Consider this: 67% of lost deals occur as a result of sales reps not properly qualifying potential customers before taking them through the sales process (source). If this statistic rings true, you’re not alone. In fact, 22% of salespeople say qualification is the most challenging part of selling (source).
As you embark on your sales planning process going into the new year, ask yourself: how can I ensure a thorough, accurate, and consistent qualification process across my entire team, at scale?
Although there is no single right answer to that question— there are dozens of tried and true frameworks sales teams swear by. And, while it’s helpful to have options, the amount of dissenting opinions and debate on the topic can make it hard to know where to begin when it comes to choosing a qualification process.
That’s why, in today’s blog post we’re exploring two of the most popular sales qualification frameworks, BANT and MEDDIC. We explain the pros and cons of each and offer advice on how to choose the right qualification framework for your business.
Let’s get into it!
What is the BANT sales qualification framework?
Let’s start with the simpler of these two common frameworks. The BANT methodology, which sales organizations have used since the 1950s, relies on four criteria to qualify prospective customers: Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing.
- Budget: Does the prospect have the budget available to purchase your product or service?
- Authority: Does the person you’re speaking with have the decision-making power to purchase your product or service?
- Need: Have they identified and articulated a specific need that your product or service will fulfill?
- Timing: Are they ready to make a purchase now? Do they have a purchasing or implementation timeline?
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What is the MEDDIC sales qualification framework?
The MEDDIC sales framework is far more complex than BANT, as its purpose is to not only highlight the basics of sales readiness but also the human and technical nuances of the modern buyer’s journey. MEDDIC consists of the following criteria: Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, and Champion.
- Metrics: What quantifiable results does the prospect want to achieve by using your product? What specific metrics and KPIs are most relevant to them?
- Economic Buyer: Who within the company has final say in the buying process? What is their relationship to your current point of contact? Have you engaged all decision makers early on in the process?
- Decision Criteria: What criteria do they use to evaluate vendors and products before making a purchasing decision?
- Decision Process: What does their purchasing process look like? What specific procedures, approvals, and stakeholders are involved in their decisions?
- Identify Pain: What problem do they want to solve? How has this problem impacted them, and what consequences would occur if they don’t adopt a solution to the problem?
- Champion: Who within the company can advocate for your product or service? What influence will they have over the decision-making process?
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The BANT Framework: Pros and Cons
Now that you understand the basics, let’s cover the pros and cons of each framework. We’ll start with BANT.
Pro #1: Simplicity
BANT is an incredibly easy framework to adopt and put into practice. The criteria is easy for sales reps to understand, regardless of their skills and experience. As a result, your sales team will be able to follow the BANT methodology consistently— you’ll be less likely to encounter errors in the qualification process that stem from confusion about the criteria.
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Pro #2: Efficient qualification and disqualification
Speed and efficiency are the cornerstones of the BANT methodology: you use this framework in order to determine which prospects to pursue, as quickly as possible. This streamlined process is particularly advantageous if your sales cycle is shorter and you need to engage with qualified leads as swiftly as possible, rather than extend the qualification process to capture more details.
Likewise, BANT empowers sales reps to disqualify leads faster if they don’t meet any of the big-four criteria— which mitigates the risk of wasting time on the wrong prospect and enables them to pivot quickly to more qualified deals.
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Pro #3: Emphasis on purchase readiness
Unlike MEDDIC, which explores many different nuances of the purchasing process, BANT focuses primarily on finding prospects who are ready to buy your product now. It foregoes the more complex factors in order to highlight prospects who have the budget for your product, the need to use it, the authority to purchase it, and an urgent timeline for adoption and implementation.
By prioritizing purchase readiness, you’ll put your sales reps in position to identify easy wins and close deals faster.
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Pro #4: Seamless sales and marketing alignment
The impact of your sales qualification framework will extend beyond your team. With a clear, streamlined framework in place, you’ll foster stronger alignment with your marketing team— as they’ll be able to understand exactly what sales reps are looking for and adjust their lead generation efforts accordingly.
BANT provides a common language that sales and marketing can both leverage to understand and structure their strategies around.
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Con #1: Limited context
The BANT framework ignores many of the key factors that influence a prospect to purchase a product. In a way, it’s a quick series of yes-or-no questions and answers: “Do they have the budget? Do they have the authority? Do they have the need? Can they buy it now?”
