Sales Glossary: A to Z in Sales Terminology

Sales can be hard, disheartening and downright tricky sometimes. It's a personality game, with hundreds of prospective customers all requiring something slightly different from you. But when you succeed, it's also a very satisfying job that often allows you to work outside the office. Below, we have created a sales glossary full of practical terms for anyone wanting to learn a little more about selling.

From A to Z in Sales Terminology:

A - account, AIDA, average dollar sale

Account – a customer. A Sales Rep can be responsible for hundreds of accounts throughout a region.

AIDA – stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action: the four main stages that involve the buying process. (see: funnel)

Average Dollar Sale – the average amount of money each customer spends with you. The time of day, the location of a shop, knowledge or skill set can all affect an employee’s average dollar sale. However, this information can help analyze the general abilities of staff.

B - B2B, B2C, BANT, buyer, buyer persona

B2B  – stands for business-to-business: basically, exchange of products and services between two companies instead of between a company and a customer.

B2C  – stands for business-to-customer: basically, exchange of products and services between a company and a customer.

BANT  – stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline. BANT is used as criteria for lead qualification.

Buyer – a contact at a business. They may not always make big decisions, own the company, or dictate when they buy the product, but day-to-day sales are often closed through buyers on the shop floor.

Buyer persona – a term used by marketers for fictional, generalized profiles of ideal customers. Having a buyer persona is absolutely necessary to help a company set goals, and understand how to attract and convert those leads into potential customers. A complete buyer persona profile includes approximate age, job description and pain points.

C - churn, CRM, cold calling, complex sales

Churn – also known as "churn rate". Churn is basically the percentage rate at which a customer stops subscribing, using or paying for a certain product/service. It's vital to know your churn rate to understand your buyer's behavior and which features aren't being fully utilized.

CRM – this stands for customer relationship management and most often involves using CRM software to analyze customer interaction data to help business relationships grow. Also, CRM software helps businesses improve relationships and retain customers. There are several tools that can be used to improve CRM and make it practical.

Cold Calling – the process of approaching prospective customers either by telephone or face-to-face “cold,” or with no introduction or prior contact. It’s important to know your target market, so as not to waste anyone’s time. For example, if you sell alcohol, don't cold call a shop without a liquor license.

Complex Sales  – Common in large B2B sales, a complex sale is one including more than one decision-maker (see: decision-maker).

D - data entry, decision-makers, demographic

Data entry – inputting lead or prospect data into the CRM platform.

Decision-makers – the people who make the buying decisions. Identifying the person in charge is a key factor in making a sale.

Demographic – following on from the above point: know your market! Demographics is the study of people’s lifestyle, age, buying habits, etc. Any Sales Rep will be better equipped to sell a product if they understand the product's demographic.

E - enablement, ethics

Enablement – sales enablement is the process of ensuring that all  customer focused employees have the information and skill set to sell. Sales enablement involves understanding and eliminating the gap between business strategies and their actual execution. This can be done by training sales teams, exploring new platforms, and thereby increasing revenue.

Check our Sales Enablement 101 e-Book!

Ethics – no one trusts a Sales Rep that does not show sound business ethics. Buyers and consumers these days are well informed by the internet, so, immoral or unethical decisions will be apparent and won’t attract long-term loyal customers.

F - field sales, forecasting, funnel

Field Sales - field sales reps are the guys on the ground, pounding the pavement and being the face of a company within a particular territory. Their office is generally their car. They work mostly on a mobile device and meet with their clients face-to-face frequently.

Forecasting – the process of estimating future sales to predict the long or short-term performance by a company. Forecasting also helps making good, informed business decisions.

Funnel – a buying process that employees lead customers through when purchasing products. The sales funnel is divided into what are referred to as stages that take a customer from awareness to action.

sales funnel
The stages involved in that process are, basically, four: awareness, interest, decision and action. This is a simpler version of the funnel, meaning it can be divided into more complex and detailed stages.

G - gate keeper, GPCTBA/C&I

Gate Keeper – someone who screens your attempts to approach the person who makes the buying decisions. Find a way through or around them. Be nice!

GPCTBA/C&I – other criteria used in lead qualification. It stands for Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline, Budget, Authority - Negative Consequences & Positive Implications.

H - head buyer

Head Buyer - more important and influential than a typical buyer, but can be busier, and harder to contact, etc.

I - inside sales, intelligence

Inside Sales - inside sales reps are the guys who sell from inside the company, either via phone or online. They should be experts in cold-calling, email and other ways of reaching prospects that don't involve field sales.

Intelligence - self-explanatory for the most part, but having the social intelligence to read people goes a long way in closing deals.

