that person won’t and will have to submit the purchase to someone else or others. You’ll then have to find out who will be the ultimate authority. If there is more than one, you’ll need to know who they are.
The question of need is really all about what’s driving the project on the client side. Is it solving an issue or is it a “nice to have’ issue? Ideally, it should be about solving a specific business issue. But if it’s more of a nice to have thing, that should immediately raise a yellow flag on the deal’s potential. More often than not, if there’s not a business issue to solve then the client is just window shopping and looking for a price.
This is a big piece to the puzzle as you’ll need to know how long the sales cycle will be. Have they established a timeframe for purchasing? When do they want to go live? You need to nail down as many data points as you can. How many bids are there? When is the first cut of vendors? In some cases they might not be in the market for your product until next year. They may just be gathering information. If that’s the case you may be in the game too early.
By making BANT part of your sales strategies will allow you to stay focused and hit the ground running with qualified opportunities, every time.