In the sales and marketing world, conversion is one of the top priorities. A great deal of effort and plans of businesses is to determine the leads with the most significant potential and turn them into clients.
After all, sales reps don’t want to waste their time and efforts building a relationship with a prospect that doesn’t want to commit.
That’s why various sales qualifying frameworks have been created to evaluate opportunities and prospects. In this article, we’ll talk about the two most widespread ways of qualifying potential clients — BANT and GPCT.
What is a sales qualifying framework?
A sales qualifying framework is a set of criteria that allows sales reps to target prospects that are worth pursuing based on the company’s needs.
In other words — it's an approach that improves client targeting and increases conversion rates. These frameworks help identify leads with higher chances of making a purchase and becoming long-term clients.
With 22% of sales professionals saying qualifying is the hardest part of the job, followed by 36% saying it's closing, it's not hard to see why these qualification frameworks have become a crucial part of the modern selling process.
Many different qualifying networks have been invented over the years, such as BANT, ANUM, FAINT, ChAMP, GPCTBA/C&I, MEDDICC, and more.
This way of simplifying the sales process started with BANT, so let’s look at what that is.
History and definition of BANT
Introduced and formalized by IBM in the 1950s, the BANT analysis and qualifying framework consist of four components that help determine how many leads have real chances of becoming paying customers.
- Budget: Does the lead have enough money to pay for your product or service?
- Authority: Are you speaking with the decision-maker or someone who is part of the decision-making process?
- Need: Does your product fulfill the prospect’s needs, and can you give them a solution to a problem they are facing?
- Timeline: Are your prospect’s goals urgent, and do you need to provide a solution right away?
These four pillars were essential in the 1960s for sales and professionals in IBM and other companies to achieve the required number of potential leads and sell their products.
However, in recent years, this way of qualifying a prospect is slowly dying out (and you’ll see why).
Why is the BANT sales framework no longer relevant?
Although BANT was a robust qualification framework in the 1960s and 1970s, its transactional approach towards selling is no longer relevant nowadays. The main reasons for this are the following:
- It doesn’t seek to understand the prospects. Instead of identifying business needs and discovering opportunities, it focuses on reducing the number of potential leads that are unworthy or unable to buy your product/service because they don't have enough money or power.
- It follows outdated company structures. Nowadays, the decision-maker isn’t always centralized to one person. Often, a group is responsible for discussing the goals and making the purchasing decision.
- It’s exceptionally seller-focused. Most sales scripts include questions about how the prospect can be useful to the company and not the other way around. In a nutshell, BANT sounds like an interrogation to today’s consumers.
- It doesn’t understand that budgets are fluid. Budgets are rarely a fixed amount. Also, many services and products come with a monthly or yearly investment, so questioning the prospect’s budget is just not relevant. The priority here should be how urgent the prospect’s needs are and how motivated they are to solve their problems.
And this is where GPCT comes to play.
What is the GPCT framework?
GPCT (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline) is a modified version of BANT that Hubspot developed. Its goal is to help sales staff ask more relevant questions that will help them have a deeper understanding of their prospect’s plans and desires.
The full name is GPCTBA/C&I — adding in the components of Budget, Authority/ Negative Consequences & Positive Implications.
Let’s take a better look at the elements of GPCTBA/C&I and why it’s better at qualifying prospects than the BANT approach.
(Or, get a headstart with a free PDF checklist of the GPCTBA/C&I sales process that you can start using immediately!)
Identifying the short and long-term goals your prospects are looking to achieve is probably the most critical factor when qualifying leads.
- Do they need a solution for a specific project, or are they looking for something to help them in the long run?
- What are the company’s goals for the next three years?
- How many new customers/revenue/sales leads do they need to reach their target?
Understanding the prospect’s needs is the top priority in the GPCT process, and it’s what really sets itself apart from BANT. These basic questions can also give you a hint about what budget will be needed since long-term projects require more money than short-term ones.
The current plans of your prospects are another factor to consider in terms of their budget and implementation.
- Are they already working on a solution, or do they need consulting for how to best achieve their goals?
- Is there a roadmap or plan put in place?
- What is being done differently to achieve the goals in comparison to previous years?
Most of the time, you will get uncertain answers, blurry timeline goals, different business challenges they have faced, etc. This should give you the perfect moment to suggest a better alternative — your product or service.
However, you must have determined that you can help your prospect achieve his or her goals and back it up with proven outcomes and data to really make the final close.
It’s essential to also understand what the prospect defines as their most significant challenges so far and their fears for the future. If you can offer an effective solution to the prospect’s problem, it will be easier to sell your product or service. Here are some example questions:
- What are the obstacles the prospect is facing, preventing them from reaching their end goal?
- What were previous challenges they managed to overcome, and how?
- Are there any problems in the decision-making process or the current budget?
The prospect’s timeline is a significant factor, which is why it’s included in GPCT and BANT. You will see that many prospects find it difficult to answer most of those questions, but they are still essential to the qualifying process.
- Does the prospect’s company need to reach the goals by a tight deadline?
- Are they already working to achieve their goals in the specified timeframe?
- Can the prospect change the timeline or some of the goals should they prove to be unrealistic?
- Are there any other things that are currently a priority?
- Do they have the required budget to start working on the goals right now, or is it somewhere in the future?
This is still a very critical factor for your sales team to determine before negotiations start. Here is how you can include this delicate subject:
- Are the prospects aware of your pricing conditions and is it what they expected?
- What are their most desirable ROI and profit margin?
- If it’s a subscription service, for how long does the prospect’s company want to sign up?
- How much money are the prospects currently spending without your product or service?
It’s very important to go through the pitch first and see if the product or service your offer can bring a unique solution to the problems the prospect faces. These conditions may change the lead’s budget and convince them to allocate more money than they initially set aside for this specific project.
There might be more than one decision-maker, but it’s still crucial to make sure you’re speaking with the right person. They will be the ones aware of all the challenges the business faces and sign off on the purchase agreement.
- Have they received other offers and what were the reasons for not choosing that company?
- Who else is involved in the buying decision process and is everyone on board on what they want their business to achieve?
- Has the business tried solving the problem internally and what were the challenges that came with that decision?
Another option is to research this beforehand so that you don’t have to bring it into the conversation, setting extra time for discussing goals and asking more relevant questions.
Negative Consequences & Positive Implications
A crucial part of this framework is to understand what the prospects find as the best and worst-case scenarios.
- What do they think will happen once they achieve the goals and what do they fear might happen if they don’t?
- Does the prospect have expectations they think will be difficult to fulfill?
- What are their future plans after those goals are completed?
- Will achieving those goals bring any personal gain to the prospect such as a bonus or a promotion?
This will give your sales team another opportunity to discuss how they are there to help the prospect and their business.
Make closing deals easier with GPCT
The world of sales is way past the era of exploiting and trying to make a sale no matter what. Human connection and long-lasting relationships between companies and customers are at the forefront, which is why GPCT is a great way to create a successful tactic for you and your revenue team.
And with Weflow — you can improve your sales process immediately with our easy-to-use fieldsets for GPCT and other sales methodologies like MEDDPICC, SPICED or Customer Centric Selling.
Sign up for Weflow now.