Understanding trigger events is among the most valuable skills a sales rep can possess.
Why? Because reps who hone in on trigger events stay one step ahead of their competition. They’re able to recognize conditions more favorable to a purchase decision sometimes even before the prospect themselves.
This skill becomes even more important during Q4, the time of the year when you should be reviewing deals from the past nine months in addition to sourcing new ones.
It’s not impossible to bring a dead deal back to life -- all it takes are the right circumstances. Keep an eye out for the nine trigger events below to bring stalled or lost deals back into play.
1) Product update
Why it matters: If your offering is continuously evolving, the product your prospects said “no” to a year ago might well be incredibly different today. As your offering becomes more robust, it will better meet the needs of prospects who require sophisticated features.
Type of deal it revives: Prospects who didn’t buy because of a lack of functionality
What you should do about it: Send a message to your prospects letting them know about the product update, and check if they’re interested in reopening a conversation.
2) Funding round
Why it matters: A funding round tells you two things: Your prospect’s budget just got a nice bump, and their company is in growth mode. Both conditions make your prospect far more likely to buy.
Type of deal it revives: Prospects who didn’t buy because of a lack of budget
What you should do about it: Prospects who’ve just received funding are likely inundated with sales calls, so dig a little deeper. What are investors hoping to see from them? What helped them secure the additional funding? Then, send an email or make a call call reminding your prospect of your previous connection and include a tidbit of research to set yourself apart.
3) Executive change
Why it matters: A departure (or termination) in the C-suite usually suggests that the company is undergoing a strategic shift. New leaders with fresh perspectives might be more receptive to your pitch than the old guard.
Type of deal it revives: Deals that stalled because you didn’t have an executive sponsor
What you should do about it: Keep a close eye on the new leader and any press surrounding the change. Does it seem like the newly appointed successor is trying to take things in a new direction? If so, reach out and introduce yourself. Explain your past contact with the company, and make it known that you’d like to reassess if and/or how your product could help the business.
4) Buyer opens old emails
Why it’s important: A HubSpot Sales notification that a prospect opened a scheduling email you sent seven months ago isn’t a good reason to call. But if you see a prospect reopening every resource you’ve ever sent him, leap for the phone. Something you once sent provided your buyer with enough value that he’s hunting for it months later.
Type of deal it revives: Any prospect that went cold
What you should do about it: Call or email your prospect right away, while you’re still top-of-mind. Act fast to restart a conversation while your prospect’s thinking of you.
Why it’s important: Companies scaling for the first time will need help doing so. A new office location also usually suggests that they’re doing well, cash flow wise.
Type of deal it revives: Prospects who didn’t buy because of limited budget, prospects whose needs weren’t sophisticated enough for your product
What you should do about it: Send a congratulatory note to your prospect and strike up a conversation about what challenges they’re facing related to their expansion, especially if your product makes it easier for businesses to scale.
6) Internal champion gets promoted
Why it’s important: A contact who wanted to buy all along is getting heard and/or gaining the power to make decisions.
Type of deal it revives: Deals championed by a prospect without enough influence to get internal buy-in the first time around
What you should do about it: Rekindle your relationship. Congratulate your point of contact on the new position, and then discuss how you can get a deal restarted. Often, champions who are really passionate about your product will reach out on their own to let you know when they can finally get moving.
7) Blocker leaves the company
Why it’s important: A senior leader or influential employee can singlehandedly block a purchase decision or push through a preferred competitor. Their departure reopens the discussion, especially if the current provider isn’t working out.
Type of deal it revives: Deals blocked by the decision maker, deals lost to a competitor
What you should do about it: Reach out to your points of contact who were pulling for you and see if their interest still stands. Then, find out whether the time is ripe for a vendor switch.
8) Competitor contract about to expire
Why it’s important: Expiring vendor relationships are automatically up for internal review. Do you continue working with the same provider, or is it time to search for greener pastures?
Type of deal it revives: Deals lost to a competitor
What you should do about it: Reach out and see how things are going. Is the prospect happy? What do they wish was going differently? Most importantly, what areas for improvement are they struggling with where you can have an effect?
9) Bad quarter
Why it’s important: Companies going through a loss (or string of losses) will be looking to make a change.
Type of deal it revives: Deals lost because of a lack of need, deals lost to a competitor
What you should do about it: Get to the root cause of your prospect’s lackluster performance. Was it related to something your product could have solved? Find out where they’re underperforming and determine how you can help.
In sales, it’s not over until it’s over. So keep your eyes peeled for trigger events that indicate a prospect’s had a change of heart or a change of situation that could turn a “no” into a “yes.”
Originally published Oct 12, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017