Sales jargon buster

3rd July 2020 |   Journal Of Sales Transformation

Artificial intelligence. Computer systems that are capable of learning by themselves. Companies are increasingly finding AI applications within sales – for instance, to identify potential customers or to predict the best time to call a customer.

B2B – business-to-business. When a business interacts and completes transactions with another business, such as a wholesaler and retailer. For example, one company might purchase materials from another company (supply chain) in order to produce a product or service that is then sold to customers.

B2C – business-to-consumer. When a business sells products or services aimed at individual consumers.

Business development. The process of finding and gaining new customers and markets.

Channel. A route to market. This may be direct via a sales force, online, or through third-parties such as dealers, distributors and retailers.

Channel sales. The process of recruiting and managing third-party businesses as part of your overall sales strategy – for example, car dealerships, retailers, distributors.

Coaching. The process of helping individuals to be the best they can be in their job (and in their career and life in general).

Cold-calling. Making unsolicited visits or phone calls to sell goods and services to potential customers or to organise a meeting.

Commission. In sales a component of a salesperson’s pay is often based on commission, which is usually calculated as a percentage of the value of an order. Thus, it is only paid if a person makes a sale. Commission may only kick in above a minimum threshold of successful sales.

Contract. The legal small print that accompanies an order or sale.

CRM – customer relationship management. CRM systems are computer systems that store and organise customer contact details and other important information about a company’s relationship with its customers, including details of how a sale is progressing, These systems help to manage interactions with customers and potential customers. A CRM system is designed to help organisations build customer relationships and streamline processes so they can increase sales, improve customer service, and increase profitability. They can potentially be integrated with other support systems such as online training and Salespeople tend to have a love-hate relationship with CRM systems because they can be complex and time-consuming to keep up to date.

Customer. A person or organization that buys something from you. In the professional services sector (accountancy, consultancy, etc) the customer is usually referred to as the client.

D2C – direct to consumer. A business model whereby companies and brands produce, pack, distribute and ship their own products (thereby avoiding losing margin to distributors and retailers). This is a fast-growing sector in the online age. Think vineyards/wineries selling their own produce or certain fashion designers.

Deal. An informal word for an agreement between seller and buyer where business has been transacted.

Farmer. A salesperson who is engaged in expanding business from a largely existing customer base.

Hunter. A salesperson who is largely engaged in finding new business.

Incentive. A form of additional payment beyond basic salary that may take the form of monetary reward (such as commission or cash prize) or other benefit such as a valuable gift or attendance at a sales conference that also includes a social element. Incentives are designed to motivate salespeople and to reward them for higher levels of activity and sales.

KAM – key account manager. A sales professional tasked with servicing a particularly important customer or group of customers.

Lead. A lead is the name and contact details of a private individual or company executive who may potentially buy from you.

Lead generation. Identifying customers who are interested in your goods and services.

Negotiation. The process of arriving at the final price and components of a customer order.

Order. A request to buy.

Order-taker. A pejorative term for a salesperson who only collects orders but does not make any diligent attempt to find new customers, or to persuade existing customers to increase the size or frequency of their orders.

Pipeline. The sales pipeline is an individual or company’s portfolio of future anticipated and actual sales.

Prospect. A potential customer.

Qualification. The process of deciding whether or not it is advantageous to pursue a sale during and after the initial contact.

ROI – return on investment. The benefit you get from a purchase compared with what you pay; formally, a ratio between net profit and cost of the investment.

SaaS – Software as a Service. Offering a cloud-based method for delivering software to users, often via a subscription model. It offers greater flexibility for users and allows them to log in to use the service from a variety of devices and locations.

Sales. This term describes the act of, and the business department responsible for, activities that lead to the selling of goods or services.

Sales director. A senior executive responsible for leading the sales organisation of a business. Usually interchangeable with VP Sales.

Sales enablement. The process or organization responsible for providing the information, marketing material and product and skills training to support the sales organization.

Salesforce. Probably the best-known customer relationship management solution.

Sales force. A company’s compliment of salespeople. Company’s may have different sales forces for different product or service lines, or for different countries and regions.

Sales forecasting. The process of predicting future sales.

Sales leader. A sales manager or director. The term implies leadership ability over and above da-to-day management, such as setting the direction and focus of the sales organisation.

Sales manager. A manager who is responsible for running a team of salespeople. They have sales experience but must also learn other skills such as management and coaching.

Sales rep, sales professional, salesperson. An individual engaged in selling.

Sales team. A group of salespeople, usually focused on selling a limited line of products and services, reporting to a sales manager. The team may be co-located in an office or based in the field. A number sales teams may comprise a company’s sales force.

Social media. Online social platforms some of which can be used to engage potential customers. Different cultures have different attitudes to the various social media platforms.

Value proposition. This is the value that businesses promise to deliver if a customer chooses to buy a product or service. It’s a clear definition from the business to the customer of the likely outcome of buying a product or service. The value delivered may be a “better” product than the competition, a cost saving, a more efficient way of carrying out a process, or a completely new technology, for instance – all of which may offer a potential advantage to the customer.

VP Sales – Vice President of Sales. A senior company executive responsible for running the sales organization of a specific geographic or business area.