It's no mystery that sales is a dog-eat-dog, hyper-competitive profession. And if it wasn’t already hard enough, buyers are now more informed and harder to reach than ever. As a result, sales reps crave new insights into the mind and heart of the buyer.

Sales professionals wish they had a crystal ball or sixth sense for the ideal time and message to break through all the noise and capture the buyer’s attention. We don’t have supernatural powers but we now have Big Data, the massive amount of information published every day about companies and individuals. In that data, we can find sales rep gold.

Related: 3 Ways Companies Can Better Use Big Data in 2014

What gold? Buying signals! Sales reps can drill in on news and events that indicate when a company is ripe for the products or services a sales rep is offering. According to Craig Elias, author of Trigger Event Selling, using buying signals in the sales process can increase response rates by up to 32%.

Here’s an example. If you sell office furniture, you would love to know when a prospect announces they’re opening a new office. Then you could contact the buyer with a timely, contextual and valuable message. Sales reps should identify the strongest indicators of an opportune time to contact a prospect. Some examples:

1. Job postings. New hires mean larger and more complex teams, as well as new executives. New executives are always looking to make an impact quickly with fresh ideas and strategies. Companies experiencing organizational growing pains are more willing to entertain different solutions.

2. Expansion. Moving into new, larger offices or new markets is generally a growth indicator. These companies will be receptive to solutions that scale the business more efficiently, such as HR offerings, software, office supplies and travel logistics.

Related: How 2014 Will Be The Year To Monetize Big Data

3. Financial results. Monitor quarterly reports. Companies decreasing spending are looking to correct inefficiencies, while companies increasing spending want to optimize and scale.

4. Mergers and acquisitions. This is a time when companies decide to scrap vendor services and products that aren’t working and implement new solutions to cut costs and drive revenue. These companies will be auditing much of their organizational structure and processes in the near future.   

5. New investment. Funding at Series B or higher precedes high growth, especially in sales and marketing teams. When a company is handed additional money, it means they are already doing well and will expand budget and head count. 

Sales reps know the buying signals to watch for. Sales intelligence tools automatically monitor the market for the strongest signals and deliver insights, in real time, directly to their CRM systems or email inboxes. How’s that for a sixth sense?  

Related: 3 Ways to Use Big Data to Drive Repeat Sales