Join us & start generating more revenue today.

A complete glossary of B2B sales and marketing terms

Riya Uppal

There’s a huge number of technical and informal B2B sales and marketing terms. New terms are created by companies too keeping us all on our toes.

Therefore whether you’re in an office or working from home, it’s essential to get a good handle on the terms used as soon as possible.

This glossary has been compiled to give you an overall understanding of B2B sales and marketing terms. So here’s our complete list of the words and phrases used in sales and marketing right now…

A/B Testing

AKA Split Testing. A type of experiment in marketing in which two different versions of something are produced. They are shown at the same time to the same number of people. The rate of conversions for both versions are then compared.

Account

Types of account include ‘Key Account’, ‘Strategic Account’ and ‘Major Account’. Accounts can be defined by the frequency of purchases they make. Job roles include Account Executives and Account Managers.

Account-based Selling (ABS)

Selling is to contacts in groups of target accounts rather than to individual contacts. B2B sales and marketing efforts are coordinated and have personalised outreach.

Account-based Marketing (ABM)

Marketing efforts are directed toward specific target accounts in account-based marketing. B2B sales and marketing produce personalised marketing for the specific accounts. The goal is to ensure that accounts have the best customer experience and to increase B2B sales.

Attention/Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA) Model

The AIDA/AIDAR model is one of the most commonly used marketing models. It involves mapping the stages a customer goes through when making purchases.

The stages in AIDA are:

Attention/Awareness – of the company brand and products

Interest – for the company’s products and looking into them further

Desire – the emotions associated with wanting something

Action – calls to action by the customer such as making a purchase

Retention – can be added in the ‘AIDAR’ model to focus on customer loyalty.

Average Contract Value (ACV)

Calculating the mean revenue per year, for one customer’s contract. Contracts which bring in revenue beyond one year can be summarised per year. It is a metric or key performance indicator used to measure the company’s yearly revenue.

Backlinks

Hyperlinks from an external website to another website, navigating users to other pages on the internet. Links from trusted websites can be deemed quality and boost SEO. Low/bad quality links can come from unsecure websites and affect a website’s ability to rank highly.

Baseline Sales

This is a calculation of the amount of sales which a company expects to close without any marketing. It is a way of measuring the impact of the marketing campaigns on sales.

BASHO Email

A type of cold email sent to prospective customers. They are highly targeted toward the recipient based on prior research. They are manually written and aim to generate a positive response. Recipients are typically decision makers within a company. 

Blacklist

An email blacklist is a database of email addresses. Blacklisted email addresses can be blocked from delivering emails or direct them to spam folders. Senders can contact the owners of blacklist databases to determine if their emails are blacklisted.

Blogging

Blogging is a popular form of writing on the internet. Companies will often write blogs as part of their marketing campaigns to drive traffic to websites. Blogs can be shared via social media channels to generate widespread engagement and interest.

Bookings

Bookings in sales refers to the total amount of money expected from signed contracts with a customer. It can represent many contracts over a certain amount of time. Payments are planned to be given as per the contracts.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

‘Bottom of the Funnel’ refers to the lowest layer in a visual representation of a funnel. It is the layer which contains sales leads who are highly qualified and likely to buy from a company. Direct sales efforts like ‘demos’ can be used to pursue closing these deals.

Bottom-up Forecasting

Calculating potential revenue from a particular product/service, taking factors into consideration. It is calculated by the potential number of sales for a specific product/service, multiplied by the value of each potential sale. Adding these values calculates the total estimated revenue over a certain period.

Bottom-up Marketing

A B2B marketing approach popularised by Ries and Trout in 1989 in their book ‘Bottom-up Marketing’. It involves marketing employees creating B2B marketing strategies rather than executives. This is then amended and developed based on the success of campaigns.

Bottom-up Sales

This is typically when employees in lower level management positions are targeted by B2B sales and marketing. Using this method gives more sales prospects, but deals are usually smaller. More departments in the organisation may also opt to use the same product/service.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of visitors to a website who only view one page. The visitor exits the website (or bounces) without performing another action. Clicking on internal hyperlinks or signing up to a newsletter are not completed in this instance.

Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline (BANT) Framework

The ‘BANT’ framework is used to measure how qualified leads are.

The four criteria used to assess this are: 

Budget – what the target company’s budget is

Authority – whether the contact has the authority to make the necessary decisions needed to close a deal

Need – if the company needs the product/service being pitched

Timeline – how long it would likely be that a deal could be closed by

The leads which are highly qualified to engage in business with a company can then be prioritised.

Business-to-Business (B2B) Sales

B2B sales and marketing is conducted by companies, to other companies. Business-to-consumer (B2C) selling on the other hand is where sales are made direct with a consumer. Business-to-government selling (B2G) is where companies sell directly to a government agency.

Buyer

A person or entity who makes a purchase from a seller. Segmenting by buyer types allows targeted B2B sales and marketing efforts to be used. Buyer behaviour is the actions buyers take when making purchases. A buyer persona is a fictional character based on customers to inform B2B marketing.

