Peter Mollins
Chief Marketing Officer
Table of contents:

Signal-Based Selling

It’s tougher than ever for go-to-market teams to develop and advance pipeline to close. The sheer noisiness of the market along with ‘spray and pray’ outbounding tactics make it tough for buyers to receive your message. The old playbook known as Predictable Revenue is definitively out. 

Plus, the general risk-aversion of the market means deals get stuck by internal frictions. Buyers involve more team members in decision making and are cautious about adopting new solutions. 

The result? Fewer deals and longer sales cycles.

Why Sales Signals Matter

However, within the “outbound problem” and “stuck deals crisis” lies an opportunity. It’s a chance for GTM teams to rethink their strategy. They are realizing not just that they should move away from sending more emails and calling more numbers. They’re realizing they have to.

Signal-Based Selling is a new way to focus sales on your customer’s world. To focus on prospects that are actually interested in what you’re selling.

Signal-Based Selling harnesses the revenue intelligence from interactions between your sellers and their prospects and buyers. Signals come from:

  • Discussions of pricing with the economic buyer via email. 
  • The business value presentation to the CFO that happened on Zoom. 
  • The meeting about next-steps that the VP of Finance accepted but didn’t attend.
  • And any other interaction via email, call, and more.

Signal-Based Selling is a Competitive Differentiator

When you understand your buyer’s intent, challenges, pains, and more, your sellers can tailor their approach to suit your buyer’s needs. That allows sellers to overcome objections and move deals forward. In turn, that lets you provide a better experience to your buyers. 

Signal-Based Selling starts with your internal data. The data that’s within your reach, but not your grasp. Email, calendar, and transcript data from seller activities that are scattered across dozens of tools and teams. 

This is your data and yours alone. That’s what makes sales signals data such a unique differentiator for your business. While buyer intent data can come from sources that your competitors have access to, sales signals are exclusively yours to take advantage of – if you decide to.

How to Unlock Sales Signals

So, how do you identify the right customers to focus on? And how do you know what to do to advance these deals to close?

Revenue teams, in particular, are getting better at listening to customers. Marketing can now detect intent signals, like engagement with content. Customer success - churn signals for better churn analysis. Product - adoption signals for product insights. 

When it comes to Sales, there’s no shortage of data, but our guidance is still based on intuition and lagging indicators. That’s because the signals that can help us are locked in Gmail, Outlook, Outreach, Salesloft, Gong, Zoom, and other go-to-market tool silos. 

Without a way to centralize and normalize the data, it’s just data with no business value.

Signal-Based Selling focuses on mining this wealth of data for insights into the prospect and how to advance them. It does that by aggregating every interaction between your sales team and your prospects. AI sales tools can perform analysis of this data can identify key prospect signals like:

  • Which messages resonate with your buyer?
  • Who is the champion and who should you multithread with?
  • Which deals are at risk?
  • What is the MEDDICC or MEDDPICC status of our deals?

Equipped with these signals, your sales teams have the insights they need for better pipeline analysis, sales performance analysis, and other key indicators that help reps win more.

Signal-Based Selling for Building Pipeline

Account executives and sales development teams are outbounding to build the pipeline. But are they speaking to the right people and companies? Simply relying on signals like open rates and reply rates gives you just a partial picture. It doesn’t give you true insight into the thinking and planning of your buyers.

But if you could distill all of the knowledge – all of the signals – that are generated from engagement between buyers and sellers via SalesLoft and Outreach, for example. If you could learn how prospects react to different messages in their discovery calls. And if you knew which roles engage best, you’d have a wealth of insight to target prospects more effectively.

You could harness these signals to adapt messaging to hone in on key pains. You could have your sales teams multithread earlier with the right personae to give deals momentum early. And you would know which signals indicate that a deal is just never going to happen. 

Crucially, that can’t happen if the data stays stuck in your sales engagement platform. It should be, at a minimum, written back to you CRM to help provide a foundation of sales data. Better yet, it should be analyzed in conjunction with interactions from across your GTM tech stack, because tools like Outreach only do sales data capture for a fraction of those activities.

Signal-Based Selling for Advancing Deals

As you go further into the buyer journey, your engagement with prospects becomes more transparent – if you decide to pick up on it. In email and call conversations with prospects you’re getting real signals about their preferences, objections, and intentions. 

You don’t need to guess whether or not a visit to the pricing page means they’re concerned about their budget. You know it’s an objection because they said so in an email to your rep. Similarly, you don’t need to guess if they’re researching alternatives based on external intent signals. It’s crystal clear if they brought it up on a Zoom call.

The high fidelity of these later-stage signals is why these signals are a more accurate reflection of which buyers are truly engaged and how to advance them. Signal-Based Selling harnesses the clues your prospects are constantly broadcasting to your sellers. To take full advantage of this, consider setting up intelligent deal alerts in natural language using something like ChatGPT for sales. That gives them just-in-time insights to keep those deals moving forward.

Signal-Based Selling for Sales Leaders

Sales leaders win too, because they can use these signals to coach and guide their reps in a more nuanced way than typical sales activity tracking. They can also use a lack of signals or negative signals as a way to focus resources on saving a deal – or removing it as a distraction. That means that sales leaders have a cleaner pipeline that can be discussed confidently with the board and senior management.

Plus, sales leaders can use signals as a way to identify best practices. When they see (or use a platform like SetSail to automatically spot) actions that are correlated with advancing deals, they can replicate these activities across their teams. Signal-Based Selling helps here by making those connections between actions and wins.

Get Started with Signal-Based Selling

Want to get started with Signal-Based Selling? Schedule a demonstration of SetSail’s signal identification technology today.