February 24, 2023

Sales Triggers vs. Intent Data

15 min read
Recognising the best time to reach out and contact a prospect has never been an easy task. Sales professionals of yesteryear struggled with outreach and not knowing when their prospect would be primed to buy, which meant closing sales was even harder. But with a rise in data and technology, there has been a new wave of information available to salespeople that has enabled a more strategic approach.

Identifying the right time to reach out to a buyer, understanding their needs, and providing the necessary support has turned into an intel-driven game. With sales triggers and intent data more widely available, sales teams are now faced with a choice. So, what is the difference between ‘intent data’ and ‘sales trigger data’?

The need for intelligence in sales

Rather like playing pin the tail on the donkey or trying to locate the piñata before giving it a whack, sales has long followed a more haphazard, “spray and pray” technique. With less focus on targeting specific, suitable prospects, companies have previously widened their approach in the hopes of at least attracting a few nibbles, essentially leaving it up to chance.

Data offers a sales team a much clearer view of where their focus ought to be to ensure they are approaching suitable companies that meet their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), who are at the point of needing new products or solutions. Once you understand your prospects’ needs and wants, it’s much easier to have a conversation that offers relevance, but how do you get to this stage?

Knowing what your customers are interested in, what solutions they need and what their future plans are, will give you a much clearer idea of if you’re likely to be successful in your outreach. Both sales triggers and intent data can provide this insight, so understanding what they each offer is the first step to improving your success rate.

What is intent data?

Intent data is data that captures signals of a person's or organisation's behaviour that indicate a potential interest in purchasing a product or service. This data is generated by analysing the digital footprints that people leave behind as they interact with various digital channels and assets, such as search engines, social media, and websites.

The benefit of intent data is based on the premise that a person's online behaviour can reveal their interests and intentions. For example, if someone searches for "best CRM software" or visits a CRM software vendor's website, it can indicate that they are interested in purchasing a CRM solution. This type of data is particularly valuable for sales and marketing teams, as it can help them to identify potential customers who are actively researching solutions or are ready to buy.

Types of intent data

There are two main types of intent data: first-party and third-party. First-party intent data is generated by a company's own digital channels and assets, such as their website or social media accounts. This type of data is particularly useful for understanding how customers interact with a company's products and services.

Third-party intent data is generated by external sources, such as data providers or publishers. This type of data is useful for understanding broader industry trends and identifying potential customers who are outside of a company's existing customer base.

Intent data can be collected through a variety of methods, such as website tracking, IP address monitoring, and social media analysis. Some companies use cookies or other tracking technologies to follow a person's online behaviour and build a profile of their interests and intentions. Other companies use natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to analyse text-based data, such as social media posts or email communications, to identify signals of intent.

Why use intent data?

Intent data can be used to serve a number of purposes. Perhaps most obviously, sales teams can use intent data to identify potential customers who are actively researching solutions and prioritise their outreach efforts accordingly. Marketing teams can also use this data to personalise their messaging and content to better align with a potential customer's interests and needs, while product teams might use intent data to inform their product development decisions, prioritising features and functionality to align with customer needs.

However, intent data does have its limitations. While perhaps a tried-and-test approach might appeal, intent data is fairly old-school in the sales industry now. Although it can provide valuable insights into a person's interests and intentions, this doesn't necessarily indicate that they are ready to make a purchase. For intent data to be reliably useful, it needs to be used in conjunction with other types of data, such as demographic and firmographic data, which enable the user to build a more complete picture of a potential customer. And this is not a one-size-fits-all scenario either.

With everyone in sales now looking for an edge that will take them to the next level, intent data is sadly being left behind. Just because you read a blog to learn about how to write the perfect outbound email or the optimal ad frequency for LinkedIn, it doesn’t mean you’re interested in email outreach product or ad agency. Getting the right balance of intent data, relevant to your company and sales team needs a lot more focus to have any value. Sometimes there is no black and white way to measure someone’s interest in your product, so for success you’ll need to start looking outside of the box.

What are sales triggers?

Sales event triggers, or sales trigger data, refers to a range of events that happen to a company, triggering an opportunity for a business change. For a sales professional this can be gold dust as any such trigger can indicate the potential for upselling, new business, and customer acquisition. Sales triggers alert you to outreach opportunities, so you can reach out as soon as ideal buying conditions arise for your prospect. They offer the earliest step in the customer journey for relevant outreach but can also offer market intelligence for competition monitoring too, providing insights and market trends for those monitoring their industry’s position.

