Stuffing up your sales pipeline with random, unqualified leads is a disaster for your sales process. Sales reps can make a list of leads without determining their use, but this is only good enough to relax your mind temporarily. Sales pros are always never interested in the quantity of leads, just quality. In plain terms, they like a hot lead! The final phase in a lead life is to successfully pass through a sales closing process. This cannot be expected from random leads.
Let’s define a hot lead first. There is a BANT approach that establishes the distinct stages of qualified leads. In time, this increases the efficiency of your sales process.

Identifying HOT leads with the BANT lead qualification system

Every lead that doesn’t qualify in the BANT system lengthens your sales process. What is BANT? Let’s discuss these 4 points in detail.
1) Budget: Does the prospect have the budget to acquire your product? If your cost increases their budget size, you may need to lower your price or the deal just won’t work. Do your research on your prospect! Depending on their age or recent funding, budget may be a lower concern than priority. Does your prospect urgently need a solution like yours soon? We’ll get into this more in point #3.

2) Authority: Does person in contact carry decision-making power? If not, you’ll be spending countless hours educating the wrong person who is simply going to refer you to someone next in the ladder or eliminate the sales process at the end. Don’t be afraid to ask! “Are you making the buying decision for your company” is a simple, straightforward question that your prospect will eventually expect anyways. Learning this upfront helps you manage your time with each person you speak with, and determines how fast you can move up their internal chain to get to the real buyer.

3) Need: This is a critical point where a sales rep needs to identify whether the problem a prospect has can be solved with the product. Remember, your prospect’s have a totally different set of responsibilities, worries and timelines than you. What is going to solve their pains or problems? Additionally, finding out the impact of your solution determines need AND priority. How urgent is this buying decision, and how important is that pain it will solve?

4) Time: Time is one of the most principal factors in BANT system. Knowing when a lead will convert can help your team predict future results. If the prospect’s timeline matches your average deal cycle, you’re in luck. If you carelessly ignore this factor and spend time with prospects that won’t close for a year, consider the valuable leads that are ready to buy Now, that are waiting to be contacted. Just like our tip on Authority, ask about their timeline. If you can influence their purchasing timeline, you may have made a quicker sale!

A special thanks to Jacco van der Kooij for his great tips on BANT!