What is a Sales Trigger?
A sales trigger is based on a trigger event. Such an event can be either “positive” or “negative” from the company’s point of view. For example, an expansion can be a sales trigger event as well as the cutting of jobs due to falling revenue.
The term sales trigger is therefore rather self-explanatory – it’s a trigger event which you can use as the perfect opener for a conversation with a potential customer.
On one hand, you can use sales triggers as a way to approach entirely new people or companies. On the other hand, you can utilize sales triggers to improve your businesses relationships by staying up to date with your current accounts.
Strategy is Key
Sales success in B2B depends on a number of different factors. First of all: You need a strategy. That’s not big news, is it? In addition to the individual skills of the sales employee in customer contact, the right sales strategy is decisive.
However, a great product, perfect marketing and intelligent advertising have little chance of success if there is no demand from potential customers. In contrast to B2C, B2B only succeeds to a very limited extent in generating demand.
Business customers act much more rationally and are rarely motivated by emotional advertising. What works for you as an individual person, might not work for your customer working in IT or consulting. For this reason, the right timing is of central importance in B2B sales. This applies both to more specialized products and services, which are only purchased under special conditions and are usually associated with higher investments. This also applies to offers which carry regular demand, which are offered by a large number of competitors in comparable quality, at similar conditions.
Put simply: only the supplier who presents his offer to the customer at the right time, with the right sales arguments, has the best chance of closing a deal. It is precisely these optimal conditions that sales trigger events signalize.
How to Use Sales Triggers for Your Company’s Benefit
The nature of your offer indicates which sales triggers are important for you as a supplier in B2B. The task of B2B sales is to recognize where a potential customer can benefit from your own offer.
1. New Start-up
Every year, more than half a million new companies are founded for example in Germany. Many of them literally start from scratch.
This includes an increased demand for goods and services of all kinds, from simple office equipment to highly specialized production facilities and related services.
Start-ups are therefore one of the most important sales triggers for many suppliers in B2B. Offers here often fall on fertile ground, as they do not yet have to compete with already established competitors.
A close observation of start-ups within the target audience industry is therefore a basic requirement for B2B sales.
2. Company Relocation
At first glance, companies moving is an everyday event. There are many reasons for a company to move. The relocation of a site for logistical reasons is just as much a possibility here as increased space requirements due to an expansion of production or an increase in workforce.
As a sales trigger, the news of a relocation therefore provides a reason to analyze the background in more detail. On the other hand, it is a starting point for sales in itself.
A company move is always associated with a high demand for products and services, from the actual move itself to the re-equipping of the IT infrastructure and its setup.
3. New Building
Similar to a move, the announcement of a new building holds great potential to close a deal. New construction projects are usually announced by companies well in advance, often before the actual planning phase begins.
For B2B sales, this offers the opportunity to become active even before the first brick is laid and to successfully offer products and services for all phases of such a project.
For existing customers, a new building often results in personnel changes as well. Responsibilities can change both on the side of the customer and on the side of your own sales department. Thus, a new building as a sales trigger always offers a good opportunity to maintain existing contacts and thus generate long-term sales.
4. Change in Staff
Trigger events are more than a plain sign for demand from your target audience’s side. You can consider them potential catalysts for sales! We’ll give you an example: Let’s say, company X hires a new head of sales. Chances are, that company X increased their budget! So, a trigger event indicating a change in staff can provide a suitable hook for establishing contact and even the possibility of reactivating “dead” contacts.
There isn’t always a rational reason as to why you couldn’t close a deal you thought might work out. Sometimes the "chemistry" between yourself, your sales staff and buyers in the company you reached out to is simply not right or the person responsible in the company has personal preferences in favor of a competitor.
In such cases, a change of personnel can make it possible for a new employee to join the company.
5. Change in Management
Depending on the size of a company and the level of investment, you as a sales rep may not necessarily have contact with a manager in your target company, but a change of management can still bring about fundamental changes in many areas of the company.
A new management team might initiate changes in corporate strategy and signal a willingness to invest. In any case, it will pay off to establish and maintain contact with decision-makers in the company at an early stage.
6. Team Extensions
The basic rule is: If a company grows, its demand for products and external services grows as well.
A sure sign of growth is an increase in personnel. It shows a certain development, but can also indicate diversification, i.e. the expansion of the business into new business areas. Diversification in the long run can lead to a strong change in the demand for external products and services, to which B2B sales can react accordingly.
As sales triggers, team expansions signal the possibility of reselling already known products or adapting them to changed conditions through upselling. Furthermore, you can include companies not previously defined as part of your target audience for individual offers in the associated sales activities.
7. Job Offers
Job offers are also important sales triggers that provide relevant information about a specific company. If a company is looking for a new contact within an old opportunity, sales triggers can be set to identify when specific roles are being offered within a company. In conclusion, this gives you the opportunity to plan a new or a different approach.