Buyer’s Journey

The buyer’s journey is a map of the stages which a buyer goes through when making a purchase. The three stages in this journey are typically described as: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. B2B sales and marketing efforts can be specialised based on the stage.

Buying Intent

AKA Buyer Intent or Purchasing Intent. Buying intent is a measure or probability of the likelihood that a someone will purchase a specific item. This likelihood is specified over a given time period. 

Buying Signal

A verbal or non-verbal cue which a potential customer displays that suggests they are close to making a purchase. Salespeople can then adapt their approach accordingly to close more deals. Actions prospects could make include asking specific questions about the product. 

Call to Action (CTA)

A ‘call to action’ is an instruction given to prospective customers. An example is visitors of a company’s website may be prompted to sign up for a product demonstration. Also internal linking in a website is also a CTA. These leads can then be followed up by sales teams and there is a higher likelihood of a sale being closed.

Campaign

B2B marketing strategies are planned in advance. Campaigns can include using a company’s marketing copy or creating new marketing copy for distribution. Materials can be posted via specific channels at certain times over a defined duration of time. The aim of a B2B marketing campaign could be to increase awareness of a company’s brand or drive sales.

Challenger Sales Model

The Challenger Sales Model is a sales strategy in which the seller teaches the sales prospects. In this there can be discussions or debates, and the seller demonstrates they know their pain points and solutions well. This approach can be used in some circumstances to close more deals.

Champion

AKA Sales Champion, Customer Champion or Consumer Champion. A prospective customer who actively recommends a company’s services in their company. Their influence and recommendations can close a deal on the seller’s behalf. The champion can influence winning deals within their organisation when the seller is absent.

Channel Partner

A channel partner is a third party company who sells another company’s products. The channel partner markets and sells products using their infrastructure. Channel partners can sell on behalf of manufacturers/vendors for example.

Channel Sales

This is the model or method of selling via a channel partner. Instead of selling products directly to the consumer, a company uses a third party company known as a channel partner. The channel partner can market, sell and distribute the products themselves. This is common with manufacturing companies, such as pharmaceutical companies who work with wholesalers.

Churn Rate

AKA Rate of Attrition or Customer Churn. This is a measure of the number of customers who are lost. This can be found by establishing the number of customers who stop using a product/service, depending on the item. Also finding the number of customers who stop purchasing the product/service can be used as well.

These numbers are measured over a certain period of time to establish the rate, e.g. yearly churn rate. If the churn rate is greater than customer acquisition, the productivity from selling the product/service is in decline.

Click-through Rate (CTR)

This is found by establishing the percentage of people who click on a website link that appears in a search engine results page (SERP). The number of appearances of the website link in search engine results is known as the impressions. The percentage of ‘clicks’ on that website divided by the number of ‘impressions’, as a percentage, measures the click-through rate. 

Organic click-through rate refers to the number of website visitors who clicked on an organic link. Organic links are web pages which appear in a search engine results page without being a paid advertisement.

Click-to-Call

AKA Click-to-Dial, Click-to-Chat, Click-to-Talk, Click-to-Text. Click-to-call refers to an online tool which websites can use. It is a button which prospective customers can click to talk with a sales rep for example. This digital technology can help close deals by providing instant support, answers and good customer service.

Client

Someone who pays for a service from a company or individual. This can be on a continued basis, unlike a customer who may make a one-off purchase. Clients usually have agreements with the sellers, such as a financial, contractual agreement for a set period of time.

Closed Won

This is the stage in the sales funnel where a sales opportunity has agreed to become a customer. Contracts are then signed and the opportunity becomes a customer of the company. It is the opposite of ‘closed lost’.

Closed-ended Questions

Questions which are close-ended are formulated to encourage finite responses. An example of this type of questioning could include “How long have you used this?”. Questions that entice ‘yes or no’ answers are also closed-ended. This method of questioning helps to establish someone’s exact position on a matter.

Cold

A type of communication where there has not been prior communication between two parties. Examples include cold calls or cold emails. Cold leads have not shown prior interest in the company via means like visiting their website. The aim of the outreach could be to set up a further call to discuss their needs.

Commission

A type of payment which is paid to employees in some roles such as sales representatives. The payment is often a certain percentage of a deal which was closed by that employee.

Comparative Advertising

A marketing strategy in which a company’s product or service is compared with that of a competitor’s to show more benefit for the item being marketed.

Compensation

This is the total amount of pay an employee of a company can receive. The pay includes their base salary, any commission payments, and other payments which they receive such as bonuses.

Contact

AKA Sales Contact. A contact is a sales lead who has engaged with the seller’s company. They may have had contact directly or via the company’s content for example.

Content

Content describes the work that a company publishes as their marketing material. It can take many forms such as long-form copy in a website blog, or a video. It is useful for generating interest for a company, increasing engagement and generating leads.

Conversion

A conversion occurs when a sales lead performs a desired action, such as paying for a company’s product. It can be measured by dividing the number of people who completed the action, by the total number of website visitors, in a given time. The conversion rate is a metric which can track the success of a campaign. The conversion path describes how a sales lead converts to being a customer.