But, the typical buyer’s journey is much more complex than a simple sales checklist. This is especially true in the world of enterprise sales, where sales cycles are longer, average deal size is often larger, and the prospect’s needs are more nuanced. Failing to capture important contextual information can result in a seemingly qualified lead turning into a lost opportunity.
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Con #2: Ignores multi-stakeholder buying committees
Gartner reports that the average B2B purchase decision involves six to ten stakeholders (source). Let that sink in. Although the BANT framework does emphasize purchase authority, it doesn’t involve a deep exploration into what the decision-making group looks like.
If you’re selling a solution to small business owners, this surface-level approach might be sufficient. Large corporations? Not so much. Applying the BANT methodology to these complex sales scenarios can result in a deal falling through in the final hour when stakeholders you failed to engage with enter the conversation.
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Con #3: No focus on relationship-building
Effective selling relies on much more than just checking boxes. It hinges on a number of human factors, from the prospect’s feelings about their current pain points to the sales rep’s ability to demonstrate an understanding and empathy for the prospect. BANT disregards many of these human elements, instead focusing on the efficiency of the initial qualification.
While reps may be able to qualify a lead faster using BANT, their surface-level understanding of needs and pain points will hinder their ability to connect with the prospect on a human level and establish trust. And, trust can be the difference between a won or lost opportunity. In fact, 76% of B2B buyers say their decision to purchase from a vendor was based on the trust and credibility of the salesperson (source).
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Con #4: Risk of disqualifying good-fit prospects.
While BANT is easy to understand and apply, it’s also extremely rigid in its structure. The efficiency of qualifying leads based solely on budget, authority, need, and timeline comes at a cost. Namely, disregarding the more nuanced factors can result in disqualifying leads who could have been nurtured into valuable customers over time.
For example, say a prospect doesn’t exhibit a clear need for the solution you offer. With the BANT framework in place, they never get past the qualification stage. But, had a sales rep dug deeper into the prospect’s pain points, they may have discovered that the prospect is just beginning to experience problems that your solution is equipped to solve. In this scenario, a lead that could’ve been nurtured towards the point of sales readiness ends up being disqualified and forgotten.
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The MEDDIC Framework: Pros and Cons
Now, let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of implementing the MEDDIC qualification framework.
Pro #1: Comprehensiveness
The MEDDIC framework is a much more thorough method for sales qualification. For starters, focusing on specific metrics and pain points enables sales reps to learn about a prospect’s motivations beyond a surface-level interest in a product.
And, by learning everything they can about the decision-making process, reps will understand what steps they’ll need to take, who they need to talk to, and what hurdles they’ll need to overcome in order to close a deal. It’s valuable to gather all of this information upfront, especially when dealing with longer, more complex sales cycles.
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Pro #2: Emphasis on human factors
BANT emphasizes purchase-readiness, whereas MEDDIC focuses more on the human elements that influence a buying decision. It emphasizes the pain points a prospect is experiencing and how their day-to-day lives could be improved by your product. And, it highlights the specific people that a sales rep will interact with throughout the process— the stakeholders that make up the buying committee, and the champion who will advocate for your solution.
This information enables sales reps to not only engage the right people, but establish stronger relationships with them. Understanding pain points is useful for qualifying leads— but demonstrating an understanding of pain points will earn the prospect’s trust throughout the sales process.
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Pro #3: Continuous qualification
After the initial qualification stage, the value of the BANT methodology diminishes. MEDDIC, on the other hand, is a framework that promotes continuous evaluation throughout the sales process.
Here’s what we mean: the MEDDIC framework helps sales reps gather enough information to qualify leads. But, as they’re guiding a prospect through the sales process, they can continue to lean on the MEDDIC criteria. As they communicate with the prospect, they’ll gather more and more information about their pain points and decision-making protocols— and as they learn more, they can revisit their initial qualification process, assess the deal’s progress compared to their expectations, and identify potential risks they failed to recognize early on.
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Pro #4: Reliability
Every seller wants to avoid the “what happened?” experience. In other words, the dreaded scenario in which a sales rep meets with a prospect several times, feels confident about the deal, and then is left scratching their head when the prospect drops out or severs communication entirely.
The MEDDIC framework reduces the risk of these sorts of unexpectedly lost opportunities. BANT may be the faster method, but its disregard of context puts sales reps in position to miss important warning signs. Sellers who use the MEDDIC framework gain a deeper understanding of a prospect earlier on, so they’re less likely to be blindsided by a deal falling through.
