All over the world, sales personnel, whenever they spot a potential buyer, are constantly asking, (and secretly hoping), whether the customer will buy their products. Their excitement, as well as years of expertise shared by wizened mentors, have trained their instincts to look for each and every action as a probable cue or a buying signal. Thus, next time you find a salesperson critically analyzing your uninterested nods or innocent nose scratching, give them an all-knowing smile.

Buying signals have been defined as any indication of intent to purchase. They can be verbal or non-verbal and can exist at any point in the product purchase cycle. While some buying signals are obvious (inquiring about prices or discounts, asking the rep to reiterate offerings, examining a product’s specs, etc.), most of them are subtle. In fact, some might just be so concealed that teams can lose out on opportunities without even realizing it.

However, in the present world where consumers are increasingly moving towards online transactions, the conventional methods of pre-empting buying signals do not work anymore. Digital purchases require a digital sleuth, known as Predictive Intelligence to anticipate positive buying behavior. Relying essentially on modern technology — especially Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning — can discover subtle signs through collection, analysis and interpretation of a vast amount of data. Let’s take a few minutes to explore exactly how AI finds hidden buying signals-

How Predictive Intelligence identifies hidden buyer’s signals
Digitization has enabled instant communication, which has been a godsend for marketers as it helps them to anticipate situational needs early. For instance, if a couple is going to move out within a few days or the homemaker is about to join a new job, businesses providing relocation services and/or crèches etc. will be notified of this ‘trigger event’, thereby giving them a first mover advantage. AI and machine based predictive intelligence mainly work by breaking all such information into two categories: internal data and external data.

A company’s internal customer data includes purchase histories, firmographics, seasonal buying patterns, purchase sequence patterns, sales logs, and customers’ website activities. Key analytical tests for internal data include:

Sentiment Analysis
From sales calls, query forms, in-person meetings, emails, etc, every kind of input can be assimilated and analyzed by sophisticated algorithms that analyze the prospect’s questions, word choice, tone, and sentences etc. It helps to determine how the prospect feels about the offer, product, service, or company. The in-depth information serves as a great sounding board for sales personnel to gauge the pressure points and style of approach for a potential client.

Purchase History, Cyclicity, and Sequence Analysis
The sequence of past purchase behaviour can serve as a pointer for future activity, for instance, festival-centered transactions often show a spike in purchase activity during specific time frames. Furthermore, purchase dates of products can also let Sales reps know about the upcoming serving dates to help them offer a seamless experience and make pitches to sell other allied products.

Social Media Activity Analytics
Social media has emerged as the greatest field for employing predictive intelligence tools. The comments, feedbacks, likes, shares and other interactions of consumers with specific brands, concepts or events helps marketers understand and allocate micro-targeted sales efforts for certain consumers. Sentiment and text analysis can be used on prospects’ social media posts. These show how a potential customer feels about relevant topics and tell the seller exactly what their targeted audience wants.

While AI, machine learning and pother predictive intelligence tools are in no way the Holy Grail of attaining optimum sales performance, their significant contribution to strengthen the entire sales efforts cannot be doubted. AI driven sales efforts makes selling easier and more targeted, which means reps can potentially close a lot more sales in a lot less time, the driving force and motto of every sales personnel.