May 1, 2024

What are Intent Signals? (With 35 Examples That Indicate Your Prospect Is Still Interested)

What are intent signals? 

In the increasingly competitive world of sales and marketing, understanding customer behavior is like unlocking a secret code to success. One essential aspect is the art of recognizing buyer’s intent signals. These subtle cues can help sales and marketing teams identify high-intent leads, leading to more closed deals.

Intent signals encompass a range of cues that may demonstrate intent, from specific inquiries about product features to repeated engagement with your website to significant customer milestones such as a recent hire. Mastering the identification and interpretation of these intent signals can lead to substantial sales and marketing effectiveness. 

In this blog, we will dive into why harnessing intent signals is the future of Go-to-Market (GTM) and provide examples that can lead to better outcomes. Let's get started!

Why is signal-based selling so important? 

You may be familiar with the 3% Rule in sales and marketing. This fundamental principle states that only 3% of all potential buyers for your solution are in the market to buy at any given time. The rest of the market either intends to make a change in the future, the need isn’t pressing enough to act, or they simply aren’t interested in your company.

Recognizing that only 3% of potential buyers are in the market at any given time, how effective is it to “spray and pray” prospects with outbound email messaging and cold calls? The answer—not effective at all. For every 100 live phone calls, there is only a 3% chance—at best—that you’ll reach someone who needs to buy now.

So there must be a better way.  Through trial and error, sales and marketing teams have learned that our potential customers leave a digital footprint or little clues that they may be in the buying stages.   It is up to you to identify buyer intent so that you can more quickly and effectively focus on the 3%.  

Spray and Pray Method vs. Signal-Based Selling with Intent Signals
Spray and Pray: Conventional Method for Reaching Prospects

Why are intent signals essential in sales? 

What are intent signals?
What are intent signals? How do I find high-intent prospects?

Intent signals provide clues that our prospects are exploring a solution to their problems.  With intent signals, sales teams can harness this intent to generate revenue more effectively.  It is then up to go-to-market (GTM) leaders to identify and act on intent signals.  According to the Harvard Business Review, sales teams are nearly seven times as likely to qualify a lead when reaching out within an hour of receiving an intent signal. 

Why are intent signals essential in marketing?

Intent signals are essential for marketers to recognize what stage of the buying cycle leads are in and serve them the most relevant content to keep them in a straight line toward converting and buying the solution.  Like bumpers in bowling, timely and relevant content can keep a potential buyer in consideration of your product before they go cold.  90% of B2B buyers say online content has a significant impact on their decision to buy from a brand.  Leads that have been tracked and nurtured make 50% larger purchases than ones that haven’t.  

What are the types of intent signals?  

  • Website Activity
  • Product Signals
  • Expiration Dates
  • Legislation & Policy Changes
  • Organization Changes
  • Tech Stack Activity
  • Company Milestones
  • Social Media Mentions

Website Visits

Repeated website visits, especially when a prospect navigates through specific product or service pages multiple times, signify heightened interest and engagement. Studies show that prospects who visit a website more than once are 70% more likely to convert, underlining the importance of recognizing this particular intent signal. This behavior suggests a deliberate effort by the potential buyer to gather comprehensive information, indicating a progressing journey toward a potential B2B purchase.  Visiting a pricing page is an effective intent signal, but you can realize 10X effectiveness from tracking a prospect clicking between pricing plans.  

  1. Prospect visits your pricing page
  2. Visits your documentation page
  3. Visits your product integrations page
  4. Prospect signs up for a free trial
  5. Fills out a form and downloads gated content
  6. Starts a live chat

Product Signals

With the increase in product-led growth strategies and the increase of free trial and freemium models, product signals are a critical indicator of buyer intent. Examples of intent signals are: 1) if a free user is approaching a consumption ceiling of your free trial, 2) if you see surges in product usage, 3) if new integrations are connected (increasing stickiness), and 4) if new users invite or add others to use the solution. You don’t know what you can’t measure, and you can’t measure what you don’t know.  You must lean into your free trial or freemium offerings to find prospects ready to convert. 

  1. The user achieves value from your solution (first aha moment)
  2. Product usage increases
  3. New integrations are enabled 
  4. Shares and invites team members to join
  5. Close to the consumption limit of the freemium tier

Expiration Dates

Similar to product signals, there are examples of expiration dates that can be valuable intent signals and involve your free trial offering.  If a free trial is about to end soon, and you’ve seen consistent usage from the user, this is a ripe opportunity for conversion. 

To find intent signals from your existing customers, look at your upcoming renewal agreements for the next 90 days.  Here, you will find customers who may be open to adding new features and capabilities. 