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Con #1: Complexity
Even with adequate training, MEDDIC’s complexity makes it difficult to achieve consistency across your sales team. A rep’s ability to put the MEDDIC criteria into practice depends on their level of experience, comfort with juggling a variety of nuanced variables, and more— which means you’ll need to provide more personalized training and support to reps who struggle to grasp the framework.
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Con #2: Slower qualification process
As we’ve discussed, a more complex qualification strategy is often appropriate for longer sales cycles or larger deals.
But, there are scenarios in which a measured approach to lead qualification becomes detrimental. For example, let’s say you have a high volume of inbound leads, but you only have a handful of inbound SDRs qualifying them. If these reps are too methodical, they might end up being too slow— failing to identify and engage with high-quality leads until it’s too late.
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Con #3: Prolonged sales cycles
MEDDIC focuses on building relationships and thoroughly understanding a potential customer’s organization. This has its benefits, as we’ve covered, but it also typically results in longer sales cycles. While long sales cycles are the norm in certain industries, they might not align with your company’s current goals and priorities.
Perhaps market conditions or other factors have forced your organization to prioritize pipeline acceleration and shorter sales cycles. In this scenario, the MEDDIC framework may be too inefficient to support these objectives.
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Con #4: Reliance on technology
Simply put, a MEDDIC framework is not sustainable if you don’t have the tools to support it. This methodology requires reps to collect and keep track of more data points than the BANT framework. If you’re relying on documents and spreadsheets to track the complex criteria we’ve covered today, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Therefore, implementing MEDDIC requires you to assess your current tech stack and determine whether it’s built to support a complex qualification framework. A new tool or significant changes to your current system may require extensive training before reps are ready to use the MEDDIC methodology.
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Choosing Between the BANT and MEDDIC Sales Frameworks
By now, you understand that both sales frameworks have their respective advantages and difficulties. Experts argue over which methodology is best, but the truth is that plenty of sales organizations have achieved long-term success using BANT, and just as many have thrived with MEDDIC.
We can’t tell you which framework is the best fit for your organization— but here’s a trusty checklist of considerations that will help you arrive at your own answer:
- Sales team experience: Experienced sellers who understand your product inside and out will adapt quickly to a complex sales framework like MEDDIC. But, if your team is more inexperienced, consider how effective a framework like MEDDIC will be if your team isn’t prepared to leverage it correctly.
- Lead response time: How often is your team losing deals because of delays? If long, drawn out follow up processes or delays in the sales cycle are a sticking point for your team, it might not make sense to implement the MEDDIC framework until those issues are resolved.
- Ideal customers: BANT is an ideal framework if you primarily sell to small and mid-sized businesses. For enterprise-level deals, the additional context provided by the MEDDIC framework becomes more essential.
- Product complexity: If the purpose and characteristics of your product are easy to understand, the BANT criteria may be enough to identify potential customers. If you sell a product that’s complex, has many use cases, or addresses a wide variety of pain points, MEDDIC is the more reliable framework.
- Tools and resources: If your CRM platform is robust and flexible enough to track a wide range of data points, you’ll be well-equipped to implement MEDDIC. If your current system can’t support a complex framework, you’ll be safer adopting a more streamlined approach like BANT.
After all we’ve covered today, you might now be asking a different question: “Do I really need to choose between the two?” The truth is, you don’t. Bear with us! As we mentioned in the beginning, there are a wide range of sales methodologies– none of which is any better or worse than the others.
No matter what popular acronym you decide to embrace, the truth is that every sales framework is unique to the company that’s using it. So, there’s no reason you can’t customize either framework, or build a framework that includes elements of both.
For example, you might decide to use BANT for initial lead qualification and then leverage MEDDIC criteria to further analyze a specific segment of qualified leads. Think of these frameworks as templates: you can follow them to a tee, add or remove certain criteria, or use them as building blocks to create your own framework.
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While no qualification method is 100% perfect, implementing a deal or lead qualification framework that aligns with your sales strategy and goals will help you get as close to perfection as possible.
But, we’ll leave you with this: the success of your sales framework is ultimately in the hands of the sales reps who will follow it. No matter what framework you choose— BANT, MEDDIC, a combination of the two, etc.— make sure to train your team on the framework’s purpose, criteria, and how to put it into practice.
Last but not least, make sure to continuously revisit and reassess your qualification framework. With a process as nuanced as deal qualification, even the smallest adjustment to your framework can be the difference between winning and losing your next big customer.
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