There are a lot of sales qualification acronyms out there — BANT, CHAMP, and many more. Each methodology attempts to explain the same process of asking leads questions that will help you sell more effectively.
While the traditional BANT acronym is a great starting point, I believe that sales reps need more guidance and more steps through the selling process. That’s why at my last job, we developed the RAMPACT sales qualification methodology.
RAMPACT stands for:
Action (Mutually Agreed Next Action)
RAMPACT is more detailed than other lead qualification systems, and takes you through each of the steps you need to close a deal. By gathering all of this information, you won’t get stuck at the end of the month with a deal that isn’t going to close. You’ll know exactly when your deal is closing, for how much, and what you need to do to get it over the line in time.
Here’s why you should drop BANT and start looking for RAMPACT each time you’re on a call.
You have to start out by discovering whether the prospect has a need or pain. However, don’t ask them point blank: “What is your paint point?” Talk like a human being, and ask them about the challenges facing their business today. Attempt to find out:
- Is solving this problem a nice-to-have, or a need-to-have, and why?
- What are the implications of addressing the problem to the individual and to the company? Keep in mind, an individual’s goals are not always aligned with the company’s.
- What will happen if the problem is not addressed?
- Is there an active project or defined initiative underway?
- Or are we interrupting and evangelizing the ‘art of the possible’?
Top Tip – dig deep here. This is the foundation for your engagement, so you really need to understand just how important your solution could be. Think about two, three and four levels of questions on this topic. This is a discussion, not a single question.
Beware the classic “One Contact Trap.” When you try to understand the buying process, so many people say: “its my decision and my budget.” This might be sort of true, but in my experience, most decisions of any consequence usually involve the finance team. So although ‘your guy’ might say that he is ‘the man,’ be mindful that most decisions are not made by one person alone. It is critically important to understand who all of the stakeholders are. Get names and titles, but remember, titles are often deceiving and vary from company to company, so make sure you understand their specific area of responsibility.
Ask your sponsor how decisions of this nature are usually made. If you think your sponsor is not senior enough, don’t ask them if you can talk to their boss. This usually sounds like an insult and can ruin the relationship. Rather ask: “One you have made your decision, what happens next?”
This shows respect for the person you are dealing with, but gets them to tell you how things work. Help them with the answer by asking: “So when does legal get involved?” or “Who else needs to put their thumb print on this?” Remember that no one makes a decision in a vacuum.
This is probably the most important piece of information to get. If there is no money and they can’t get money, one thing’s for sure…they ain’t buying!
People are often uncomfortable talking about money. But instead of putting it off and waiting until the end of the deal, bring up money early on in the conversation and find out whether the prospect has a set budget. If there’s no budget, ask:
- How do you typically go about getting a budget?
How do you prove ROI?
If there is a budget, ask:
- How did you go about setting the budget?
- Have you done a competitive analysis to assess your options and the costs thereof?
Don’t wait until the last minute to find out that the prospect only has a $10K budget when your product costs $20K. This will cause heartache and usually leads to last minute slash and burn type deals. Start talking about money from the start, and you’ll be less likely to be driven to discount at the end of the month.
What else is going on within the organization and how would your project rank in terms of priority? Make sure to ask the prospect:
- Is solving for this something that you would consider urgent?
- What other things are going on that are taking up your time?
- How do projects typically leapfrog one another?
- Where does this project rank in importance?
- What would need to happen for this to be first priority?
Remember that priorities change, so it is important to keep checking on how things are going.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard a sales rep say: “They have gone dark on me.” A next action needs to be a Mutually Agreed Next Action. If it is not mutually agreed upon, it probably won’t happen. To get mutual agreement, the prospect must feel like you are adding value to their lives. Otherwise you are just wasting their time and they might agree to the meeting, but they won’t turn up. Have a clear objective and seek agreement on this objective.
As the saying goes: Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Know who or what you are up against so you can devise an appropriate strategy. You can’t be blindsided when the prospect mentions your biggest competitor. You have to formulate a strategy to combat the competition. If you don’t know what you’re up against, you won’t have the tools you need to win.
This is similar to priority, but more specific. You need to understand the timelines you are dealing with. It is important to have agreement on this so you can map out a series of steps to get you to where you want to be by the end of the month. Even if you are too early on in the cycle to get commitment, try to agree what the timelines are should you be successful. Then work backwards to today’s date. This will help you secure your mutually agreed upon next action.
In summary: RAMPACT works. There are many books written about this in different acronyms, but I’ve found the most repeatable success with RAMPACT. It is a simple and logical guide to help organize your sales conversations. It is a powerful set of hooks off of which you can hang information that will help you manage your sales engagement in an organized fashion. Trust me, RAMPACT will make you a better salesperson.