May 20th, 2024

The art and science of signal-based selling: top takeaways from Chris Walker [VIDEO]

When it comes to signal-based selling, performance is more important than potential.

We recently talked to Chris Walker, founder and CEO at Passetto and executive chairman at Refine Labs, about the importance of testing, measuring, and refining signal-based strategy as part of our recent event: The art and science of signal-based selling.

Here are three of the top takeaways from that conversation (check out the full recording above).

1. Measurement is key no matter your data maturity level

“You kind of have two sides of the camp here: companies that are really using a lot of data but don't have any tracking around it and companies that are only looking at first-party data…. In both cases, companies don't have clear tracking around what's actually working and what's not related to the signal.”

—Chris Walker, founder and CEO at Passetto

As Chris sees it, modern companies generally fall into two buckets when it comes to signal-based selling: Those that are building plays around the full spectrum of buying signals (all first-, second-, and third-party signals) and those that are only focused on first-party signals (think product and website activity).


Common Room’s integrations with dozens of data sources—including popular digital channels, CRMs, data warehouses, sales engagement platforms, and more—allow you to organize and access all your data in one place. This makes it easy to take action on buying signals fast.

In either case, failing to properly track and analyze signal-based plays presents a real problem.

Take companies that are tapping into all available signals. Without the right tools in place, it typically falls on individual sales reps to monitor signals and take action on them. In the case of a large, sophisticated sales team, that could mean taking action on different signals millions of times each year.

And without the ability to easily test, iterate, and templatize the best plays, there’s no telling how much time is being wasted on high-effort, low-impact tactics.

Meanwhile, companies that are laser-focused on first-party signals face an even greater threat: incomplete customer intelligence.


Common Room’s Person360 feature allows you to automatically collect, deanonymize, enrich, and match signals to a unified profile for individuals and organizations. This makes it easy to connect with the people and companies behind buying signals with full context.

Since they’re not tracking the efficacy of signals outside their owned data, sales teams are essentially at a standstill until the marketing team passes along a marketing- or product-qualified lead.

The result? Reps revert back to outdated tactics to hit their numbers: picking random names out of a list of closed-lost accounts, struggling to pull data out of some enrichment tool, and blasting off cold outreach.

2. Trackability isn’t the same as impact

“In any individual company, the definition of a signal should be different. One company might say, ‘This ebook download is a signal for us.’ Another company might say, ‘We never win those. That's not a signal for us.’ It should be determined purely based on data.”

—Chris Walker, founder and CEO at Passetto

It’s important to be able to track buyer activity across all relevant touchpoints. But, according to Chris, it’s equally important to differentiate between “stuff that happens” and “stuff that matters.”

Signals—that is, the actions and attributes that correlate to quality pipeline, deals won, and other revenue goals—aren’t just a collection of behaviors and characteristics. They’re the behaviors and characteristics that drive results for you and your team.

Some signals (think economic buyer identification, job-change tracking, and the like) are important to every organization. But others will be unique to your customers, your offering, and your go-to-market motion.

Whether you’re digging into historical records by hand or using an AI-powered technology to surface the right signals for you, it’s important to let your data lead the way.


Common Room’s segments feature allows you to combine activity data from across 50-plus channels with customer fit criteria, such as organization size and role. This makes it easy to quickly surface, monitor, and engage specific people and companies at scale.

Once you have a handle on the signals that matter most to your company, it’s much easier to double down on what works, get rid of what doesn’t, and experiment with what might come next.

3. Signal-based selling fuels efficiency

“Back in the day, and even back a couple of years ago, companies didn't care if their sales team lost 999 times out of a thousand, or their SDR team did 999 outreaches to get one meeting.... Now we need to be able to look at and specifically find [...] all the things that our human capital is investing a bunch of time in and getting no tangible benefit from.”

—Chris Walker, founder and CEO at Passetto

GTM teams are riding the wave of a major sea change: the shift from growth at all costs to efficient growth.

Sales and sales development have traditionally been one of the most expensive categories of resources for B2B companies. And until very recently, using those resources wisely came a distant second to closing more deals.

Now, with organizations (and their investors) prioritizing efficiency above all else, teams must go to market intelligently.

Team alerts

Common Room’s team alerts feature allows you to automate alerts based on any combination of triggers and filters so you can see real-time activity from the people and accounts you care about. This makes it easy to always stay updated on specific individuals and organizations.

Signals are part of the solution. They don’t just help reps break through the noise in a saturated market—they help reps prioritize their time and scale winning plays.

Understanding which behaviors and characteristics are most important for your organization goes a long way toward increasing speed to lead and closing deals faster.


Common Room’s workflows feature allows you to create and customize automations based on specific demographic, firmographic, and activity details. This makes it easy to quickly and scalably track, organize, and engage people and accounts.

That doesn’t mean you have to have a cutting-edge signal-based strategy dialed in on day one. It’s simply about being data-driven.

Successful signal-based selling comes down to visibility—into which signals are available and which signals work best.

These are just a few of the takeaways from our conversation with Chris Walker.

Watch the recording for the full story.

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