As Derek rolled into the office one morning with coffee in hand he wondered who he should be targeting that day for some news on which companies might be coming up for sale in the marketplace. Derek fired up his email and instantly spotted one of his many auto-alerts on  XYZ Corporation. He notices that XYZ has announced another key senior leader defection from the company. That was the third one this month. Derek is an investment banker and notices that key leader departures from a company in rapid succession may indicate that the company is about to be sold.  Derek places some calls with his contacts at XYZ to fish for some information and found that indeed the owner is exploring options to sell the company. Derek is able to set up a meeting the following week to see if he can help.

As sales executives who prospect we really need to stay on top of what is changing and evolving in our prospects’ companies and industries. What advanced sales executives typically look for are ‘trigger events’ within their prospects’ company or industry that they can capitalize on. The sales executive will position their services to help solve a problem that the trigger event created. A trigger event can be any event that might affect your prospect.

Examples of typical trigger events might be an industry event such as a merger or acquisition. Did your prospect buy another company? Perhaps they were bought? Another example could be a promotion or departure of someone within the company etc. What if the CFO of your prospect was somewhat of a roadblock for you selling your services within that company and you found out through an alert that he just parted ways with the company?

Some other good examples of trigger events to look for can be any of the following:

  • New people hired, typically for prominent roles
  • A new customer announcement that your prospect is going to do business with
  • An expansion to a new location
  • A competitive move or strategy within their industry
  • Moving into a new market
  • Financial announcement such as quarterly earnings that missed their mark
  • An analyst report published on the company with some juicy news
  • A major development within their industry

The traditional way of trying to stay on top of  these events in the past was to pick up a newspaper and read through the business section. Then came along Google Alerts and all sorts of copycat services which does a darn good job of shooting you an email when something hits Internet news that you created an alert for.

Today we have social media far beyond what Google Alerts was intended to give us alerts for. There are modern alerting tools with functionality to give us alerts on our prospects for far more than just the Web. Today these new tools can cover your searches in all of the following:

  • Blog posts
  • Forums
  • Twitter
  • Videos from sites like YouTube
  • News sites such as Yahoo
  • Facebook
  • Image sites

These can provide deep and rich searches with many more results than just the web. You’ll be able to see what people are saying about your prospects’ services, employees, trends and whatever other updates there are. If people are talking about it then chances are you’ll find out about it. This holds true for not only your prospects but your own company as well in case you’re curious about what others are saying about your employer or business.

Auto-alerts also allows you to check out what your competition is doing. With knowledge comes great power so use that power wisely 🙂

A few free examples of these powerhouse tools I use are Mention which provides a free downloadable application. If you need instantaneous results you can also use the web based Social Mention.

These tools can be invaluable in finding trigger events the very day they transpire. If we’re in the business of providing value then I think half the battle we face is presenting that value at the right time. Alerting services can provide nice leverage in winning that battle so use alerting services often to your full advantage! People need your help and your employer needs you to help clear the mystery of finding new business!

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