Those people who are familiar with the world of sales know the term BANT intimately. For those who have not done selling as a profession, it’s an acronym from enterprise B2B sales that helps sales professionals assess a lead’s quality. The term stands for:
- Budget: Can the lead afford our product?
- Authority: Is the lead the decision-maker?
- Need: Does the lead actually need our category product?
- Timeframe: When will the lead buy from someone?
BANT has been through its twists and turns over the years, but now I want to put a twist on it for different purposes. Most project management software I’ve used recently has been very good at setting deadlines, but beyond that, there’s very little in the way of project scoring to help you sort out what’s important from what’s merely urgent. As my friend Chris Brogan says, the inbox is the ultimate delivery mechanism for other people’s priorities, and those tend to be urgent rather than important.
So what if we scored projects simply and effectively using BANT? Rather than just leaving it in the hands of sales professionals, why not make use of it for yourself? Suppose you had a project management system that looked like this?
- Budget: What is the revenue impact of this project?
- Authority: Is this project needed by a superior, a peer, or a subordinate?
- Need: How important is this project?
- Timeframe: How urgent is this project?
Suppose you made a simple spreadsheet that, instead of an ambiguous HIGH PRIORITY or LOW PRIORITY mechanism, you actually scored your projects? Here’s an example of how this might look:
Click to see a live version you can copy
This can then map more closely to the way your team or organization works. If Authority is the true deciding factor in what needs to get done, then you sort by authority. If Timeframe is how things get done, then you sort and manage by timeframe, with the ability to sub-sort by other fields that are part of the decision-making process.
Try it out – see if BANTing your workload is as effective for your productivity as BANTing your sales leads has been.
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