In many spheres of life, timing is everything – and nowhere is this truism more relevant than in B2B sales. Sometimes an executive decision maker can be ready to pull the trigger on a purchase, while at other times, the sales cycle can take months or even years. For this reason, arming your sales reps with as much timely and accurate sales intelligence as possible can spell the difference between success and failure, between closing and walking.
This type of intelligence provides your sales reps with the right opportunity at the right time, helping ensure that they get in front of the right person with the right value proposition. Triggers give reps a birds-eye view into the types of business decision-making activities within target accounts – both prospects and customers – that give them a leg up on the competition.
How do you this?It happens by leveraging triggers, which are basically any nugget of business intelligence that alerts you to activity within an organization that signals buying potential. Having insight into the right triggers keeps you abreast of these events and turns them into a door opener.
According to research from Aberdeen Group, companies that support sales team with sales intelligence – including triggers – see a 28.4% increase in year-over-year revenue. In another study, Aberdeen found that 81% of companies that deployed a sales intelligence solution saw significant annual gains in team quotas. And CSO Insights found that effective use of sales intelligence increases revenue productivity per sales rep by 17%.
Let me elaborate with a quick explanation of the three main types of sales triggers – and how to put them to work for you.
Want to know when a new CIO, director of procurement, VP of IT or chief marketing officer has been hired? These types of triggers provide a quadruple whammy, signaling not only a buying opportunity at the company where the executive was hired, but also at the company he left; the one his predecessor moved to; and the one his replacement came from.
How to take advantage of them: Use Google Alerts to get an email whenever a business decision maker is mentioned online, or LinkedIn to learn when they change their profile. Consider paid alert services like SalesLoft, or a sales intelligence system that provides not only alerts but also insights into a department’s organizational structure to see who is calling the shots.
Projects and initiatives
If you’re in IT sales, for example, how important would it be to know in advance when a company is planning a major migration to Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013, Oracle Database 12C or some other key technology platform? One major initiative could potentially spawn 10 or 20 smaller projects, some of which may be right in your wheelhouse.
How to take advantage of them:Again, Google Alerts and SalesLoft can help here with keyword alerts based on what you have to offer. Say you’re a rep in Portland, Ore., an alert can tell you a company is opening a new office nearby. A sales intelligence tool takes it to the next level, alerting you to projects before they see the light of day – better than having a brother-in-law working there!
Identified by marketing
This includes information from marketing campaigns and events, like who visited your site and when, for how long and what they did, or on who checked in at your tradeshow booth. So if someone clicks on a pricing sheet two months after downloading a white paper from your product page, this should immediately alert the appropriate sales rep to jump into action. InsideSale.com reports that if someone is contacted within three minutes of being on your website, their chances of converting and making a purchase are 600 times higher! After that, the odds fall off rather quickly.
How to take advantage of them: Here, marketing automation tools like Pardot, Marketo or Eloqua come into play. They tell you every detail about responses to your marketing efforts online and offline. Having the ability to respond immediately to this type of trigger is a crucial success factor.
If you’re in B2B sales and you’re not being alerted to buying triggers, you’re missing key intelligence. They provide automatic opportunities to quickly get in front of key business decision makers. And if you’re not gaining access to departmental organizational charts in the appropriate department – IT, HR, marketing, etc. – it’s that much harder to tell the chiefs from the Indians, and you could get bogged down in a cubeville quagmire with no closing in site.