Sales triggers are revolutionising the way companies approach sales and customer relationships. Understanding sales triggers, and being able to track them, is paramount to staying ahead in increasingly competitive times and is quickly becoming an integral part of the sales industry. In fact, using sales triggers, you can expect a 3-5x higher outbound success rate compared with other lead gen tools.

Why you should be using sales triggers over intent data

We like to think of the insights sales triggers offer more as pre-intent data, and so should you! Sales triggers get you in the game one step earlier than intent data, and they arm you with the facts earlier than any other data can. Sales triggers highlight when a business will be going through function spend in the next three to six months. So, rather than waiting for a prospect to show ‘intent’, sales triggers let you know in advance when you can expect to see that intent, allowing you to act on it in earlier.

It’s also worth considering that intent data is hypothetical, while sales triggers provide hard facts. Intent data makes assumptions that a prospective buyer is looking for a solution to their situation, based on a series of factors. However, these assumptions can often be circumstantial. With sales triggers, you can act safe in the knowledge that a trigger has already occurred and the optimum time for outreach is now, just ahead of the prospect’s need to buy.

There are many advantages of using sales triggers, not least that they help you to separate hot leads from cold ones and help you avoid waiting in line for a piece of the action. 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. Sales triggers get you into the action ahead of an intent data trigger – meaning you can beat your competition to the line with a three-month head start.

How using sales triggers can help

Increasing your efficiency

Sales triggers get you ahead of the curve right from the off. By presenting pre-intent data, you and your team can be aware of a company’s intent before they even start displaying trackable indicators. With sales triggers you can save yourself the hours on manual searching for news and leads too. Having a system that will track the sales trigger events you’re interested in for you will help you halve the time you spend on prospecting.

Imagine having 400 more productive hours in a year than your rivals. That’s right, an automated sales trigger alert system like Selligence can offer you three weeks of your time back. With all that extra time on your hands, reaching out and building relationships can become your main focus, so tedious research and admin becomes a thing of your past.

Making it personal

Nothing says personal more than a sales rep who has done their homework – they know where the prospect has been, but more importantly they know where they’re heading. Gone are the days of cold calls; using sales triggers, every call you make can be informed, friendly, and insightful. Only 13% of buyers believe a salesperson understands their needs, so using sales triggers will keep you informed on a business' growth strategies and pain points.

A buyer also needs to be personally invested in you. Using sales triggers will also add to your credibility and prove that you’ve taken time to understand their situation. With a timely, personal approach that you can back up with a solid knowledge of their business and market, you’ll definitely be making the right impression. Rather than waiting for a situation to arise, sales triggers let you know when to reach out so you can demonstrate your understanding of their needs at the most optimum point in their growth journey.

Helping you stand out

Being one of the first to speak with a buyer with a deeper understanding of their needs and a clear vision of a solution that meets their needs increases your chances of closing a deal by 74%. Sales event triggers can give you instant alerts so that you can act on these signals immediately, increasing your chances of being first to the post. Waiting for intent data can actually cost you hugely in this respect. Take, for example, a key person change trigger. Most new hires in decision-making positions will spend 70% of their budget in their first 100 days.

So, using this market trigger will allow you to reach out today and put your product or services in front of the right person at the right time just as they are thinking of spending that budget. By waiting for intent data to tell you when it might be the right time, you’ve actually missed months of opportunity. Get ahead of the competition (and the curve) by acting in advance and you’ll start increasing your close rate immediately.

What Selligence does

Sales triggers provide actionable intelligence that keep you ahead of the competition but also allow you to reach out at the right time. At Selligence, we provide the industry-leading answer to sales triggers. We currently track 45 unique sales trigger events - but we go further than that too. Within these individual triggers, we also recognise a further 71 sub-types. That means we can be delivering 116 sales trigger types to you on a daily basis.

Sales triggers enable you to start conversations with buyers as soon as the ideal buying conditions arise, increasing your chances of securing deals by arming you with relevance. Starting conversations with the relevant information and a deeper understanding of your buyer can increase you close rate by upwards of 74%.

With an all-round solution like Selligence, you can not only get hot leads daily, but you can also halve the time you spend on lead gen and prospecting. Selligence Events and Prospecting gives you the ability to unlock more of your target market by identifying unique sales trigger leads at the opportune moment, rather than waiting for an intent data alert. Reaching out ahead of the curve, with the ability to address a prospect’s impending situation, easily multiplies your chances of success.

To learn more about sales triggers and how they can help your close rate, reach out for a demo of the Selligence platform and start uncapping your full sales potential.

Latest resources