Whether you’re new to the world of sales or need to refresh your memory on the latest sales jargon – we’ve got you covered.
We’ve compiled an exhaustive list of B2B sales terminology and definitions in this sales glossary – but we’ve gone further than that. We’ve provided more information on some of the bigger sales concepts.
Just click through the sales terms listed and it’ll take you to a sales resource which goes into further detail on the sales terms you’re interested in.
Sales jargon can seem impenetrable but with this resource your sales team will be up to date with their sales knowledge and be able to go away with further reading to level up.
ABC’s: An acronym for Always Be Closing. It’s from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, it’s usually used by very aggressive sales reps as their mantra for consistently looking for new deals and closing them by whatever means at their disposal.
AE: An acronym for Account Executive. They’re responsible for client relationship and acquisition.
B2B: Business-to-business. A sales organization which primarily is selling to and doing business with other businesses. Some examples include: Managed Service providers, IT systems, Customer Relationship Management, Document Management Systems, Medical Device providers etc…
B2C: Business-to-consumer. A sales organization which is primarily selling to and doing business with consumers, or with individual users. Noteable examples include: Insurance, car repairs, designer clothing etc…
BANT: Is a sales framework initially developed by IBM to identify opportunities. The framework consists of: Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline.
Base Salary: Is the amount per hour or per year that you are paid for performing your job. This does not include any bonuses, benefits, commissions or other perks associated with the job.
BDR: An acronmyn for Business Development Representative. This sales job is where they are responsible for finding new leads and then qualifying them. In most cases, they do not close business, but pass a qualified lead on to a Sales Rep.
Burnout: The phenomenon of fatigue or exhaustion with your work. Basically, you’re stressed out and you just can’t do it anymore. It might lead to you doing lower quality work. It’s a common occurence in sales.
Challenger: A term coined by authors Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon. Being a challenger is about bringing commercial insight–to teach somebody something about their business that they did not know beforehand.
Close: Is a sales term which refers to final stage of your sales process. Closing is the final step of a transaction. In sales, it is used more generally to mean achievement of the desired outcome. This can mean a transaction of money or getting the prospect’s signature on the dotted line turning them into a customer.
Cloud computing: The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. Examples of cloud companies include: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Oracle, SAP, etc.
Coffee is for Closers: This phrase comes from the film, Glengarry Glen Ross. You shouldn’t be getting up to get coffee unless you’ve closed the deal.
Cold Calling: An unsolicited telephone call to someone whom you’ve had no previous contact with, in an attempt to sell goods or services.
Cold Emailing: Email equivalent of a cold call
Commission: The payment a sales rep gets when they successfully sell something; usually a percentage of sales revenue.
Cross-Selling: When a sales rep manages to sell more than one type of product or service to an existing customer.
D2D: Door to door sales. Is a sales technique in which a salesperson walks from the door of one house to the door of another trying to sell a product or service to the general public.
Data Entry / Processing: The process of obtaining, recording, and maintaining information you can retrieve and use later. In Sales, this usually mean inputting potential buyers’ information into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to track activity, correspondence, and progress on open opportunities.
Decision Maker: The person who makes the final decision of a sale.
Enterprise: Enterprise normally refers to large corporations. The products are usually designed to be used in multi-site applications with large volumes of traffic or transactions
FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. The anxiety caused by missing out on experiences and therefore the rewards that others are taking part in. It can cause bad decisions such as the Walgreens deal with Theranos.
Forecasting: Estimating future sales performance for a forecast period based on historical data. Depening on the accuracy of the data you’re working with it can vary significantly with actual sales but its a worthwhile exercise to see if you’re going to hit your targets or not.
Gatekeeper: A person who, or role that, enables or prevents information from getting to another person in a company. For example, a receptionist or personal assistant during a cold call.
How to Win Friends and Influence People: A sales book written by Dale Carnegie. Regarded as one of the best.
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service. Is a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources over the Internet. In an IaaS model, a third-party provider hosts hardware, software, servers, storage and other infrastructure components on behalf of its users.
Ideal Customer Profile: (ICP) refers to a type or class of customer who possesses all the desirable attributes (for examplegender, age, location, financial capacity, job role etc…) that increase the probability of a purchase. Basically, it’s the perfect person who’d want to buy what you’re selling.
Inbound Sales: is a method where purchases occur as a result of customers directly approaching, engaging and embracing your brand, achieved by focusing on their needs and strategically leading them to your offering.
Influence: Science and Practice: a psychology book examining the way people can be influenced to act in certain ways. It’s written by Robert B. Cialdini, Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University
Inside Sales: The sale of products or services by sales personnel who reach customers by phone or online as opposed to meeting them face to face. This is the same as virtual or remote sales.
