Categories Articles, Sales and Marketing

If you’re not using trigger events for prospecting calls, your entire team is missing out on a valuable sales technique. So what is a trigger event? It’s anything that signals a buying opportunity. A trigger could be a prospect changing their job title on LinkedIn, a company receiving a new round of funding, or even a news article highlighting a company you’ve identified as an ideal prospect.

There are many sales tools that can help you to track what’s going on with your prospects – from alerting you when they open an email to sending you a Google Alert when there’s recent news about their company. But that trigger event information is useless unless you use it to advance your sale. Here’s how to start using trigger events effectively on your prospecting calls.

The Not-So-Cold Call

Instead of just going through a list of names and making cold calls, trigger events can help you better qualify and improve your prospecting list. Even if you have fantastic marketing qualified leads that have been warmed up by some smart content, some people may not be incredibly receptive to a cold call. That’s where trigger events can be a huge help and vastly improve the quality of conversations you have with prospects.

Without a trigger, you might open a conversation with a prospect by saying, “Let me tell you a little about my company and product.” With a trigger, you can call and say, “I saw on LinkedIn that you were recently promoted. Congratulations! How can I help you in your new role?” You can see how one conversation ends quickly, whereas the other feels more personal and useful to the prospect. Triggers can help create a feeling of a personal connection, humanizing you and making a prospect more likely to continue the conversation.

Learn More about Building a Sales Prospecting Team»

Tools for Tracking Trigger Events

Trigger events sound great, but you also don’t want to have reps spending hours each day researching news on prospects before every call. Luckily, you can let technology do the work for you. There are many different ways to set up tracking for specific trigger events that signal a buying opportunity, including:

  • Social Listening – Tools like Hootsuite, TweetDeck and Social Mention can give you a heads up when prospects are discussing your company on various social media sites like LinkedIn or Twitter.
  • News AlertsGoogle Alerts, Newsle and Gagein will all send you email notifications about recent news focused on a company or individual you’re keeping an eye on.
  • Email TrackingYesware, Hubspot Signals and other tools can let you know when a prospect has opened your email.

For example, if you get a Google Alert that a prospect’s company is hiring a large number of new employees, you can call and make a specific pitch about how your product could help the company get more productivity out of all those new employees. This highly-tailored and company-specific pitch is more likely to get a prospect’s attention than a general pitch ever would.

Act Fast

It’s not just enough to track trigger events; you also have to act on them quickly, If you’re notified of a trigger event through Hootsuite, you have to make the call right away. Don’t wait until tomorrow – the sooner you call the more likely you are to have a productive conversation with that prospect.

In order to make sure this happens, you should integrate trigger events into your sales process and sale call workflow. Make sure every rep has trigger events set up correctly, is trained on how to use the tools, and understands the angle they should use when calling prospects after a trigger. One way to do this is to work with your team to come up with a standard sales scripts for some of the most common trigger events. If you’re often getting triggers related to startup customers that receive new rounds of funding, write a script regarding this trigger that all your reps can use.


Though it takes some up-front work to implement, using triggers events can be an incredibly effective sales technique. Once your team starts to use Google Alerts and Social Monitoring to track trigger events and tailor their sales pitch to the situation, you’ll start to see stronger prospecting results.


Recommended Posts
Showing 3 comments
  • Craig Elias

    Cara, Thanks for helping spread the word about the power of Trigger Events to initiate a sales conversation.

    I’d like to add a little more info on why Trigger Events are so powerful in generating high value leads as well as conversation starters with decision makers.

    To understand the power of Trigger Events it’s critical to first understand that prospects (potential customers) are always in one of three different Buying Modes:

    • Status Quo is when prospects are happy with what they have and see no reason to change. Here the odds of making a sale in the next little while is pretty much zero.

    • Searching for Alternatives is when prospects are unhappy with what they have and are actively searching for alternative solutions. This is the point at which a prospect typically reaches out to potential suppliers. Research by the Aberdeen Group says the odds of making a sale are now about 16% – or one out of every six or seven.

    In between these two, however, lies the buying mode with the greatest opportunity.

    • Window of Dissatisfaction™ is the lesser known of the three buying modes and exists when prospects know what they have is no longer sufficient but they have not found time to start searching for alternatives…YET!

    Be the first vendor to reach prospects while they are in the Window of Dissatisfaction™ and you get to help them define the problem, design the solution and you start developing a relationship before the competition even knows there is an opportunity!

    Research by Forrester and InnerSell shows that when you do this your odds of winning the sale are, on average, 74%.

    In other words you are 5 times more likely to win the sale just because you were the first vendor to proactively reach a prospect while they were in the Window of Dissatisfaction™.

    To fully harness the power of Trigger Events you need to understanding and leverage the Trigger Events that shift prospects from one buying mode to the next.

    1) The first Trigger Event is one that makes someone want to do something different. This first Trigger Event pushes prospects out of the Status Quo and shifts them into the Window of Dissatisfaction™.

    2) The next Trigger Event is typically one that has people understand that they can afford to do something about the problem and they move into the buying mode of Searching for Alternatives.

    3) Often prospects don’t buy even after the second Trigger Event, they need a third one – the Trigger Event that helps them justify their decision to others.

    All three Trigger Events are excellent opportunities to move a sale forward but the most important Trigger Event is the first one because it allows you to start the problem definition and relationship building process when you have no competition.

    If you want to learn the best Trigger Events for what you sell you can download, at no-charge, the Won Sales Analysis™ template and instructions at

    I hope this adds value to the conversation and helps readers better understand and leverage the Trigger Events that happen every single day to target customers.

  • Cara Hogan

    Thanks so much for contributing your thoughts Craig! I love the idea of catching prospects during that “Window of Dissatisfaction.”

pingbacks / trackbacks
  • […] mean that they can’t include some personality in the message. For example, if a rep is using trigger events to prospect, they should absolutely open an email with information they gleaned from a prospect’s […]

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search