- The discussion about BANT (budget, authority, need and timeframe) has been coming up a lot, and our clients have been asking great questions: Is BANT still relevant? Is BANT realistic? As you can imagine, these questions have resulted in some lively discussions, and the answer always leads back to “it depends.”
The best things come in pairs: peanut butter and jelly, wine and cheese, sweet and salty popcorn, BANT and context. Wait…why are we talking about BANT? Is BANT even still relevant?
The discussion about BANT (budget, authority, need and timeframe) has been coming up a lot, and our clients have been asking great questions: Is BANT still relevant? Is BANT realistic? As you can imagine, these questions have resulted in some lively discussions, and the answer always leads back to “it depends.”
Traditionally, BANT has been used to define a set of criteria that, if identified by the selling organization, implies the existence of an opportunity. At SiriusDecisions, we would argue that BANT is indeed still alive and well, but the way it is used largely depends on context.
What do I mean by context? To assess how BANT may be applied, you first need to understand the type of demand your organization is creating. For example, if your organization is selling a solution that addresses a problem that most of your target buyers are not aware of, we consider this to be “new concept” demand. If your solution solves a known problem more effectively, we consider this “new paradigm” demand, and if your solution is being purchased by virtually all buyers, we consider this “established market” demand. Let’s go a bit deeper into the specific scenario of a new concept solution as it pertains to BANT.
New Concept Demand and BANT
The implications of bringing a new concept solution to market are widespread and affect decisions on lead qualification criteria, messaging and tactics. The organization must agree on the relative importance of the criteria associated with BANT combined with the expectations on who should obtain this information and when. Specific considerations include:
- Budget. From a budget perspective, because the problem isn’t well understood, the prospective buyer won’t have budgeted for this type of solution, so it’s unreasonable to expect that defined budget criteria may be identified early in the process by marketing or lead development.
- Authority. The emphasis should be on identifying and validating the personas who participate in the buying process and are considered part of the buying center that will influence the opportunity. Marketing, lead development and sales contribute to this process of identification, engagement, verification and qualification.
- Need. Need is largely contingent on a combination of fit (e.g. size, vertical, geography), business process requirements, functionality requirements and market circumstances that impact the seller’s total addressable market. For new concept demand, detecting and validating need isn’t always straightforward. Research behaviors on the part of the prospective buyer’s organization may be observed through various sources (e.g. intent) and help to inform and identify potential opportunities.
- Timeframe. The timeframe is aligned to the prospective buyer and the organization’s ability to mobilize resources around a solution within a defined timeline. Resources can include people, budget and the ability to prioritize both.
We recommend that organizations assess the type of demand they are creating for their various solutions and markets. Once this is understood, it’s possible to determine how different demand types map to different qualification criteria and requirements across the stages of the Demand Waterfall®. BANT continues to influence these criteria, but expectations by marketing, lead development and sales need to be aligned for lead delivery and handoff requirements.
In my next blog posts, I will address the role of BANT as it pertains to new paradigm and established market demand types.