Key Accounts: These are the whales i.e. VIP customers prioritized by sales reps and customer success. They’re big spenders and churn from these clients would hurt your sales revenues.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): are the most relevant measurable values that help indicate whether an organization or individual has succeeded at achieving targets or a desired level of performance.
Lead: A prospective consumer of a product or service that is created when an individual or business shows interest and provides his or her contact information.
Lead Generation: Is the process of identifying and cultivating potential customers for a business’s products or services.
Margin: Is a vital metric used to reveal how profitable each item sold is to your business. Basically the amount of revenue from the sale of the item which exceeeds the costs of the item.
MSP: An acronym for Managed Service Provider. Is a company that remotely manages a customer’s IT infrastructure and/or end-user systems, typically on a proactive basis and under a subscription model.
Negotiation: is a strategic dialogue between two or more parties with the goal of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.
Objection: A prospect’s challenge to or rejection of a product or service’s benefits, and a natural part of the sales process. A common objection is usually around price. Check out our post on objection handling in sales.
OEM: A company whose products are used as components in another company’s product. The OEM will generally work closely with the company that sells the finished product (often called a “value-added reseller” or VAR) and customize the designs based on the VAR’s needs. Examples of OEM’s include: ASUS, Dell and Sony.
OTE: On-target earnings. It implies that if the individual hits all their targets, set for them by the company, they have a potential to earn a certain amount, which includes their base pay, commissions, bonuses, or other variable components to their total cash income.
Outbound Sales: Refers to the process of a seller directly contacting a prospect to close a sales. Usually via email or calling them.
Outside Sales: As opposed to inside sales, typically refers to a sales job in which the sales rep is consistently meeting in person with potential customers.
PaaS: An acronym for Platform as a service (PaaS). It’s a category of cloud computing services that provides a platform allowing customers to develop, run, and manage web applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with developing and launching an app.
Pain Point: A prospect’s pain point is critical for a sales rep to know. If you don’t know the problems they face then you can’t possibly offer benefits to resolve them and so sell your solution.
Pipeline: A sales pipeline is a visual representation of all the stages in your sales process and where each of your potential deals are on this predetermined path. It’s usually
Prospecting: The process of searching for and finding potential buyers. Sales reps (or “prospectors”) seek out qualified prospects and move them through the sales cycle.
Qualified Lead: A contact that opted in to receive communication from your company, became educated about your product or service, and is interested in learning more.
Quarter: A three month period during a company’s financial year.
Quota: It’s a sales goal that a sales rep is expected to meet over a given period of time.
Rapport: Having a close and friendly relationship with prospects and customers that encourages understanding and communication. You can’t be great at sales if you aren’t able to build trust.
SaaS: Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet.
Sales Methodology: The learned behaviors, tactics, and strategies used by a sales team to execute and fulfill the sales process in a professional and conversation manner. Popular sales methodologies include SPIN selling, QBS Selling, The Challenger Sale, Consultative Selling, Solution Selling, etc. Sales methodologies focuses on a certain aspect of the sales cycle.
Sales Process: The measurable, consistent, and systematic series of steps that map out and track interaction with prospects from their first point of engagement through the closing of an opportunity.
SDR: An acronym for Sales development representative. Is a type of inside sales rep that solely focuses on outbound prospecting.
SMB: SMB is an abbreviation for small and medium-sized business. A business with 100 or fewer employees is generally considered small, while one with 100-999 employees is considered to be medium-sized.
Social Selling: When sales reps use social media to interact directly with their prospects. They provide value by answering prospects’ questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.
SPIN Selling: A sales methodology coined by Neil Rackham. SPIN stands for situation, problem, implication, and need-payoff. It explains consultative selling. How, based on systematically identifying the clients pain-points using the SPIN framework you can make a compelling offer.
Target: refers to the specific group or subset of potential consumers a company plans to sell its product.
Territory: Is the customer group or geographical area for which an individual salesperson or a sales team holds responsibility.
Template: is a generic file with a framework showing the standard sections or features of a specific kind of document, used to create a new document of the same type quickly and easily.
Upsell: Is a sales technique whereby a seller persuades the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale
Value Proposition: Also known by the shorthand value prop. A benefit of a product or service intended to make it more attractive to potential buyers and differentiates it from competitors.
VAR: A value-added reseller (VAR) is a company that adds features or services to an existing product, then resells it (usually to end-users) as an integrated product or complete solution.
VAT: a consumption tax placed on a product whenever value is added at each stage of the supply chain, from production to the point of sale.
Warm Call: The solicitation of a potential customer with whom a sales representative or business has had prior contact. Warm calling refers to a sales call, visit or email that is preceded by some sort of contact with the potential customer or prospect, such as a direct mail campaign, an introduction at a business event or a referral.