Looking for ways to maximize your sales team’s productivity? You’ve come to the right place. I’m going to share some of my favorite sales secrets that have proven successful in my tenure both as a seller and sales leader. Today’s secret is about how to turn news into sales.
Did you know that a baby’s birth is a sales trigger for car dealers? Think about it. When a couple starts having kids, they often need to say goodbye to their sporty, two-door car and replace it with a more practical four-door with room for the baby seat and all the paraphernalia. Before long, as more babies arrive, a minivan or SUV starts looking pretty good. To a car salesperson, news about expectant parents and new births is prime hunting ground.
What are your sales triggers?
If you don’t already know what your sales triggers are, take a look at your most successful sales. What do they have in common? Was there a common need or event that triggered the buyer’s purchase? Did they just expand and need more of what your company offers? Did they get funding that loosened the purse strings? Did they merge with a company that was already using your services?
These are just a few examples of common triggers in business-to-business (B2B) sales. And how about this one — a leadership change? Suppose you’re in technology sales and one of the companies on your target list just hired a new CIO. Bingo! One of the first things a new CIO often does is evaluate their tech stack. This could be an opportunity to sell them your solution to fill a gap. If the company is already a customer, it could be time to reach out and demonstrate the value of your solution to protect your position or expand their use of it. Be proactive, before the new CIO even considers the competition.
And if the CIO moved from a company that was using your solution, you have yet another new opportunity to build a relationship with the person that replaced him or her.
One of my favorite examples of a B2B sales trigger involved a company that sold chemical safety training. You might think that’s a niche business, but the truth is virtually any company that has chemicals of any kind is a potential customer. Think about it. What company doesn’t at least have cleaning supplies around?
So how was this company supposed to narrow their vast greenfield? They discovered that when a company has a chemical accident and is fined by OSHA, they become very motivated to train their employees on chemical safety. This company’s sales triggers were chemical accidents and OSHA fines.
What are yours? And while you’re thinking about it, keep in mind the flip side of a sales trigger. What types of events signal that it might not be a good time to sell to a prospect? What if they’re downsizing, entering into litigation, or filing for bankruptcy?
Once you have your list of important events, you need to figure out how you’re going to know when your targets are experiencing one of them so you can jump on the opportunity quickly. The industry rule of thumb says that 30 to 50 percent of sales go to the first vendor to reach out.
How do you discover when triggers are happening?
There are many ways to discover if a company or person is experiencing a trigger event. The key is to learn about them early in your prospect’s buying journey and before your competition.
You can subscribe to news sites and trade publications and try to keep up with all the news, but that’s slow going and the news gets stale quickly. You can Google the company or topic when you’re doing pre-call research. But you will miss events that happen when you’re not looking.
To get ahead of that, you can follow companies and people on social channels and receive alerts when they’re in the news. But you will soon find yourself inundated with news that’s not always relevant. If you’re like most salespeople I know, you’ll eventually start ignoring the alerts.
Your best alternative is to use a sales intelligence solution that provides news alerts and enables you to define them specifically around your sales triggers. InsideView offers such a solution. We use natural language processing to “read” thousands of blogs and articles each day to uncover sales triggers that are relevant in B2B business — triggers such as expanding operations, acquisitions, leadership changes, funding announcements, litigation, etc. With our solution, you can also create alerts based on customized topics, such as companies recently fined by OSHA, as in the example of the chemical safety training company.
We then take it one step further, leveraging machine learning to keep refining your alerts as we see what you read and what you don’t.
The last step is to receive the alerts when and where you need them. At InsideView, we push your sales trigger alerts into your CRM, to your email inbox, and out to LinkedIn or company websites where you browse, when you use the InsideView browser extension.
With a good understanding of your sales triggers and a sales intelligence solution that alerts you to them in real-time, you can quickly turn news into sales and meet your customers needs before they knew they had them.