If you’re new to sales, congratulations on joining this magical realm. You’ve aced the interview and landed your first job, and now comes the fun part: onboarding.
Get ready to be bombarded with more acronyms and unknown terms than you have heard in your entire life leading up to this point. Sounds dramatic, but depending on your vertical, that could be an understatement.
Trying to figure out all the definitions of things can get frustrating…as if you didn’t have enough on your plate, here’s a slew of slang that you can’t seem to crack. It can feel hella awkward asking coworkers every time you don’t know what something means. and the worst part is Google doesn’t always have a helpful definition for acronyms, especially when they’re industry-specific (looking at you, healthcare).
So, here’s your handy dandy guide to common business and sales terms, including breakdowns of all the pesky acronyms that keep popping up.
Let us also make one thing clear: this guide is not limited to newbies. Whether you’re transitioning from another industry, can’t keep track of all the acronyms, or recently came across an acronym you haven’t seen before, this is a guide for everyone who finds themselves asking, “WTF do all of these acronyms mean?”
A/B Testing: Using two variations, like email copy, to test the efficacy or another factor over a period of time. (also known as “split testing”)
ACV: Annual Contract Value. The annual amount a customer will pay based on their subscription terms.
ARPA: Average (monthly) Recurring Revenue Per Account
ARR: Annual Recurring Revenue (i.e. 12 months x MRR)
B2B: Business to Business. A company that sells to other businesses (rather than directly to individual consumers).
B2BC: Business-to-Business-to-Consumer (and *B2C2B - Business-to-Consumer-to-Business)
BANT: Budget-Authority-Need-Timeline. BANT is a methodology used to sift out qualified leads worth pursuing from the rest of the pack, using the four aforementioned items: the prospect’s budget, authority, current need, and timeline.
CAC: Customer Acquisition Cost (Also, CPL: Cost per Lead). The cost of gaining a new customer, as calculated by spend (overhead, bonuses, etc.) divided by the number of customers acquired during a set time period (e.g. one quarter).
CLTV: Customer Lifetime Value. A forecast of the monetary value a customer will bring during their entire subscription tenure with the company.
CTA: Call to Action. A phrase that encourages an action (e.g. “Let’s schedule a call for next week”).
CX: Customer Experience. The whole of interactions a customer has with your company, including with you, the platform, support, etc. (also UX: user experience, which is typically used in the product sense).
D2C: Direct to Consumer
EOD/EOW: End of Day/End of Week
Enterprise sales: Selling to large organizations, which typically entails bigger deal sizes, longer deal cycles, and longer contracts.
KPI: Key Performance Indicator. KPIs track progress towards a goal, and ultimately success, in a quantifiable way. KPIs are used internally by all teams. Some example KPIs for sales teams are opportunity-to-win ratio, CAC, and customer retention.
LTV: (Customer) Lifetime value
MRR: Monthly Recurring Revenue
NPS: Net Promoter Score. A way to measure customer satisfaction, as calculated by substrating “detractors” from “promoters.”
OKR: Objectives and Key Results. Individuals, teams, and larger organizations use OKRs to set goals for improvement or growth in certain aspects of the business. As such, KPIs inform OKRs, and vice versa.
OOO: Out Of Office. Use this when you’re going on vacation, need to step away for an appointment, or will be otherwise unreachable. Some companies also have OOO calendars to keep teammates in the loop with your schedule.
RFP: Request for Proposal. A publicly-posted document (typically used by governments, but also other private organizations) announcing a project, and also defines said project, the bidding process, and the terms of the contract. RFPs are typically used when there is a need for multiple sub-contractors (hence why governments typically use them).
ROI: Return on Investment
SLA: Service Level Agreement. A commitment from the service provider stipulating the services to be provided and any relevant standards (e.g. resolution times for support tickets). There are multi-level, customer, and internal SLAs.
SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound
SPIN: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need
SWOT: Otherwise known as a “SWOT analysis.” Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
SMB: Small and Medium Businesses
TL;DR: Too late; didn’t read. Use this before giving a brief synopsis of something.
