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What is a Sales Trigger?

Sales triggers are events that indicate propensity in a buying cycle.
Trigger events are tied to a company, individual prospect or market and indicate growth, significant corporate initiative, competition advantage & market opportunity.

Triggers should be assessed at three levels

1. What is a Sales Trigger?

Sales triggers may be derived from a broad set of events associated with companies and executives.


  • Exec Joins or Leaves Firm
  • Promotion or Role Change
  • New Product, Partner, Expansion Plans, Funding, etc.
  • Revenue or Employee Growth/Decline
  • Change in Strategy or Positioning
  • Competitor Product Announcement

2. What does the Sales Trigger mean?

Triggers represent new opportunities, changes in the likelihood of a deal closing.


  • Window of Opportunity at a New Prospect
  • Change in the Ability to Upsell or Cross-Sell
  • Opportunity or Renewal at Risk

3. What should I do about it?

Triggers drive sales activities such as new prospect research, opportunity status updates, or renewed relationship development.


  • Prioritize Daily Sales Activities
  • Craft Discussion Hooks
  • Identify New Contacts or Champions
  • Reassess Pipeline Close Status
  • Research “Net New” Opportunities

Did You Know?

New decision makers are 10x more likely to purchase new products

Funded Companies are 8x more likely to respond to your emails and phone calls

Types of Sales Triggers

Competitive & Market Opportunities

Be notified when a “window of dissatisfaction” has opened that could lead to new opportunities or grow existing ones. Know when your competitor’s price has gone up, when they’ve discontinued service or experienced degradation of service.

Change or Growth Indicators

Be the first to know, when your decision maker has a changed jobs or been promoted, or when a new decision maker has taken their place. Learn about funding or new corporate initiatives that drive sales.

Compliance & Regulatory Mandates

When regulation or compliance drive your close rates, be aware of the complex landscape and movements that free up your customers’ budgets & time-frames or drive the need for your product or service.

Triggers Defined

Current Events

Alerts tied to both companies and specific topics. Whereas news alerts are simply associated with a company, sales triggers provide high precision targeting of both companies and business topics. As talking points, triggers can be invaluable in reaching out to customers and prospects before competitors. While sales triggers are most commonly semantically mined news stories, they can also be gathered from social media, editorial research, filings, and changes in financial data.

SWOT and Analyst Reports

Several vendors include SWOT reports and brokerage house reports. A SWOT report is a competitive analysis tools that highlights Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Analyst reports are unstructured reports from brokerage houses. These content sets are generally sub-licensed from MarketLine (SWOT and company profiles), Guideline (SWOT and company profiles), Investext (analyst reports), and S&P Capital IQ.

Earnings (Fair Disclosure) Transcripts

US public companies hold investor calls with the release of their quarterly earnings. The calls contain two parts: a prepared speech by C- level management followed by a Q&A session. Transcripts are also available for corporate presentations made at investor conferences hosted by the brokerage houses. Earnings Transcripts are an excellent source of company performance and guidance. They also discuss corporate issues, plans, recent events (M&A, Litigation, Product Launches, etc.), and corporate strategy. Finally, the transcripts provide insights into C-level personalities.


The most commonly used filings are the major EDGAR (SEC) filings such as the 10-K (annual report), 10-Q (quarterly report), and 8-K (material change report). Foreign companies listed on US Exchanges also file 20-F (earnings) and 6-K reports (material change). Like Earnings Transcripts, they provide an overview of the financial status of the company along with discussions of key issues; products and services; partnerships; M&A; and performance across various business segments and geographies. Other filing sources include international annual reports, European private company registered filings, patents, trademarks, copyrights, liens, bankruptcies, and judgments.

Industry Overviews

Industry Overviews are plain English industry primers designed for sales reps and relationship managers that sell across a broad set of industries. The reports include current trends, concerns of C-level execs, Q&A topics for breaking the ice, terminology, etc. Dun & Bradstreet’s First Research service is probably the best set of industry overviews spanning nearly one thousand US industries and segments.4 They have also begun to add international content and a limited set of thirty-five Canadian profiles. Shorter industry overviews are available in Avention (sourced from ORC) and InsideView (sourced from Vertical IQ).

Market Research

Market Research reports are more technical than industry overviews and include market sizing, growth rate, and top companies. Vendors have tended towards licensing shorter, standardized reports (i.e. they use a common definition of industries and methodologies across countries allowing for comparisons across industry and geography) that cover a broad set of companies and geographies:

  • MarketLine: standardized market research by country and industry.

  • Euromonitor: standardized market research by country and industry.

  • Freedonia: standardized US market research.

  • Emerging Markets Direct: standardized market research by country and industry with a focus on emerging markets.

  • Mergent: Sector level reports by geographic region.

Industry Norms

Industry Norms provide NAICS based private company financial ratios spanning multiple years and company sizes. This content is mostly useful for conversations with the CFO or COO for companies that can impact specific ratios (e.g. Inventory Management software or credit services).

Financials and Ratios

Strategic Sales reps should be comfortable reviewing financial reports, particularly if they have named accounts. While financial analysis is not required outside of financial services, strategic reps should be aware of the financial position of public companies. Bureau van Dijk, Factiva, LexisNexis, and Avention provide both public
4 First Research reports are available as a standalone offering and integrated into Hoover’s, D&B360, D&B Direct, and The reports are also marketed to public and academic libraries under the First Research and Mergent Intellect brands.

Business & Geographic Segment Reports

Segment data is derived from public company
filings and provides financial performance across geographic regions and divisions. The data helps identify underperforming markets and provides a quick geographic overview of a company’s operations.

Credit Scores

While most sales reps will only use a basic credit score for filtering out higher risk prospects, credit information can be quite useful for relationship managers at financial services companies or business development managers.

Executive Biographies

Current and prior employment, education, interests, affiliations, and social media links. Some vendors now include executive news alongside bios. Bureau van Dijk and Avention provide UK Director and Shareholders (DASH) profiles which list current and former directorships and shareholdings. RainKing and DiscoverOrg provide tech bios which include responsibilities and org structure.

M&A Profiles

Merger & Acquisition information is useful for systems integrators, relationship managers, investment bankers, etc.

Funding Profiles

Private Equity and Venture Capital profiles are useful for business and marketing services companies, business development managers, tech companies, investment bankers, PE/VC firms, etc.

Did you know? Dissatisfaction can Lead to Sales Success

The “Window of Dissatisfaction” opens after the buyer experiences a Trigger Event that causes them to leave the status quo but before that buyer has found an alternative option. Opportunities increase – the more you know.