Time to Rethink BANT
By Russell Kern
It's called lead generation, not purchase order generation, for a reason.
On returning from this year's DMA Direct Marketing to Business conference in Orlando, Fla., I was surprised to have heard that B-to-B direct marketers still struggle with the results from their lead generation campaigns.
At the trade show, I heard many conversations about how sales managers are complaining to direct marketing managers that their campaigns are not generating enough qualified leads. Worse, sales seems to be increasing its criticism of marketing for not knowing how to do its job.
What sales seems to be asking direct marketers is: Why can't you deliver buyers with purchase orders affixed to their foreheads?
This age-old desire of sales boils down to the need for direct marketers to educate senior sales management on a simple, basic premise: What two-step B-to-B direct marketers do is called lead generation, not purchase-order generation.
Further, it's time we finally change the evaluation process of responses from lead generation campaigns from the salesperson's criteria of budget, authority, need and time frame (BANT) to the marketer's evaluation criteria of attributes, position, need, readiness and preferences (APNRP). APNRP was created and described to me by Bill Herr, my firm's vice president of business development.
Why is there a need for this change in evaluation criteria? The roles of sales and marketing are drastically different, as the chart below shows. Relying on BANT as the primary lead score criteria overlooks the difference and value each party brings to the marketing and sales process.
This difference in perception of the direct marketing process to generate sales prospects must be addressed if sales and direct marketing are to work together productively. Direct marketing managers will be well served by having a conversation with their sales managers to explain what the direct marketing process can and cannot do well. And, it would benefit them to ask for the sales team's cooperation in getting feedback on the leads generated, so they can fine tune their campaigns to produce stronger targets.