Time to Brush Up Your Trigger-Nometry!


Share on LinkedIn

How confident are you that you truly, deeply understand who your best prospects are, what really matters to them, and how and why they choose to buy?

It’s an increasingly important question, for two reasons: firstly, the latest studies confirm a trend which has been apparent for a number of years – that prospective B2B buyers are using the internet and their circle of connections to do much more research before they are ready to approach potential vendors. The balance of information power has unquestionably shifted in favour of the buyer.

Second, in the current economic climate, we’re seeing B2B buyers shy away from anything that might be seen to be a potentially risky decision. If they cannot be convinced otherwise, a growing number are inclined to believe that the safest thing is to “decide to do nothing”.

Faced with these two trends, vendors have to focus – on connecting with prospects who have issues they cannot afford not to deal with, and for which they have a demonstrably superior solution – and then they need to ensure that they emerge as the lowest risk of all available options – including that of simply preserving the status quo.

But careful qualification isn’t enough – vendors also need to execute impeccably in facilitating the prospect’s buying process – and to influence the way the prospect looks at the issue that caused them to start searching for a solution in the first place.

Persuading the prospect to think differently – to embrace a new perspective – is one of the key factors in creating a potentially winning environment. Sales people who successfully pull this off are able to achieve the much sought-after “trusted adviser” status. But timing is critical – they need to shape the prospect’s view of the world before they formalise their needs and priorities.

That’s where trigger-nometry is so important. The time during which a prospect evolves from being unaware or unconcerned to recognising they have an issue that they need to deal with is a critical stage in the whole process of buying.

Vendors need to understand and anticipate the trigger events that catalyse this transition. These trigger events can be external (things that happen in the market) or internal (things that happen within the prospect’s organisation) but they represent the time during which the prospect’s perspectives are at their most pliable.

Vendors who only get involved in deals after the prospect has crystallised their view of what they need, and what they should be looking for, start with an obvious disadvantage – whereas vendors who are visible at the time of the trigger event, or who can help create a trigger event, are in pole position to shape the buying agenda.

How can sales and marketing organisations improve their trigger-nometry? By observing the key forces that are shaping their target markets. By tracking key changes within their prospects. And by ensuring they have a relevant and potentially provocative perspective on how the prospect might respond to these issues.

Bob Apollo
Bob Apollo is the CEO of UK-based Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners, the B2B sales performance improvement specialists. Following a varied corporate career, Bob now works with a rapidly expanding client base of B2B-focused growth-phase technology companies, helping them to implement systematic sales processes that drive predictable revenue growth.


  1. Bob;
    I completely agree with your analysis of getting to decision makers after they leave the buying mode of Status Quo (I realize what I have is no longer sufficient but I am too busy solving other problems to get to this one yet) BUT before they enter the buying mode of Searching For Alternatives (I know what I have is no longer sufficient and I’m now actively doing something about it).
    As the creators of Trigger Event Selling™ we have a unique understanding of the Trigger Events that create this very powerful selling window – called the Window of Dissatisfaction™.
    Your analysis is right from the perspective that buyers move through the three buying modes based upon different types of Trigger Events. Let me give a little more detail. Decision makers move from Status Quo to the Window of Dissatisfaction because they experience one of the three types of Trigger Events:

    1. Bad Experience: Caused by something the current supplier does
    2. Change/Transition: Caused by something that happens in the buyers environment
    3. Awareness: Something suppliers who want the business try to do

    Very often this first Trigger Event makes them want to change BUT until they have the two other forms of a Trigger Event they typically don’t buy.
    They also need to experience the other two forms of a Trigger Event:

    1. Financial Trigger Event – now they can afford it
    2. Justification Trigger Event – now I can justify my decision to others (Typically superiors, subordinates, or a spouse).

    Those who want identify the best Trigger Events for what they sell can watch the recording of a webinar that had 1,500 registrants and download our Won Sales Analysis (aka Trigger Event Analysis) worksheet at http://www.shiftselling.com/worksheets/won-sales-analysis/.
    I hope this helps.
    P.S. One of the many values of building relationships at the very top of an organization – those with Money, Authority, and Influence – is that because they have the money and the authority to spend it you only have to wait for the first Trigger Event, the one that motivates them. They often don’t need the last two forms of Trigger Events because they already can afford it and don’t need to justify it.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here