10 Triggers to double your Cold Email Response rates

When it comes to cold email prospecting, timing can be everything. And we are not talking about whether you need to send your emails at 9 am on Tuesday morning or on a Saturday. We are talking about reaching your prospect at that exact time when they need your product or offering. You may be building the most innovative product since sliced bread and you may be writing cold emails like Don Draper.

But none of these matter if you reach your prospect at a time when they have no need for what you offer. On the other hand, if you can find prospects, just as they are starting to feel the pain that you can solve, then your prospect will actually welcome and respond to your cold outreach.

Here are the responses to the same email sent to 2 different prospects (similar customer profiles).

The difference between these two was purely timing. We reached the first prospect just as he was starting to think about scaling his outbound prospecting. The intent and excitement is clearly visible in the tone of the reply. And the second prospect, clearly not the right time to approach.

So how can you identify the right time to approach? The answer lies in identifying and keeping track of Trigger Events. These are events and signals which you can use to your advantage to find out which prospect is ripe for an outreach now.

The additional advantage of tracking these triggers is that you can actually use these in your cold emails and personalize your email content.

You can clearly notice that your cold outreach with a trigger is more personal and relevant.

Here are 10 buying signals/triggers that you can watch for. Identify which of these triggers are relevant for your business and when you find a prospect who ticks the relevant boxes, it is time to add them to your favorite cadence.

A Pro Guide on How to Write a Cold Email in 2023

Trigger 1: New Technology Adoption Triggers

Knowing what technology products/ platforms are being rolled out at your prospect account lets you know whether the timing is right to talk about either competing or allied products that you may offer.

For example: Do you compete with Hubspot or provide a software which integrates well/ is complementary to Hubspot? Then knowing which companies are currently trialing the software can give you a timing advantage on when to reach these prospects.

Using technology like Datanyze/ Builtwith etc, you can keep track of companies which are buying new technology.

Referring to this data point in your cold emails makes it more relevant and personalized. You can send the prospect a targeted mail which will let the prospect know that you have researched about them.

Trigger 2: Regulation/Legal Triggers

Regulatory changes are big opportunities for young scrappy companies to fight established vendors.

For example Obamacare provided a growth opportunity for a lot of HR tech vendors to determine which employees were eligible and which ones were not.

You can set up keyword alerts related to regulatory changes or listening filters on social media to track these events effectively. Use such triggers to your advantage, by referencing them in your email.

Trigger 3: Personnel Change Triggers

New hires/senior management exits are all signals about the priorities of any organization.

Just hired a new VP of Marketing? Chances are they may be increasing their marketing budget.

Hired a new CFO? They may be in the market for that financial dashboard tool that you may be selling.

Keeping an eye out for key management changes gives you an inside edge when it comes to picking the right timing for your outreach.

Trigger 4: Open Position Triggers

If new hires is a lagging indicator, then open job positions is a leading indicator of focus areas and growth challenges inside your prospect account.

For example, when a new SDR position opens up, it indicates a scaling of outbound as a channel, which we then use to reach out prospects. When a new job requirement for a VP of sales shows up, you can be sure that there will be requirements for sales management tool.

Trigger 5: Growth Triggers

New product launches, service announcements, entering into new market segments, mergers and acquisitions are various indicators of growth.

Use such triggers to add more context to your outreach and make it more personal/ timely.

Trigger 6: Headcount Triggers

Do you provide a service where the sweet spot is companies that employ over a 100 people?

Find a way to keep track of this data from sources like Owler and then as the company’s headcount grows to your sweet spot number, reach out to them. Some times, you may be interested in the headcount of certain departments. For example number of customer service representatives.

You can keep track of these on LinkedIn, company Facebook pages, etc and when they cross your threshold you can reach out to them.

Trigger 7: Financial Triggers

The latest quarterly financial results and performance commentary of a company can give insights on the key challenges and focus areas. If you are focused on large public companies, then keeping an eye on these can give you valuable triggers on profitability trends, budgets, cash flows and growth forecasts. All of which can help you reach your prospect just at the right time.

Prospects will be looking to overturn a bad financial quarter or they will be looking to reach certain target for the financial quarter, etc.

Trigger 8: Funding Triggers

A new round of funding is a signal of a company’s evolution to the next level. It is an indicator of both budget and timing (2 out of the 4 qualification criteria in the BANT methodology).

Funding rounds often imply aggressive growth targets and investment in new technologies / services/ people to meet these – all of which you can use to your advantage.

Trigger 9: Event/Conferences Triggers

The types of events your prospects attends provide insights into what issues they are facing. Did your prospect attend Dreamforce or Inbound or Saastr?

This will provide insights into what they are looking to improve or implement further in their company. For example, Dreamforce attendees may be potentially in the market for new technology vendors for their sales teams.

Trigger 10: Vendor Dissatisfaction Triggers

Is your prospect complaining about dissatisfaction with the current vendor? Now is the time to make a move, make it seamless for your prospect to switch over to you and more importantly address the reason why they are dis-satisfied with the current vendor’s offering.

Setup alerts on Google alerts, monitor your competitor hashtags/handles on social media closely. Also keep track of forums where your competitors’ users frequent and keep track of signs of dissatisfaction.

Tips on Using Trigger Events Effectively to Improve Your Response Rates

When using trigger events, the key to scaling is to use technology to keep track of prospects and companies who exhibit the most relevant signals for you.

Various tools you can use are: Google Alerts, LinkedIn, Glassdoor job alerts, tweet deck, Facebook, Owler, Gagein, etc to monitor news feeds and social media alerts.

It is just not enough if you track trigger events efficiently, you also have act on them quickly. If not, there will always be someone ahead of you in the game and you will lose a golden opportunity to make a sale happen. Prospects will always tend to prefer the first viable company that approaches them in such a situation.

Forrester Research shows the odds of winning the sale are 74% when you reach your prospects at the right time and help set their buying vision.  You can read about it here.


Improving response rates effectively can make a huge difference to your email campaigns.

Start using these triggers in your cold email campaigns and you will overwhelmed by the increase in your response rates.

Any other effective triggers that you have used to get amazing response rates?

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