April 4, 2023

What are Sales Triggers and why you need to be tracking them: Part 8, Key Person Changes

20 min read
Welcome to our 23rd episode of The Sales Syndicate Podcast. In this episode, Jamie Pagan, Associate Director of Marketing at Selligence, sits down with Nic Biffen for the next installment of our sales trigger deep dive series.

This week, the pair run through Key Person Changes sales triggers.

Changes in senior positions within a company can be an indicator of upcoming shifts in strategies and products and could provide an insight on future growth areas or the need for new tools and solutions for the team/ company. They are also a great place to start if you are looking for a decision maker to reach out to for new sales opportunities.

Change Company

If you have an existing contact who makes the move to a different company this is the perfect opportunity to reach out and explain how you can help them make an impact in their new role.


News of a promotion can give you the name of a new decision-maker to approach or, if the person promoted is already a satisfied customer, they may be able to extend the use of your product within the organisation.

Step Down

Perhaps not an obvious sales trigger, but somebody stepping down from a senior role will usually mean a new hire to replace them. The incoming executive will likely be open to new ideas that will help them to prove their value.


The retirement of any member of the senior management team will make an impact – whether the retiree will be replaced, and by whom, provides valuable insight into what’s going on behind the scenes and potential strategy changes.

Board Appointment

A new Board member may could signal a new direction for the company. The Board member’s expertise or business interests can indicate where the business’ focus could lie, and therefore where funds could be allocated.

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Hello and welcome to, I believe episode 23 of the SalesCyntical podcast. We're going to be jumping right back into another sales trigger, talking with Nick Biffin. This week it is key person changes, which is definitely, would we say, fashionable at the minute? Definitely. It is definitely fashionable. I think it's probably underused as well within a lot of organizations. A lot of people talk about it.


will actually action it at the right time? That would probably be my biggest question. Okay. So just to give a very, very top level overview of key person changes, we're talking about, I think, five different subtypes that we're tracking here at Sellegence. The first of which is a changing company, exactly what it says on the tin, a promotion, a step down retirement,


perhaps level of intent or triggering event, but we'll kick things off with, I would say, you know, based on that sort of claim of it being fashionable, I think that changing company is perhaps the one that's being talked about most at the minute. So what are we looking out for? What does it mean when a prospect changes company? A couple of different things to think about, first and foremost, but also some key things to track.


selling to and what you're trying to track throughout all of this really are key stakeholders and decision makers, ultimately as salespeople. Those are the people that you want to be targeting with building relationships because they're going to help carry your name through. If you are doing that and you're tracking individuals that you've sold to previously that have held budget, for example, and you're tracking them and they've changed company, it's a great indicator first and foremost because you already have the relationship.


you. And ultimately within that space as well, this probably goes right the way throughout. If an individual has left their previous company at their own will and they've moved to an organization, there is a reason why they have done that. They are typically probably stepping into a bigger role, but that new company has also hired them for a reason. That may be


wasn't quite up to scratch or perhaps didn't make the impact that they had promised. So this new individual now is moving into this role with a good target on their back, but with good intentions, but a clear direction of what needs to take place. So now they are going into this new organization and they're in there for a reason. They've got to change things. They've probably got to fix something that wasn't working.


to do that. Typically, they're going to need to rip up the rule book. They're going to need to change things around. They're going to need to change systems, processes and everything in between. So if that is the instance and this is something you've sold to previously, you probably can't get a stronger trigger that that is somebody that you want to be speaking to and sooner rather than later. I was going to say in terms of if it's a prospect that you're aware of that you've connected


the stat that we're seeing is it's something like three times more likely for something that you already have an existing relationship with to buy compared with someone who you're reaching out too cold. 100%. And ultimately, if you have built the relationship correctly, then there's a fantastic


life really easy. But if you've got that existing relationship with somebody, you know how they work. You know, hopefully if they haven't sold you a load of crap and you know, have been very honest around where the product is, what the product roadmap is going to be and all what their services offer, then you know, you are 10 steps forward to a degree than any other competitor that's trying to get in there as well. And this is sort of a, I guess a hybrid between the changing company, perhaps the promotion


is changing company and they're going into a new executive role, a company. And that's again, a very, very high intent, I guess, a pre-intent high value triggering event. Again, I think the status is something like new execs that go into roles spend 70% of their budget in the first hundred days. Do you want to just talk us through the reasons for that?


