Qualifying Prospects: BANT or GCPT

There are many different qualification methods, and using BANT Vs GCPT (or GCPTBA&CI) are two of the most common. Using them can help you categorise opportunities better.

For marketing agencies, the sales process can be complex and expensive to manage. The truth is that no matter how good your offering, you won’t win every piece of business you pitch for. When a new lead comes in, especially if it’s a company that you really want to work with, it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind and chase that lead at all costs, but an effective sales operation should only consider leads which have a good chance of success. Qualifying prospects before significant time is invested in a new business opportunity is important.

What is BANT

The BANT method for qualifying a sales opportunity was developed in the 1950s by IBM, and has been widely adopted. The BANT acronym is a straightforward approach to deciding if a lead is worth pursuing.

BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline:

  • Budget: How much money does the prospect have available for the project
  • Authority: Is the prospect able to make a decision
  • Need: Does the prospect have a clearly defined need that matches your offering
  • Timeline: How much time will the client need
Using BANT Vs GCPT To Qualify Sales Leads

Typically, whoever is responsible for business development or sales will take responsibility for qualifying a lead as it comes into the business. You should have specific guidelines to determine whether the opportunity progresses into the business. Leads might be disqualified outright because they don’t have a realistic amount of money or doesn’t have clear needs, or feedback might be provided – a more realistic timeline suggested.

I’ve worked with agencies where BANT is a group exercise. This gets additional voices and feedback about resource availability or internal policies. This might include things like exclusivity agreements that prevent a particular lead progressing.

Ultimately, the goal of BANT is to decide whether further time and effort should be invested in pursuing the opportunity. If the client doesn’t have sufficient money available, isn’t able to make a decision, doesn’t know what they want, or can’t commit to a timeline for making a decision then it’s not worthwhile moving forward on it.

What is GCPT

When BANT was developed back in the 1950s, the world of information was completely different, and buyers were far less informed about sellers. HubSpot developed a new framework that reflected more consultative selling processes, which is well suited to marketing agencies.

When you consider the use of BANT Vs GCPT, GCPT is a more in depth. It takes a client focussed approach to qualifying leads, and gives more detail about the value of proceeding. It is managed in 3 stages which give the full acronym GCPTBA&CI:

  • Goals – what the prospect and their business are trying to achieve
  • Challenges – what are the problems they’re currently facing
  • Plans – what are they doing, and what have they done before
  • Timeline – when do they want to achieve their goals
Using BANT Vs GCPT to Qualify Sales Opportunities

The purpose of this section of the process is to get a full understanding of what the client needs – it gives a much more detailed interrogation of the “NT” in BANT, and helps you understand as an agency whether the opportunity is right.

Expanding the GCPT Qualification Process

The next phase of a GCPT qualification process is BA

  • Budget – what are they willing and able to spend
  • Authority – who will make the decision

This part of the qualification is similar to BANT, but is also more informed because of the earlier questions. By understanding what the client’s goals, challenges, and existing plans are, the sales person is able to get deeper into how budgets are currently deployed, and be able to discuss whether there are opportunities to add extra spend into a particular marketing channel than originally budgeted if it will yield more success.

The final stage of the GCPT qualification process looks at the following:

  • Consequences (Negative)
  • Implications (Positive)

This section of the qualification considers what will happen if the client doesn’t achieve their goals. If they are likely to have additional budget on success, (for example if they’re investigating a trial of a new channel), then that should be a factor in deciding whether to pursue the lead. Similarly, if an unrealistic goal has been discussed, and the negative consequences of not achieving that goal are damaging to the agency, then it may become a disqualifying factor.

BANT Vs GCPT: Which is Right For You

Increasing competition for new business, means that it has never been more important to maximise your chances of winning more deals. Better qualification of leads helps to direct your attention where it will be most effective. Asking the right questions and determining whether a piece of business is one you can win, or indeed want to win, is vital in allowing you to deliver the best possible pitch rather than spreading your resources across multiple opportunities.

If you’d like to talk more about how we can help you to improve your agency’s sales process and win more business, please contact us today!