Do we really have a deal? Or do we have a suspect or a lead? When we start out pursuing a deal, we are advised to get the basic information and to understand if there is a real opportunity with this prospect by gathering the BANT Basics.
Checking the Boxes with BANT
We ask the client if there is budget and, if they say yes, we check the box. We then ask our contact if they can make the decision to buy and, if they say yes, we check the authority box even though we probably haven’t asked how they have purchased similar solutions in the past.
Next, they give us a timeline and, at this point, we have now checked all the standard boxes so we move this deal from a Suspect to a Stage 1 opportunity. In the world of sales reality, BANT is a very weak way of moving to Stage 1 to say the least, and it is not good enough to qualify your deal.
There is a better way to qualify your deal: MEDDIC
Another method that is lesser-known but more accurate is MEDDIC:
- Economic Buyer
- Decision Criteria
- Decision Process
- Identify Pain
Metrics come first; most people do not know what the metrics really are! In order to figure this out, we must replace the technical issue with the business issue; we refer to this as the critical business issue (CBI). The CBI is the metric that can be measured in people, time and money. The initial ROI can be calculated so once you have the CBI you can now check the box that you have the metric.
The economic buyer is similar to the authority but it points to who is in the approval chain and who holds the budget.
Next come the decision criteria. Do you have a requirements document or an evaluation matrix created by the client and sent to you showing how they weigh the most important items on their list?
The decision process - How will they make the decision and who will be the tiebreaker if all things are equal?
Identify pain- This is the easiest one to get to because everyone can typically agree on what the pain is.
Champion- Identifying a true champion can be quite challenging for salespeople. We need to remember that a champion is someone with power and control of the budget, and is someone who will sell for you when you are not there.
Overcome the most challenging parts of qualification
Getting to real metrics and aligning with a champion are the two toughest aspects of this qualification process. Too often, we confuse these and give ourselves credit for both way too often. It’s human nature to take credit for things even if they are not real or are suspect, at best. But the ROI triangle - people, time and money - are the only criteria that get you real check offs on the metrics box. Here are a few ways to reframe these so that you can ensure that you really have both. Ask yourself:
- When reviewing the metrics, did you qualify the client to understand how many people are involved?
- Did you find out how much money they are spending for their current solution?
- How long does it take to get things done?
Now the second most challenging aspect of qualification is alignment with a champion. Believe it or not, champions are as rare as a total solar eclipse. We have sponsors who provide us with information and assist us in navigating the organization, but they do not have power and usually won’t go to bat for you with management if the decision is not in your favor. Champions have power and, if they also have control of the budget, even better! Ask yourself if the person you are counting on to sell while you’re not there has power, budget control, and will come to your aid when purchasing gets involved.
As you can see, applying MEDDIC requires you to drill in further with your prospect. If you have the metrics covered, you have the CBI and understand the impact of your solution. With the economic buyer we know who buys and signs the check, and with Decision Criteria and Decision Process we know how the prospect will weigh the technical features. Pain is easy to determine and you need to remember you will not have champions but a sponsor most of the time.
So how do you track all of this and know exactly where you are in your deals? We can utilize the High Value Trade table to score each of these activities in order to know at a glance whether you truly have a viable deal or not. Remember you only have 24 hours in a day so work the deals that can close and qualify the ones that will be time sinks out of your pipeline. When you are honest with yourself and your pipeline you will make more money this year.