Your Ultimate Guide to Understanding Sales Jargon

8 mins

If you're starting a career in sales or just embarking on a new role, you'll encounter many ...

By Pareto Team


If you're starting a career in sales or just embarking on a new role, you'll encounter many terms, sayings, and abbreviations commonly used in the business world. While some may seem cringeworthy (like 'think outside the box' or 'blue sky thinking'), grasping essential sales jargon will bolster your career development and enhance your understanding of discussions with managers and leaders.

Our ultimate sales jargon guide highlights key terms frequently used by sales teams and leaders, providing a solid foundation to navigate these crucial terminologies. Let's dive into our list and equip you with the essential knowledge needed to excel in sales.

Our List of Vital Sales Jargon You Need to Understand 

ABC -  This stands for ‘always be closing’ and is a sales strategy that reminds sales professionals that every step in the sales process is one closer to closing the deal. 

Account - Customer accounts, sometimes called customer profiles, are created the first time customers buy a service or product from a business. They include crucial information about the customer, such as their contact information, purchases, preferences, and interactions. 

B2B - B2B, or business-to-business, refers to the marketing and selling of products or services from one business to another rather than to individual consumers. 

B2C - B2C, or business-to-consumer, refers to the marketing and selling of products or services from a business directly to individual consumers rather than to other businesses.

BANT Framework - This is a checklist used during lead qualification. Each letter stands for:

  • B = Budget. Can the prospect afford the service or product? 

  • A = Authority. Is the prospect a decision-maker who can authorise the purchase?

  • N = Need. Do they or their business need the product?

  • T = Time. Is the prospect likely to purchase the service or product in the next sales cycle?  

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) - Prospects at the bottom of the funnel are very close to purchasing a product or service. They possess all the facts they need, they’ve communicated with the business, and they are in a position to buy. 

Buying Signal - These are indicators that a customer is ready to purchase. Sales professionals use these cues to determine when it is time to try to close the sale.  Examples include signing up for a free trial and discussing prices/budget. 

Churn Rate - This is the percentage of customers who stop buying from a business in a certain time frame. It is calculated by dividing the number of lost customers at the end of the period by the total number of customers at the beginning.  

Cold Calling - Cold calling involves reaching out to potential customers who haven't expressed prior interest in the product or service being offered, typically via telephone. 

Commission - Sales commission is when a sales professional earns money for making a sale in addition to their base pay. Employers typically use commission as part of a compensation package to drive conversion and closing sales. The more sales you make, the more commission you earn. 

Consultative Selling - This is a ‘buyer-first’ sales strategy that prioritises the customer relationship over selling a particular service or product. A sales professional using this approach will focus on their customers' needs and pain points and try to find a solution based on these specific details. 

Conversion - Conversion refers to the process of turning a prospect or lead into a paying customer or achieving a desired action or outcome, such as a sign-up, purchase, or download.

Conversion Rate - A sales conversion rate measures how effectively sales professionals turn leads or prospects into paying customers. For example, if you convert 6 out of 10 customers into buyers, your conversion rate would be 60%. 

CRM Software -  Customer Relationship Management software enables sales teams to track valuable information and management prospects that help sales professionals convert sales better and provide elevated customer experiences.

Cross-selling - Cross-selling refers to selling an additional service or product to a customer. It occurs when a sales professional discovers that a customer can benefit from more than one solution. 

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) - This refers to the amount of money spent on the process of acquiring a customer. It includes sales professional salary and commission, marketing expenses, and work hours dedicated to persuading the customer. 

Customer Lifecycle - The customer lifecycle highlights the multi-stage journey that customers go through, from first hearing about the business to becoming an ambassador. There are usually seven stages in the customer lifecycle: 

  • Awareness 

  • Engagement 

  • Consideration

  • Conversion 

  • Support

  • Loyalty 

  • Advocacy

Decision-make- A decision-maker is a person within a business who has the final authority to approve or reject a purchase. 

Direct Sales - These are sales that don’t require a middleman. The services or products are sold directly from the seller to the consumer. 

Discovery Call - This is a conversation between sales professionals and customers at the initial stages of the sales funnel to determine their needs, pain points, and expectations and whether the products and services are suitable. 

