Nothing is harder to sell around than a prospect unwilling or unready to buy. A company that checks every box in your Ideal Customer Profile doesn’t hold weight if the decision maker isn’t in a position to sign a deal with you now. According to HubSpot, as many as 25 percent of the deals that are marked closed-lost are because of timing, or rather, the lack of it.
What is a Buying Signal?
Buying signals are events that indicate an opportunity for you as a salesperson to reach out to a prospect. Buying signals help you determine when a company is likely to need your product or service so that you can focus on the accounts most likely to turn into paying customers now.
Buying signals help you determine when a company is likely to need your offer.
There are cases in which the stars align and decisions are made quickly to result in closed deals. This is the exception and not the rule though, as it isn’t often that the timeline you’re working on matches up with the timeline of your prospect.
The reason why buying signals should serve as your sixth sense during sales prospecting is simply that changes within a company (recruiting, funding round, expansion, new product release, merger or acquisition) open up a window of opportunity to do sales. Look for companies matching your Ideal Customer Profile that recently sent out a buying signal that indicates they have an increased need for your product or service now. Do so, and see increases in hit-rate in every step of the sales process.
If you aren't yet convinced, read through this article to find out more about the instant benefits we've witnessed when companies follow buying signals. This article makes up the fifth chapter of our 60-page ebook The Ultimate Guide to Sales Prospecting.
What Buying Signals Indicate a Good Lead for You? (Examples)
In the same way there’s no universal Ideal Customer Profile, buying signals that indicate a solid opportunity for you depend on your company’s offer, what companies you go after and your method of doing sales. You’ll have to do some legwork on your end to understand what signs to look for, that uptick in buying probability.
A first step to determine what buying signals to keep an eye out for is to look closer at your existing customers — again, the same way to approach building an Ideal Customer Profile. What happened in their organizations before they became customers? If you know your customers well you might already know the answer but, even if that’s the case, make sure to validate your gut feeling with data-insights before you make this hunch your truth.
If you can identify an actionable lead through one, or a series of signals, using this data should be the basis of your prospecting. Once you find a correlation between a happy new customer and a buying signal, you'll find a large number of warm, actionable leads.
Here're a few examples:
Offering recruitment services?Look for companies that expand and are about to open up an office in a new location, they will need to increase their employee base. (For more inspiration, read our case studies with Academic Work and aTalent!)
Working in the transport industry?Look for companies initiating a new construction project or ones that are opening up a new production facility. In this article we share more in-depth prospecting tips for transportation and logistic companies.
Selling the real estate industry?Look for companies that have recently hired many new employees or, on the contrary, recently were forced to do significant downsizings. They might need a new office space suitable for their current organization. (Have a look at our case study with the real estate company Cresnia!)
Lead generation is useless if you don’t do anything with the leads. Make sure you’ve got a solid plan for how key buying signals are followed by a sales action, preferably within 24 hours from when you receive a lead. Your whole team should commit to the chose sales process.
Use buying signals to prioritize which companies to contact first
When you already have a long list of leads, buying signals help you know what companies to prioritize now. Start by looking at your current customer base and see what happened at the organization during that time (which buying signal occurred) when signed a deal with you. You can later use these signals as criteria for filtering actionable leads out of a longer list of leads. Read more about prioritizing accounts with account scoring here.
Many signals have a best-before date. In Vainu you can do detailed searches, filtering companies with specific features and signals that occurred in a specific time frame. For instance, you can find all companies that moved to a new office last week, or who recruited a new Head of HR in January.
Not all signals indicate a great time to contact a company; some signals will actually tell you the opposite and when you should not reach out. For example, if you’re a real estate company, don’t call prospects who just moved to a new office to offer them assistance on finding a new one.
The best salespeople strategically use buying signals, modern technologies and data to increase their chances of landing at the right place at the right time.
Smarter sales conversations by understanding buying signals
Customers are getting smarter and more selective, meaning your sales tactics need to also be smarter right alongside them. Not only do sales signals help you find the right companies to contact right now, they also help you carry out smarter conversations with those companies. By knowing what’s going on inside of an organization you’re targeting, you can tailor your pitch based on their current situation. The prospect will feel like you understand their business, which is extremely valuable for building trust.
Vainu extends far beyond helping you just find accounts that recently went through a specific change. With the negative search function, you can exclude companies that recently went through one or a series of events from your search results. In other words, you can search for companies matching your Ideal Customer Profile and also don’t have any recent buying signals indicating that now is not a good time to reach out. This means you no longer have to waste any time on sales prospecting or processing bad leads.
Buying signals are windows of opportunity for sales people. A buying signal can be a piece of news about internationalization, a recruitment ad that increases the need for your service, a new technology a company uses on their website or anything that's relevant for your sales. Simply put, when a buying signal is released, your changes of selling are peaking. Buying signals are the embodiment of "timing is everything in sales". By structuring your sales according to buying signals, you'll automatically prioritize the most relevant accounts at any time. This should also please the customers as you'll always be contacting them when they've need for your service.