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How trigger-based marketing can keep you one step ahead of the competition

We already know that timing plays a vital role in closing deals and securing sales. A quarter of salespeople say their deals fail due to timing and in previous blogs we’ve covered the importance of hitting that sweet spot when customers are actively looking but have yet to make a purchasing decision.

Clearly, being in the right place at the right time is key. But how can we make sure that outreach happens at the optimum moment?

One answer is trigger-based marketing, a highly targeted form of marketing which uses specific events or ‘triggers’ to identify the best time to put your product in front of key decision-makers.

What is trigger-based marketing?

Also known as event-based marketing, trigger-based marketing involves analysing the customer journey to detect key ‘trigger events’ that indicate intent. This data is then used to schedule targeted messages to send at the most relevant times.

These triggers might be behaviours, sets of circumstances or real-world occurrences – any activity that suggests a business will be ready to spend in the next three to six months. The number of triggers monitored may range from a handful to several hundred, depending on the volume and complexity of information available, but regardless of the quantity, the goal is always the same: to understand exactly when, how and what to communicate in order to maximise the likelihood of a sale.


Triggers vs intent

Trigger events are similar to intent data, which we’ve talked about before and is also used to detect when customers are ready to buy. So, how are they different? It’s a good question.

Think of sales triggers as pre-intent data. They’re events that happen to a company, triggering an opportunity for a business change – and they’re a precursor to intent. In fact, they’re often what causes intent to be exhibited, so monitoring them is a bit like having a crystal ball; it lets you predict when intent is likely to be shown, allowing you to act on it earlier.

Identifying and defining triggers

In order to identify these valuable triggers, getting to know your prospects is key. The more you understand their lifecycle stages, pain points and motivations, the better equipped you are to analyse their decision-making processes. This helps you to determine not only which indicators are likely to precede the purchase of a product or service, but how these indicators show up in a personal or company profile.

At Interlink, we’ve identified seven different triggers which are important for B2B technology firms to monitor:


  1. Recruitment and hiring – new appointments, restructures or promotions
  2. Company financial information
  3. Install data – new or different technology recently adopted
  4. Insider information – looking at the content consumed by key decision-makers
  5. News – press releases containing important company information and updates
  6. Website – changes and updates on the target company website
  7. Product releases – new products or services the target company is launching to market


Our Discover tool uses AI and deep learning to search the web for these and other online signals, using the information gathered to create a list of prospects and define the type, timing and content of any follow-up activity. It means opportunities are presented earlier in the buying process, allowing you to target prospects at the optimum time and ahead of the competition.

The benefits of trigger-based marketing

Marketing in this highly-focused way brings other benefits too:

  • Better customer engagement

Trigger-based marketing allows you to compile highly personalised and relevant messages which have greater resonance and are more likely to keep customers engaged for longer, as well as elicit a better response. Indeed, 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalised messaging.

  • Improved conversion rates

Reaching out to a company at the right time allows you to speak to decision-makers when they have a need for a service or product, rather than trying to get them to consider spending when their need is unrealised or not as great. A Blueshift report suggests trigger-based marketing emails are 497% more effective than blast emails.

  • Greater efficiency

Rather than spending time manually personalising your marketing communications, time can be spent maximising the performance of campaigns. Implementing A/B testing can refine triggers and messaging while over time, machine learning can improve targeting by analysing response rates and applying weight to certain trigger criteria.

  • Better-quality leads

Trigger-based marketing provides the sales team with a pipeline of quality leads and genuine opportunities, so less time is spent chasing poor-quality leads with a low chance of conversion.

  • Improved customer experience

Sending customers timely and relevant messages shows the business understands their needs and preferences and enhances their overall experience, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Increased sales opportunities

Triggers can be used to identify cross-selling or upselling opportunities based on customer behaviour. For example, after a customer purchases a certain product, a trigger can be set to recommend complementary items.

The future of marketing

As companies strive to make the most of their marketing budgets, trigger-based marketing stands out as an indispensable tool for improving marketing effectiveness.  Identifying and leveraging a range of triggers allows sales teams to take a more proactive approach, seizing the opportunity to engage with potential customers and capitalising on the right opportunities at the right time.

Recognising the value this brings is key to helping companies stay competitive. By harnessing the power of trigger-based marketing, businesses can expect to achieve higher outbound success rates, build stronger customer relationships and secure long-term success in changing business landscape.

We’d love to show you how trigger-based marketing and our Discover tool can help your marketing budget work harder. Contact us for a free demonstration today.