Marketing and Sales Terms Every Professional Should Know

Marketing and sales professionals use a LOT of acronyms and other terms that can be hard to understand. Here are some of the most common along with clear and simple definitions of what they mean.


An acronym for always be closing, this refers to an old-school sales strategy that requires sales reps to focus on closing the deal throughout the sales process. The concept is antiquated because it takes their attention away from meeting the needs of the buyer, which is critical in today’s selling environment. Nowadays, always be closing has been replaced by always be connecting.

Adoption process

This is another term for buying process. It includes all the steps prospects go through on the way to making purchases.


This acronym stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. These are the four steps of the old-school purchase funnel, which moves customers from initial awareness to finally taking action. The purchase funnel isn’t used much anymore because a sales process that includes digital and social elements is less linear and far more complex and varied.


This is the stage in the buying process when people become aware of a product or service that could satisfy their needs.


The value a product or service provides to consumers.


This acronym represents a process salespeople go through to determine if a prospect has the budget, authority, need and timeline to actually buy something.


Another acronym. It stands for bottom of the funnel, which represents the final stage of the buying process prior to closing sales.

Buyer Behavior

This is the process a consumer goes through to identify, consider and select products and services that meet their needs.

Buying Criteria

All the information a consumer needs — delivered throughout the buying process — to make a decision about whether to purchase something.

Buying Process

The end-to-end process potential purchasers go through before deciding whether they want to buy something.

Buying Signal

A sign from a prospect that indicates they’re ready to buy something. This could be a question like, “When can this be delivered to me?”


The customer acquisition cost is the total amount marketing and sales has to spend to close a deal. It is often a measure of sales efficiency. Over time, using a sound sales enablement process and system can lower CAC.


A statistic that explains how many customers are lost versus those retained. A high churn rate usually indicates poor customer service.


A sales opportunity that ends with a deal.


A sales opportunity that ends without a purchase.

Closing Ratio

The percent of sales opportunities that end with a sale. This metric is often used to measure how effective sales reps and teams are.

Cold Calling

The process of making unsolicited calls to generate leads and sell products and services. It’s considered an inefficient and antiquated way to sell.


The money sales reps receive when they close deals. It’s usually a percentage of the total sale.


A person who uses, but not necessarily buys, a product or service. A buyer may purchase something for someone who actually consumes it.

Conversion Path

The series of experiences on a company’s social media and digital properties that help capture leads. In an ideal situation, the experience should gather and record information about the prospects that can be used to customize the sales process.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of people who visit a website or interact with a digital ad, and take a desired action, such as filling out a form.


When a sales rep is able to sell a buyer more than one product or service.


Customer Relationship Management is a process supported by software that lets companies track all interactions with prospects and clients. A typical system keeps track of client contact information and may do things like:

  • Track email, phone calls, faxes and deals
  • Send personalized emails
  • Schedule appointments
  • Log customer service and support interactions.

Some also incorporate feeds from social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others.

The systems are designed to provide sales reps with easy access to complete information about prospects and clients.

Decision Maker

This is the person or position that makes the ultimate decision about buying products and services.

Discovery Call

The initial call between a sales rep and a prospect. The goal is for the salesperson to gather enough information to qualify the prospect as a potential customer or reject them because they’re unlikely to convert.


This term refers to the use of electronic media to share sales information.

Elevator Pitch

A statement that explains the value of a company’s products and services to buyers. Salespeople use it when they have limited time to generate interest, like when they’re riding an elevator with a prospective client.


This is the process of estimating future sales using historic and other types of data, including economic information. It’s used for planning and to set sales goals.


Acronym for Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline, Budget, Authority, which is a set of lead qualification criteria sales reps often use to qualify prospects.


An interactive visual aid is content, usually used to support sales or to educate consumers, shared on an electronic device, such as a smartphone, tablet or computer.


An individual or company that demonstrates interest in a product or service. There are many ways to do this including filling out an online form, making a call or sharing a business card at a conference. Becoming a lead is one of the earliest steps in the sales process. Good marketers find ways to get leads to share personal information so the sales process can be tailored to meet their needs.

A bad lead is someone who is not part of a company’s target consumer market and is unlikely to convert into a customer.

Lead Qualification

The process of figuring out whether a potential purchaser has certain defined characteristics that make them worth moving through the sales process because they’re likely to make a purchase.


Lifetime value is a prediction of how much a company could earn for an entire relationship with a customer.


The difference between how much a product or service sells for and the total cost of production and delivery.


The amount added to the price of items to cover things like overhead and to earn a profit on sales.


Monthly Recurring Revenue is how much subscription-based businesses earn each month. Most digital services are highly dependent on maintaining MRR.


The net promoter score is a scale of one to ten that represents how likely it is that customers will recommend a company, it’s products and services. It shows how effectively businesses are serving their clients.


The part of the sales process when the prospect challenges or rejects a product or service offerings. Sales reps should be equipped with talking points to overcome objections. If they’re delivered through a sales enablement system like Mobile Locker’s, salespeople can access them any place, any time.


A qualified lead that’s being actively worked by the sales team.

Pain Point

A prospect’s problem or issue that can be solved by the products and services offered by a company.


A fictional representation of an ideal customer. It’s used by marketers to help develop plans, strategies and campaigns. Salespeople leverage them to qualify leads and tailor their selling to the needs of people who are similar to the persona.


All the people who are still actively going through some part of the sales process.

Positioning Statement

Questions and conversation starters reps use to engage with prospects. They should be developed to help understand the pain points of purchasers and connect them to solutions offered by a company.

Profit Margin

The total amount of money a company keeps in earnings.


The process of looking for and identifying potential qualified customers.

Qualified Lead

A person who has contacted a company expressing an interest in its products and services, that has a set of characteristics defined by sales and marketing which makes them likely to convert into good, profitable customers.


This term generally refers to a sales goal, which is a defined level of sales a rep is expected to generate over a certain period of time, usually a month or quarter.

Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is the process of providing a sales team with the education, content and tools that help sales reps sell more effectively. At its most basic, it provides salespeople with everything they need to successfully engage buyers during the end-to-end sales process.

Sales Methodology

This term refers to how sales reps go about selling. There are many sales methodologies including:

  • SPIN
  • Conceptual Selling
  • SNAP
  • The Challenger Sale
  • Sandler Sales
  • CustomerCentric Selling.

Training on these methodologies is most efficiently and effectively delivered through a sales enablement system like the one offered by Mobile Locker.


A service level agreement defines how a company’s sales and marketing teams should work together along with the work level and results expected from each. It’s a formalized way to bring the two groups into alignment and get them to work toward common, agreed-upon goals.


This refers to the process of aligning sale and marketing efforts, which is critical for businesses to be able to generate dependable and improved sales over time. Most companies use a sales enablement program and system like the one offered by Mobile Locker to bring these two groups into alignment.

Social Selling

The process of using social media to interact with prospects and customers by sharing helpful information, answering questions, encouraging conversation, generating leads and collecting personal information.


The process of selling a prospect or client a higher-end, more costly version of a product or service than they originally expressed interest in.

Value Proposition

A “value prop” is a statement that explains the benefit a product, service or company provides to customers. It should set a business apart from its competitors.

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