5X More Likely To Close Deals With Trigger Event Selling

Trigger event selling allows you to get to your prospect at a point where they are most receptive to your solution, before they find your competition. It is the perfect opportunity to provide a solution when there is an actual need. This article takes you through what trigger event selling is, how it works, and what triggers to keep an eye out for.

As any salesperson or marketer knows, the key to any kind of selling is timing – the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

Unfortunately, that leaves a lot to chance. How many times have you heard “Now just isn’t a good time for us”? You can have perfect data, a fantastic offering, engaging messaging and still nothing to show for your efforts because no one recognises the need for your service or products.

Trigger event selling is about finding that need – approaching a prospect at a time when the conditions are right and there is a demand for the solution that you provide. In this article, I am going to break down how and why you should leverage trigger events as a sales strategy, and how to monitor for trigger events you can leverage.

But What Is A Trigger Event?

A trigger event is anything that creates an opening for a marketing or sales opportunity. A shift or change in circumstances – either for a company as a whole or for an individual – that might make mean more favourable conditions for your offer.

Still confused?

A couple of examples would be:

  • Hiring new executives keen to make changes to the company and leave their mark
  • An old contact starting up at a new company or changing role, who might recommend your product or service
  • A target company expanding into new marketplaces where they might need support

All of the above could lead to your contact or prospect looking to use your services – the conditions become more favourable for new business and/or competition.

How Does Trigger Event Selling Even Work?

Craig Elias, the founding father of Trigger Event Selling and author of Shift!: Harness The Trigger Events That Turn Prospects Into Customers, describes this more clearly in relation to the buyer’s journey, which he breaks into three different buyer modes.

Most buyers are in a mode of ‘Status Quo’. They aren’t shopping around for alternatives despite not being totally happy with the service, preferring to stick to what they know and what they already have in place. This is frequently the case with B2B service arrangements – finding an alternative takes research and effort, and ending an ongoing relationship is awkward. Often, the problem is not obvious or painful enough to trigger change independently.

However, when that buyer feels a pain with their product/service due to a shift in circumstances, they enter a more active mode of ‘Searching for Alternatives’. They will begin actively looking for solutions themselves – often approaching a number of companies. This is where one of the limitations of Inbound becomes obvious. The prospect will be looking at multiple options and your webpage/offering might not make the cut.

As Elias points out, there are two main barriers to making a sale in the modern marketplace:

  1. Salespeople reach out too early before the prospect has recognized their problem or pain point (a.k.a they are in the ‘Status Quo’ mode of selling)
  2. Salespeople reach out to the prospect too late, at the end of the prospect’s buyer’s journey, by which time they have practically already made up their mind (a.k.a ‘Searching For Alternatives’

Between ‘Status Quo’ and ‘Searching For Alternatives’ however, there is a critical stage where your prospect is aware of a problem but hasn’t yet begun to search for solutions. Elias describes this as the Window of Dissatisfaction’.

Window of dissatisfaction

(Image Credit: SHIFT!)

This is where trigger events come in. You can determine when a prospect enters the ‘Window of Dissatisfaction’ mode by monitoring different social media channels and news outlets for changes in circumstances that might lead to this shift. I’ll explain how further down.

Now For The Critical Question – Results?

The fundamental premise Shift! Is built around the fact that the first to the scene, more often than not, gets the deal. As you can see from the image above from their official site, their mantra is “First in wins 5X more often”.

This is backed up by Forrester Research – reaching out to appropriately motivated decision makers before your competition does increase your odds of making the sale up to 74%.

The caveat here is it has to be BEFORE.

It is critical that you act fast if you want to successfully leverage a trigger event selling strategy. Once you have located a prospect with a relevant trigger point you have to leverage that immediately. You’ll notice in the Shift!illustration of the modes that the time between entering the ‘Window of Dissatisfaction’ and beginning to ‘Search for Solutions’, is just 5 days. You need to action any trigger-based approach as soon as possible – before someone else does.

This is something Growthonics helps our clients with – monitoring all major social channels to inform clients as and when a trigger event is found. Contact us here.

How Do I Leverage a Trigger Events Sales Strategy?

Trigger event selling enables you to customise your message to your prospect’s exact pain points. You are the timely solution to their biggest problem. That means cold outreach strategies like cold calling and cold emailing can be personalised and targeted directly to a company or account.

Trigger events can also help qualify and improve your prospecting list – especially for cold callers where the recipient is seldom thrilled about being contacted. Identifying a need can help determine which leads to spend more time on.

With knowledge of a trigger event, your approach can become problem-focused, as opposed to solution-focused. Instead of opening with “Let me tell you a little about my company and product”, you can try “I saw on LinkedIn that you recently received new funding. Congratulations! How can I help you invest in growth?” Because they are personal and timely, triggers help to create a feeling of a personal connection, making you seem more human and keeping your prospect engaged.

How Do I Find A Trigger Event?

Monitoring for trigger events for trigger event selling is a difficult job and takes time. It is rare that you’ll stumble across a tweet or LinkedIn post on your newsfeed announcing “I need a new [product/service] – can anyone help me out?”

