The Ultimate Revenue Operations Glossary

Sitting in a RevOps webinar can feel like staring into a bowl of alphabet soup. We talk about MQLs, CRMs, MAPs, and more, sometimes in a single sentence! Trust us. After working on this list of definitions, we are acutely aware of the acronyms and niche terminology RevOps professionals love to use.

Here’s an A-Z guide of the most frequent terms. If you don’t see a term and it’s not specific to your company only, we’d love to add it! Contact us with suggestions.

A

AB Testing

A common practice used by marketers to test various aspects of an email, landing page, or other aspects of marketing content. “We are doing an A/B test of our home page to determine whether the new messaging reduces bounce rates.”

ABC

Always Be Closing. A motivational sales term to remind team members that they should always be looking for new prospects and new ways to present solutions to those prospects. While it was made popular by Glengarry Glen Ross, it was circulating the business world before then.

ABE

Account-Based Everything. Tactics used across marketing, sales, and customer success to drive engagement with target accounts. This may include personalizing email campaigns and digital assets (such as the website) specifically for a given company and should include an organized outreach across go-to-market teams.

ABM

Account-Based Marketing. The process of organizing a subset of target accounts and personalizing campaigns and digital assets for each company.

ACV

Annual Contract Value. The average annualized amount of revenue generated by customers. This normalizes multi-year contracts for analysis across cohorts.

Total Yearly Revenue ((c1$)/(c1years)+(c2$)/(c2years)+etc.) / Total Customer Count

Ad Hoc

As needed requests. Ad hoc makes up for a large chunk of daily life for revenue operations and often involves “exploratory” reports to confirm an executive’s theory.

AE

Account Executive or a full-cycle sales representative that is responsible for a quota.

AM

In sales, an Account Manager may be responsible for a net new business target but is likely focused on renewal and expansion business within a pool of existing customers. This term is also used by customer success.

Applicant Tracking System

A human resources system to track applicants and the hiring processes for internal job postings.

ARR

Annualized Recurring Revenue. A simple calculation that takes the current monthly recurring revenue and multiplies it by twelve for an annual estimate.

AQL

Automation Qualified Lead. Used in the Sirius Decisions demand generation waterfall to denote leads that have been qualified by a marketing automation system and passed to an inside sales team for qualification.

Average Contract Value

See ACV or Annual Contract Value.

Average Selling Price

The average price at which a product or set of products is sold across markets (generally expands beyond a single company and looks at market values for a given product). This may also refer to the average bookings across opportunities during a given time period.

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B

B2B

Business-to-Business is used to describe a company that sells to other businesses. Examples of B2B companies include Marketo, Salesforce, and Postal.io.

B2C

Business-to-Consumer is used to describe a company that sells directly to consumers. Examples of B2C companies include Rayban, Nike, and Starbucks.

B2C2B

Business-to-Consumer-to-Business is the process of selling directly to employees within a target company with the ultimate goal of selling an enterprise solution. Examples of this may include products like Scratchpad, Apollo, or Zoom where internal employees purchase single licenses for themselves until IT is pressured into purchasing an enterprise solution.

Bake-Off

A common practice of comparing two software vendors prior to purchase. For example, marketing may give four enrichment tool vendors a set of 50 contacts and then compare results before committing to a purchase.

BANT

BANT is a qualification framework intended to quickly verify a prospect is ready to buy and can help prioritize leads. This encourages salespeople to ask questions that follow the acronym framework (Budget, Authority, Need, and Time). 

For example:

Budget - Has your department set aside funding for this project? How much has your department budgeted for this tool?

Authority - Are you able to sign the contract or do we need to involve additional people at your company?

Need - Does the solution solve the problem prompting the prospect to do research? Is this a priority for the company?

Time - How soon is your management team pushing to solve this problem?

Base Salary

The portion of an employee’s compensation that is not variable. As an example, a salesperson may have a base salary that is intended to make up 60% of their total compensation and commissions are intended to make up the remainder of their income (or more if they have accelerators and bonuses).

Baseline

The starting point from which further measurements or comparisons can be made for analyses, forecasting, performance improvement or strategy formulation. Typically, several quarters must pass in order to establish a reliable baseline.

