Buyer signals experienced sellers look out for

Posted May 3, 2024

headshot of blog author, woman smiling

By Serena Miller

Editor, Sales Best Practices at Outreach

Verbal cues, body language, direct expressions of interest — identifying buying signals in sales used to be straightforward. Today, however, buying signals are more complex to interpret as digital channels have broadened the spectrum. The experienced seller now has to look out for website visits, social media engagement, interactions with digital marketing campaigns, and other online behaviors.

The buyer’s journey is no longer a linear path from awareness to purchase. Instead, it’s a multi-faceted journey that involves multiple channels. Knowing how to identify buying signals, paired with the right tools to interpret and analyze them in real-time, gives top sales reps a competitive edge. 

What is a buying signal?

Buying signals are real-time actions or behaviors that indicate a prospect has a higher likelihood of making a purchase. Signals range from direct, like a demo request, to indicators like downloading content, interacting with the customer support chat, or opening marketing emails. 

But learning how to identify buying signals is only half the battle. Without tools that allow your sales team to take action on that information, buying signals can become stale or irrelevant before you have an opportunity to act.

Common buying signals

In today’s market, buying signals in sales come in many forms and reflect the more active role consumers have in the buyer’s journey. With the increased amount of independent research, your prospects are armed with more information.

By using the right sales intelligence tools to learn how to identify buying signals in sales — especially the non-direct ones — and act on them in real-time, your salespeople will be better prepared to engage effectively, meet prospects’ needs, and drive conversions. 

1. Prospect opens an email or downloads an asset 

How many unopened emails do you delete per day? The number is likely as high as the number of times you pass on clicking a link that promises free content.

So when a prospect does open an email or download an asset, it is a clear indicator of interest. It’s important to track this sales engagement further to accurately gauge the level of interest.

Outreach’s email and click-tracking features can play a pivotal role by allowing sales teams to monitor when a prospect opens an email or interacts with a link within it. This functionality works by adding an invisible tracking pixel to emails and gives real-time insights into prospect engagement.

With this crucial information, sales reps can time follow-ups and tailor communication to nurture potential customers on their buyer’s journey. 

2. Prospect asks about pricing 

Buying signals don’t get more significant than a prospect inquiring about pricing! It often indicates they’re lower down in the funnel and are actively considering how your product fits into their budget. If you don’t respond quickly and accurately, you can easily lose momentum at this crucial moment in the sales process.

Innovative tools like Kaia, Outreach’s innovative AI assistant, can ensure you never fumble this moment—no matter how unpredictable the call is. As soon as pricing is mentioned, for example, Kaia can instantly supply the sales rep with the necessary information to eliminate the dreaded “let me circle back”. 

Kaia’s live talk-time features ensure that you can confidently address all questions on the spot to reduce hesitation and please decision-makers.

3. Prospect talks more than 25% of the time

Another buying signal in sales that’s important to note is when a prospect talks more than 25% of the time on a call. While it might seem like a salesperson would intuitively engage their prospect with questions, it’s easy to get wrapped up in delivering the pitch or managing other aspects of the call. 

In these cases, Outreach’s AI assistant Kaia can analyze conversation patterns and provide insights on the prospect’s talk time. By helping sales reps understand this dynamic in real-time, they can then adjust their approach on the fly and encourage further engagement.

Having a data-driven understanding of conversation flow can be the key to tailoring interactions to boost the chances of a sale. 

4. Prospect has recently seen an increase in company size and/or new leadership

Changes in a prospect’s company can often signal shifting needs or new strategic directions. For your sales team, these changes can open the door for new products and services. While it’s in your team’s best interest to stay informed, tracking dynamic information like that’s changing in real time is not only challenging — it’s also not scalable without the right technology. There’s only so much time in a day!

Outreach integrates smoothly with CRMs to reduce toil and make the process extremely efficient. By allowing sales teams to easily monitor changes with customized prospect profiles updated with the latest information, it’s easier to remain agile and ready to seize any emerging opportunities.

5. Prospect takes fewer than 24 hours to respond to an email 

A prompt email response can be a strong buying signal — if you know how to leverage it. While it’s an indication that your prospect is interested, it’s easy to miss amidst the influx of daily emails.

Outreach’s sales engagement features are an excellent way to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. By alerting sales teams to identify and prioritize engaged prospects, they can take relevant and timely follow-up actions that drive conversion.

6. Prospect asks about integrations 

When a potential customer asks about integrations, it shows that they’re considering how your product or service fits within their existing workflow. It’s another buying signal that indicates your prospect has moved further down the funnel. But answering such specific technical questions on the spot can understandably be challenging for sales reps.

Here’s another way Kaia can be an indispensable sales ally. With its ability to recognize speech in real-time, Kaia instantly provides reps with the accurate technical information they need to build trust and credibility to increase the chances of advancing the deal.

7. Prospect asks about terms and conditions and/or security

Asking about terms and conditions or security is a critical sign that a potential customer is seriously contemplating the nitty gritty details of partnering with you. Needless to say, this line of questioning often comes at the advanced stages of the sales cycle. But like integrations, these complex and detail-oriented questions can be tough. 

Once again, Kaia’s AI-driven capabilities can make navigating these intricate discussions so much easier. By being able to provide real-time, accurate information on terms, conditions, and security steps and precautions, Kaia ensures that sales reps are prepared for any question or scenario. The benefits? Sales conversations are streamlined, prospects leave feeling confident, and efficiently move onto the next steps.

8. Prospect talks at length about pain points  

It may come as a surprise, but even a frustrated prospect is sending you a buying signal. Their willingness to discuss pain points at length means they’re actively looking for solutions, approaching a decision, and looking to you for a resolution. But figuring out the underlying sentiment and responding appropriately is no easy feat — especially if a potential customer is already at the end of their rope.

Tap into deeper buyer signals for sales success

Mastering how to identify buying signals in sales is not about luck, intuition, or years of experience as much as it is about using the right tools. From understanding a prospect’s digital engagement to interpreting their emotional responses, buying signals are unique insights that can be leveraged at scale.

If you’re interested in elevating your sales strategy by harnessing the power of real-time buying signal recognition and analysis, take a quick product tour of Outreach or request a personalized demo.


Read more

Discover the Sales Execution Platform
See how Outreach helps sellers close over 2 million opportunities every month.