Trigger events are changes that happen at a prospect’s business and make your product or service more relevant than before. When a trigger event happens, it’s the ideal time to reach out to your prospect and determine if now is the right time to move forward on a buy.
Although nobody will tap you on the shoulder and tell you about a trigger event, there are ways to find out about them. Since they tend to be good news, they are usually announced in ways that are in keeping with the company’s brand strategy.
For example, opening a new location or launching a new product are common trigger events.
Bad news can herald a trigger event as well, but decision-makers will tend to be a lot more cautious about making major purchases if things aren’t going well. Just as importantly, it can be difficult to frame your offer in a way that’s compelling when strategic goals are already at risk.
If you know where to look for trigger events, you can be a lot more proactive in qualifying your leads and reaching out to those who may not even realize the kind of value you can offer them.
Luckily, it’s easy to integrate this into your usual prospect research if you know where to start.
Use these methods to zoom in on a trigger event at your prospect enterprises:
1. Skim Trade Magazines
If a company ends up in Fortune, Forbes, or another major publication, odds are good that they are on the right track with their business. Tailor your reading to your prospects’ size category and industry so you can get the latest news quickly.
2. Monitor Social Media
Established brands often have hashtags associated with them that you can monitor easily with a social media management app. You can also segment your social stream into lists so you can focus in on comments from leading decision-makers.
3. Set Up Google Alerts
Google Alerts was one of Google’s first services to leverage its search engine prowess and is still one of the best. When you set up an alert, you can get a regular digest of the latest online news and results related to a particular company or other topic.
4. Check Out LinkedIn Groups
With LinkedIn shifting toward a more private and insular structure for many of its Groups, this deserves a separate entry. Those with advanced LinkedIn accounts can easily determine which Groups a company’s employees hang out in, making it easier to keep tabs and interact.
5. Read the Business Section
Although newspaper circulation is in decline, some major newspapers are still going strong. If you are focused in a major metro area like New York or Dallas, it can be worthwhile to read the business pages a few times a week. Companies moving in or expanding get column inches.
6. Run a Search
Google Alerts are very useful, but they won’t capture everything that happens in an area or at a company. No matter how many established sources you have for your trigger event research, you should never forget a generic search. Throw in Bing and DuckDuckGo to see different results.
7. Check Out Industry Events
In the digital marketing era, many companies are drawing down their presence at annual industry events. A smaller number of events are now getting the lion’s share of attendance, so you may be able to do all your research with just a few quick weekend trips every year.
8. Make Time for Networking
When you meet someone outside a business context – when no sales or quotas are at issue – you can often get a fuller story out of them than when money is on the line. Even expert sales and marketing pros should make time to mix it up and make their names known to others.
9. Always Be Prospecting
You don’t have to be at a business mixer to find prospects and get useful information. You might be listening to a speaker, taking a community college class, or even going to a concert and find a prospect. Keep your eyes open and you’re sure to open doors in unexpected places.
10. Follow Up With Existing Customers
Your current customers can be an endless source of insight if you allow them to be. As a sales pro, you should continue taking interest in them even after you hand them off to a different team. Drop a note a month after the sale and every quarter or so thereafter to check in.
11. Take a Genuine Interest in Other People
Some things in Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” may sound dated by today’s standards, but his advice to take a genuine interest in others has never been more apt. If you sincerely enjoy interacting with others, you’ll seize opportunities and build rapport.
12. Build Your Own Prospecting Pools
Social media groups on Facebook and LinkedIn can be a terrific way to cultivate a following of pre-qualified prospects. When you share value with these people regularly, you strengthen your relationships. Plus, they are more likely to volunteer trigger event information on their own.
13. Spend Time With Colleagues
Competition is a part of sales, and not all teams share every bit of information they come across. By taking time to talk to others and ask them what they’ve heard lately, you may give them the chance to offer you a terrific lead they simply can’t follow up on at the moment.
14. Check the Website
A company’s “About” page is usually the most boring part of its website. Why? Because it’s all about them, not about the needs of their customers. That makes it perfect for your needs, however. Also check out recent blog posts, where awards and other kudos are sure to be shared.
15. Look for “Press Releases”
In theory, press releases are intended to attract media coverage. These days, they rarely make a big impact, but many companies still release them occasionally just in case. This is a great way to hone your online searches, since it reflects exactly what a company wants known.
16. Read Quarterly and Annual Reports
Fortune 500 companies and other major enterprises strive to release investor-facing reports with a big splash. While most of the information is highly technical, there’s usually an executive summary at the beginning that lays out near-term and strategic goals.
17. Listen in On Investor Calls
Investor calls are usually led by the CEO with input from other members of the C-suite. Though they often spin recent events in the most positive light, each call tends to include several big wins and emerging opportunities you can help prospects act on.
18. Look for Funding Changes
Sites like AngelList can help you keep your eye on the funding landscape for your prospects. In general, companies that are seeking funding want to make moves to improve their operations and valuation, while those who just received funding are flush with cash for new strategic purchases.
With these eighteen tips, it’ll be easier than ever to find the trigger event that could start a lucrative, long-lasting partnership. Keep your eyes open, be consistent, and always follow up!