Sales Tips
6 mins

What is a Buying Signal and How To Use It In Your Strategy?

Discover buying signals and leverage them to enhance your business strategy, attract potential customers.
    "In the realm of sales, information isn't just power; it's the difference between a missed opportunity and a sealed deal."

    In the fast-paced world of B2B sales, staying ahead of competitors requires more than just a good product or service. It requires the right information, delivered at the right time. The mantra of modern sales success revolves around two pivotal terms: "Personalization" and "Engagement". And at the core of these lies the concept of B2B buyer intent signals.

    The Power of Information

    Having access to the right information and understanding buyer intent signals can provide a significant edge. It helps in:

    • Anticipating Needs: Before the potential buyer even expresses them.
    • Tailored Approaches: Delivering personalized content and solutions that resonate.
    • Optimizing Engagement: Ensuring interactions are timely, relevant, and value-driven.
    • Shortening Sales Cycles: Speeding up decision-making processes and conversion rates.
    • Strengthening Retention: Reducing churn by continually meeting and anticipating client needs.

    What is a buying signal?

    Buying signals suggest an opportunity for sales or indicate that a potential buyer is looking to purchase the product/service.

    In reality, buying signals are more or less complex to track. There are those that are easily identifiable. Some easy signals are verbal and behavioural cues, such as an email response from a prospect, page viewed by a lead or asking questions during a demo.

    But other signals can be more complex to intercept if you don't have the right habits, the right processes and the right stack. Some of these include customer reviews, company news as fundraising or key hiring, or a swap of tools stack.

    It is important to keep in mind that there are frequently crossovers in the categories which an intent signal could fall into. A potential buyer may check all the boxes, or only one or two. If you know the different signals of buyer intent and how they are related to your sales process, you'll be able to make better decisions.

    Different types of buyer intent signals

    Based on your product's marketing strategy, your product or business model, there could be different signals that will become crucial to you.

    1) Demographic

    Demographic data is the most important information every marketer requires for people information. Although it's unlikely to provide details about the buyer's patterns or preferences, it can provide an idea of whether they're in line with your ICP.

    • Name
    • Age
    • Email address
    • Telephone Number
    • Job title
    • Location
    • Employment background
    • Skills

    2) Firmographic

    The firmographic data allows you to segment a company’s information:

    • Type of business B2B / B2C
    • Industry type
    • Number of employees
    • Financial information
    • Geographic Data
    • Number of clients

    3) Technographic Signals

    Technographic information is the type of technology that employees or companies are employing. There are multiples reasons why sales & growth team should collect this kind of data:

    • Knowing this will give a better understanding of the workflow, how it can be improved and what issues they could encounter day-to-day. This is especially important when you're offering a specific solution that others don't offer. For example : you sell a phone solution and your competitor doesn't cover a specific area, you'll be at an advantage when you present your offer (if it answers a pain point).
    • If they don't use a specific tool, you can filter companies to engage or not. For example, you sell to all companies who already have an SEP. You can exclude all companies who don't have SEPs in their stack. This will allow you to customize your approach and focus more on the solutions you can provide.

    4) Event-based

    Events-based intent signals refer to specific company news or people news. If an emerging startup has announced a new round of capital or hired a new Sales leader, it is a clear sign that growth is taking place. If you provide a service or product to help them achieve the plans they have, then it's the perfect opportunity to reach out to connect with them. Examples of events-based signals include:

    • Fundraising
    • New acquisition
    • New hiring
    • New office
    • New position
    • New job

    Keep in mind, if there is no regular update, you most likely are playing with outdated data. Outdated data = late contact, irrelevance due to its age, and a negative image for you and your company on the approach.

    5) Action-based

    Action-based intent signals are actions your prospect/lead/customer takes to show an interest. In some cases, they can also talk about their pain points with software review or social media. In any case, these actions take place along the customer journey, at any step in your pipeline and independent of the funnel. Because these actions are generally related to the top of your funnel, it is important to know that there are a lot of new emergent signals coming from BOFU and post-conversion. Examples of intent-based action signals include:

    • Page view on your website
    • Forms on your website
    • Time spent on your website/application
    • Visiting X pages
    • Using chatbot
    • Customer survey
    • Attendee on webinar/event/podcast
    • Searching specific keywords
    • Reply to specific emails
    • Social media activity

    This is a great way to increase your presence and awareness of the actions and to ensure your sales representatives spend time with customers who are in a position to solve their pains.

    6) Humanlinker buying signals

    At Humanlinker, we employ an entirely different approach to identifying signals. We crawl the web to extract high quality buying signals from your contacts & accounts territory. Our team will provide you with the name of one of your contacts, their company, job title, email address, LinkedIn account URL, phone number and the tools stack of their company. In addition, you'll also know which labels and signals they are interacting with. This data can help you effectively sell to them and align your marketing and sales.

    The B2B customer journey is extremely complicated, which is why we use cross-referencing from multiple sources to determine and deliver high-quality signals about your territory.

