How to spot opportunities and risks faster: top 10 sales triggers

How to spot opportunities and risks faster – top sales triggers

A recent HubSpot survey of over 6,200 sellers and marketers found that establishing urgency was the single biggest challenge facing salespeople. It’s true, timing in sales is everything – contacting the right prospects at the right time is always the number one goal.

So how do you spot opportunities (or threats) that could impact your sales pipeline?

The answer is sales trigger events.

What is a sales trigger event?

HubSpot’s definition of a sales trigger event is an occurrence that creates an opening for a marketing or a sales opportunity. A sales trigger is, therefore, something that specifically creates an opportunity for sales to engage.

When urgency is vital, sales triggers can highlight an immediate need or buying signal, welcoming your sales engagement with open arms – perfect!!

So how do you spot them?

Uncovering sales triggers

To spot sales triggers, sellers need to watch for the right signs, i.e. those that indicate the perfect time to reach out to a buyer. Sales triggers can be found in a variety of places:

  • News – by definition, news is information about recent events, and business news is insight into your customers and prospects.
  • Blogs – an excellent way to understand the culture and direction of a prospect organisation.
  • Social Media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Glassdoor etc. Recruitment drives, and views of customers, peers and employees can often be found within social media before they make mainstream news. Likewise monitoring hashtags can help identify people and companies that are associated with a topic, trend or concept in the markets you serve.
  • Corporate Information – data from reputable sources such as Companies House and Experian can help uncover key financials and corporate information, indicating a macro level picture of growth or other interesting insights.

The problem with watching for sales triggers is the sheer number of sources and volume of data points available. In the past few years as more and more information, opinion and hard-data has been generated and held in a vast myriad of places – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, news-feeds and websites, it’s possible to find out just about anything about anyone.

However, it’s often difficult to avoid drowning under a sea of data, making it difficult just to keep your head above the water, let alone being able to predict future needs.

To put this into context, according to IBM, every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. To track and analyse such a vast amount of data requires far more compute power than any human brain is capable of. Not great when urgency is so important.

With the right tools, it’s possible to search through huge amounts of publicly available data, both structured and unstructured to uncover sales trigger events.

So what are the top sales triggers you should be looking out for?

Top 10 best sales trigger events:

Organisational expansion and growth

Whether it be new geography, expansion into a secondary market, a new product or service announcement, a recruitment drive or mergers and acquisitions, there is always something new going on within any customer or prospect organisation, after all expansion and growth is always high on the board room agenda.

If they are expanding geographically or opening a new office then they will have a budget for a whole raft or services and products offering primary introductory and upsell opportunities to quick off the mark sellers.

If they are launching a new product/service or entering a new market the company is venturing into uncharted territory, and this calls for different types of support and potentially new vendors.

If they are on a recruitment drive they likely require a suite of new tools to manage their workflow, improve collaboration and generate efficiencies and productivity gains. All great opportunities for the savvy seller to offer innovative solutions.

When it comes to M&A the coming together of two organisations is a golden opportunity to get a foot in the door during a time of new beginnings.

Do this now: Head to your Artesian news feed and flick through some of your companies in your watchlists. Look out for the colour coded Triggers.

Leadership change

A shakeup in management, like a new Director joining the ranks, indicates that there’s a new decision maker in town, one that in all likelihood has purchasing power, and will be looking for ways to make a quick a measurable impact on the business.

They may be looking at ways to improve productivity, they might be scoping out new technologies, they might be looking for ways to save money, or even opportunities to enter a new market. Whatever their individual motivations they could be in a position to talk.

Spotting leadership change sales triggers as early as possible gives a seller the chance to get in first, make headway with a new exec and get their product or service on the management radar.

Do this now: Get creative. When you learn of a new senior director, send them something that gets you noticed – just try to keep it relevant to your company or offering.

Market change

What is going on around your customers and prospects – with their customers/end-users, changes within their market or amongst their competition? Markets evolve, and new markets emerge at eye-watering pace. No matter what industry your buyers are in, there will always be market forces that they must contend with.

