Identifying triggers & buying signals in B2B sales calls

Some sales reps have an innate ability to identify buying signals while others have to learn how to recognise these triggers. In fact, rehearsing how to identify buying signals can make you better at it than a sales rep with innate capabilities.

What are buying signals?

Buying signals are signs, words or behaviors that indicate that a client is likely to buy from you. If you intervene at the right moment basis the buying signal, your chances of converting a lead increase manifold.

In this article, we will look at

  • the reason why it is useful to identify buying signals,
  • the types of buying signals and,
  • how to avoid being misguided by them.

This article should serve as a framework for you to learn how to recognise triggers and buying signals to get better at it with practice.

Why should you look for buying signals?

The obvious advantage of looking for buying signals is to increase the lead conversion rate. Taking the right action on the basis of buying triggers can certainly improve the buying rate. Additionally, buying signals can also be used for converting a cold lead to a warm one.

Imagine a scenario where a lead has been cold for some time (probably because of budget issues) and you find out that the company recently received some substantial funding, you may use this opportunity to re-connect with the lead. Apart from that, following a buying signal can make your cold email a warm one. Using a buying signal to send an email makes your cold email relevant. This approach ensures better open and response rates to a cold email.

Type of buying signals:

A. Company dynamics based buying signals

These buying signals are mostly early triggers or opportunities that you should always look out for.

Sales Trigger #1. M&A

A company goes through a lot of changes when it is acquired. An acquiring company tends to spend money on aligning the processes of the acquired company to its own. This is a good chance to try to pitch any relevant product.

Sales Trigger #2. Funding round

If the company raises substantial funding, it will spend on streamlining its resources and processes. Keep an eye on such news and connect with the client to get the first-mover advantage.

Sales Trigger #3. Change in leadership

A new leader – a CEO or a COO brings his own vision to the company. To execute this vision, the company will need new tools, products, etc. Hence, change in leadership is one of the important buying signals.

Sales Trigger #4. Increase in R&D spend

When a company decides to increase its investment in R&D, it is generally trying to build new products or enter new geographies. In both cases, the need for new technologies is evident. This is the right time to pitch in your product. While the sales volumes might be low at this stage, a strong relationship will help in securing the sales on high production volumes.

Sales Trigger #5. A significant change in the number of employees

When a company decides to lay off employees, it will spend more on automation of its operation. If the company decides to increase its employee base, it will still need tools to manage the scale-up better. Pitching relevant solutions when a company is sizing up or sizing down will ensure a better response rate.

B. Digital data based buying signal

Buying Signal #1. Email velocity

Email velocity refers to the number of emails exchanged between the seller and the buyer within a definite period of time. A high email velocity indicates a high probability of buying.

Buying Signal #2. Requests for trial

If your database records requests for trial, especially from multiple members of the same company, you have a great buying trigger here. If your product meets all their needs, this deal is a sure win. In such an event, you may connect with the customer for a customized trial to increase the chances of a sure buy.

Buying Signal #3. Increase in web traffic

This parameter represents an increase in buying in general. You should get ready to scale up to serve the increased traffic.

Buying Signal #4. Subscription to your newsletter

If a potential customer subscribes to your newsletter, it shows that they are interested in your offerings. It is a good time to connect with them and explain your products and services.

Buying Signal #5. Multiple visits to your pricing page

If a customer visits the pricing page often, they are more or less certain about buying the product or they are comparing your offering with that of a competitor. This is the right time to jump in and provide a solution tailored to their needs.

Buying Signal #6. Follows and interactions on social media

If a prospect starts following you on social media and responds to your posts, it means that they take pride in associating with you and find your products suitable for them. This is a great signal and you should connect with them to make them feel valued and make an offer that will be difficult to resist.

Buying Signal #7. Downloading relevant case studies and documents available on your download page

If a prospect is downloading product brochures and how your products are useful to other customers, they are trying to understand whether your product will solve their needs by comparing themselves to similar customers. This is the right time to connect and set up a meeting for a product demo.

C. Behaviour-based dynamics

Buying Signal #8. Use of the word probably with a definite month of closure

If you ask a customer about the time duration that they are looking at for closing the deal and they reply saying, ‘Probably, 5 to 6 months from now’, this is a buying signal. The near-definite time duration shows that they have given a detailed thought to their needs and requirements.

The prospects, generally, add the word ‘probably’ as they want to be non-committal just in case the deal does not fall in place. However, on asking the question for time duration on closure, if the customer replies that they have not yet thought about it or someone else will make the decision, this could be a negative buying signal.

Buying Signal #9. In-depth questions about the product

If the prospect asks in-depth questions about the benefits and features of your product, it means that they are interested and are ready to spend more time understanding your product.

Buying Signal #10. Questions on payment options

This is one of the most positive buying signals. Most of the time, it indicates that the prospects are convinced that your product will solve their needs. They are also convinced about the pricing and they want to understand if your payment structure will suit them. This is the right time to understand the client’s payment needs and suggest an offering to fulfil the same.

Buying Signal #11. Request for a second demo

When the client requests a second demo, it means that the audience for whom you demonstrated had a good opinion about your product and other members of their team are also interested in understanding more about your offering. The second demo is a chance to address any queries that the client had in the first demo and make a better impression.

Buying Signal #12. Very high attentiveness

If the client has given you undivided attention during the entire meeting time, it is a positive buying trigger. Do ensure to follow up with such a client and leave them with a compelling call to action.

Identifying buying signals is a skill that comes with practice and patience. However, imagine that you did not have to identify the buying signals. You could save time on practicing and some tool would do it for you automatically. Wouldn’t that be amazing? If you find this scenario intriguing, GoodMeetings is just the tool for you. Its AI-based capabilities can decipher customer attentiveness and provide you with a score. Additionally, its feature of conversational intelligence derives insights from the conversation between the seller and the buyer to decipher any buying signals. Moreover, its AI-based nudges help you in taking the appropriate action w.r.t. the buying signals. In short, GoodMeetings looks for words or behavior that communicate customer intent and helps you in tuning your pitch or demo basis that intent.

Wrap up

During the entire sales cycle, timing is everything. If you connect with the customer at the right time with the right product, the probability of closure becomes high. To identify the right time, it becomes important to look for buying signals. You could use the framework mentioned above or use a tool and become the master of closing winning deals by acting at the right time.

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