What is BANT?
BANT is an acronym that stands for "Budget, Authority, Need, Timing." It provides a simple framework for qualifying prospects in a business-to-business (B2B) sales setting. An organization evaluates whether, and to what degree, a sales prospect meets each of the four criteria.
BANT is used by B2B sales and marketing teams who work together to qualify a prospect's BANT attributes. Lead qualification through BANT during the B2B sales process helps sales and marketing teams work more efficiently.
How does the BANT process work?
Prospects that don't meet enough BANT criteria can be placed by marketers into email nurture programs. This way, the sales team doesn't pursue leads that are not ready to buy. Sales, on the other hand, can focus their time and effort engaging with prospects who meet the most BANT criteria, resulting in a higher likelihood of closing sales.
For example, a lead capture form created by the marketing team may ask for Need and Timing criteria, as follows:
- Need: Do you have an active project to replace your customer relationship management (CRM) system?
- Timing: When are you planning to replace your storage system?
On the other hand, the sales team may ask a prospect for Budget and Authority criteria during a discovery phone call.
Organizations use a CRM system to record a prospect's BANT attributes.
Prospects who meet more BANT criteria are considered more qualified than those with less. For example, if prospects meet all four BANT criteria, salespeople may be instructed to contact them immediately. On the other hand, prospects that fit two of the four BANT criteria may be placed into email nurturing programs -- e.g., managed by marketing -- until they meet the remaining criteria.
Here's how each step breaks down.
Businesses allocate budget amounts to the purchase of particular products and services -- for example, $40,000 for new storage hardware this quarter. Budget criteria evaluates whether the prospect's stated budget amounts align with the selling prices of the company's products and services.
In a B2B setting, purchase decisions are made by a committee, which is comprised of practitioners, business stakeholders and technical stakeholders. Authority criteria evaluates the degree to which the prospect influences the purchase decision. If, for example, prospects are student performing research, then they are said to have zero Authority in the BANT criteria.
Need criteria evaluates whether the prospect's organization has an active or ongoing need that the company's product can address or solve. If no need exists, then there is no sale.
Timing criteria evaluates the period in which the prospect's organization will make a final purchase decision. A prospect looking to purchase this month is far different than one who will decide in two years.
BANT criteria combine both binary criteria -- Budget and Need -- and relative criteria, Authority and Timing. With Authority, a binary "yes or no" answer can mask important details. For instance, an influencer might recommend a particular product but require consensus from the rest of the buying committee.
A technical or business stakeholder, on the other hand, may have the authority to select or reject a product outright. A savvy salesperson understands a prospect's level of authority and attempts to engage with as many members of the buying committee as possible.
Editor's note: This article was written in 2019. TechTarget editors revised it in 2023 to improve the reader experience.