May 12, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Sales Terms & Acronyms

Like any other industry, the sales industry has its jargon and abbreviations. Salespeople throw around acronyms and terms that outsiders may not fully understand. Understanding the terminology is important to navigate the sales world with confidence. Here is a complete guide to common sales terms and acronyms:


Business-to-Business. Refers to companies that sell products and services to other businesses. Sales cycles and processes are often more complex than B2C.


Business-to-Consumer. Companies that sell directly to individual customers. Products are more mass market, and sales cycles are often shorter.


The income generated from sales of products or services. Revenue is the "top-line" number that a sales organization focuses on. There are two types - recurring revenue and one-time revenue. Recurring revenue comes from subscriptions or ongoing service contracts. One-time revenue comes from one-off sales.


The total number of sales opportunities in a sales process at any given time. A healthy pipeline is essential for any sales organization to meet its revenue goals. The pipeline must contain sufficient opportunities at all process stages - early, mid, and late-stage.


The revenue a company predicts it will generate from the opportunities in its pipeline. Accurate forecasting is difficult but essential for budgeting and planning. Forecasts consider the probability of closing each opportunity and the potential deal size.


Customer Relationship Management System. An application for tracking prospects, clients, and revenue. CRMs are essential tools for most sales teams. They help organize pipelines, contacts, and accounts in one centralized platform. Popular CRMs for sales teams include Salesforce, HubSpot, and Microsoft Dynamics.


Key Performance Indicator. A metric used to measure performance and progress towards key business goals. Common sales KPIs include new monthly recurring revenue, quarterly sales quota attainment, sales funnel conversion rates, and win rates.


The monthly or quarterly revenue target that each salesperson is responsible for generating. Quotas are determined based on company revenue goals and individual sales capacities. They provide targets and motivation for salespeople.


A potential prospect or customer. Leads are at the very top of the sales funnel. Not all leads will convert to opportunities or close into customers, so a large volume of leads is usually needed. The lead conversion ratio is an essential metric for measuring the efficiency of a company's marketing and lead generation efforts.


A prospect that has shown interest in a product or service and has the potential to become a customer. Opportunities fall into the middle of the sales funnel. They require follow-ups, demos, negotiations, and proposals. The opportunity wins rate measures how well a sales team converts opportunities into closed deals.

MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)

A lead that has been vetted and approved by the marketing team as sales-ready, based on lead score, profile, or other criteria. MQLs have a higher chance of converting to opportunities than other leads.

SQL (Sales Qualified Lead)

A lead qualified as legitimate and sales-ready by a sales team member. Like MQLs, SQLs have a higher chance of progressing through the sales funnel. Not all MQLs become SQLs, as additional research may be needed.


Short for demonstration. A presentation, usually online, in which a salesperson shows the features and benefits of a product to a prospect. Demos are an essential step in opportunity nurturing and progression.Recommended: Folio is an all-in-one product demo tool for sales team of all sizes, try it for free at

ROI (Return on Investment)

The ratio of gains or profits derived from an investment. In sales, ROI refers to the revenue generated from a customer compared to the costs incurred while acquiring them. Customer lifetime value is a long-term ROI metric.


The rate at which existing customers stop doing business with a company. Churn reduction is important for maximizing the long-term value and ROI of customers. High churn means more effort and resources spent on new customer acquisition.


The practice of selling existing customers more premium products or higher quantity of services. Upselling to established, loyal customers is an effective way for companies to boost revenue and profits.

SAO (Sales Accepted Opportunity)

A Sales Accepted Opportunity (SAO) refers to a prospective customer qualified by both sales and marketing teams and ready to move to the next stage in the sales process. An SAO has:

  •  Demonstrated intent to buy - Shown purchase interest
  •  Been adequately vetted and qualified - Prescreened to ensure correct fit
  •  Received marketing approval - Approved by the marketing team
  •  Passed sales screening - Approved by the sales team

An SAO represents a genuine opportunity to make a sale.

NPS (Net Promoter Score)

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer experience and a predictor of business growth. An NPS survey asks customers on a 0 to 10 scale, "How likely is it that you would recommend our company, product, or service to a friend or colleague?" Customers are grouped as follows:

  •  Promoters (score 9-10) - Loyal enthusiasts
  •  Passives (score 7-8) - Satisfied but unenthusiastic
  •  Detractors (score 0-6) - Unhappy customers

The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. The higher the NPS, the better.

SDR (Sales Development Representative)

An entry-level sales role focused on outbound lead generation and opportunity qualification. SDRs research prospects, start initial conversations, book meetings for Account Executives, and pass off SQLs.

AE (Account Executive)

A more senior sales role focused on opportunity nurturing, presentation, negotiation, and closing deals. AEs take over the sales process once SDRs have qualified opportunities. They have ownership over specific accounts and revenue quotas.

RFP (Request for Proposal)

A process where a potential customer solicits proposals from multiple vendors to evaluate their products or services. Responding to RFPs is often a lengthy process that requires significant effort and resources without a guaranteed win. However, they also represent opportunities for multi-year service contracts.


Other companies that sell the same or very similar products and services. Knowledge of competitors is important for crafting sales strategies and positioning a company's unique value. Competitor tracking also helps in competitive responses to RFPs.


Cheat sheets used by salespeople during calls that provide info about a competitor and suggestions for differentiation. Battlecards help salespeople overcome objections around competitors and convey their advantages.


The point at which a recurring revenue contract is up for an extension. Renewing current customers is frequently more straightforward and less expensive than landing new ones. Effective account management and customer success efforts are important for maximizing customer renewal rates.


In conclusion, the sales industry has a depth of terminology, jargon, and acronyms that all professionals should understand. This guide has provided an overview of the most common funnels-related sales terms, roles, metrics, tools, and more. Fluency in this terminology allows salespeople to communicate effectively internally and with customers.Sales terms reflect the processes and priorities vital to any company's revenue growth and business success. Keep this guide on hand as a reference to achieve mastery over the sales language.

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