It will come with pressure, but they will have outlined in terms of what their experience is. They will understand in terms of what challenges that company is currently facing and where needs the immediate impact. Now, likely within that, if they are an exec, key stakeholder, somebody that holds budget, they will have had that conversation within the interview process to say that I can do this, but what budget do I get from day one? What am I allowed to do? What can I change? Where can I start to have that immediate impact?


that's very much going to be part of that conversation. So within that stage, and we covered this a lot, I think within our intent data versus sales triggers as well, but the idea of being notified on day one when that individual's joined that business is golden, because the minute you have that, let's be honest, they're gonna get their feet under the table for the first week or two, probably scope out the business


different departments work and all that side. But ultimately, post that two weeks, they are going to be thinking, okay, what can I bring in? What can I really start to change and have that immediate effect? So that's gonna be the big, big focus for them in the initial couple of weeks. Okay, so to follow on from sort of that conversation then, if we're talking about someone who is at a company and gets promotion, that particular event, what's that gonna tell us or indicate?


This would probably be understanding a little bit more before that. Firstly, actually, what role have they moved up in? Do they hold budget initially? What's the impact of that? What happened to the individuals who they've stepped into? Did they leave of their own accord? Did they leave because perhaps they parted ways with the company? These different factors will then feed into that conversation. So dependent on pretty much factors that we've just ran through will shape that conversation.


If the person above them has left not of their own accord, and they're getting promoted into that role, again, they're going to be expected to maintain the business as it is in terms of general processes and how the team operates, but they're probably going to have a bit more of a say in terms of how can they start to reshape or change things that perhaps weren't working amongst the team. And actually where you've got somebody that stepped up in that promotion from that instance,


going to have a much more of an idea from the actual, let's say on the ground to a degree in terms of what are the pain points within that team and so forth. So I'll know where they need to perhaps implement new tools. To touch on your point of things not working, let's just say you've been trying to get into a company that's on your hit list of 50 accounts that you really, really want to get into. The person that you've previously tried reaching out to, you're banging heads, you can't get


is newly promoted into that role, again, it's a great opportunity to try and reach out and build that connection. Exactly that, and ultimately, you might not have any mutual connections, let's say on LinkedIn, everybody has mutual connections, but people actually that you do network with, perhaps that new individual coming in, you have, so you can start to get these introductions through to parties, through perhaps people you've done business with previously, et cetera, then it starts to become,


well. Next one down the list is step down, which I guess is either a precursor to a promotion. Potentially someone stepped down, someone's promoted. Or again, if someone stepped down from a role, they could potentially move to another company.


Yeah, it's, you know, again, this probably feeds into, you know, what we've discussed over the previous two. So, you know, what's the reason for them stepping down? Who is then stepping up into that role? You know, certainly, if it's a senior role, decision maker, you know, somebody who holds budget, there's going to need to be somebody within that role. So again, you know, what are the implications of that? Why is that happening? But then starting to build those new relationships or introductions into the person that's, that's taken that, that place. But ultimately, again,


person coming into that, they're going to have their own ideas, they're going to want to put their own stamp on that role. Or is that a reason why that person has stepped down? Is there perhaps expectations at work, meta, et cetera? Then very similar, I guess, slightly different tone would be retirement. So this could be someone who's been in role for 20 or 30 years, which would be a huge change. Or it could just be someone who's been in role three years, you know, they're just sort of finishing up their career.


This is probably a very interesting one and this isn't to be stereotypical, but typically retirement generally people will at that time they would have been in that company for a good period of time. Often it's stuff that they implemented many years ago and actually it's seen the company through, it's seen it through fine, they're quite happy and they bow out gracefully.


new person comes in, is it perhaps, and not in all cases, but is it a case that perhaps there's older systems in place, there's older processes, perhaps there's newer features and things that they weren't aware of? It's a nice, easy way if you can start to understand and you can track that where there is probably the opportunity to really step in and improve


The last one on the list is board appointment, which I guess is a slightly different kettle of fish altogether. Yeah, so board appointment, coming at a couple of different points within a company's journey. One as a company grows, they will look to grow out more specialist areas than they had in more junior times.


but within their specialisms. So within that, they will start to notice cracks as a company is growing fast and expanding quickly, but that is exactly why they have been brought in. So if your service or offering that you're selling into the market fits that persona that has stepped into that role, and it's a newly created role, get in touch because there will be


trajectory, it will be things that have been neglected. So that would be the big one. The flip side to that as well, if you've got somebody being appointed more from an advisory perspective, within that, I would probably argue as well that there are a few cracks within that organization where they have been brought in to oversee what is happening, how the business is working. And you'll probably start to see, you know, maybe not immediately,


there's probably a high chance that you'll start to see some senior appointments that will have a change around over the coming six to 12 months. Okay, so we've talked through five of the, I guess, the key categories of key person change. Now let's have a quick chat about how you would go about tracking them in terms of the legwork, the intricacies of how it's done before we move


