I still remember that Saturday training session as a young associate at Honeywell Computer Systems back-in-the-day when I learned about BANT.
Didn't know that Honeywell made computers? Well, they didn't do it very well...but they tried to with the wrong product at the wrong time and got smoked by DEC and every other mini-computer manufacturer up and down 128, known at that time as America's Technology Highway-the precursor to Silicon Valley..."back-in-the-day".
To get into the mini computer business, Honeywell bought a young startup, CCC, in Framingham, MA, once again proving that most M&A deals never realize their potential. Less than 10 years later, Honeywell quietly exited the market after losing hundreds of millions, while up the road in Maynard, startup DEC quickly became the largest computer company in the world for the next 15 plus years...until they also got smoked by that other little startup...Apple, and then everyone else as the lines became increasingly blurred between minis and the ultimate entry of personal computers. Anyone remember Apple's Newton?
From back-in-the-day, you can throw in Wang, and I guess you could also do the same with Polaroid, and you would have a solid string of "Lessons Learned" of what not to do regarding proprietary, inward-focused businesses to keep in mind as you kick of your own 2017 business planning sessions later this month.
BITD, it was all about BANT - Budget, Authority, Need & Timeline
Back-in-the-day, IBM, without question, the best tech salesforce of the '50's and 60's, conceived "BANT" as a means of easily reminding their salespeople with this simple acronym to make sure that in their Discovery step of the very formal "IBM Sales Playbook" they went through each of the letters during their first sales call.
In the case of Honeywell's failure in the mini computer business, what they did not understand was that although there was a need for the architecture that CCC had been developing at that time, speed to market and availability of product, was much more critical. By the time that Honeywell's slow management structure had completed their redesigns and implemented their antiquated manufacturing process from the staid heating controls industry, they had been leapfrogged by Digital Equipment and at least five other startups. Game Over!
So, if we were to look at that market of 40 years ago...
- Was there a BUDGET? Absolutely! At that time, every business was thinking about leaving behind their Big Iron computers and shifting to much smaller, faster and dramatically cheaper machines.
- Was there AUTHORITY? Bingo! Prices were dropping like a stone, and the word was out to every business manager to start using these dramatically cheaper machines in every department. Remember, at this time, there were no networks, no Internet, no personal computers, just a market push to smaller and cheaper new architectures.
- Was there a NEED? Definitely! And, it was a need that looked to the future, not just the present. DEC understood that, Honeywell not so much. Apple has always understood this from laptops to phones and now to cars. Blackberry, not so much.
- Was there a TIMELINE? Now! The timeline was immediate, as in now, and not tomorrow.
Since every day in 2017 is going to be DAY1...
What if the 60 year old concept of BANT, which was just fine back-in-the-day, and most of us grew up using, were to be enhanced? BANT by itself is just not quite good enough in today's much more complex, more immediate, buyer-focused world of providing real customer value.
What if, in the new world of selling in 2017, we were not so focused on our own products and services? What then would be a better way to execute the Discovery Step in our sales process?
Step #1-Enter GPCT - Goals, Plans, Challenges & Timelines
Created by our buds at Hubspot, and overviewed in this blog by Pete Caputo, the long time Hubspot VP of Sales, and now a leading sales consultant, the GPCT model provides much more granularity...and, most importantly, more comfort with the prospect...allowing more definition of the actual value that we need to deliver.
"Today, prospects are much more informed about you and your competitor's products and services, have identified their own needs, and started to design their own solutions -- all before even thinking about talking to a salesperson. According to a study by CEB, buyers are now 57% of the way toward a buying decision when they first make contact with a salesperson. Salespeople have no control in this situation ... unless they figure out how to add value to the prospect's decision making process. BANT isn't good enough anymore."
[Peter's 57% actually is the lowest number we have seen since we started studying improved sales processes 5 years ago. Data for the last two years from Forrester and from Sirius Decisions shows this number ranges between 67% and 73%]
Step #2-Now add C&I-Negative Consequences & Positive implications
- What are the negative consequences if your prospect does not achieve their goal?
- What are the positive implications if your prospect reaches their desired goal?
- Can your product help your prospect mitigate the risk of not achieving his or her goals and further increase the chances of achieving them?
- And, most importantly, what's the real value that your product provides both to the individual persona personally and to their company? Our experience is that ff you cannot answer this question, you shouldn't be selling.
Now you have a new formula, BANT + GPCT + C&I, a new tool, a new way of looking at not just your sales process, but a means of providing real value to your prospect and to your existing customers. Plus, the very fact that it's different and it's shiny and new is refreshing in itself as you change your own approach to this year.
It's Day1 today, and it's time, especially right now-here in the top half of January-to act on getting above the fray and look out for the entire year in your own planning, whether's it's to create a 36 month strategic plan for the entire business, or simply updated Key Account Plans for your Top 10 Customers / Prospects.
Some ideas on How to start your 2017 planning process?
- Read about our simplified Business Planning techniques
- Download our 100 page "Writing the Winning Business Plan"
- Focus first on improving your Sales Productivity
- Try one of our Whiteboarding Sessions,
Good Selling Today!
Everything we see around us says that 2017 is going to be a great year !