This could be a new entrant to market, a significant new product launch by a competitor, or a shift in customer dynamic affecting supply and demand. Don’t just look directly at your customer or prospect but track sales trigger events up and down their supply chain, monitor what’s happening within their customer base to identify potential needs the customer or prospect must fill, and use the insight gathered to help them deliver a solution before their competitors jump in.

If a competitor has launched a rival product or beat your prospect to the punch with a new service they will be almost certainly be looking to make a bold response, again offering an opportunity for sellers to help.

Likewise a major industry or market shift will necessitate customers and prospects to capitalise on a new opportunity or avoid a potential emerging risk, again spotting these sales trigger events can help sellers to reach out quickly.

Do this now: Create a watchlist based on your prospect’s customers. Visit your prospect’s website and look out for testimonials, customer logos and case studies, and keep an eye on what’s happening with those companies. Find something interesting? Let your prospect know about it.

Add new watchlist

Legislation or regulatory changes

No matter what industry you sell to, it’s worthwhile to keep a close eye on laws and regulations in case you can be of some aid in your buyers’ time of need. Every year, new and updated regulations force the hand of thousands of companies, requiring them to choose between complying within tight timescales, or facing eye-watering financial and reputational penalties.

Take GDPR for example, so many sellers went out there once the regulations were formerly announced, selling their wares to help companies get their ducks in a row as the deadline ticked ever closer.

But imagine just how powerful it would have been to have been the business that pre-empted the GDPR, and brought out a new service in line with regulation months before the deadline. Governments and governing bodies issue hundreds of updated rules and guidelines each year, by uncovering these sales triggers ahead of time sellers can generate perfect opportunities to mitigate potential pain within their customer and prospect base.

Do this now: It’s worth spending a little extra time to build an understanding of the customer/prospect’s regulatory landscape, access, news from trade publications and interpretations produced by analysts and consultancies. Build and understanding and put together a plan that aligns your business with theirs in ways that help reduce the regulatory burden.


Has your customer or prospect had a good quarter or a bad one? Are they having financial difficulties or an increase in expenses, or have they generated a new line of credit or received additional funding?

Financial matters (good or bad) can be a very good motivator to buy, whether that be a product or service that can help reverse a downward trend, new initiatives that help accelerate growth, a product that helps save money or improve efficiency, or investment in new cutting edge technology when they have money to burn.

Identifying financial sales trigger events can open a multitude of opportunities to explain how your company is an asset to turn things around or help accelerate growth even further.

Do this now: Scrutinise financial timelines, growth indicators, P&L, details of mortgages and shareholdings, and read through annual accounts to spot interesting trends in the health of the business.


Your customer or prospect could be undergoing a complete change of focus and direction. If they are venturing into a new area this would almost certainly suggest that they will need to promote, upsell or cross-sell to current or new audiences, and this requires different types of support, new thinking or innovative solutions.

Spotting strategic initiatives can be hard, they are often closely guarded secrets. If you can pre-empt such moves by uncovering well-hidden sales triggers such as changes in buyer behaviour, you have the opportunity to align your service to their evolving needs, publish insightful content that could positively impact their evolution and therefore establish yours as a business most likely to be able to meet their needs.

You may also be able to predict issues that could hamper their development and impress with your seemingly psychic ability to uncover obstacles before they themselves even know they lie ahead.

Do this now: Think outside the box, harness predictive analytics to model the customer journey, make predictions about pain, opportunities and challenges they face as their business evolves. Use the insight gathered to build sophisticated sales strategies, marketing campaigns, and product/service development roadmaps that add value and establish yours as a partner that will walk into new territory with them.

Technology adoption

If a customer or prospect suddenly starts shelling out for expensive new technology or initiates migration to a new superior platform, there’s a great chance they’re cash-rich and looking to make changes to the way their business operates.

On the other hand they could be looking for a new technology solution following a significant issue with a current vendor. Both scenarios offer the perfect opportunity to reach out and engage.