Yeah, probably to be honest, the best with this would be the likes of LinkedIn. You know, certainly if you've got Sales Navigator, I've always built a literally a list of people that I've sold to, set it up with alerts in terms of a lead list, and as soon as they move role, it notifies you. But you know, typically not always, but as people move into a new business, new role, they'll update their LinkedIn profile and it's going to tell you.


can keep on top of that and you are absolutely rigid with it to build out that list and ultimately, you know, keep in touch as well. That's where you're going to start to see and build that up over time. It is a dependent on tenure within a business because typically these people aren't going to move every six months. But you know, if you can start to play the long game, then you know, over time, start to build that out, it will start to pay dividends. Yeah, I was going to say, I guess the downside of that is you have to know who they are before


list. So you're only really, you're only aware of job changes for the people that are already on your list. Whereas, you know, if you're able to track your entire market in terms of companies you didn't even know existed with new executives or sector, I guess that's the bit where the very manual side of it, the legwork sort of comes into it. Yeah, exactly. And it's more, you know,


changing them. If they're an advisor or let's say a senior exec that sat on the board perhaps, the likelihood of them really updating that on LinkedIn is probably not going to happen. It's going to be more within like news articles or like updates on company websites, that's the type of thing. That's where you're going to notice that. But if you are looking for somebody that's in the day-to-day grind, let's say of that organization, heads of,


is perhaps some people at board level, then those are the types of individuals that you can start to track on the likes of LinkedIn. Okay. Then let's flip it slightly. I just want to touch on the recent developments we've had in certainly because we have trapped the key person changes for quite some time now, one of the 116 triggers that we do track, but we've made some recent advancements in that whereby we're now pulling a lot more.


I guess we're not going to go necessarily into the intricacies of how that happens. In terms of the value that that brings you as a rep or a recruiter, can you just talk through that particular trigger within the platform? Yeah. Again, this is very dependent, to be fair, on your sector as such and how niche or how broad that can go. But if you're within an organization where you're selling a product


used in millions and millions of businesses, the chance of you, well, you'll never have that market fully mapped out. There's always new businesses growing, there's new things happening. And then, if it is that big, then how are you tracking all those individuals? You're just not. So, the ability to have that just brought to you based on market segment in real time is an absolute game changer. But again, the flip side, those people have


know, where you're managing 100 accounts or 200 accounts, what kind of granularity are your team actually getting into? Are they digging to find out that kind of information or is it something you're noticing a couple of weeks down the line? Do you know that they're moving? Again, having that in real time can aid that. If your staff or sales reps are very, very good at that, then fantastic. But it does provide a bit of a safety blanket to ensure that that is actually taking place.


And I just, whilst you were sort of running through that, I just did a quick search on the platform for market movers based out of the UK or filtered down to the UK in the software industry. And I can see even here like today, today, today, today, and you're looking at losing VPs of sales, VPs of sales moving, VP of data, moving from Tide across to Sten.


context in terms of the level we've got. Yeah, it's just SnapLogic appointing, I'm not going to go appointing John as AVP of East. For example, we've got head of DevOps and these are great roles for you to be reaching out with in terms of that VP, those director levels, those heads of, as we've already sort of discussed, brand new or they're new into the position.


And this, that first hundred days is so imperative and we've got, you know, tens of leads there where the announcement or that move has come today, which is the prime, you know, prime time. Yeah, I was literally, you know, ability to actually even drill down into really specific job titles. I was speaking to somebody earlier that, you know, operates across the DAC region. They're like, yeah, that, you know, manage accounts, that's all I know. They're actually tracking CISOs and pulled it up.


out, well, I didn't know about any of those today. I was like, well, there we are. And he's got that information by earlier than 10 AM in the morning. He's probably done his BD hour. And then it's like, oh yeah, okay. I didn't know about any of that. So there's a load of stuff in to action this afternoon. And you've got that income in each and every single day. Yeah. And I think like you were saying with LinkedIn, you've got a list of people that you've sold to before and you're monitoring them, but it's about those that you don't know about.


to filter it down into job titles, locations, industries, verticals in a matter of seconds and then save that as a search and have that delivered to you daily. I think it's like we've already discussed. They're spending 70% of their budget in the first 100 days. Previous customers are three times more likely to buy. The results speak for themselves.


episode. Join us on the next episode where we, I think we're probably maybe a third of the way down the list of the sales trigger sort of deep dive. So plenty more to go. We'll be old men by the time we get through it all, but hopefully you'll find them interesting. But yeah, thanks for joining.

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