Top 16 B2B Buying Signals and How to Use Them
As Mike Mcdermott from Rounders would say, “It’s immoral to let a sucker keep his money”. Mike, or Matt Damon, made a whole lot of money in this film by playing poker and being great at reading people’s “tells”. This movie may have been a gross oversimplification of the mathematical intricacies of poker, however, reading signals can get you far in life.
In the days of social media, where people’s lives are etched onto an infinite treadmill of images, videos and shallow quotes, your online life may increasingly start to feel like a poker game. A careful combination of humble brags, indirect swaggering and a stressful consumption of fleeting digital endorphins. However, in the sales game reading online signals from your prospects can be a very helpful sales strategy as their life becomes more and more available to you. Buying signals can be interpreted within the spectrum of social listening to enhance sales strategies, and they stem from press releases, vendor portals, social media and other networks.
This article will explore ten buying signals that are worth watching out for in outbound B2B sales either to use in your sales outreach or as indicators for buying potential.
1. Questions about Business Problems
If you see a prospect asking how to solve a business problem in a feed which is a pain point that your product solves, well, consider it your lucky day. This not only creates a great context to reach out honestly to the prospect, but it easily enables a challenger approach to sales where you can educate the prospect on how their problem can be solved.
2. News about Expansions.
An article stating that a target account is expanding to another country provides a variety of opportunities to strike up a conversation. Furthermore, there are various pain points that come with having to target a new market, therefore it is not difficult to creatively envision how your solution might help and to express to a potential lead.
3. Asking for a Price or Feedback about your Product.
This is known as a hard signal and is quite obvious. But for example, if you see a potential lead asking for a review about one of your products or pricing information, that clearly shows an intent to purchase that makes outreach worthwhile.
4. Engaging with a Competitor
This is a good opportunity to point out why your solution is more effective or worthwhile as the purchase intent is clearly there from the prospect, trying to be quick and concise without seeming too competitive can be a good approach here. If you observe a prospect asking questions online about a similar company, this would indicate that they are on the hunt and would definitely be worth reaching out. A very common area to observe B2B professionals interacting with companies is on Twitter, and following relevant hashtags can facilitate this type of prospecting and research significantly.
5. New Decision-Maker Hires.
If a company hires a new executive in a department that may be a target group for your product, this provides a two-fold opportunity for sales. First of all, the new hire may be looking for ways to make an impact quickly or use their new budget, so they will be more open to new solutions. Furthermore, this can also mean that there is movement within this department and potentially more readily available budget to spend on new solutions alongside the new recruitment.
6. New Job Openings
If a company is hiring for a specific role, especially at a higher level, this may mean that they are focusing on a specific problem to be solved. In parallel, it may mean that the company is going in a direction that gives space for your solution to be implemented.
7. Headcount Growth
This is somewhat related to the last point. However, with Linkedin premium or job portals such as Indeed one can see the “insights” function for different company pages. Here one can see what percentage of a company consists of different departments and how this has grown over time. As an example of how this can be used to identify sales signals, consider a context where you are selling to sales directors. If you observe that the company has over 30% of the company making up of salespeople and that this percentage has grown steadily over the years, this means that there may be a significant budget to spend in this department.
8. Industry-Related Content.
If you see prospects writing on industry-related social posts that are connected in some way to the solution you offer, you can reach out to see if they are facing difficulties you may be able to help them with.
9. The Prospect Engages with your Brand on Social Media
Again this is a hard signal, but this can be oftentimes overlooked. If your prospect is following your brand and commenting and liking your posts, even if it may not be with solution related content, this presents a good opportunity to outreach.
10. Fundraising News
This is particularly relevant when targeting startups, however, if a company has recently received a big fundraising round, this will most likely indicate that they have extra budget to allocate for new solutions. Moreover, in a number of these press releases, the intended result with the new funding is often explained. Whether the company hopes to expand to new markets or hire more salespeople, finding a purpose that aligns with your solution is an effective way to outreach.
11. Solution-specific Linkedin or Facebook Groups
Joining social media groups related to topics from your industry can be an excellent place to find deeper insights into what your prospects are looking for. Threads in these groups can often become quite open and prospects may dive deep into what they are currently experiencing in their job role and company.
12. Conference and Event Registrations
Prospects attending conferences or fairs presenting products similar to yours show that their company may be on the hunt for a new solution to implement. Attending these yourself is not necessary, but simply reaching out to the attendees and mentioning the conference can be a nice personalised touch to an outbound attempt. Furthermore, being vague in your outreach or simply sending an invite without a message may lead the prospect to believe that they actually met you at the conference.
13. Financial Signals
There are various financial signals that may indicate purchase intent in a prospect. For example, cost-cutting, revenue growth or losses may all be viable opportunities for which to approach a lead with your solution.
14. Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions often lead to significant leadership changes. This means that new decision makers will often be entering positions with renewed budgets and a will to make an impact, making them perfect sales targets.
15. New product Announcements
New product announcements can give insights into where there is budget to spend and within what categories the company is hoping to sell to or focus on. For example, if a new product launch is particularly targeted towards a certain target group and your respective company product facilitates reaching accessing this group, then shows purchase potential for your solution.
Technographics is profiling different target accounts based on the technologies they use. This can be used to identify and profile the behaviours of potential customers and understand which of these segments would be viable targets.