The What, Why and How of Trigger Events in Outbound Sales

In sales, being lucky is in your hands. Your expertise, your networks, and your contacts will boost your luck-o-meter, but when the stars are not aligned—and usually they aren't, tapping into modern technologies and data will undoubtedly increase your chances of closing a deal.

A study by CSO Insights shows that almost half of salespeople feel they don't have enough information before reaching out to a prospect. Acknowledging this, it comes as no surprise, that according to Forrester, only 22% of salespeople are very effective at personalizing content for every buyer interaction. What makes this equation even more problematic is that modern buyers expect an even more relevant, personalized approach than they did a few years ago. Buyers are more knowledgeable when they have their first interaction with you, and they expect you to meet them where they are in the buying journey.

To learn how not to fall into these statistics, continue reading further about the what, why and how of tracking and acting upon trigger events.

What is a trigger event?

A trigger event is any occurrence in a company that creates an opening for a sales or marketing opportunity. It indicates the right time and context to contact a prospect. There can be outbound and inbound trigger events. These occurrences triggering actions can be anything that helps you determine which companies are likely to need your offering and when to reach out. Outbound trigger events are usually company changes such as the release of a new product, the hiring of a new key position, or the expansion to a new market. Inbound triggers are mostly set up and tracked with marketing automation.

A trigger event is any occurrence in a company that creates an opening for a sales or marketing opportunity.

Why use trigger events?

It’s dead simple. When you reach out to a prospect based on a trigger event, you have all the information you need to deliver a tailored offer, and you can be confident the time is ripe. In other words, you’ll be reaching out to companies that are likely to be looking for your product.

Imagine this dream scenario: a contact receives your call and tells you how great your timing is and is happy to meet you in person to discuss more how you can help them. Sounds unrealistic? Perhaps, but this can happen, and it will happen if you set rules to luck with the help of modern technology and data.

Trigger events are a fundamental part of real-time sales because company changes are what turn data into action, alerting you of when a prospect is ready to buy. Company information makes you relevant and allows you to tailor your approach. Trigger events tell you when to act.

Find best-fit prospects

Trigger events provide you with a constant flow of new prospects and help you determine which ones you should prioritize. It will, however, happen only after setting the stage for sales prospecting by defining your ideal customer profile (ICP), including the changes revealing new sales opportunities. Include relevant trigger events in your ICP by using data-driven insights to find common themes amongst your best customers. Continue reading, and we'll elaborate this further. Additionally, tracking company changes help you:

  • Find the best prospects and prioritize the right companies. You may have hundreds of companies in your CRM, but trigger events help you sort out the ones you should prioritize right now.
  • Find the right timing. Anticipating the buyer's needs and reaching out before they begin researching will increase the likelihood of you landing the sale first.
  • Carry out smarter conversations. You can tailor your pitch based on the prospect's current situation. You'll always have an apparent reason to be in contact, so there's no doubt whether you should reach out right now. How? We'll come in to that very soon.

Choosing the right trigger events

So, which trigger events should you be following? There’s not a single, unique answer. The trigger events you choose depend on your sales organization, your offering, and your ICP.

Start by looking closer at your existing customers: what changes occurred in these organizations before they became your customers? Find a correlation between a happy customer and a specific event, and you can find a heap of actionable leads in the future. Remember to validate your gut feeling with data-driven insights.

Trigger events come in all shapes and forms. Events triggering action at your end can be, for example, related to changes in the company's management, new hires, expanding the business, mergers or acquisitions, the launch of a new product, company relocations, layoffs, or closed funding rounds. Furthermore, changes in the company's tech stack, newly registered web domains, new financial statements, or changes in hiring volume can open up a possibility for new discussions. Once you’ve selected which company changes you want to be aware of and act upon, you can create a game plan in advance. What will you do when a company goes through a specific change?

Find a correlation between a happy customer and a specific event, and you can find a heap of actionable leads in the future.

How to examine your existing customers

Import a company list into a sales intelligence software like Vainu. What changes occurred in the majority of the companies right before they signed a deal with you, if any?

View Signals

For some companies, a prospect's tech stack can tell you about needs that are seemingly unrelated to technology. For example at Vainu, we systematically target companies that use modern marketing automation solutions as we've recognized that companies using marketing automation platforms are usually trying to improve their key performance indicators both in the marketing and sales departments. Furthermore, these companies tend to be eager to deploy new technologies. If you're selling services related to logistics, a relevant trigger event for you would probably be a new large contract, for example.

Build a workflow for every trigger event

For each trigger, you should have a game plan in place. This way, you ensure you can act upon the trigger events as soon as possible, without a doubt and hassle. Do this, preferably within 24 hours, and mitigate the risk of losing the sale to your competitor. Document the triggers that are most relevant to your sales process (i.e., are included in your ICP) along with the sales pitches, and you or your sales reps will know why and how to reach out. To finish the workflow, have the content pieces ready and tailored to a prospect in this specific situation.

Luckily nowadays, you don't have to spend hours and hours plowing through masses of data on various web sites, social media, and newspapers to be up-to-date on the latest changes among your customers and prospects. You have sales intelligence tools like Vainu designed explicitly for tracking these changes for you. The best thing is, you can get the triggers delivered automatically in your CRM. Be sure to act quickly whenever a trigger event occurs!

Here's an example workflow related to one of the most common trigger events you can follow in Vainu.

Tigger event example: Change in top management

Someone in a key leadership position, e.g., a sales director, has either left the company or a new director is appointed.

Change in Top Management

Reason to reach out

A person appointed to a leadership position typically wants to leave his/her mark on the organization as quickly as possible. It often means hiring new team members, evaluating existing processes, and investing in new ventures, or even carrying out more thorough restructuring or revamping the strategy to achieve the desired impact.

Sales pitch

Congratulate the person on the new role, and highlight how your services help decision-makers in their first 90 days.

Share content

Share relevant content to be helpful. For example, here's a template we've done based on the discussions we've had with thousands of sales directors to help organizations create their very own sales playbook.

Sky's the limit

As long as you have the right data feeding into your sales process, you can create as many trigger-based workflows as you can imagine. Our new Trigger Events template explains in detail how any sales organization can create workflows for the most relevant trigger events, thus taking steps towards establishing a real-time sales mindset.

Trigger Events for Outbound Sales

Set your rules for luck and use trigger events to land at the right place at the right time.

Want to know more about how Vainu helps you keep track of company changes? Drop your email here!

Topics: Real-Time Sales

Ella Tyrväinen

Customer Marketing at Vainu, aiming to drive customer retention and advocacy. I love furry animals and memes! Could someone teach me to shuffle?