Marketing Funnel and BANT: Qualifying Leads to Improve Campaign RoI

Marketing Funnel and BANT: Qualifying Leads to Improve Campaign RoI
Feb 7, 2023
Min read
Share post

Marketing funnel itself may be an antiquated concept but it is still the most effective tool for visualizing the buyer journey. Even when the modern buyer’s journey is not so linear anymore. 

In fact, marketing funnel is even more relevant in charting buyer journeys in account based marketing. Because buyers are typically not individuals progressing through the funnel but a group of people together. 

3 Stages of a Marketing Funnel

The marketing funnel is typically divided into three parts – top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). It is a handy way of dividing the leads into three groups depending on how near or far they are from making the purchase.

And this is how the leads enter and move through the funnel.

Top of the funnel leads

You offer a piece of content that the user is interested in reading. And your offer is exciting enough that they are willing to give their details in exchange. You have your lead. This is a top of the funnel tactic where you want to create awareness about your product or service. That’s also the reason you should cast a wide net and reach as many people as possible.

However, just because people are willing to exchange some information for reading your content, it does not mean they are interested in purchasing.

Middle of the funnel leads

To find out whether they could be interested in your offers, you need to qualify them through questions. If they answer the questions in affirmative, you move them to the next level. Questions such as:

  • What is the purchase budget?
  • Is the lead authorized to take decisions?
  • How likely are they to share your content with other stakeholders?

Bottom of the funnel leads

In the bottom funnel you should start asking several questions about their specific challenges (need) and when they will make the purchase (timeline):

  • How much time do they need to reach a decision?
  • Are they going to purchase in the next 3 to 6 months? 
  • How badly does the lead or their business need to purchase from you? 

The intensity of intent to purchase as well as timeline decides whether they can be moved into the bottom of the funnel where the sales teams push for conversion. Through qualifying questions they have been primed for purchase and hence you must go for the kill.

Some marketers feel that the TOFU, MOFU and BOFU split doesn’t account for the very non-linear buying journey of a lead. And they are not wrong either. Because within the funnel, leads jump from one channel to another while evaluating your product, comparing with your competitors and even reaching out for making the final purchase.

5 Stages of Marketing Funnel

These are the 5 stages of the marketing funnel as traversed by a modern buyer - awareness, consideration, intent, decision and purchase.

  • Awareness: This is the first stage of the marketing funnel. You draw potential customers to your marketing funnel through demand generation campaigns. Trust is the pivotal factor here. Greater the trust in the potential customers, faster their movement through the marketing funnel.
  • Consideration: Leads that progress to this stage are marketing qualified leads. They are prospective customers. They are considering your product. You should send them more information about your product, case studies, demo, etc. 
  • Intent: To move to this stage the leads must have demonstrated their intent to purchase. This could happen if they have ordered a demo or said so in a survey.
  • Decision: Since a buying committee is involved in the purchase decision, they typically take time to reach a decision. The sales team needs to continue engaging and motivating through assets such as case studies and testimonials.
  • Purchase: This is the final stage of the marketing funnel where the lead turns into a customer. The customer success team must now take charge and continue to delight the customer through awesome user experience and service.

As you can see, whatever your approach to the marketing funnel, you need to qualify the leads to move them through the funnel.

Lead qualifying frameworks

The oldest lead qualifying tactic is BANT – budget, authority, need and timeline. BANT was a lead qualification process invented by IBM in the 1960s. And it is still the most relevant for B2B. 

  • Budget: How much is the business willing to spend?
  • Authority: Is your lead authorized to make purchase decisions?
  • Need: Which need is your product or service?
  • Timeline: When is the lead ready to make the purchase (in the short term or the long term)?

There are other lead qualifying frameworks such as CHAMP (Challenges, Authority, Money, Prioritization) and FAINT (Funds, Authority, Interest, Need, Timing). But they are just spins on the good old BANT framework and we at Think ABM stick to that.

Plus, BANT is the most relevant for B2B sales. In B2B purchase, decisions are never taken by a single person. The buying committee comprising multiple stakeholders is  responsible for researching and shortlisting a few products, from which the final one is selected.

Why use lead qualifying frameworks

Lead qualifying frameworks shorten sales cycles and save time. This further impacts the budget and other resources required to get sales, improving the overall campaign RoI.

Get Our Free Guide to Boost Your Strategies!

Discover how Think ABM can optimize your sales funnel and boost revenue growth.

checked icon
Thanks for subscribing! You will be the first to know about Think ABM’s product news and useful insights. Expect a welcome email from us!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.