Cost-per-X

Different payments can be made to purchase advertisements on the internet. Cost-per-click (CPC) is the cost of having a paid advertisement as pay-per click (PPC), divided by the number of clicks. Cost-per-impression (CPI) is per appearance of the ad.

Cross-selling

A sales strategy where another product or service is sold alongside another sale. Such as offering insurance for the main product which is being sold.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

This is the total costs associated with obtaining a new paying customer for a company. It can include the costs of marketing, equipment, packaging, etc.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value is the amount of money which is expected to be paid by an entity on your products or services over their lifetime.

Customer Loyalty

This is a metric in customer success. It is defined by the continued use of a product or service by a customer, due to positive outcomes being experienced by the buyer.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM is technology which contains information of interactions between a company and their clients/sales leads. It is an effective way to streamline all communications with customers.

Customer Success

This is a department which deals with managing existing customers to ensure continued loyalty, as well as promoting more products and services which they may need. Roles include Customer Success Representative or Manager.

Dashboard

A dashboard is a visualisation of a team’s metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs) and data. Dashboards display a company’s performance for specified criteria over time. They are used in both Sales and Marketing teams.

Data Enrichment

AKA Data Appending. Tools or processes are used to enhance datasets in a number of ways. Adding external data, updating information, cleaning datasets and deduping (removing duplicates) are all methods in data enrichment.

Digestible Content

Refers to marketing content which is easy to read. It can include anything which is viewed or listened to such as written copy which is very short, clear and concise.

Direct Competition

When two companies are targeting the same target audience and are selling the same products/services, they are in direct competition with each other.

Direct Marketing

A form of marketing where adverts or content reach the consumer themselves directly by the company themselves. The marketing is not delivered via a third party individual or organisation.

Discovery call

Discovery calls are an important component of B2B sales. It is a phone call with a sales lead who has been contacted by the company beforehand. The aim of this call is to establish the sales lead’s needs, pain points and to inform future B2B sales and marketing communications. 

DoFollow Links

Any hyperlink with the DoFollow HTML tag allows ‘link juice’ to flow to the site. This can increase the website’s search engine optimisation (SEO) authority, which can increase their search engine page rank. This depends on how reputable the referring website is.

Drip Campaign

A marketing strategy in which marketing copy is published regularly and at defined times. The copy is sent out to constantly be reaching target audiences. Various marketing channels can be used.

Engagement Rate

A metric used to measure performance of campaigns. It is the total number of interactions such as ‘likes’ or page views, divided by the total number of people in the outreach.

Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is a term which describes invaluable content to a marketing team. This value is sustained over time, and is highly useful and effective.

Features, Advantages and Benefits (FAB)

An analysis/model which explores a product or service’s characteristics, why it’s a good solution, and why it’s good overall. This helps both Sales and Marketing teams to sell the product/service effectively.

Firmographic

A method of segmenting companies based on various factors to inform more targeted outreach. This could be through company size, structure or industry for example.

Friction

In sales and marketing, friction is anything which slows a potential customer in their buying journey. This can be through ineffective marketing or through sales channels for example.

Gatekeeper

A descriptive word for an individual who poses as a barrier between a sales representative for example in another company, and a key decision-maker in the targeted company. This role is often a Secretary or Personal Assistant.

Historic Customer Life Value (CLV)

The sum of all of a customer’s previous purchases from your company to date. This is the current amount or ‘customer lifetime value’ for an entity.

Horizontal (Market)

A product or service which is useful to many different buyers in a population. It is something which can be used in different industries rather than only being useful to a niche group of buyers in society. Vertical is the opposite and refers to a narrow target audience.

Hot Lead

A hot lead is a potential customer or sales prospect who intends to buy your product or service within the next few months, typically next three months.

hubsell

An all-in-one multi-channel sales and marketing automation platform. It has features such as personalisation. Such as automated LinkedIn messages and emails. Many integrations are possible with other software to increase streamlining of sales processes.

Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

An outline of the factors which your target companies would have. They describe the companies who are most likely to benefit from a product or service for sale by the company. This is used to inform marketing efforts.

Impressions

A metric which measures the number of appearances of a particular web page, website or blog in a search engine. It refers to how many times the link to the page has been displayed in search engine queries. It is used to calculate the click-through rate (CTR).

Indirect Competition

AKA Substitutes. Businesses who have the same target audience such as the same companies in B2B sales. They also both solve the same problems as each other, but market different products.

Infographic

A visual representation of data or information. Infographics can include tables, graphs, polls, etc. They are particularly useful at showing the outcomes of research in social media platforms.

Integrations

Different processes or software which are streamlined to work well when used together. The overall aim is for optimal end results and to increase efficiency of sales pipelines or marketing.

Key Account

A customer who makes repeat purchases from a company and brings them continued profit. The profits are not necessarily the largest a company has though. Both companies also have a mutual benefit from the relationship.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Metrics which show if individuals/teams/a company is reaching set targets over time. Key performance indicators enable businesses to make data-driven decisions, and inform sales processes more accurately.

Key Phrase

AKA Focus Keyword. These are k