How to Recognize and Respond to Buying Signals (and Close More Deals!)

You’re about to get that hot lead on the phone. You’re armed with your prospect’s buying signals, right? 

What Are Customer Buying Signals?

By definition, buying signals are the actions potential customers take that indicate they’re close to making a purchase. 

They’re customers’ verbal buying signals—the cues your sales agent homes in on when talking to a prospect.

And they’re online buying signals—the data trail—that prospective buyers leave as they research solutions online.

Your marketing and sales teams need both.

Let’s break that down.

Buying signals in marketing are essential for qualifying leads by showing prospective buyers the right content at the perfect time.

Buying signals in sales combine verbal cues and intent data, positioning your team to tailor prospect-focused communications.

For instance, buyers are 67% more likely to accept a meeting if the pitch is customized to their situation, says HubSpot

Additionally, teams that harness the buying cues benefit from more precise and efficient sales cycles. 

These efficient processes are critical, considering that more than three-quarters of surveyed B2B buyers described a recent purchase as “very complex or difficult.” 

The team that swoops in and provides the buyer with perfectly timed, relevant content is one step ahead of the competition’s clunkier buying process.

Read on to discover how your marketing and sales teams can close more leads by recognizing and responding to prospects’ buying signals. 

How to Spot Buying Signals

When B2B buyers need to solve a problem, they start researching online. They visit websites where they read blog posts, watch product videos, or download a guide. 

Given that nearly 90% of pre-purchase research is done on the internet, this online content consumption is a significant signal for understanding buyer intent. 

For every action a prospect takes, they create a trail of intent data across the internet. These behavior-based buying signals are a goldmine for your sales and marketing teams.

What Are Examples of Data-Based Buying Signals

When you consistently identify and interpret B2B buying signals, you create more predictive strategies for both sales and marketing. And you improve your ROI. 

Here’s a snapshot of buying signals.

  1. Fit Data: From technographic data to firmographic data to demographics, this includes all the different ways of segmenting and scoring prospects. 
  2. Opportunity data: These indicate favorable conditions within an organization for a sale, such as company events or leadership changes. All of these signals show optimal conditions for a sale.
  3. Intent Data: This tells you that people are actively showing intent to purchase a solution. It’s crucial because it shows that the timing is right to reach out and connect. 
  4. Behavioral Signals: Buyers with pain points seek out informational content—from blog posts to ebooks to webinars. These digital footprints signal behaviors that can inform sales and marketing tactics. 
Chart displaying interaction of fit, intent, and opportunity data.

How Do You Access Buyer Intent Data? 

You can gather buyer intent data in a couple of ways. You’re probably already collecting first-party data from your website. That might include using analytics tools to determine visitors’ time on-page or managing email sign-ups in your CRM. 

The most straightforward way to access buying signals data is through a third-party vendor. 

Every week, vendors collect and aggregate internet search activity from thousands of B2B websites and online publishers, creating a baseline for content consumption. 

Related: How Business Search Behavior has Shifted During the Coronavirus

How to Respond to Buying Signals

Accessing a visitor’s intent data helps marketing understand where B2B decision-makers are in the buying cycle. With that intel, they can prime their MQL pipeline with a stream of interested prospects before handing the leads over to sales.

Consider this.

What if you knew that a key contact was researching solutions like yours…BEFORE they filled out your inbound form?” says Russell Van Leuven, General Manager, ZoomInfo.

Marketing and sales would meld their communication expertise with prospects’ intent data to take more sales over the finish line. 

Here’s what that would look like on the ground.

1.  Identify new prospects 

Prospects’ intent signals help you determine who’s researching your solution (or the competition’s)—before they fill out your lead-gen form or interact with your sales development rep(SDR). 

This takes the guesswork out of who to target in your marketing campaigns. Sales then gets qualified leads they can close sooner. 

2. Target your most valuable leads

Using the predictive data, you can set up your lead-scoring model to prioritize the companies that show genuine interest and purchasing intent.

Maybe they’re interested in a particular product. They visit your product page multiple times, and they download the whitepaper.

By tapping into the intent data, your sales team tracks the prospect’s activity, get’s a visual on the score, and makes a timely and productive call. 

3. Re-engage dormant opportunities

Remember the lead that seemed promising but didn’t buy? What buying signals are they giving off, allowing you to renew your connection and close the sale?

For example, a prospect downloads your free trial. But they don’t use it. Your sales agent follows up to learn why the lead didn’t use the product. 

Armed with intent-data intel, such as the other sites the prospect is considering, the agent knows how to shape the conversation and move the sale forward.    

4. Retain (and delight) existing customers

The customers you’ve worked hard to win will make other purchases. See in real-time what they’re researching so you can create up-sell opportunities and keep them excited about your product. 

Customers’ purchase intent data will also help you pick up on any issues that might cause them to abandon a subscription renewal and go elsewhere. That includes gathering intel from social media posts and reviews. 

If your customer success team knows what customers are saying about their experience with your brand—good and bad—the follow-up is targeted, resulting in delighted customers.  

The Bottom Line: Buying Signals Help You Close More B2B Sales (sooner) 

When you tune into your prospects’ behaviors and intents, you position yourself to provide timely, highly focused marketing and sales service.

Ultimately, your teams will ensure the prospective customer sees your content early in the buying cycle—content that catches the lead’s attention, predicts their pain points, lowers their resistance, and, of course, wins the sale.