Imagine if you are a sales person working for a cloud vendor monitoring stories about poor datacentre security or application “outages/downtime” would definitely suggest a prospect could be receptive to a timely call.

Taking an example from our own business, if one of our sellers spots that a company has recently published a press release announcing the purchase of Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics for their commercial teams, reaching out to let them know that we have a sales intelligence integration that can help boost the performance of their chosen CRM solution is a powerful way to start a conversation.

Do this now: Drill down deeper into your Artesian news feed and create filters based on tech related stories.


Awards and recognition, upcoming industry events, anniversaries and milestones are less obvious sales triggers, but all offer valuable opportunities to reach out.

Whether it be a simple congratulatory email or a visit to their stand at a conference, spotting these sales triggers offers the chance to strike up a conversation. Sellers can also go a step further.

A new award, accolade or industry ranking won by a company means it is moving in the right direction, offering sellers the opportunity to not just congratulate but provide ideas as to how they can continue to drive improvement, maintain their position, and stay ahead of the competition.

Do this now: Even better than congratulating a company on a past award win, look out for nominations in upcoming awards – bag yourself a ticket to the award ceremony then drop a note to your prospect/customer telling them you’ll be there rooting for them. Buy them a drink if they win!


The views of customers, peers and employees can often offer up interesting insights about the challenges a customer or prospect is facing, pain points that are keeping them awake at night, or opportunities to improve. Uncovering perception sales triggers offers sellers an opportunity to intervene. Whether that be a new customer success initiative, a solution for improving employee efficiency, a new marketing strategy, or a new product.

Analyst rankings and influencer opinions also matter greatly to every organisation. If a customer or prospect has recently received a high ranking they might be interested in solutions that help maintain their position, or alternatively if ranked low they might be interested in products/services that will help their business improve its position.

Uncovering and utilising perception sales triggers demonstrates that sellers are learning and understanding customers and prospects from every conceivable angle, from the challenges felt by workers, the frustrations felt by end customers or the views and opinions of influencers, and every one of them is an opportunity for a seller to intervene.

Do this now: Don’t just harness structured but get to grips with unstructured data. Uncover sentiments, buyer personas and buying behaviours, customer views and influencer opinion. Look at the customer from every angle, and look at the world through their lens. Where are they now, where do they want to be, and how can you help them get there?


Spotting an emerging risk that needs action in order to mitigate damage is a highly valuable sales trigger event.

Say a seller becomes aware of the need for a customer or prospect to change the way they do things due to potential legal issues, risk-avoidance, or negative economic impact reasons, swooping in to offer help amidst a disaster can turn that seller into a hero.

Risk sales trigger events offer an opportunity to put forward products or services that can help keep customer and prospects out of trouble in the future.

Do this now: Look out for these juicy sales triggers in your daily email alerts. If you spot one, think about what struggles your customer/prospect may be facing and put yourself in their shoes. What can you do to help?

Uncovering sales trigger events is an opportunity not to be missed

When you reach out to a prospect based on a sales trigger event, it increases conversion rate by a whopping 400% according to b2bleadblog.

Whilst according to Craig Elias, the self-proclaimed creator of trigger event selling, as much as 75% of prospects respond to a well-timed email or call, meaning that if you’re not using trigger events you’re wasting a huge amount of effort on people who will likely never respond.

Now that you understand the importance to sales trigger events, know what they are, and know how to use them to generate leads and sales, it is time to get cracking.

Ranked amongst the leading sales intelligence vendors in the world Artesian Solutions provides the data, real-time insight and context needed to find customers, uncover sales trigger events, create meaningful engagements, sell more and create long-lasting business relationships.

Check out how we helped BT Local Business generate £6.4 million in new revenue in just 12 months by augmenting opportunities with real-time news, social media and people insights. Helping local businesses to gain an in-depth understanding of their pipeline, act quickly on opportunities, anticipate needs, and engage proactively in more sophisticated ways based on a real understanding of trends, sentiments and needs.