There continues to be a lot of talk about “BANT” (budget, authority, need, and timeframe) in the marketplace. Some managers still hold to the idea that each element of “BANT” must be satisfied in order for a sales opportunity to be truly qualified. I don’t actually believe in this practice, and I’m hopeful that you will agree with me.
For many if not most “enterprise deals” (or “the complex sale”) it is not at all unusual for budget to be worked out during the sales process and via the use of a business case. If you prequalify for budget in those cases—you will find no leads. Similarly, the lack of a specific timeframe should not necessarily disqualify a prospect. If you find a decision-maker (real authority) with addressable pain, timeframe can be accelerated with analysis and a compelling business case.
That being said, there are ideal criteria for highly qualified sales opportunities and a high-end partner will address each and every one of these criteria when delivering qualified prospects to the field:
- Vertical (SIC or NAICS code)
- Firmographics (revenue, # of employees, # of locations…)
- Decision makers/influencers and respective roles in the decision-making process
- Environment (related to each solution—such as “technical environment”)
- Decision maker level of engagement (engaged, referral but in the loop…)
- Business issues/pains uncovered and validated
- Decision making process and documented
- Budget allocated or process for establishing a budget documented
- Competitive landscape documented
- Sense of urgency or compelling event
Unfiltered, low-level leads generally have two or three of the data points in the list above, but rarely more than that and frequently the data points are overstated, misrepresentative of the real situation or are reported by someone who can’t actually make a decision and establish a budget.
With a detailed picture of a prospect’s business drivers, plans and buying process, the sales executive can be positioned as a knowledgeable business advisor rather than having to essentially requalify so-called leads on the front-end.
I’d love to hear your thoughts…
If you are a C-level or SVP-level executive, how much more effective might your sales executives be if they were provided with high quality sales opportunities rather than low-level leads?
If you are in sales, what percent of the leads you currently receive contain information about all ten criteria listed above? How about seven out of ten?
If you are in marketing, would it be helpful to prequalify leads, turn over those that are sales ready and nurture the rest? How well is that being done in your company today?