    → If we see a new sales manager, this could be an important signal for you to start a conversation with this company

    → If we see a new partnership enacted, it could be a signal of the intention of an employee engagement business.

    → If we find out from a video or podcast that a company will hire 50 new people to focus on IT Security in the next quarter, that could be a perfect prospect for a team selling recruitment solutions or HR Services.

    Overall, these data signals can eliminate the uncertainty of prospecting and give you a real competitive advantage over your competitors

    How can you use this information to leverage your actions?

    At this stage of the article, you have a lot of information : data on companies, on people and events... but what can I concretely do with it?

    Macro strategic vision :

    → A better understand of the sector and its activities

    → By highlighting certain buying signals you will see the relevance of attacking new targets and personas.

    → Prioritize leads & accounts with multiple business signals and put a score behind the information to add further relevance to your lead scoring on the CRM.

    → With BI tools or CRM reports, you will be able to detect common patterns that will allow you to act on the buying signal in question. ( Ex: I see that my targets are partnering with IT players -> I create more value on topics related to IT players (event, podcast, webinar) )

    → Identify upsell opportunities based on new hiring and new fundraising

    Micro-operational vision :

    → Quite basic and known to all, retargeting on specific buyings : A visitor has seen my pricing page more than 5 times without asking for a demo or signing up ----> audience pool to retarget with testimonials to prove your efficiency

    → Create specific workflows based on a buying signal pattern E.g.: if a company has just raised funds in sector X, then a workflow of tasks will be assigned to me with the aim of interacting with the key person. In contrast and depending on the buying signals, you can adapt the approach to the target sector. If one sector responds faster than another, then reduce the cycle of your workflows and the number of touchpoints.

    → Getting information about business signals for the future (sales motion)

    → Customize approaches by business-industry verticals & by pains-solved

    → Create content according to emerging events (HR / Fundraising / New Offices )

    → Add specific touchpoints based on buying signals

    → Review these ABM processes to add more granularity to the content, or the number of touchpoints

    → Automate contact based on an event

    → Create Sales message templates with high personalization on the basis of events

    → Create chatbots-surveys by verticals and by targets

    Where can you find these Signals?

    You will have a number of solutions that allow you to find this information. Here are some recommendations for how to get some of them:

    Install your LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Hubspot and Clearbit pixels. (free)

    With these pixels, you will be able to collect the people who visit your pages, have demographic data, firmogaphic and create specific audience pools.

    Scraping the web to get event signals

    1. HR: Scouring the Job Market

    • Objective: Understand industry hiring trends, skill demand, and competitor growth strategies.
    • Tools & Techniques: Many scripts or Lonescale, Mantiks. 
    • Job Boards: Regularly scrape sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn Jobs to analyze new hires, required tools, and primary missions of potential competitors or partners.

    2. Fundraising: Keeping a Finger on the Financial Pulse

    • Objective: Stay updated on companies' financial health, new investments, and investor landscapes.
    • Tools & Techniques: Many scripts..
    • Dealroom & Crunchbase: For detailed fundraising data, investor profiles, and company financials.
    • Google Finance: Provides stock market insights, financial news, and company metrics.
    • LinkedIn: Company pages often update significant financial milestones and partnerships.
    • Google Crawls: Automated searches to detect any new financial news related to target companies.

    3. Partnership/Involvement: Staying Updated in Your Industry

    • Objective: Keep abreast of industry news, trends, and partnership opportunities.
    • Tools & Techniques: Reveal..
    • News Aggregators: Tools like Feedly or Google Alerts can be set up to crawl various industry-related news sources.

    4. Tech-Stack: Deciphering the Digital Blueprint

    • Objective: Understand the digital tools and platforms used by target companies or competitors.
    • Tools & Techniques: BuiltWith, StoreLeads, Wappalyzer, NerdyData, Slintel: These platforms provide insights into the technologies websites are using, from analytics tools to eCommerce platforms.

    5. SEO: Peeking Behind Web Traffic and Strategies

    • Objective: Gauge the online presence, keyword strategies, and backlink profiles of targets.
    • Tools & Techniques:
    • SEMrush, Ahrefs, SimilarWeb: These platforms offer comprehensive SEO insights, from keyword rankings to website traffic sources.

    6. Competitor Reviews: Listening to the Voice of the Market

    • Objective: Understand what customers are saying about competitors or industry products.
    • Tools & Techniques:
    • G2, Capterra, Reviewflowz: Platforms where users leave reviews about software and services, offering genuine insights into product strengths and weaknesses.

    In conclusion, using buying signals is important for companies because it can help them identify potential customers, tailor their sales approach, and increase the relevance of outbound tactics. By paying attention to these buying signals, B2B companies can gain a better understanding of their potential customers' needs and tailor their messages,content or services accordingly. A personalized approach is often seen as more effective because it shows the customer that the company values their individual needs and is willing to go the extra mile to provide a tailored solution.

    Overall, using buying signals can be a valuable asset for B2B companies looking to effectively connect with and sell to their target audience.

    David Lopes
    Head of growth
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