Hello all, Robbie back again.
When running a number of sales reports the other day, I was pleased to see we’re now consistently tracking at well over a 100 new opportunities every month. That’s an average of 5-6 new services project leads every day from our partners, each of which needs to be addressed and then actioned by the relevant practice.
You may be surprised to learn we, and our partners, proactively pull back from roughly half of all these opportunities and a big of part of this reason is due to sales qualification – ie is the deal actually going to happen? For those we go ahead with, our win rate is upwards of 85% and so I thought I’d share some notes highlighting how we qualify potential deals.
As a 100% channel-focused services company, Insentra is committed to providing pre-sales, at no charge, to help our partners design, deliver and manage their projects. In order to do this effectively however we need to know these opportunities have legs and so we spend quite a bit of time, with both the partner and potentially the customer, getting across the requirements, environment, risks, dependencies, assumptions etc. A lot of these questions are technical in nature and require a deep understanding of the relevant solutions, along with an ability to translate technical deliverables into business outcomes.
Before we ever get to that stage however – before we assign an expensive pre-sales resource – we will seek to learn as much as we can about the mechanics of the opportunity. Much has been written before about the concept of BANT and although it’s one of the basic sales techniques, it still serves as a useful guide for qualifying potential opportunities.
WHAT DOES BANT MEAN?
B is for Budget. Does the customer have the money to spend on this project and are they prepared to spend it? Has it been approved or are they merely seeking some indicative pricing in order to go back to the board for approval? Where does this project sit amongst their priorities? Ie, if they have to cut budgets, will this project still get funded?
A is for Authority. Are you talking to the person who can approve the project? If not, how well positioned is your sponsor? Who else is in the decision making process? Do you know the customer’s approval process, right down to who signs the paperwork and raises the PO? Finally, will this project need to go to tender if it crosses a certain budget threshold? (this is particularly important to know when dealing with public sector customers),
N is for Need. What compelling event is driving the customer on this project? Is it a standalone piece of work or part of a wider engagement? Do they even acknowledge they have a problem that you can help solve?
T is for Time. When are they looking to get a quote and proposal back? What’s the proposed start date for the project? What are the key deadlines you need to be aware of around various milestones, project completion, approval dates etc? How long do they think it will take to complete? Are these expectations aligned with yours and will it be continuous effort, or require a more staggered approach?
These are just the basics but as you can see, nothing in the above BANT descriptors are technical in any way – they’re all about trying to get an understanding of the deal drivers before you get into the technical descriptions.
It must also be said that the whole BANT approach has its fair share of detractors. It’s too simple. Budget shouldn’t be the first point. It doesn’t cover competitive angles nor your relationship with the customer. These are all valid points and I agree 100% – however, BANT does serve as a very useful starting point for sales qualification and if you’re looking for more tips and tricks, check-out this great post from on the CHAMP method: https://www.callboxinc.com/strategy/champ-method-lead-qualifying-questions/
Cheers and happy selling!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
National Partnership Manager
I’m a passionate, experienced General Manager who enjoys building and coaching sales teams to success. With an MBA from Australia’s leading business school (AGSM) and 19 years experience in Australia and the UK, I have recently joined Insentra, a rapidly growing Australian success story in the world of channel services. I’ve enjoyed a varied career in IT, building and driving channel strategies for companies such as Microsoft, McAfee and ArrowECS. I’m happiest when helping successful teams to solve problems and truly believe in the mantra of “love what you do and do what you love.”
Key accomplishments by functional area:
– Managing Director level experience and responsibility across APAC (Webroot)
– End-to-end P&L responsibility (Arrow)
– People management responsibility across sales, marketing, finance and operations (Arrow)
– Built and managed a 9-person SMB sales team across three different APAC timezones (McAfee)
– Directly owned and exceeded sales targets of up to $120m (Microsoft, McAfee, Webroot)
– Responsible for channel execution including distribution rebate structures, MDF, training and readiness, compliance and program delivery (Arrow, Microsoft, Tech Pacific, McAfee)
– Experienced in all facets of B2B marketing – segment, brand, product, online and events (MicroWarehouse, Microsoft)
– Sales management including hiring, coaching, forecasting, pipeline control and CxO engagement (Arrow, McAfee)
– Authorised media spokesperson and experienced in public relations engagement (Microsoft, McAfee, Webroot)
– Directly owned marketing budgets of $3.5m (Microsoft)