So what is BANT, I hear you say. Well there are many of these little acronyms amounting to much the same thing. They owe their existence mostly to the days of cold calling salesmen with no marketing, no websites and tall targets. In order to save wasting time, they invented BANT to remind salespeople how to qualify a prospect before setting out to pester the poor chap with hours of sales pitches that were doomed to deliver nothing. Now that can’t be a bad idea and in=deed it still serves both sides of the transaction pretty well, up to a point that is.
B stands for Budget. It reminds you to make sure this “prospect” has assigned some budget or at least has means to purchase, before you take things any further. Logical but it wont always work in that order.
A stands for Authority. Imagine your annoyance if after investing weeks in analysis, producing pitches and then presenting and discussing a deal, you discover that your prospect is the bosses nephew on an internship and researching for his thesis around procurement. Ouch!
N stands for need. It is definitely a good idea to make sure the customer has a need and is aware of it before barging into presenting her with options or boring her with features and benefits. That needs little explanation.
T stands for timeframes. All of the above may apply, but the next buying cycle may be a year off or other reasons may dictate that there is no chance of doing business at this time.
I said up to a point. You probably already realised that there are many situations which don’t easily fit into this method. Some people don’t know they have a need because few business people can discern between a need and solution unless it is spelt out for them, trust me, I learned that the hard way. Authority may not exist at all, but may be a decision made by a large committee or board after a presentation. As in all things, human intelligence is a necessity and it is wise to adjust this framework to fit your industry and maybe discuss it with others who are doing well in your industry. I always considered recruitment a perfect time to do this sort of research.
So how do you this online once you have a working framework?
It can’t be achieved to any degree without some carefully planned content strategies and a few tools to help you out.
Our standard template involves producing Assets (downloadables, viewables, listenables etc), pages, blogs and attributing them to each stage of the buying cycle we have discerned to be the most common for each of our buyer personas.
A short note on personas.
I will return to this another day. We have researched our customers carefully, employed psychology and neuroscience and developed four very strong personas that fit the bulk of our clients. The others are simply 2/3 of ne and 1/3 of the other. Each has a preferred method of decision making, and particular needs and likes that are well know to us
Let’s take a generic cycle.
Browsing – Discovery – comparing -shortlisting-price comparison.
For each of these stages for each persona we have assets, pages, video etc and each is tagged to describe the stage and emotion, the problem being dealt with and so forth. Each also contains content links that give a hint about whether the content was considered useful or not.
Noting is perfect of course, but this method provides a lot of information that helps you make a very intelligent guess at whether this is really a qualified prospect or just someone writing a paper.
The next step od course is to get in touch and earn the right to have a conversation and make a pitch.
We will talk about that in the next instalment
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