Customers send little transmissions out into the ether before they purchase what they’re in the market to buy. “There’s life here on this planet,” they say.
Proactive organizations who respond to these early customer signals are the ones who win the sale, forming a relationship with the customer when they’re in the information gathering stage before alliances have been solidified. “We’re here and have what you’re looking for,” these organizations respond to customers who’ve indicated they’re on the hunt for a solution.
But exactly what signals suggest a customer is hot to buy rather than a cold cup of coffee? What signs should companies look for to secure a sales-ready lead?
What Are Customer Buying Signals?
Customer buying signals are the actions people take that indicate they’re interested in purchasing a product to solve a problem. Sales teams can use customer buying signals to weed out real leads from a field of prospects to maximize their prospecting time. Marketing teams can use customer signals to craft an ideal customer profile (ICP) and determine what collateral gets the most bang for its buck at each stage of the buying cycle.
At in-person meetings, customer buying signals come in the form of body language like making eye contact or nodding heads. Asking questions and willingly sharing pain points they’re experiencing also indicate prospects are close to the bottom of the sales funnel.
Customers shopping online transmit signals that they’re sales-ready as well. By capturing these customer signals and using them to craft a targeted sales plan to catch the attention, interest, and then trust of a prospect, companies can position themselves for success and achieve a higher percentage of closed-won deals.
Top Five Customer Signals That Shouldn’t Be Ignored
Watch out for these the top five online customer buying signals to advance your company’s sales and marketing efforts:
1. Informational content download or video view
This customer buying signal is the online equivalent of a customer spilling their guts. Engaging with content on your website that describes common problems (and your company’s solution to those problems) is a customer buying signal that she is experiencing the problem identified in the collateral and needs someone to help her solve it.
An in-person interaction where a prospect divulges their pain points indicates the salesperson has been brought into the circle of trust. A prospect engaging with your content online is likely not as far down the sales funnel as someone dishing in-person. Website research happens at an earlier stage than meeting with a salesperson, and the prospect isn’t divulging verbatim what her problems are, but online actions can speak louder than words if they are responded to appropriately. While customers doing painpoint research on your website may be higher in the sales funnel, these customer buying signals are extremely valuable as datapoints.
Problems indicated by the content the prospect engages with allow your marketing and sales teams to personalize the messaging sent to the prospect. The customer signal data gathered from their interactions with your content provide the intelligence you need to speak directly to the prospect’s wounds and proactively demonstrate the value of the salve provided by your company.
2. Case study download or video view
After a customer has done some Google searches on her pain points and has read a few articles or whitepapers on your website that accurately describe what trouble she’s having and how your products can remove that pain, she wants some real life examples of salvation.
Has your company already solved what’s stressing her out at organizations that are similar to hers? How did you solve it? How long did it take? What benefits did the organization ultimately see? Do these benefits align with her business goals? Let’s see some KPIs.
Downloading a case study or watching a testimonial video is a strong customer buying signal. It indicates your company has made it through the preliminary rounds and into the finalist stage. You’re shortlisted, and you should engage with a prospect offering you these buying signals with active, multipronged efforts.
3. Contact form fill
Filling out a contact form on your webpage is the customer buying signal equivalent of the first time a prospect raises their hand in class. They are no longer passively observing you from a distance, sending you cues by batting their eyelashes, providing you their email address when requested, or flexing their muscles when you look their way. They’ve passed you the note on folded-up, college-ruled paper. They’re interested. Yes or no?
Within their message, the prospect is certainly including some nuggets of insight for you. Why are they reaching out? What product are they interested in? Have they actively disclosed to you why they’ve been lingering on your website?
Sending a contact form is one of the earlier opportunities customers have online to bring you onto their team and give you the inside scoop. It indicates you’ve passed the preliminary tests and they have a baseline level of confidence in you. Build this confidence up by responding to their message in a timely and well-informed manner from a place of interest and expertise. Use all the insight and customer buying signals they’ve provided you up to this point to craft a response that makes the prospect feel understood and that you’re suited to offer them support.
4. Attend a company webinar or conference
Attending a webinar versus a company conference once were (and hopefully will return to being) much different levels of effort for a prospect, so they previously sat at different stages of the marketing funnel. But in the pandemic era, virtual company conferences are a bit like webinars on steroids, which is why I’ve grouped them here.
Whether in-person events become common again or not, a prospect who registers for either a webinar or a conference is sending you a strong customer buying signal. They are interested in your product. They are spending a chunk of time learning more about what you can do for them. Show them reciprocal respect and reach out proactively with information about how your product can solve their specific woes.
5. Request a product trial
It’s down to the last stretch. The finish line is in view, and you and your sharpest competitor are sprinting to get their toes across first. When a prospect has requested to try out your product it’s hardly a nuanced customer signal. She is on the market, she likes your style, she wants to take you on a date and see if there’s a spark.
You can use all the cumulative data from customer buying signals this prospect has sent you to make your product the most attractive to her. Show her your good side. Offer her advice on how your product is suited just to her. Her problems and your product are a match made in heaven.
Make her product trial a precursor to a purchase by providing the prospect with educational content on how she can use the product for her specific needs, supercharging her trial experience.
The Benefit of Online Customer Buying Signals
One of the big advantages of online customer buying signals is that they can be used in conglomerate to make decisions about individual prospects. By learning the behavioral trends of your website users and noticing patterns of how people consume content, purchase products, and take actions, you can make smarter choices on what you offer a prospect in order to shorten the sales cycle.
Your website’s search box is an easy place to gather customer buying signals and mine actionable insights if it’s enabled with AI. Insights surfaced by a cognitive search platform will help you understand what signals indicate a prospect is more likely to become a customer and how best to treat that prospect to more quickly turn them into a customer.
Lucidworks can help put your online customer buying signals into action. We’ve helped companies across many industries use actionable insights to improve each of their customers’ experience, transforming their data lakes into river mills.
Learn how you can turn customer buying signals into profit by connecting with us.
Contact us today to learn how Lucidworks can help your team create powerful search and discovery applications for your customers and employees.