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Imagine if you knew exactly when your prospect was in greatest need of your product or service and therefore most likely to buy it. If you understood precisely what influenced their decision-making, changed their mind – or triggered them to purchase.

This is exactly the kind of information that identifying buying triggers can provide and, thanks to advanced technology, it’s revolutionising B2B marketing.

Gone are the days of blanket, generic messaging sent to the masses in the hope something sticks; with this level of insight, it’s possible to customise messaging with precise details and build highly targeted campaigns to boost conversion rates and sales figures.

What are buying triggers?

From the initial spark of interest to the final commitment, every stage of a buyer’s journey is influenced by a series of buying triggers – factors, actions or events that prompt a purchasing decision.

These trigger events can be:

  • Biological: physical comfort or productivity, employee wellbeing or environmental health 
  • Situational: expansion or restructuring, a product launch or new appointments   
  • Emotional: feeling stressed or overwhelmed, competitive pressures or professional development
  • Social: peer recommendations, industry rankings and awards or social proof

They’re the moment your prospect is struggling with something; when they identify a gap or a shortfall in their knowledge or tools and recognise the need for a solution. At this precise point, the customer moves from being uninterested in your product to being in the market for it, which means they’re more interested in your content, more inclined to respond to contact – and more likely to convert.

Why are event triggers important?

Trigger events are so powerful that B2B marketers who use them in their email marketing strategies have seen an average increase of 20% in sales opportunities and a reduction in direct marketing costs of 80%.

This makes them hard – and foolish – to ignore.

Once people have had a need triggered, they start passively looking for solutions. They may begin to notice relevant adverts, articles and other useful content but they’re not actively searching for a product or service – yet. This is the point you need to get in front of prospects if you want to get ahead of the game.

Using targeted marketing, tailored to specific needs and pain points and delivered at exactly the right time, you can begin to earn your buyers’ trust and build a connection before your competitors, putting you in a stronger position for the research phase.

That’s the next stage, which involves prospects exploring and evaluating solutions, and trying to decide which will work best. Competition at this point is fierce and, if you’re entering the ring with no brand awareness or meaningful engagement, you’re already behind.

So, we’ve established that if you can identify your customers’ specific buying triggers then you can work out how to get in front of prospects sooner, in less crowded channels and with more engaging messages and offers. But, HOW do you do it?

How to identify the right buying triggers

To identify the specific events that will trigger your audience, you have to understand every element of the buying journey from the customers’ perspective; to think about their needs and what business milestones might trigger those needs.

This can be done in a number of ways but usually involves a combination of research, data analysis and understanding of customer behaviour:

  • Market research – understand your target market and their preferences and motivations and use industry reports, competitor analysis and focus groups to identify common patterns and trends.
  • Customer journey mapping – identify key touchpoints and decision-making stages and understand what prompts customers to move from one to another.
  • Data analysis – analyse customer data and behaviour to find patterns, correlations and trends that indicate buying triggers and segment customers based on these.
  • Customer surveys or interviews – ask specific questions about what triggers their buying decisions.
  • Social listening – monitor social media channels and pay particular attention to conversations related to buying decisions, especially what motivates customers to purchase or switch from a competitor.
  • Competitor analysis – analyse how your competitors identify potential buying triggers and look for commonalities and differences in how they target customers and position their products.
  • Testing – conduct A/B testing to test your hypotheses and assumptions. Experiment with messaging, offers and incentives and see what gets the best results.

The most common buying triggers

As we said earlier, buying triggers are an action or occurrence that creates a sales opportunity. Often associated with organisational change or financial targets, in short, it’s an event that triggers a need.

At Interlink, we’ve identified twelve common buying triggers for B2B Technology firms. Our Discover tool uses AI and deep learning to search the web for these and other online signals, using the information gathered to create and prioritise a list of prospects and define the type, timing and content of follow-up activity.

  1. Won new clients
  2. Received funding and financing
  3. Launched new product(s)
  4. Merged with another business
  5. Acquired a company
  6. Expanded their physical office
  7. Partnered with another organisation
  8. Hired new people
  9. Won an award
  10. Launched integrations with other technology
  11. Went public
  12. Has vulnerability problems

Different job roles, different triggers

Once you’ve identified your customers’ needs and how your product or service meets these, you might want to take a deeper look at how different triggers may be more relevant to people in different department roles or levels of seniority.

For example, individuals in operational roles may be more triggered by solutions that streamline processes and increase productivity, whereas sales teams may be motivated by solutions that provide competitive advantages, market differentiation, and opportunities for revenue growth and expansion into new markets.

Understanding what resonates allows you to personalise your messaging and value proposition even further, based on the unique responsibilities, priorities and perspectives of your prospects.

Using event triggers to personalise marketing

We’ve covered the importance of personalisation before and recognising (and incorporating) customers’ buying triggers takes things to the next level by showing a real understanding of their situation and individual needs.

When customers feel seen in this way, messages have more resonance, trust and rapport improve, and they’re more likely to respond to outreach.

A transformative approach

Identifying the right buying triggers is important but it’s only one part of the puzzle.  Knowing how and when to use them is what turns it from a valuable strategy into something transformative, making your marketing work harder, cutting through the noise and putting you ahead of the competition.

To read more about the trends disrupting the B2B technology industry, check out our 12 Trends for 2024 whitepaper, here.