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7 Sales Triggers Guaranteed to Uncover New Sales Opportunities

Sales Triggers
Sales Development

In this article, I’m showing you how to uncover seven hidden sales triggers. They are perfect for nudging prospects over the line and discovering sales opportunities you never knew existed.

When HubSpot surveyed over 6,200 sellers and marketers, they found that establishing urgency was the single biggest challenge facing salespeople.

After all, it’s one thing to convince prospects that you’re selling a great product; it’s another thing to get them to pull the trigger and choose your product over dozens of competing purchases.

But establishing urgency doesn’t need to be difficult. With the right tools, it’s possible to search through huge amounts of publicly available data to find hidden sales triggers.

Sales triggers are nothing but events that demonstrate an immediate, urgent demand to buy, buy, buy.

From funding announcements to in-app analytics, your next hot sales prospect is closer than you might think—you just need to know where to look.

7 Sales Triggers to Keep an Eye out For

  1. Management shake-up
  2. Company expansion
  3. Regulatory updates
  4. New tool adoption
  5. Website behavior
  6. In-app behavior
  7. Sales collateral engagement

1) Management Shake-up

Newly appointed executives need to make a big impact in the first few months of their tenure. That typically means setting up big, radical initiatives; restructuring teams; and spending their new-found budget on high-impact products. Like yours.

Better still, management shake-ups can breathe new life into long-abandoned prospects. Thus allowing you to restart the conversation with a new executive team.

How to uncover management shake-ups:

  • Use a tool like VisualPing (shown in the example below) or Crayon to monitor for changes on a prospect’s company page. Set up Google Alerts to monitor for new hire-announcement posts.
  • Use LinkedIn to follow evangelical customers and roadblocking executives. Monitor for changing job titles. Contact evangelists at their new companies, and reach out to roadblocked prospects once problematic execs have left. Too much effort? Track job changes automatically with a data-enrichment service, or a CRM that auto-updates contact details, such as ProsperWorks.
  • Sign up for job boards like AngelList and Monster, and set alerts for executive positions at key-account companies.

Sales triggers: Management change

2. Company Expansion

Virtually every company in existence strives for growth and scale. They raise huge fundraising rounds, hire dozens of new employees, and open in new locations.

Each of these events speaks to a single fact: The company has a ton of money, and they’re looking to spend it to help hit their growth targets.

Drilling down, there are dozens of specific triggers that could represent the perfect “in” for your product. The company might be establishing new departments, perhaps going from a single-person marketing team to a fully staffed department of 10. This may mean they now require a suite of new tools to manage their workflow.

After closing investment, your prospect might need new products to track growth KPIs and manage their growing user base—problems that your product could happily solve.

How to uncover company expansion:

  • Build a list of accounts with Crunchbase, and set up automated alerts for new fundraising and expansion events.
  • Use VisualPing to monitor a prospect’s website for a sudden increase in job vacancies, or subscribe to job alerts through the company’s hiring platform.
  • Use an RSS reader, such as Feedly, to aggregate your prospects’ latest articles into a single feed. Monitor for fundraising and growth announcements.

3. Regulatory Updates

How many extra sales do you think GDPR-compliant products saw in the months leading up to May 25 this year? The phrase “selling shovels in a gold rush” springs to mind, and with good reason.

Every year, new and updated regulations force the hand of thousands of companies, forcing them to choose between rapidly complying or facing a harsh penalty.

Though events on the GDPR’s scale are rare, governments and governing bodies issue hundreds of updated rules and guidelines each year. Identifying these ahead of time can create perfect sales opportunities for companies that can help solve the pain.

This doesn’t apply just to products that directly deal with regulation. I saw an example of a content-gating product that preempted the GDPR, bringing their own service in line with regulation months before the deadline.

As the GDPR drew closer, their sales team could reach out to old and new prospects alike, offering to make their lead generation completely GDPR compliant. They just needed to sign on the dotted line.

How to uncover regulatory updates:

  • Monitor industry publications for early warning signs of regulatory changes. Look particularly in highly changeable areas like consumer privacy and anti-spam laws.
  • Create Google alerts to search blog posts, news articles, and publications for new mentions of regularly updated legislation, like GDPR and CAN-SPAM.

