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    Bye bye, BANT? A round-up of new qualification frameworks

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    BANT. You’ve heard it a million times. It used to be the go to acronym for prospect qualification – failing to clearly establish a potential customer’s budget, authority, needs and timeframe early on would result in long sales cycles and low win rates.

    Getting on the right track

    Times have changed. Changes in buyer behavior – the long journey of online research, the shifting of power from seller to buyer - have been well documented and much discussed. 

    "Sales people have been told to educate, challenge and sell value – all with the aim of becoming a creative problem solver and trusted go-to advisor in the connection economy"
    Fredrik Jonsson

    Sales people have been told to educate, challenge and sell value – all with the aim of becoming a creative problem solver and trusted go-to advisor in the connection economy.

    New times require that we go beyond BANT. Question is what we should replace it with from the numerous options available. Before we take a closer look at a few alternative frameworks, bear in mind that one size tends to fit none – so take some time to determine which approach that suits your organization best.

    GPCT

    Spoiler alert - this is not the winner in our “rolls off your tongue with ease” category. However, Hubspot’s framework of Goals, Plans, Challenges and Timeline makes a lot of sense. For further details, have a look at this article.

    FAINT

    Rain Group’s qualification criteria consist of Funds, Authority, Interest, Need and Timing. At first glance, this may seem very similar to BANT, but what appears to be minor tweaks have a major impact. 

    Rather than focusing on budget as a pre-existing allocation of money a potential customer has earmarked for a particular type of purchase, funds lifts the perspective. It comes down to determining whether a prospect actually has the financial capacity to buy from you.

    Interest is about exploring a prospect’s willingness and desire to change, to leave the status quo for something better.

    Need is not focused on problems and product solutions, but uncovering the hidden issues that require more probing. There’s lots more to this framework – click here to learn more.

    ANUM

    Inside Sales puts forward an interesting framework consisting of Authority, Need, Urgency and Money (read more here). Authority is the number one priority to confirm; making sure we’re speaking to the right people is crucial to avoid wasting time and resources. So too is urgency – rather than talking about timing and deadlines, this type of conversation is aimed at uncovering how high up the particular pain/problems your products and services can solve are on the agenda of the decision makers. 

    Numerous other frameworks exist, all with their unique acronyms and approaches. For example, there’s NUTCASE (yes) which is Need, Uniqueness, Timing, Cash, Authority, Solutions, Enemies and MANDACCT – Money, Authority, Need, Decision Criteria, Ability to Deliver, Competition, Coach and Timescale.

    Regardless of which qualification framework you have in place, or elect to change to, make sure you dig through the details and address these 3 questions:

    How do we minimize ambiguity and room for interpretation?

    If we use FAINT and look at the F, how will each sales person know that a particular prospect has the financial capacity we’re looking for? If we base it on their annual revenue, what is the lowest limit we accept? Should we instead focus on spending patterns on complex solutions similar to what we offer?
    Taking the time to define the details around the answers you’re looking for will go a long way.

    What’s the right combination?

    If we use ANUM and have established authority and need, what urgency must there be in order for this prospect to be sales qualified? If our categories are high, medium and low, what is the definition for each? Does high urgency mean we should be able to close within our average sales cycle? Is a prospect qualified even if there’s only medium urgency, provided everything else looks great?

    Even if you choose to have simple yes/no answers to each criteria, your sales people still need to know the details around what they need to uncover, and how to interpret the answers to make an informed qualifying decision based on the criteria you apply.

    From prospect to opportunity, and back again?

    Complex B2B sales is rarely completely linear. Prospects are qualified, opportunities stall, old leads pop back up and sometimes we’re completely aligned with the buyer from start to finish. 

    However, if we imagine there is a door between your prospects and your pipeline, what are the things you must qualify before you let a prospect through? Some things can be answered quickly (for example, looking at annual revenue to determine financial fit) whereas others may only be uncovered later in the sales process (such as each decision maker’s willingness to change from status quo).

    Define which qualification criteria that need to be answered before the funnel, and which ones that will serve better as qualification steps throughout the different stages of your sales process after a prospect has been converted to an opportunity.

     

    Fredrik Jonsson
    Published July 22, 2015
    By Fredrik Jonsson

    You know people that get excited about things like pomodoros and timeboxing strategies? Fredrik is one of them. He's also a former freelance writer and subsequently a man of many words. Words used to help companies take action on better ways to increase sales effectivenes. Fredrik is our Chief Content Officer at Membrain, the world's first sales software helping companies move from merely having a sales strategy towards executing it on a daily basis.

    Find out more about Fredrik Jonsson on LinkedIn