WFH: Work From Home
Accelerators: Accelerators are incentives used to motivate sales reps to go above and beyond (i.e. overachieving your quota). The exact amount you must hit to reach these sales accelerators depends on your company. These may come in the form of higher commission for deals beyond your quota.
AE: Account Executive
AM: Account Manager
BDR: Business Development Representative
Cold Call: A call to a prospect that you have not been in touch with before.
Cold Email: See above, but for email.
Commission: insert angelic singing This is the dough you’ll make on top of your base, as tied to closed deals. Commission structures vary by role and company.
Comp plan: aka “compensation plan.” This determines how much money you will make based on your performance (e.g. quota attainment). It incorporates everything, like your base salary, commission, bonuses, and benefits.
CRM: Customer relationship management. A SaaS tool that helps you manage all your customer data. Example: Salesforce.
Cross-selling: Selling current customers other products that they aren’t using.
CTR: Click-through rate (as typically measured on email).
Demo: A demonstration of your product or services to a client, in which you share its features and functionality. Check out Mastering the Demo on Bravado Academy for more information.
Decelerator: A tactic sales orgs use to encourage reps who aren’t hitting their quota to at least get closer in range. For example, if you are not hitting 60% of quota, your commission rate might drop a few percentage points. (also see: Accelerator)
Discovery call: This call is to determine if your product is a fit for the client and vice versa. On this call, you should be building rapport, establishing credibility, and asking questions to gauge fit. Check out our guide to Discovery & Needs Analysis for more information.
ICP: Ideal Customer Profile. Your company’s target customer, based on any number of factors, including geography, company size, industry, etc.
Inbound: When a prospect comes in themselves to check out your product/service, it is considered inbound.
ISR: Inside Sales Representative. Selling using online tools, phone, and email, rather than selling in-person.
Lead: A potential customer who has no yet gone through the qualification process.
Lead scoring: The ranking process for leads using preset criteria, resulting in a ranking on a number scale.
LTV: (customer/user) Lifetime Value
MRR: Monthly recurring revenue
OTE: On-target earnings. The total amount a sales rep can expect to make if they hit their performance targets (e.g. quota).
Outbound: aka "outbound prospecting." The process of identifying and reaching out to prospects with the intentions of introducing them into the sales funnel. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Outbound Prospecting for more information.
Pipeline: aka “sales pipeline.” This is a representation of the full sales cycle. There are different owners, processes and steps at each stage of the pipeline, each meant to push the prospect farther down the pipeline until they become a customer.
President’s Club: An annual award for the sales organization’s highest achievers. Oftentimes includes an expenses-paid trip with fellow President’s Club winners and the executive team.
Prospect: When a lead gets qualified (i.e. they go through your qualification assessment and match your organization’s pre-set criteria), they become a prospect.
Quota: An amount of closed deals, leads generaled, revenue amount, profit, activity, or a combination of target goals that sales managers and executive leadership determine based on the organizations’ revenue targets.
Round Robin: A method of allocating new leads to different team members. Each member will receive a lead, and then once everyone has one, the cycle will reset.
SaaS: Software-as-a-Service. SaaS is a revenue model in which software is sold as a subscription. SaaS is not its own category of software/technology.
S.A.D.N.E.S.S.: Sales are dope, never ever stop selling ;)
Sales ops: Aka “sales operations.” The team, activities, and processes designed to support the sales team via managing administrative and technical tasks. (Also see: sales enablement).
Sales enablement: The process of supporting the sales team with tools, information, and content to be more effective and successful in selling your product(s) or service(s).
SDR: Sales Development Representative. SDRs are inside sales reps whose main responsibilities lay in prospecting, lead qualification, and cold outreach, with a focus on moving leads through the pipeline. SDR is an entry-level sales role. (Also see: BDR).
SFDC: Salesforce.com. The largest CRM provider.
SKO: Sales Kickoff. Typically occurring at the beginning of the fiscal year, SKO is a meeting for the sales team to get aligned on new concepts and motivated to achieve the goals set forth.
Social selling: Using brand/company’s social media avenues to generate leads by first establishing and fostering individual relationships with prospects.
TCV: Total contract value
Territory: A geographical region that one sales rep or team is responsible for. E.g.
Don’t see a term you need or think people should know? Have terms for specific industries? Share them with us here!