By monitoring and tracking trigger events through a variety of channels, you will be able to capture both the blatant and subtle shifts that can help warm up your cold outreach approach.

We have collected just a few of the ways that you can monitor for these shifts – but if you need any help with the process this is a service you can outsource. We have helped hundreds of companies globally prospect and scale through a combination of automation and dedicated offshore team. Get in touch here.

Before we get into the ‘how’, work out the ‘what.

A key first step is taking the time to work out which trigger events are useful for your company. According to Elias, trigger events fall into 3 key categories:

“Bad Experience: The decision maker has a bad experience with a product/service, with people, or with a provider. For instance, there may have been a product/service change that creates dissatisfaction.

Change / Transition: The decision maker has a change or transition in people, places, or priorities. For instance, there may have been a change in the decision maker at an account.

Awareness: The decision maker becomes aware of the need to change for legal, risk-avoidance, or economic reasons. For instance: They may have a new understanding that buying from someone like you is less risky than continuing to buy their existing solution from someone else.”

Once you know what you are looking for, start to monitor the appropriate channels.

You’ll notice a lot of these bullets are repeated across various channels – that is intentional!

When you are monitoring for trigger events it is very possible something will slip through the cracks (not if you hire a Growthonics team though 😉 so it is critical that you spread yourself over several channels. The ol’ double alarm clock trick.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts allows you to keep up to date with the latest press releases, company news, management changes and projects. You set the keywords and receive news clippings in a round-up email, which you can then base the timing and messaging of your campaign around. This is particularly useful for anything Account-Based (although if it is that specific – ensure you frequently check their company news and press releases as well).

Trigger Events include:

  • Company Expansion or Relocation: a company that is expanding or relocating may be in need of new vendors, service providers or changing processes to be more effective within their new structure.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions: these present perfect opportunities for new business, particularly if one of the companies is a new client.
  • Changes to the C-Level or New Executives: new management often looks to get a better deal or more efficient process in place, which is where your offering comes in.
  • Incumbent Managers or Leaders Leaving: changes to the management level create opportunities for change within existing processes
  • Large Customer Announcement: if a company has acquired a new customer they may be in need of more vendors, service providers or new processes to support the workload.
  • New Product/Service Announcement or Moving Into A New Market: the company is moving into unknown territories and will require new forms of support (perhaps even new vendors).
  • Competitive Product/Service Announcement: if a competitor has made an announcement that is taking the industry focus, the prospect will likely be looking to action new projects or change

LinkedIn

LinkedIn posts and updates pair well with Google Alerts – especially within an account-based strategy where your target is clear. However, it also allows you to keep up to date with individual contacts or key target prospects, which can make your outreach messaging more targeted and personal to their specific experience/problems.

Trigger Events include:

  • Pair with Google Alerts to monitor for:
    • Company Relocation and Expansion
    • New Product/Service Announcement or Moving Into A New Market
    • Changes to the C-Level or New Executives
    • Competitive Product/Service Announcement
  • Existing Contact Moving Company: a contact that was happy with your services is likely to recommend you in their new place of work.
  • Existing Contact Promoted: if a contact is promoted to management or to a job with more buying power they are likely to be open to new service/product propositions.

CRM

I have actually written a whole separate article on how CRM cleansing can facilitate trigger event selling – Trigger Event Selling: How To Generate New Business With CRM Cleansing. I would read that for more detail, but in summary, CRM cleansing can flag up when a contact has moved on or is promoted, which then enables you to reach out to them at their new place of work or team.

Social Monitoring

Social Media Monitoring, which is something Growthonics provides for our clients, is especially powerful because it allows you to monitor for interest in areas relevant to your business. You can monitor for specific trigger events at scale and engage prospects directly from that platform.

Trigger Events include:

  • Pair with Google Alerts and LinkedIn to monitor for:
    • Company Relocation and Expansion
    • New Product/Service Announcement or Moving Into A New Market
    • Changes to the C-Level or New Executives
    • Competitive Product/Service Announcement
    • Existing Contact Moving Company
    • Existing Contact Promoted
  • Dissatisfaction with Current Vendor: is prospect voices a derogatory opinion or negative review of their current provider then that is an opportunity to approach them.
  • Evidence of Interest: monitoring for an interest in relevant keywords, topics or products on social media can act as intent signals, providing a great opportunity to reach out. It can also help to track any content released by a target company that would perhaps indicate an interest in your area.

How Can Growthonics Help You?

Monitoring channels more broadly for things like negative experiences with your competitors, interest in relevant topic areas, or even asking for insight into an issue directly is a hard job to handle for a small team or startup, and expensive to run in-house. However, it is one of the most useful and bountiful trigger events to monitor, and is scalable across your target segments (as opposed to focused on a single account).

Growthonics has worked with over 400 companies worldwide to help streamline processes and increase internal efficiency by supporting your existing workflows.

Get in touch with one of our London team here to find out more about how we can help monitor social media for key trigger events you can use to leverage in your sales strategy.

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