Forecasting - Sales forecasting involves estimating future sales by analysing past data, current sales pipeline, and market trends to guide business decisions, budgeting, strategy, and staffing.  

TOP TIP: While sales jargon is useful when communicating with the sales team and management, be careful when speaking to customers. They may not be aware of these terms, which may impact their experience and understanding of what you are trying to sell them. 

Gatekeeper - A gatekeeper is a person within a business who controls access to the decision-maker. Examples include an assistant or receptionist.

Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) - An ICP provides sales professionals and businesses a blueprint of their perfect customer. It highlights important factors such as industry, company size, goals, budget, and challenges. ICP enables sales teams to target their marketing and sales efforts more effectively. 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) - KPIs are numerical measurements that reflect how an individual sales professional or a business is performing. Common KPIs include conversion rates,  number of calls made, annual growth, and number of products or services sold. 

Lead - A lead is a potential customer who is potentially interested in buying a product or service 

Lead Qualification - This is the process of assessing potential customers to determine whether they are a good fit for your offering. 

Markup - This refers to a price increase for a service or product. It is typically done to compensate for costly production costs or drops in profit and revenue, 

Net Promoter Score (NPS) - This is a metric used to review customer loyalty.  It is measured by a survey asking the customer how likely they are to recommend a service, product, or business to people they know.

Onboarding - Onboarding refers to the post-purchase process of acquainting new customers with their products or services. It aims to provide customers with the best possible early experience with their new service or product, create valuable long-term relationships, and decrease churn rates. 

Pain Point - This is a specific customer problem that a sales professional can fix by offering a product or service. The ability to identify and understand is a vital skill for a successful career in sales. 

Profit Margin - The profit margin is the percentage of your revenue left for the cost of what you are selling. For example, if a product costs £250 and you sell it for £1000, the profit margin would be £750.  

Prospecting - This is the foundation of the sales funnel, where sales professionals identify and reach out to potential customers. 

Quota - A quota, or sales quota, is a set value or number managers expect sales professionals to meet over a certain period, usually a month or quarter. Managers set these quotas to measure and compare team and individual performance. 

Sales Pipeline - A sales pipeline offers a simple method for organising and monitoring potential customers as they progress through the sales process. Breaking down the process into distinct stages, such as initial contact and purchasing, lets sales professionals clearly visualise each prospect's status. 

Sales Funnel - A sales funnel tracks the customer journey from initial awareness to purchase decision. It starts with many potential customers and narrows down to only the most qualified leads, helping businesses understand their sales goals.

Sales Script - Sales scripts are written guidelines or dialogues used by sales professionals when communicating with potential customers. They can be brief, highlighting key points, or very detailed, providing what they need to say word-for-word. 

Social Selling - This is a sales strategy in which sales professionals and businesses use social media as a way to communicate with existing customers and prospects. Social media is not normally where the sales take place, but more as a means of interaction and lead nurturing. 

Top-of-the-funnel - This refers to the initial stage of the customer’s journey, where potential leads are generated, and awareness of the service or product is established. Activities include prospecting, initial outreach to customers, and lead generation. 

Upselling - Upselling is convincing customers to buy a higher-priced option by showing them how much better the product or service is and how much more suitable it is for their needs.

Value Proposition - A value proposition is a statement that clearly articulates the unique value or benefits that a service or product offers to address specific pain points or needs of the target customer base. 

Mastering sales jargon, from CRM to ABC, is as easy as 123

Whatever job, industry, or market you enter, you will inevitably encounter these terms throughout your career in sales. Whether you're communicating with customers, leaders, or fellow sales professionals, your knowledge and understanding of key sales jargon will prove invaluable. 

It not only enhances your credibility and professionalism but also drives clearer communication and deeper connections with vital stakeholders. So, take the time to familiarise yourself with these essential terms, as they are the building blocks of success in the fast-paced and exciting world of sales.

Ready to Apply Your New Sales Jargon in a New Career?

Now you’re up-to-date with all the vital sales jargon you’ll need for a successful sales career, let’s find that next role. For over 25 years, we've supported sales professionals and graduates in starting their careers by connecting them with leading organisations. We're here to help ambitious candidates like you find the right fit.

Contact us today to discuss your sales career goals and explore positions that can help you succeed.

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