As part of the "Connect" phase of the inbound sales process, it is the job of the sales team to find the best way to connect with the prospect and what content is going to help them in their decision-making process. You can read our blog on the "connect" phase to get more insights and tips on this process. Once that connection has been made, it's time for the sales to start to explore the prospect's needs and goals to see if your company is a good fit through an exploratory call or meeting during the Explore phase of the inbound sales process.
At this stage of the process, the goal should not be to convert every sales call into an opportunity. It is unrealistic to think that all your calls will turn into qualified opportunities and customers. Your inbound sales team should have questions to identify if a prospect is a good fit. We recommend starting with the BANT method. BANT is a widely used sales qualification framework that stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. It is a set of criteria used by sales professionals to assess the potential of a lead or prospect and determine their likelihood of becoming a customer. Each component of BANT represents an important aspect of the sales process and evaluating the prospect and their fit for your organization.
Budget: Understand the prospect's financial capacity and willingness to allocate financial resources to purchase your product or service. This involves assessing whether they have the necessary funds available for the purchase and if it is a priority enough for those funds to be allocated toward your product or service. At this point, it's also a good time to understand if their budget and goals are realistic to continue to move forward in the process.
Authority: Identify the decision-makers within an organization who have the power to make buying decisions. It is crucial to determine if the prospect has the authority to proceed with the purchase or if they need to consult others. While an initial phone call may not be with the final decision-maker, it's essential to understand who has the final power to decide if the prospect will move forward and ensure they are getting the necessary information from you and your team to help aid in that decision-making process.
Need: Assess the prospect's needs by understanding their specific requirements, pain points, or challenges that the product or service can address. It's important to determine if there is a genuine need for the offering and if it's going to solve a true business challenge. If you can calculate the potential revenue lost with your product or service, or the potential increase in revenue by implementing your product or service, that will also help to determine and justify the need.
Timeline: Determine the prospect's timeframe or urgency for making a purchase. This helps determine whether they have a specific deadline or timeline in mind, allowing salespeople to prioritize their efforts and allocate resources accordingly. Your salespeople should put more effort toward those prospects that will likely close faster and consider marketing nurture prospects that have a longer conversion timeframe because they are likely not ready to engage with sales at that level just yet.
By evaluating a lead's BANT criteria, sales professionals can qualify and prioritize prospects, focusing their efforts on those with the highest potential for conversion. However, it's worth noting that BANT is just one of many sales qualification frameworks, and its effectiveness may vary depending on the industry and specific sales approach.
By starting with this type of evaluation process, your sales team will have a better idea of other ideal questions to qualify prospects. Making sure it’s a mutually beneficial fit will lead to a smoother sales process and a happier customer experience. From there, your sales team can start to customize their outreach and next steps based on the needs and goals for that particular prospect, which should decrease the sales cycle and increase their conversion rates.
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