Talk to Us

What I Really Want to Know About My Sales Reps' Qualified Leads


If you follow the Sales Prospecting Perspectives blog, you are aware that the subject BANT has been extensively covered, and the acronym has been deemed “dead.”

The sales term “BANT qualified lead” has become the bane of my existence since becoming an inside sales manager at AG Salesworks, a client-based organization.  When it comes down to it, there are components of BANT that are valuable.  Of course a sales rep would want to know a prospect’s Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe, but let’s be honest: despite how good the lead is, chances are that one or more of these components will be missing.  

So I started asking myself: What is it I really want to know when I’m reviewing a lead from one of my sales reps, and how do I communicate that to a client to get them to modify their opinion of “BANT qualified?”

How Are They Handling Current Processes?

The first is a response to the simple question, “How?”  No matter what service or technology my sales rep is calling on, the first thing I want to know is how prospects are handling the management of their current system now.  

Getting an understanding of current processes helps lay the groundwork to discovering pains or needs they may be experiencing within that particular process.  It also gives the sales rep who will be fielding the lead proper context for the next step conversation.

Are They Experiencing These Challenges?

The second criteria I look for is whether a prospect is experiencing certain pains and challenges our product or service can alleviate. This substitutes for the “need” portion of BANT. Once you know the answer to your “How?” question, you can ask further questions about their current situation, and whether it’s actually working efficiently for them.

How is this best achieved with a difficult prospect?  Throw everything against the wall and see what sticks.  Have a researched list of common pains and challenges associated with that process in your sales arsenal at all times.  It is likely that one or more will get your prospect talking and your pain/challenge question will be answered.

Are They Fully Qualified?

During implementation week, clients will often list a myriad of qualification questions that B2B inside sales reps must ask prospects on a call.  Unfortunately, the reality is that prospects don’t have the time to run through half a dozen questions about their environment, especially when that information is easily gleaned elsewhere.

I have found that prospects are comfortable with three well-crafted questions and one make-or-break qualifying question.  What I want to know from the client is, What is the most important piece of information you need to have in order to sell to this prospect? Is it a number of users? A specific version of  An open-mindedness toward outsourcing? I want to see this in the lead write-up from an inside sales rep. Essentially, you should have one non-negotiable aspect that qualifies this company in or out.

What Is Compelling Them to Move Forward?

The budget and timeframe portion of BANT is a huge sticking point for my clients.  It’s really hit or miss from an information gathering perspective.  Some prospects are happy to give you that information freely, but others are hesitant to reveal the answers to these questions on a cold call.  

Instead of sending over a lead that a client/sales rep could argue is not “BANT qualified,” I urge my reps to uncover a “compelling event.” The goal of uncovering the compelling event is to find out what it is that’s compelling your prospect to take the next step and move forward with your product or service.  If you cannot get a grasp on a definitive timeframe or budget, the next best thing is simply finding the answer to these questions: “What will happen if you don’t put a system in place to manage xyz? What impact could that have on your business? How important is it for your organization to address these issues?”  If a sales rep is curious and confident, they should be able to take the answers to those questions and run with it.

These questions will hopefully help you redefine BANT’s rigid structure for lead criteria, allowing for a more fluid process for lead qualification and passing leads. What do you look for in qualified leads besides the usual BANT criteria?

The Ultimate Inside Sales eBook

Reward yourself with a free blog subscription today!

Stand out by learning real life training, experiences, and learning from industry experts.

Talk to Us

About the Author   |   Kim Staib

Kim Staib, a Manager of Client Operations for AG, has been working here since May 2011. She is actively involved in the recruitment and training team. She is also responsible for managing client relationships, completing daily reporting and project analytics, and planning strategic marketing campaigns. Read her articles here.

Join the Conversation