Sales triggers: Regulatory updates

4. New Tool Adoption

If a prospect suddenly starts shelling out for a surfeit of new products, there’s a great chance they’re cash-rich and looking to make changes to their existing toolstack. Both of these are perfect opportunities to reach out and strike up a conversation.

Better still, if your product offers native integrations with one of your prospect’s newly purchased tools, you have a powerful conversation starter.

“You’ve just started using Salesforce, and we have an industry-leading integration”

The same applies even to competitive products. If you have a clear edge, you can reach out with a pain-free transition plan to get your prospect onto the superior service.

How to uncover new tool adoption:

  • Import an account list into BuiltWith, and identify companies that use competing or complementary products. Create alerts to monitor changes in their sales stack, for example.
  • Monitor status pages and review sites for common complaints with your competitors’ products. Reach out to prospects when they’ve lodged a complaint or experienced service outages.

Sales triggers: New tool

5. Website Behavior

The sales triggers above can be thought of as “macro triggers”. They represent big, company-wide events that reflect an increase in product demand. While these triggers alone can be enough to create urgency and drive a sale, they work even better when paired with “micro triggers”—events that reflect product demand at the individual level.

Case in point: website behavior.

If an existing prospect has just been promoted to CMO, the best time to rekindle a sales conversation is immediately after they’ve visited your website. Especially if they’ve just viewed your pricing page or downloaded a product case study.

These events can either be tallied together to create a lead score or used as a concrete trigger for sales conversations.

How to uncover website behavior:

  • Use a tool like HubSpot to trigger automatic alerts when prospects visit pages with high sales intent, like pricing, case-study, and competitor-comparison pages.

6. In-app Behavior

If you count yourself among the growing number of companies that offer a free trial as part of their sales process, congratulations! You have an extra source of sales triggers at your disposal. By tracking a prospect’s in-app behavior, you can reach out with a sales proposal perfectly tailored to how they actually use your product.

You can pitch the pricing tier that’s the best fit for their usage and recommend add-ons that they’ll find useful. For example, extra storage for users who come close to running out.

The same principles can be applied to existing customers, allowing you to identify pitch-perfect up-sell ideas:

Last month, you ran out of storage space. Did you know you could double your storage allowance for only $X extra per month?”

How to uncover in-app behavior:

  • Use a tool like Amplitude to set-up event-based tracking for app users. Monitor which features they use most heavily, and take action when they come close to the limits of their plan or free trial.

7. Sales Collateral Engagement

Historically, it was difficult to track how prospects engaged with sales collateral—all of the case studies, presentations, and requirement docs you shared. With only an email click rate to work from, it was impossible to tell the difference between prospects that read your entire white paper and those who ditched it at page one.

But today, document management platforms unlock a wealth of sales triggers. It’s now possible to see which prospects read through your sales deck, and which didn’t. You can even identify the pages that gave your prospects pause for thought.

If your prospect lingered on the integrations page of your latest case study, there’s a great chance that a timely follow-up.

How to uncover sales collateral engagement:

  • Use DocSend to trigger automatic alerts when prospects finish reading your latest document. Use the app’s page-by-page breakdown to see which topics they were most engaged with.
  • Reactivate cold prospects by monitoring re-engagement with sales collateral sent weeks or months ago.

Sales triggers: collateral engagement

Key Takeaways

Establishing urgency is the biggest barrier to successful selling. Sales triggers provide the key to nudging prospects over the line.

Most sales triggers are hidden away in your data, but there are dozens of tools available to uncover lucrative sales opportunities:

  • DocSend for sales collateral
  • Clearbit and ProsperWorks for job title changes
  • VisualPing, Crayon, and Google Alerts for monitoring investment and hiring
  • BuiltWith for identifying the technology your prospects use
  • HubSpot for monitoring website behavior
  • Amplitude for monitoring in-app behavior

The best sales outreach combines multiple sales triggers.


Also published on Medium.

Matt Sornson

Matt is the Head of Growth Marketing at Clearbit — a tool to source and operationalize data as part of sales, marketing, and product workflows. Prior to Clearbit, he was Co-Founder and CEO at WorkMob.