An advanced signal is to know your prospective customers' key renewal dates with your competitors.  

  1. Close to the expiration date of the free trial
  2. The renewal date is approaching for existing customer
  3. Key renewal dates for your competitor’s solutions

Legislation and Policy Changes

Legislative or policy changes can act as potent intent signals, especially when businesses perceive a need to adapt their technology stack to comply with new regulations. Notably, a survey by Gartner revealed that over 60% of organizations consider compliance with evolving regulations as a primary driver for software purchasing decisions. When legislative shifts occur, B2B software providers may notice an uptick in inquiries or requests from businesses aiming to align their systems with the updated legal landscape, making these policy changes a significant and timely intent signal.  A recent historical example is the GDPR legislation passed and the resulting purchase of technology to comply with these changes. 

  1. Government legislation requiring prospective customers to make a purchasing decision
  2. Change in company policy requires prospective customers to make a purchasing decision

Organization Changes

Organizational changes within a company, such as promotions, layoffs, or the announcement of open roles, can serve as potent intent signals in the B2B landscape. Studies indicate that decision-makers are 20% more likely to explore new solutions to address evolving business needs during organizational change. For instance, a promotion might increase decision-making authority, prompting individuals to seek innovative tools to streamline processes. Conversely, layoffs may trigger a reassessment of existing workflows, with businesses actively exploring new B2B solutions to enhance efficiency and adapt to the evolving organizational structure.  Job postings often indicate growth in particular areas, and growing teams will need new collaboration solutions. 

  1. New leadership is appointed
  2. The formation of a new department 
  3. Company insights on LinkedIn show rapid growth across the company or in key departments
  4. Increase in job postings online
  5. An increase in layoffs may indicate openness to efficiency gains through new vendor solutions
  6. Your executive sponsor leaves and goes to a different company

Tech Stack Activity

There are many tools and techniques available to monitor the tech stack activity of a company’s website that indicate buying intent. If advertising or analytics tracking is added to a website, this may suggest that GTM efforts are ramping up at a company and that they are investing in new solutions. Additionally, you may identify web tags on a company website that indicate the company added a complementary technology.

  1. Gaps in their tech stack found using social media or tools like Leadmatic
  2. Complimentary tech is adopted (visible through tech stack tracking or from job posts)
  3. Competitor’s tech is no longer visible
  4. Searches for similar tech on software review sites like G2

Company Milestones

Don’t forget about company milestones and how much companies tend to promote them!  There is, however, a common company milestone that is overdone - the classic announcement of a fundraising round.   Companies often announce new fundraising.  What is the challenge with this?  A company has just announced that it is raising $50 million, and you want to contact the CFO to position your financial management software.  Don’t you think that the CFO is a little overwhelmed right now?  Plus, how many other companies are doing the same thing?  You must ensure you can add value that is timely for the prospect if you are reaching out about a fundraising event. 

  1. Company launches a new product or service
  2. The company opens a new location
  3. Merges with or acquires another company
  4. Company IPOs
  5. Announces a strategic partnership or collaboration
  6. Company closes a new funding round
  7. The company is public about major technology investments or digital transformation initiatives.

Social Media Mentions

Whether on LinkedIn, Reddit, X (Twitter), or FaceBook, our prospective customers turn to online communities to cry out for help.  Those who take to these different online communities go there to vent about their day-to-day challenges and search for answers from their peers. With the proper social media monitoring, whether done manually or automated with the help of social media monitoring software, you can capture these pain points (hello, intent signals) and drive new sales opportunities. 

  1. Prospective customers are crying out for help online with a problem you can solve
  2. Talking about you on social media

The New and Better Way to Find Customers with Intent to Buy

In the quest to attract customers ready to purchase, leveraging intent signals is a crucial strategy. These signals indicate a potential customer's intent to buy, offering valuable insights for businesses seeking to optimize their marketing efforts. By tapping into advanced technologies such as AI sales tools that leverage data analytics and machine learning, businesses can now identify and target customers with specific intent signals more effectively. This new approach enables companies to tailor their outbound messages to suit the needs and preferences of prospective customers actively looking to purchase, resulting in higher conversion rates and improved customer acquisition.

Leadmatic offers better list segmentation of prospects, more accurate contact data, and can help you find the freshest intent signals from the web. With its intuitive chat-based UX, this AI sales assistant will help you find new prospects from intent signals within minutes.

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Who does Leadmatic partner with?

Companies with the following characteristics are best suited for working with Leadmatic:

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    Average contract value of over $10,000
  • Check mark
    A clear understanding of their prospects and their problems
  • Check mark
    A clear value proposition for their products and services

Is this your company? Then let’s chat!

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