BASHO Email 

A BASHO Email is a highly customized email or sequence of emails intended to increase the likelihood of a favorable response from prospects. It’s commonly used in cold prospecting email sequences in sales attempting to schedule a meeting with a high-value prospect. The methodology was coined by Jeff Hoffmann of the Basho brand.

BDR

Business Development Representatives may field inbound leads but are typically focused on prospecting and generating interest in the product. Once these cold-call crackerjacks identify a target account, generate interest, and qualify the decision-maker, the opportunity is passed off to an account executive or sales executive.

Blue Bird

An unexpected and sizable deal that shows up and closes in the same quarter with little effort.

Bonus

A variable portion of compensation that is dependent on attaining a performance goal. Sometimes the goal is shared by the entire company (revenue goal) and sometimes the bonus is specific to the role. As an example of the latter, a customer success manager is paid a bonus if his team’s churn rate is below 4%.

Bookings

Net sales recognized once a contract or formal agreement is reached between the salesperson and the purchasing company. Net revenue bookings are used to calculate quota attainment and often used as the point of payment for the sales representative (rather than the invoice date or payment receipt date).

Bottom of the Funnel

Qualified prospects who are in the process of selecting a solution to purchase. Marketing techniques intended to encourage people in this stage of the buying cycle include free trial offers and calls to action to observe a demonstration of the product.

Brag Book

A brag book is intended as a leave-behind during an interview and showcases the candidate’s crowning achievements. If you’re a revenue operations professional, your brag book may include documentation on data definitions, system architecture, a complex dashboard, job aide or other well-received and often used process or report.

Buyer Persona

This is a user-centric exercise used to create a general profile of the various buyers in your average buyer committee. Oftentimes organizations create a fictional person to represent the persona to encourage deeper personalization.

Buying Criteria

Is a number of criteria used by a buyer to select the product they purchase. Factors may include price point, date of delivery, and service availability and may be weighted differently based on  buyer persona and locale. For example, if you’re in a city with great cell coverage, you may base your purchase decision on price as opposed to a rural resident who may need to weigh coverage more heavily than price.

Buying Signal

Actions buyers take that may indicate they’re close to a purchase decision. Demo requests are often viewed as a heavy buying signal, or perhaps a number of people from the same company engaging with various pieces of content on the website. Asking about pricing, comparing competitors, and asking for referrals are all very strong signs.

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C

CAC

Customer Acquisition Cost. This is often calculated by taking all marketing and sales expenses and dividing them by the number of customers acquired in the same time period. This typically includes all department costs including salaries, ad spend, design costs, and other budget line items.

(Sales Expenses + Marketing Expenses) / # Customers Acquired

CAGR 

Compound Annual Growth Rate. Is the rate of growth required over a given time period to move from the beginning amount to the ending amount. This normalizes growth over the time period to assume a steady rate as a baseline, knowing that the rate will be variable.

Call for Proposal (CFP)

A call for proposal is often interchangeably referred to as RFP or request for proposal. This may refer to a formal process in the private sector or public sector where a company or agency submits a formal write-up that outlines the scope of the project and solicits bids from qualified businesses/vendors/contractors. The write-up typically outlines all requirements that the applicant must meet in order to be considered for the contract.

Chain-Based Attribution

Chain-based attribution uses the Markov chain methodology to establish the sequence of activities most likely to lead to a sale. This model uses machine learning to review a number of closed-won opportunities to establish a baseline, and then applies weights to given activities based on their likelihood to propel the sale.

Challenger Sale 

A disruptive approach to solution selling that is meant to push customers out of their comfort zone. This method teaches salespeople to gain and maintain control of the sale by offering useful insights and materials that establish a give-and-take relationship rather than pushing random facts and features at the target prospect.

Channel/Partner

A third party who enters a reciprocal relationship with a company. Sometimes this refers to technology partners but is often used to describe a third-party vendor who sells a company’s product on their behalf. When hardware or software is concerned, these partners often also sell additional services such as implementation and out-sourced management of the application or hardware.

Churn Rate

The rate at which a company loses customers. This percentage can and is calculated in several different ways, which is why it’s important for a business to agree on a model. Churn rate is also a source of confusion because customer counts change over time and different time periods may tell a different story.

