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Must Know Business Terminology: Glossary of 70 Sales Terms

Staying on top of the latest business terminology might not seem like a big deal.

But, if you work with B2B businesses, it’s your job to arm yourself with all the knowledge you need to succeed.

Especially if you want to make a sale! 

And that means being aware of all the buzzwords within your industry.

We’ve put together a glossary of 70 key sales terms and definitions to ensure you’re speaking the right language when prospecting.

Scroll to see all 70 business terms for B2B sales 👇 or use the headers below to find a specific word in the glossary.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

1) A/B testing

A/B testing is a lead gen tactic that tests how your audience responds to marketing, web pages, emails, etc. Running an A/B test can help you determine if your customer likes a certain type of messaging, subject line, or graphic over another.

2) ABC

ABC means 'always be closing.' It's popular sales slang that's rooted in the idea that every action a rep makes should have one purpose in mind - closing the deal.

3) Account-based marketing (ABM) 

Account based marketing (ABM) is a growth tactic where sales and marketing align to create engaging customer experiences for high-value accounts via personalized ABM campaigns.

4) Account-based selling

Account-based selling is a hyper-targeted view of sales. The sales team understands exactly why people buy their product, and they use this information to draw up a list of ideal customers. They then focus on selling to these target accounts.

5) Affiliate marketing

Promoting another business's product or service across your lead source channels is considered affiliate marketing. The business promoting the product will earn a commission for each sale made and tracked via a personalized link.

B

6) B2B contact database

A B2B contact database is exactly what it sounds like -  a database of contacts collected by a company. This database can include contact information for employees, customers, suppliers, and more.

7) B2B compliance

B2B compliance is one of the top sales terms to know. Especially if you work with B2B data. There are a lot of laws in place to ensure that contact data is kept safe and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. By following these laws, you’re ensuring your company is GDPR compliant, and other businesses will be happier to work with you.

8) B2B leads

B2B leads are sales prospects entering the buying process. These are normally cold leads who have shown a slight interest in your product or service and need to be warmed up by a sales representative. 

9) B2B prospecting

Lead generation starts with an important sales term - B2B prospecting. This is how sales reps identify potential customers and outreach to them.

Discover more about B2B prospecting here:


10) BOFU

BOFU is an acronym for bottom of the funnel. It's sales jargon used when a potential customer has reached the end of the sales process and is ready to make a purchasing decision. 

11) Bounce rate

Bounce rate is a business term that refers to the percentage of visitors who leave a page on your website without taking action, such as filling out a form, moving to another page, or clicking a link.  

12) Business-to-business (B2B)

A popular business term, B2B is an acronym for business-to-business. Businesses sell products or services to one another rather than directly to consumers. This is usually a solution that can help solve pain points for the company.

13) Business-to-consumer (B2C)

B2C is a business acronym for business to consumer, where companies sell products directly to consumers. This typically consists of things like custom clothing.

14) Buyer journey

When a prospect enters the sales funnel, they follow a buyer journey that begins with awareness and then progresses to evaluation, and ends with a purchase.

15) Buyer retention

Keeping customers engaged and loyal is vital to a business's success, both long-term and short-term. This is usually measured by the customer retention rate. The higher the rate, the lower the customer churn. For many organizations, tracking customer retention/churn is an important performance goal.

16) Buying signal

When prospects are close to making a buying decision, they take certain actions known in B2B sales as buying signals.

17) Brand awareness

Brand awareness helps B2B businesses create customer recognition and generate leads from that recognition. Not only is it a fantastic sales term to know, but it’s an excellent tactic to use if you want your product to stand out from your competitors.

C

18) Cadence

A  cadence is a key business term for a sequence of cold calls and sales emails sent to prospects at specific points of their buyer journey. It's designed to encourage conversions.

19) Churn rate

Customer churn rate is a measure of the number of customers who leave your service within a certain period, like a month or year.

You can calculate churn using this formula: 

Churn = ( total number of churned customers over a period) / (number of customers at the start of the period)

20) Closed-lost

You can't learn business terminology without discovering what closed-lost means. It describes opportunities that had the potential to become sales but weren't successful.  

21) Closed-won 

Closed-won is sales lingo for successful sales completed by a sales development representative. 

22) Cold calling

Cold calling is a method of B2B sales where a rep contacts customers who they've had no prior interaction with. This typically occurs over the phone but also sometimes in person.

