How many times have you, as a salesperson, encountered a prospect who was an excellent fit for your business – on paper? But, despite your best attempts, you were unable to move this person from checking off all your ideal customer boxes into being an actual customer? This happens all the time in B2B sales. If such a situation sounds familiar, you’re likely missing an important key: triggers.
B2B sales triggers are critical catalysts that prompt a prospect to take action or influence buying decisions based on certain events or changes in the buyer’s business or industry. If harnessed well, triggers hold the power to accelerate the sales process, create opportunities and enhance engagement by providing you with timely and relevant context.
If not harnessed (or, even worse, not identified at all), you’ll continue to stall with seemingly great customers. Here’s a look at some of the triggers to start paying attention to, so you can get your desired results.
When new leaders join a company, they almost always share one characteristic: the hunger to make changes and prove themselves. The boldest ones are also usually not shy about spending money to support their vision. This means they’re in the prime position of not only being ready to welcome new ideas and solutions, but they’re also likely overwhelmed by everything they hope to accomplish and in need of some help.
You can provide welcome relief by not only offering solutions to their problems, but also a pathway toward their goals. Assist them in prioritizing their next steps and delivering value as quickly as possible, and you’ll be able to smooth their ambitious road ahead and make their success feel more attainable.
Pro Tip: When reaching out to a person based on a new role trigger, simply saying, “Congrats on the new role, let’s meet,” will not cut it. You must understand their new role, the challenges a new person faces stepping into that role, and specifically what you can take off their plate.
When venture capitalists or private equity firms invest in a company, they’re providing money to be put to work. One of the worst things a business can do is take the cash – and then let it sit there. Instead, leaders need to be prepared to use it strategically on growth initiatives. Naturally, this is where you and your solutions enter the picture – if you’re paying attention to the trigger. Help your buyer see your offerings as lighter fluid that will accelerate their growth and prove their prowess and potential to their investors.
Pro Tip: Funding is a very common trigger event for sellers, and you must stand out to effectively leverage your trigger. Understanding the company stage, level of investment and the investor are details to uncover before reaching out. Each of those details uncovers something about their intention for their funds. As an example, if a go-to-market focused investor is at an early stage growth company it’s safe to assume those funds will be going toward go-to-market initiatives like sales, marketing and partnerships. Use that knowledge to get your foot in the door.
Product launches are another trigger to watch for, as they require a host of coordinated efforts across a company. No matter how many smart people are involved, or how many resources they have, there are often gaps that need to be filled during this time. If you can figure out what those are – and how what you sell can fill those gaps – you’ll be in a prime position to move the prospect forward toward becoming a buyer.
Pro Tip: New product launches are handled very differently based on the size and type of company. A SaaS startup is going to treat their product launch differently than an enterprise medical device company. It’s critical that you understand the company, the types of products they sell and the typical goals for those types of product launches. New product for a SaaS company may be a cross sell opportunity into their customer base, while a new product for a medical device company may be opening up new markets for their business. Again, specificity and understanding will increase your chances of success.
Once you understand the triggers you’re looking for, it’s time to create some automation to make your life easier. There are plenty of solutions that can support you in automating alerts around your target audience and triggers, but here are a few to consider:
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator – LinkedIn is an excellent sales tool in general, but Sales Navigator can really help you make the most of triggers. Not only can you use it to save lead and account lists, but you can also create an alert feed, and tag them with notes, engagement and follow-up activity. Some employers will pay for this upgrade for you but, even if they don’t, plan to spring for it yourself. It will pay you back in dividends.
- Google Alerts – This one is simple, but still enormously helpful. Set company alerts, so you can keep track of any news that pertains to your ideal customers.
- Crunchbase – A great source for funding alerts, you can either use it to keep track of specific companies or just general funding news.
If you begin using these solutions, make sure to integrate the ones you can (like LinkedIn Sales Navigator) with CRMs like Salesforce.com. When you have alerts set within a CRM system, you’ll be able to use automation to add leads directly to campaigns and send emails from Outlook. Furthermore, if your company uses a sales enablement tool like Outreach or SalesLoft, you can drop them automatically into email cadences.
When you’re finding buyers who seem to fit your ideal customer profile, but just aren’t taking the next step with your company, it could be that they don’t have an active trigger. Set alerts and be on the lookout for triggers like new leadership, funding, new products or other significant changes, and be ready to automate your outreach and follow up when the time is right. This can make all the difference in turning a prospect into a customer – and in your sales.