Sales Play Series #2: How to spot B2B sales triggers

Savvy sales reps are out-playing their competition by adapting to the modern, digital marketplace.

Buyers have access to more information than ever before, allowing them to thoroughly research your market before they even get in touch. And they expect B2B sellers to do their research thoroughly too! Nearly a third of survey respondents said that “understanding my situation” was a key decision-making factor in their purchases – the most frequently cited factor.

Interestingly, humour, personal appearance, leadership and personality are the least cited qualities buyers look for in a seller. It really isn’t all about personality anymore, it’s about a trusted partnership.

Buyers want to be engaged on their specific needs, pains, concerns and desires. They want to feel listened to and understood, collaboratively reaching a buying decision. They want to engage with someone credible and knowledgeable who can clearly and succinctly communicate the value of their solution.

Yet, how do B2B sellers balance these reactive qualities while still proactively selling?

The answer is sales triggers: signals sellers put out into the world which indicate they are likely in a position to buy. Then it’s all about matching your solution to their needs.

If you’re wondering how to spot sales triggers in the first place, get our free Sales Playbook now.


3 Types of Sales Triggers

There are three major types of sales triggers to look out for:

  1. Internal changes
  2. External changes
  3. Customer changes

Within each camp, the triggers could be positive – a new deal or client, for example – or negative – legal issues or low staff retention.

This gives us six clusters of potential triggers to respond to. The key variable when responding is whether the change is positive or negative, while the type of change – internal, external or customers – comes more into play when researching and formulating your response.

Get the Sales Playbook for individual insight on 21 potential sales triggers.

Responding to Positive Sales Triggers

If the changes are positive, then you have a prime opportunity for engaging buyers. They will be recruiting like mad to fulfill a new contract, or scaling up their software licences to fulfill their ambitious growth plans, for example.

The key thing to remember is that they know and understand the change and its effects on their business. To fully engage a buyer in this position means digging deep into their business, finding out what is driving the change and what they need to be successful.

The great part is that if the change is positive, they’ll likely have more budget to burn. Once you’ve done some initial research on the organisation, it’s time to reach out.

Curiosity will go a long way here. If you can quickly demonstrate that you are aware of the change (it’s always nice to congratulate them), its reasons and effects, and then gently probe them as to their dreams and nightmares, you’ll be in the perfect position to pitch your solution.

Responding to Negative Sales Triggers

Losing clients, staff or money – negative changes also represent an opportunity for many B2B sellers. Organisations will be looking to reduce their costs and stem the bleeding. If your solution can help, then you have a perfect ‘in’.

Bear in mind that these types of prospect will be more price sensitive than others. It pays to do some in-depth research into the organisation and the potential reasons for their negative outlook.

Find a way to reduce their spend, optimise their supply chain, respond to a disruptive competitor or improve their staff retention, and you’ll not only make the sale – you’ll be their personal hero!

Engaging customers better with well-researched responses to their sales triggers will have a transformative effect on your sales team.

Research and prospecting tools will be fully utilised while a stronger focus on understanding the buyer will prevail, helping you sell quicker, more efficiently, and more effectively, with delighted customers to show for your effort.

For more practical guidance on identifying and using triggers download the sales playbook – designed for B2B sellers with a relationship sale.