Most buyers aren’t ready to buy when we’re ready to sell. This trite but true observation has significant implications when it comes to lead generation. It means that we must continue to nurture viable prospects until they are ready to buy. But what about the prospects who are not in your nurturing database yet?
This dilemma has led me to think about how trigger events are related to one of the basic laws of physics. Newton’s first law of motion (also called the law of inertia) is often stated as “an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
The first law of motion can act much like one of your potential prospects. Unless there is an “unbalancing force” acting on them that is sufficient to move them away from the status quo (as rest), then they will not change their direction. In this context, trigger events can be seen as the sufficient force or event that moved and changed the status quo.
So in the context of lead generation, what’s a trigger event? A trigger is a happening associated with a consequence so significant that it causes new behaviors, new ideas and new opportunities. One of my clients found companies with their key trigger events was 400% more likely to buy than companies without those trigger events.
When InTouch conducts an ideal customer profile workshop for a client, we help them understand favorable trigger events and related implications. The above trigger event mind map figure (Click Image to Enlarge) shows just some of the possible trigger events that you can track.
Trigger events matter for two key reasons. First, they may indicate the status quo in an organization is changing and secondly, they can contribute to the development of timely and relevant sales and marketing messaging. Relevance is one of the most difficult things to achieve with lead generation programs but trigger events can help a great deal.
Messaging that addresses (in a personalized manner) a specific problem that your prospect is having is more relevant and thus will be more effective than a generic features and benefits message. What’s better is that the problem can often be tied to a specific event or events.
There are three basic steps if you want start using trigger events:
1. Review 10 – 15 recent sales "wins" and look at what business pains or events were present. (See the above mind map for examples)
2. Develop an intelligent system to identify when your trigger events happen.
3. Understand trigger event implications and what to do once they happen.
You can research new business opportunities based on trigger events, for little to no cost, by leveraging press releases, websites and news wires. If you have a corporate librarian or local business library they can help you find what you need.
To begin collecting trigger events, I’d start with using free tools like the following:
Don’t try to do everything at once. Start with some basic trigger events and then build upon your foundation over time. Remember it’s an iterative process… you want to first crawl, walk and then run. As your sophistication grows, you will be ready to look into third party tools that specialize in tracking trigger events.
Trigger event are a great way to change the physics of the buying process and yet another way that we marketers can to go beyond the lead.
Are you using trigger events? I’d love to hear your comments or experiences.
BTW – You can read more about trigger events in Chapter 5 of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale or search my blog archives for "trigger event." Also, Jill Konrath has some great information on trigger events (geared for sales people) in her book Selling to Big Companies and her blog too.