There is a lot of confusion about what is a buying signal and what isn’t.
A prospective client accepting your LinkedIn connection request is not a buying signal. The barrier for most people when it comes to accepting connection requests on LinkedIn might be lower than a “friend” request on Facebook (even though this isn’t what LinkedIn recommends, and as far as I know, never has). Accepting your request gives your new connection the ability to see deeper into your network and you theirs.
A comment on your contribution to a LinkedIn Group or a response to your comment on someone else’s contribution are not buying signals. The nature of the engagement tells you nothing, unless of course it does.
High engagement on something you post is no indication that what you posted moved anyone to action. Engagement isn’t a buying signal.
A prospect sending you a LinkedIn request may be a buying signal. An InMail asking you to contact them is an absolute buying signal.
If you are out in the world being social, someone deciding to follow you isn’t a buying signal. Neither is someone retweeting something you tweeted or shared. The social tools are designed for sharing content.
Followers might be a good measure of your popularity. It might also be a good indication of how much time (or money) you have invested in social media. But it isn’t a good indication as to whether or not someone is interested in buying now.
Someone tweeting you to ask you to call them is a signal with some weight.
If you were to ask the people who download white papers whether they hoped to be immediately called by a salesperson, the percentage would be very, very low (That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t call). There are a lot of people who like to read and discover new ideas and new ways they might improve who also have zero interest in exploring changing their partner for whatever it is you sell.
More downloads might measure how good your content is. It might also be a good measurement of how well you write a compelling title. But it isn’t a reliable buying signal.
People with responsibility like to learn. They want to know things that they don’t know, and they want to be prepared for changes in their business. Your webinars are built around some insight that you can share and teach. Your pitch isn’t, “Sign up for our webinar so we can call and pitch afterwards.” (And I would never suggest that you don’t follow up with the people who attend. There is a way to this without being a nuisance)
You need to build your brand. The metrics that indicate you are successfully building your brand don’t tell you much about how well you are doing as a salesperson. You can’t trade these metrics for the real metrics like face-to-face sales calls, meaningful conversations with commitments.