Job offers can furthermore indicate a certain need. For personnel service providers or recruiters, for example, it offers a starting point for presenting and offering suitable services.
8. Trade Fairs Visits
Trade fairs give you the unique opportunity to personally interact with a large number of target customers with minimal logistical effort.
Information about who is attending a certain trade fairs is therefore a very important sales trigger. Your sales team can profit from the opportunity to prepare intensively for expected contacts and to arrange appointments in advance.
9. International Expansion
Entering in new markets, especially abroad, is usually associated with an enormous effort for companies. Even in an increasingly globalized world, companies face strategic, organizational and logistical challenges.
Appropriate products and services can make life much easier for expanding companies. As a provider of such tools and services, information about expansion plans is therefore an important sales trigger. It provides you with an early opportunity to establish contact with your target customer and offer support in a mutually beneficial way.
10. Major Order
Depending on the type of offer, companies live from selling their goods and services to as large a clientele as possible or from large order volumes with a smaller number of active customers.
For most companies, a major order or the acquisition of a major customer is the reward for intensive efforts. At the same time, concluding a contract with a major customer usually leads to a sharp increase in demand for products and services, which must be covered as quickly as possible in order to meet contractual obligations.
As soon as such a large order is announced to the target customer, the B2B sales department is therefore called upon to establish contact and offer support.
11. Profit Increase
For obvious reasons, every sales rep wants a customer who has sufficient financial resources and can make a purchase decision without worrying.
In addition, profits in most cases increase the basic willingness to invest. Usually, it makes more sense fiscally for companies to reinvest profits early. An increase in profits is particularly attractive as a sales trigger because it significantly lowers the entry threshold in sales negotiations and leads to the assumption that potential customers are more willing to buy.
12. Good Quarter / Bad Quarter
Both cases can help you to introduce your product and close deals. A company is having a really good quarter? This probably indicates that there is more budget left, which can benefit you as a sales rep. You could also spin this in your favor as your product can further boost the company’s success.
A company is losing a lot of money or faces other problems resulting in a subpar close to the quarter? Maybe your product is the solution to their problem or can help them at least get through a challenging time.
Your target company gets rewarded in their specialist area or receives an award for one of their products? Let them know you noticed and offer your services! Make sure they know that you can be the edge that puts their competitors far behind them.
Speaking of competitors...do you know what your competitors are doing at this moment? Maybe you know of prospects who are dissatisfied with their current vendor. They did a post on social media looking for advice on a certain topic? Speak up and offer your support!
Perhaps your prospects have to deal with extensive competitors themselves – this is your turn to show them that they can succeed in their market using your solutions and products!
How Can You Recognize Sales Triggers Early on?
Why and how sales triggers can contribute to your success in B2B sales is easy to understand when you look at the examples above. However, the question of where the sales department actually gets necessary information, remains.
Basically, all of the events mentioned above are not secrets only available as internal information. Outsiders can obtain such information themselves easily.
Of course, when such events signal a positive business development, companies have a vested interest in communicating them to the outside world, as they contribute in most cases to positive image building.
Accordingly, information on sales triggers can be found in reports from said companies, on their own corporate websites, in independent reports and in social media. Legal information, starting with the announcement of a new company formation, mergers, changes of address and balance sheets, can also be found in many cases in publicly accessible company directories and registers, to which corresponding changes must be reported, for example in Germany.
The real challenge for every responsible person in sales, however, is to filter out the information that indicates sales triggers from the flood of data that is accessible online on a daily basis. Doing manual research is often not one of the core competencies of sales employees – it requires resources that must be provided in addition to the actual sales work. Although, it may still be possible to "monitor" individual target customers in this form, it is hardly possible to keep a permanent eye on an extensive database of leads and existing customers.
Digital systems that monitor and analyze online sources automatically and identify relevant sales triggers with the help of artificial intelligence promise a remedy.
What's the Solution?
The challenge for sales reps is to recognize trigger events without wasting a lot of time. Manual research is very time-consuming and should be avoided at all costs.
Who wants to spend ages looking for specific information when you can be making calls and interacting with possible customers instead? Right. No one.
But what’s the alternative? Hire an intern to do research? Just kidding, please don’t do that. As a sales rep or as a whole sales team you might find sales intelligence tools very interesting. Such tools help you save an enormous amount of time and money by providing you with high-quality leads and information. Sounds to good to be true?
Other options to detect sales trigger events can include:
Sales trigger events can noticeably increase success in B2B sales. Addressing your target customer at the right time, with the right message and a meaningful offer, significantly reduces scatter loss in contrast to rather “classic” methods.
But please keep in mind: Don’t waste precious time on intense research while you could actually be contacting people and interacting with prospects. Time is money! Install alerts, follow them on social media or even get a sales intelligence tool to help you boost your sales calls...and in the end even your revenue!