Consultative Selling has become a bit outdated. Younger generations of buyers expect a seller to add more value earlier in the buyers journey then just asking questions and doing "discovery".
This does not mean that you should be talking more as a seller. It just means that when you listen, you make sure to be prepared to add immediate value, and become a trusted advisor as early in the buyers journey as possible (Patrick Lencioni calls this 'getting naked'). Modern Solution Selling is now more about Advising.
This also has impacted how we qualify opportunities in a modern B2B Sales Funnel.
BANT is still a very useful acronym and it helps many sales teams do their jobs better. Some things have changed however in the digital journey of the modern buyer, that should make you think a little bit different about the 4 letters.
- B (Budget) => V (Value) - Cash is cheap these days. Money is not the scarcest resource any longer. Which means that most companies can find funding for something that they believe will have impact and positive ROI. So the question early in the funnel re "Budget" is not always appropriate and often gets answered with "Show us the value, and we'll find the money".
- A (Authority) => ABM (Account Based Marketing) - In the modern B2B Buyers journey it will be an exception to find a single decision maker. Apply journey mapping to nurturing to reach all decision makers and influencers in the complex decision process.
- N (Needs) => Guide (Show them the way) - Millennial decision makers often don't hive time or patience for a lengthy discovery process or Solution Selling Dance. They want you to know enough about their needs to take them on a journey. They don't respond well to a "Just tell us what you need, and we'll do it" consultative selling approach. This does not mean that you don't need to listen. It just mean that you have to be ready to come with ideas, best practices and assert a position or opinion.
- T (Timeline) => Just like with Authority earlier, the complex buyers journey with multiple decision makers has changed as well. It's not always linear. The one thing that's now always true is that your prospects will self educate online and may come to the table much better prepared then ever before. Make sure you can support them wherever they are in their knowledge gathering and decision timeline.
BANT is not completely dead. But you better think different about each letter and apply an updated approach.