J - junior sales rep

Junior Sales Rep - a newbie that needs some guidance. Sales is not easy. It's a hard job to fill, and turnover is extremely high. Training and supporting Sales Reps will help retain them. In the wise words of Richard Branson, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don't want to.”

K - key accounts

Key Accounts - big spenders or loyal customers prioritized by Sales Reps because losing their business would be a significant loss to the company.

L - leads, lead qualification, lifetime value

Leads – prospective customers to approach with your product. For example, an organic food distributor learns through word-of-mouth that a new health food store is opening soon. Boom, a lead!

Lead qualification – process by which leads are graded on their potential. The process involves asking a few questions in order to figure out if the lead's problems fit with the offered solution and whether or not they have the ability to buy. A qualified lead is a prospect (see prospect).

Lifetime Value (LTV) – prediction of the profit gained over the course of the entire future relationship with a customer.

M - margin

Margin – the difference between the cost price and the sell price of a product. Everyone has a margin they like to work with, and for products to be appealing, they need to be able to meet this margin without out-pricing themselves in the market.

N - networking

Networking – a tremendous advantage for Sales Reps. Sales is a personality game and successfully networking with people throughout your industry plays a significant role in long-term success.

If you want to find the right people to follow or engage, check our sales experts list.

O - objections, opt-in

Objections – perhaps the price is too high, or perhaps it is something more complex. Anything that stands in the way of you making a sale is an objection. For example, your company is the first to start selling wine in a can. There will be resistance to wine in a can because consumers buy bottles. Thus, you’ll need to be prepared to handle this objection with facts or research.

Opt-in  – when someone gives you permission to send a series of emails, such as newsletters. Opting-in isn't necessary to send a single email, but it's extremely important to have opt-in contacts if you wish to have a solid email marketing strategy.

P - pipeline, product, prospect

Pipeline – a document containing all your prospective customers, arranged according to the stage in which they are in your sales or purchasing process. Great sales pipeline management is vital for forecasting.

Product – what makes your business tick! Having a great product and knowing how and where to sell it is the key to success in sales.

Prospect – a qualified lead which has expressed interest in the product or service he's being offered.

Q - question, quota

Question – again, know your market! Know your buyer. Ask questions. Listen. Gather information. By asking what a customer wants, you’re already one step closing to meeting their needs.

Quota – sales targets to help track monthly, quarterly, or yearly success. Assigned to individual employees, regions, entire companies, etc.

R - rapport, retention of customers

Rapport – creating healthy relationships with potential or prospective customers. Listen to their needs and build trust.

Retention of Customers – keep your customers! Sounds easy, right? Growing current accounts is far easier (and cheaper) than finding new ones. Why spend time and money expanding your business with new customers, only to see them changing to competitors six months later. Meet their needs, give them your time, and keep your current customers happy.

S - sales report, smarketing, social selling

Sales Report – an important document containing sales targets, results, trends, etc. which allows you to track your quota achievement. Not to be confused with rapport.

Smarketing – integrating sales and marketing to enhance the skill set and knowledge of both teams. Smarketing teams use a systematic, integrated approach to selling, often resulting in increased revenue.

Social Selling – using social media to interact directly with prospective customers by posting useful content and answering questions. Social selling involves both sales and marketing abilities.

T - targeting, territory

Targeting – this involves researching your market and selecting companies or consumers that suit your product. Choosing the right people before they become customers helps focus your time and selling strategies.

Territory – the area for which a Sales Rep is responsible. Some Sales Reps cover a city or region, while others might look after key accounts nationally and travel from one side of the country to the other.

U - unique, up selling

Unique – this sells your product. Why is your product better than the competitors? Why is it faster, cheaper, more expensive, portable, etc? Your product must have a distinct selling point, feature or benefit not held by the competition.

Up Selling – offering a more expensive product or something extra to encourage a higher spend.

V - variables

Variables – are elements that can change to meet needs. For example, product price can be negotiated to meet the margin requirements of a large prospective customer.

W - warm calling, whale, WIIFM

Warm Calling – calling a prospect with whom you've had contact previously. They tend to turn into appointments much more easily than cold prospects.

Whale – a potential customer twenty-times the size of your regular ones. These McMassive customers require experienced Sales Reps, and a lot of time and planning but are worth the effort as they will be a huge gain to your business.

WIIFM – "What's In It For Me?": the essential question your prospect will ask, directly or indirectly. It's essential that, at selling, the potential customer's WIIFM is considered into argumentation.

Y - yearly sales report

Yearly Sales Report - Company sales data aggregated on a yearly basis. The purpose is to annually compare earnings, top line growth, and the general financial state of the business.

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