handshake of metal for sales triggers post

How To Use & Personalize Sales Triggers to Start Meaningful Conversations

In sales, timing is everything. If you practice watching for the right signs, you can hit up a buyer at the perfect time and move your deal forward. These signs that modern reps are always monitoring for are sales triggers. They are key events that indicate a prospect is more likely to be in the buying mindset.

There are two things a sales trigger can signal:

  1. a change in company priorities.
  2. an increase in budget.


Here’s a helpful list of example sales triggers and tips on how to track them from Hubspot. Any of these triggers can be enough to reactivate a stalled deal for a proactive rep. But there’s one small problem…every sales organization you compete with is trying to do the same thing. They have access to Google Alerts, and use tools like Mattermark and DataFox to discover sales triggers. When you get a fresh trigger from a target account, chances are your competitors did too. So, how do you use sales triggers the right way and connect with your buyer? By combining your messaging with a personalized, psychological trigger.

Here’s how to use B2B sales triggers the right way:

Once you’ve started monitoring sales triggers with Google Alerts, you’ll need to combine them with an effective message to get a conversation going with your prospect. A simple email to say “Hey, I noticed XYZ ” isn’t going to win you any favors. To stand out in a sea of congratulatory emails and half-hearted follow-ups, you must personalize your outreach so it connects with your buyer.

There’s a proven science to building relationships. All human beings come pre-loaded with the same buttons that evoke a reaction. These are known as Psychological Triggers, or as Dr. Robert Cialdini’s refers to them in his book, Influence, they are “weapons of influence.”

Here are six psychological triggers we use on a daily basis to better connect with buyers:

  • Reciprocity
  • Scarcity
  • Consistency and Commitment
  • Authority
  • Liking
  • Social Proof

By combining a classical sales trigger (an event), with a psychological trigger (a human connection), your well-timed email can stand out from the crowd and start an actual sales conversation. Here are six examples of how combining the two types triggers can work:

Sales Trigger: Management Shakeup

A shakeup in management, like a new VP joining the ranks, indicates that there’s a new decision maker in town. That new decision maker likely has purchasing power, maybe headcount and even a bigger budget. They might be recruiting a new team, swapping out faulty systems, or even rebuilding their team’s technology stack from scratch. New executive hires always have a lot on their plate. They’ll be looking for ways to make a quick, measurable impact and rack up wins out the gate. If the previous VP in their position wasn’t ready to talk, you may be able to make headway with the new exec. A proactive sales person can bring his or her sell to the top of the new VP’s to-do list.

How to make it count: reciprocity

Once you’ve spotted a new hire, reach out, but don’t just say hello – provide something of tangible value. Cialdini refers to this trigger as reciprocity. Humans are much more likely to give when they’ve already received. Instead of wondering what their annual budget is right off the bat, first determine how/if you can help them reach their goals without asking for anything in return. Run through their social media feed and try and find an interest that they’ve posted about. Give them a hot tip about something they would love to do near their new office.

Sales Trigger: Opening a New Office

When a target account announces they are opening a new office, it’s a sign that there is a ton of work ahead and a lot of growth is already happening behind the scenes. Opening up a new office may be exciting – but it is not all puppy dogs and rainbows. It’s a lot of planning, logistics, recruitment, long hours and hard work. With so much effort going into a new office, there’s also an opportunity for new vendors to get their foot in the door. Any new office could need any of the following: Applicant tracking software, outside recruiting services, IT equipment, payroll processing, catering services, — the opportunities are endless.

How to make it count: consistency and commitment.

Instead of making a big ask off the bat, try and get the prospect in the habit of saying yes to you by making smaller asks. Moving into a new area brings a lot of uncertainty and risk. If you can get them to agree to little things, eventually you can get them to agree to bigger asks. If a company expands into a secondary market, you can appeal to their interests with a message that shows your commitment to helping them win by being polite and persistent:

email showing commitment and consistency

Sales Trigger: Big Marketing Push

Is a target account making a big marketing push with a new campaign? Are you seeing their brand everywhere? If so, it’s a good sign that they are trying new things and looking to grow. If you can tie in the benefits of your product to their marketing, you may be able to hit a homerun. New marketing strategies are meant to jumpstart growth, which affects all departments in a company. Our reps use a mix of the free version of HootsuiteIFTTT and manual social listening to monitor for new campaigns from target accounts. This post from ProCommunicator has steps for setting up popular free social monitoring solutions.

How to make it count: social proof. 

When you’re ready to reach out, using social proof can superpower your pitch. By demonstrating how your product/service helped others manage their growth you may be able to appeal to the prospect. One of the best uses of social proof came from a rep that we’ve been talking with after we moved into our new office. It gave direct quotes that proved their product is being used by some best-in-class organizations – and that those organizations seriously value their offering. Here’s a redacted version that was sent to one of our executives:

Sales Trigger: New Product Launch

A new product launch is exciting. It’s a big risk for a company and it can signal that a prospect is shooting for higher revenue per account and more upsells/cross sells across their user base. It’s also an easy, genuine conversation starter if you’re interested in their new offerings and how it will affect your business relationship. 

We recommend signing up for your prospect’s email newsletter, and if they have a free version of their product, sign up for that as well so you can get on their customer emails.

How to make it count: liking

Liking is a powerful psychological trigger that can be useful here. People are more likely to buy from people that they like and identify with. If you form a connection through empathy or sharing similar interests, a prospect may feel an emotional nudge towards you and your product if you can point out some commonalities between your two businesses. How was it for you the last time your business launched something new? Do you have anything valuable you can share that proves you are 1) knowledgeable and 2) coming from a similar place. 

Sales Trigger: Re-engagement with Sales Resources

If you’re sending proposals, quotes or contracts using DocSend, you’ll get notifications when a prospect re-opens an old attachment (It’s also free, so sign up now and give it a whirl!). If a stakeholder is diving into your documents, your deal is still being seriously considered by the account. This can particularly be valuable for leads that may have dropped off – they are now reengaged, and it’s time to strike while the iron is hot. DocSend alerts are an extremely powerful signal. 

a new alert in DocSend

How to make it count: scarcity

Once you’ve received a DocSend alert, you can combine the psychological trigger of scarcity with your check-in email to make it effective. Scarcity uses the fear of missing out to persuade buyers to make a decision. It’s unethical to create fake penalties or tell prospects you’re going to raise prices when that isn’t the case. However, if actual changes are on the way to your pricing – offering to get them in at a lower price before it’s too late can be enough to move the deal forward.

Sales Trigger: Funding Announcements

This is the most obvious sales trigger out there. It screams “we have money!” While your account probably isn’t actively looking for new ways to burn that cash, you definitely want to make sure you’re on the top of their list! Crunchbase is a a great source for funding news — and the DataFox platform is a great paid solution.

How to make it count: authority

Using authority can help you stand out from the flurry of congratulatory emails they are sure to receive. You know what happens when a funding round comes in, and the challenges they are about to face. Most fundraising outreach emails are terrible:

It’s not hard to do better. By demonstrating that you are knowledgeable about helping companies achieve their goals, especially after a new round of funding, you can win over prospects. Remember, the email above is what you are competing against. By just putting in a little bit of effort, that shows you know what you are talking about, have done this before, and have researched your prospect. Now you can start a conversation. You don’t need to make yourself seem like the greatest thing since sliced bread. Just show them that you know what you are doing and come from a place of experience with your outreach.

Don’t just follow our advice! There are A LOT of ways to get creative with sales triggers so they are extra relevant for your buyer. What are some of your favorite ways to go the extra mile when breaking the ice with a prospect? 

image by Quinn Dombrowski – image has been resized and cropped