sales winsIn a session for the recent Inside Sales Virtual Summit, Craig Elias, co-author of SHIFT! Harness The Trigger Events that Turn Prospects into Customers, discussed the importance of being at the perfect place at the perfect time for achieving maximum sales success. Equating the sales process with professional racing, Elias says the sales teams taking the pole position and making their pitch at the ideal moment of opportunity will land the sale the majority of the time. Here’s a quick recap of Elias’ presentation on the importance of, and examples of, those crucial trigger events.

Events Trigger action, not Circumstances

Elias notes that it’s important to make the distinction between circumstances and actual trigger events.  Circumstances include shrinking profit margins, falling stock prices, or any other situations that could cause a prospect to grow unhappy with their current state of affairs.  Circumstances, however, are not the same as events.  It’s important to learn how to spot specific trigger events that open the door to sales opportunities.

The Window of Dissatisfaction

Elias feels that timing really is the “silver bullet” for B2B sales opportunities. This is why reaching out as soon as a trigger event is noticed, and before a prospect has time to grow unsatisfied with their circumstances, is of the utmost importance. Elias claims those sales professionals grabbing the pole position by making their move after a trigger event and being the one to help shape the prospect’s buying vision will get the sale 74% of the time.  

Trigger Events: The Times to Strike

Elias says to keep an eye out for any number of potential trigger events such as:

  1. A major change in decision makers is made
  2. The prospect’s top competitor(s) launches a new product
  3. The prospect, or their competitor, is acquired
  4. The prospect wins a large contract, and more cash to play with
  5. A competitor’s sales person moves on

The decision maker trigger event bears special analysis.  This particular event has domino effect potential and provides openings at more than one prospect.  Elias says the first question you should be asking a new decision maker is, “So, where did you come from?” in order to find out which other organization has created a trigger event of their own. Coupled with the new location of the departing decision maker, this creates three potential prospects with new people in a position to make sales decisions. 

BANT is Dead

For Elias, the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe) methodology is no longer worth considering. He notes that upwards of 70% of a buying decision is made before a sales person even gets involved. With that in mind, he feels that by the time today’s decision makers have budget to work with, and buying authority, their decision regarding who to buy from has often already been made. 

How do you feel about Craig Elias’ trigger events? Do you look for them in your own sales initiatives? Tell us about it in the comments.