23) Content marketing

In B2B, a marketing department will put together marketing materials that are valuable and relevant. Content marketers attract potential buyers and retain current customers by distributing this content. 

24) Conversion rate

A basic terminology in sales. Conversions are the number of leads your convert into customers. Your conversion rate will be based on the percentage of customers you convert over a period of time.

25) Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

You'll hear the business term CAC often in B2B sales.

Calculating your customer acquisition cost can help you deduce the value of a prospective customer to your organization.

You can calculate it via the following formula:

CAC = (total amount spent for all lead generation efforts) / (total number of new customers acquired through these efforts)

26) CRM

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It's a term used in sales to describe a system that manages customer data for more efficient prospecting. 

27) Cross-selling

Cross-selling is the practice of selling additional items to an existing customer and can be fuelled by marketing efforts. 

D

28) Data enrichment

The process of cleaning, sorting, and enhancing the data you’ve collected. Added information adds value to your original collection.

29) Decision maker

The person (or people) in charge of important decisions takes into account factors such as time and resources, plus access to information and those impacted by the outcome. This person or group in a business is known as the decision-maker.

30) Discovery call

Discovery call is sales terminology for the first conversation with a prospect who's shown interest in a business's product or service. The call aims to discover if the prospect has a problem the business can solve. 

E

31) Enterprise leads

The big fish of leads. Enterprise leads is a key sales term that brings in big revenue, social proof, and boosts brand awareness.

The process of attracting and converting these large businesses takes a very special strategy to what you’d use for SMB or startup leads.

32) Evergreen

Evergreen is a business term used in conjunction with content. Content that remains universally and continually relevant is created by a marketing team to bring in more marketing-qualified leads for sales teams to convert.  

G

33) Go-to-Market Strategy

A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a plan to define your ideal customers, coordinate your messaging, and position your product for launch.

H

34) Hot lead

A hot lead is a customer who knows what you're selling and is interested in making a purchase. They are much warmer than warm leads just entering nurtures and have identified you as the best solution to fulfill their needs.

I

35) Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

An ICP is a buyer persona your organization develops to determine who you want to target your product or services to. Your ICP consists of businesses that best fit what you sell and often have the shortest buying cycles.

36) Inbound sales

Inbound leads come from a lead generation strategy where prospects come to you - and if they stay engaged with your business's content, they’ll convert into customers. Content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing are effective ways of generating targeted leads through inbound sales.

37) Intent data

Intent data is info that shows what prospective customers are interested in and helps indicate if someone might buy your product or service. This makes it an important part of leveraging data to guide sales strategies and encourage a buying decision. 

start more conversations with buyer intent data and sales trigger events. Click to book a demo with Cognism.

K

38) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

A KPI is an important sales term that organizations use to measure performance over a set period of time. You will first establish a target and then work towards meeting that target before the end of the specified time.

L

39) Low-hanging fruit

Low-hanging fruit is a popular buzzword used in sales and marketing that means an easily achievable set of goals or tasks. Going after low-hanging fruit results in quick wins for you and your company.

40) Lead generation

A list of sales terminology wouldn't be complete without lead generation. It's the process of generating interest in a product or service and converting that interest into a sale. Gaining B2B leads can be achieved by collecting contact information from visitors through different methods, such as landing page web forms.

M

41) Metrics

Like KPIs, metrics are a way to measure performance, but through B2B data analytics. Each department will measure specific metrics to gauge, improve and optimize performance. These range from marketing metrics to lead generation KPIs and SaaS sales metrics

O

42) Objection

A sales objection occurs when a potential buyer gives an excuse as to why they can't purchase a  product or service. While many sales reps see this as a rejection, it's best to look at them as opportunities to get to know your customer better and create lasting buyer retention. 

P

43) Pain points

In business lingo, a pain point is a challenge that current or potential customers have in the marketplace. Pain points can be any hindrance encountered by someone on their journey.

44) Performance review

Each department in an organization should have a team lead who initiates an annual performance review process for their team. The performance review will look at KPIs to determine how well the employee has worked. They can also provide feedback for improvement.

45) Prospecting list

B2B sales teams use prospecting lists, which contain the names and contact info of prospects who fit their ideal customer profile, to reach out to potential customers.

Q

46) Quota

In business terminology, a sales quota, also referred to as a performance goal or target, is a requirement that needs to be met in order for sellers to earn their desired incentive pay or commission. This provides motivation to sellers who may face varying opportunities by region.

R

47) RevOps

Revenue operations ( RevOps) is a new concept that companies are fast adopting to help improve their internal processes, align teams and maximize their incoming sales revenue.

48) Return on investment (ROI)

ROI is another performance indicator. However, this one is revenue-focused. It is a way for companies to establish their net profit after investing. 

You can calculate it via the following formula:

ROI = (net profit / investment cost) x 100%

S

49) SaaS

SaaS stands for Software as a Service and is a business term used by technological companies that sell software to other businesses. You'll need a great SaaS marketing strategy to sell SaaS well. 

50) Sales acceleration 

Sales acceleration is a business term that describes the process of achieving faster results in B2B sales, so that teams can close more deals with less effort. It incorporates several practices, such as outbound sales and the use of sales technology.

51) SDR

A Sales Development Representative (SDR) is responsible for finding and converting B2B leads to grow the sales pipeline.

52) Sales enablement

Sales enablement assists sales professionals in engaging prospects and closing deals by providing them with the appropriate resources, data, and tech solutions.

53) Sales forecasting

Sales forecasting is a type of sales methodology that predicts future sales revenue and which deals will close. Thus, it plays a key role in decision-making regarding spend and which customer accounts are the most significant.

54) Sales funnel

The term, sales funnel is the journey that buyers follow when they've shown interest in a product or service. It's a funnel made up of steps that help sales teams turn prospects into customers. A process also referred to as prospecting.

55) Sales goal

Companies set sales goals to help their sales teams reach performance targets. For example, a business might aim to lower customer churn over a quarter by 5% or raise conversion rates by 10%. These objectives are based on the goals of the business and its desired output and growth.

56) Sales intelligence

What is sales intelligence? It's a sales term for a range of technological solutions that help sales and marketing teams prospect to and convert potential customers.

57) Sales pipeline

A common sales buzzword is the pipeline. There may be discussions about getting potential customers into the “sales pipeline”, increasing its size and filling it with quality leads. It's not to be underestimated. Especially if you want to boost your annual revenue. 

58) Sales process

Sales terminology for a set of steps a sales team follows in a sales cycle. By adopting a sales process, teams can guide potential buyers to make purchasing decisions that meet the needs of their business. 

59) Sales revenue

Direct sales from customer accounts managed by a sales team are considered sales revenue for B2B companies. 

60) Sales script

Sales scripts are used to help sales reps cold call effectively. Cold calling scripts help reps beat the feeling of anxiety and fear of making a call and being met with objections, as most scenarios and responses are covered in the scripts. 

61) Sales strategy

A sales strategy is an essential part of any business's success, detailing which customers to target and how to do it. This method helps B2B sales teams meet their goals and refine selling activities.

Learn more about effective B2B sales strategies here: 


62) Sales-qualified lead

A sales-qualified lead (or an SQL) is a prospective customer that has been nurtured by your marketing team and is considered to be ready to speak to the sales reps because they’ve shown an intent to buy. For example, they booked a demo or are interested in your pricing.

63) SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation it's an important tool for bringing customers to your website and generating B2B leads. This will help you grow traffic, which you can use to convert leads into clients.

64) Smarketing

Smarketing is a business strategy that unites the sales and marketing departments. It aims to create a strong partnership between them based on a common set of objectives and an integrated approach.

65) Social selling

Through social selling, sales professionals can engage with prospective customers on social media networks to generate leads.

T

66) Target audience

A target audience is a group of individuals who share characteristics such as age, location, and socioeconomic status that make them likely customers of a business. Identifying this type of audience can help craft better marketing campaigns for your business.

67) Total Addressable Market (TAM)

Your TAM in marketing is the total revenue you can expect to get from your target audience.

You can calculate it via the following formula:

TAM = (annual contract value) x (number of possible accounts)

Or you can use Cognism’s free TAM calculator for fast and accurate results.

V

68) Value-add

A value-add is a common sales and business term for a special service, improvement or feature that makes your product or service more desirable and better to use than your competitors.

W

69) Whitepaper

A whitepaper is an informative report or guide aimed at possible buyers that address and resolve a dilemma or issue. The aim is to demonstrate why your offering is the ideal solution.

There you have it.

All of our must-know business and sales terminology for sales leaders!

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