Calculation 1

Customers lost during period / number of customers at the beginning of the period

Calculation 2

Customers lost during period / (average customer count over the period)

Calculation 3

Customers lost during year / ((customer count at beginning of period + customer count at end of period)/2)

Clawback 

A contractual provision that accounts for circumstances where a business may take back money already paid to an employee. For example, if there is evidence of fraudulent sales activity or a customer cancels early in their contract due to misleading information, the unrealized portion of revenue may be factored in clawed back commissions.

Close Rate 

Also known as a Closing Ratio. This may be calculated differently by position. For example:

BDR

Closed Deals / Total Qualified Leads

AE

Closed Deals/ Accepted Opportunities

CLV 

Customer Lifetime Value. The amount an account is expected to spend on your products while they are a customer. 

Initial Sale + ((Renewal + Average Yearly Expansion) * (Average lifespan of a customer - number of years in the initial contract))

CMO

Chief Marketing Officer or head of the marketing department who has achieved executive status.

CMS

A Content Management System is a content database used to organize and present content to various internal and external stakeholders. It can be integrated with your website platform or CRM. This application is also used to measure the usage and effectiveness of various content pieces.

COB

The Close of Business is the last moment of a billing period that finance will accept and recognize bookings. This may refer to fiscal/calendar quarter-end, fiscal/calendar year-end, or month-end.

COGS 

Cost of Goods Sold. The cost of materials and labor to produce and ship a product. There are multiple ways to calculate the cost of goods sold.

Method 1:

(Beginning Inventory + Cost of Goods) - Ending Inventory = Cost of Goods Sold

Method 2:

Individual Cost Tracking - Each item has specific costs associated and is accounted for according to the order of sale. Goods are typically sold FIFO, or “first in-first out,” or LIFO, or “last in-first out.”

Method 3:

Average cost: average cost per item is calculated.

Commission-Based

A salesperson who has a portion of income that is variable and based on the volume they sell. 

Comp Plan

A compensation plan is a detailed description of compensation that includes wages, salaries, and benefits and the manner in which they will be paid. This includes details around a base salary, bonuses, and incentives, such as commissions, accelerators, and spiffs.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of a total population that moves on to the next stage of a sequence. This could refer to any number of conversion points in the marketing and sales cycle such as marketing qualified leads to sales accepted lead or marketing qualified lead to sales qualified lead.

CPE 

Cost per Engagement. A form of paid advertising bidding where the customer only pays when an audience member engages with the advertisement or a calculation that takes the total advertising spend divided by the number of engagements (typically clicks).

CPI 

Cost per Impression. A common form of advertising bidding where the customer pays in impression (the number of views) increments or a calculation that takes the total advertising spend divided by the number of impressions.

CPL 

Cost per Lead. A form of paid advertising bidding where the customer pays by the number of explicit sign-ups from an interested prospect. This may also refer to a calculation that takes the total advertising spend divided by the number of leads acquired in the same period.

CPQ 

Configure, Price, and Quote. An application that helps salespeople form complex product configurations and generate a comprehensive pricing quote for a prospect.

CRM

Customer Relationship Management. An application that organizes a company’s prospects, customers, activities, and relationships so the company can measure efforts, efficiency, and progress.

Cross-Selling

The process of selling additional products or services to existing customers.

CSO 

Chief Sales Officer. A head of sales who has reached executive status.

CTA 

Call to Action. A marketing term used to describe a request for a prospect to take a further step. This could be a request on a website to fill out a form for a piece of content or a request to click a link in an email.

CTR 

Click Through Rate. In advertising, the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions. In terms of emails, the number of clicks divided by the number of delivered emails.

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D

Dark 

A status used by salespeople to describe a sale that was progressing only to not return any calls or emails. “They’ve gone dark.”

DBA 

Doing Business As. A business that has gone through a rebrand or name change and is operating under a name that’s not on the original license.

De-Dupe

A process or program used for deduplicating records such as contacts, leads, or accounts in a system.

Deferred Revenue

Revenue that has been received before goods or services are delivered. It is recorded as a liability until the time the goods or services are delivered and it can be recorded as revenue.

Deliverables

A tangible good or service that is part of a contract or project. When it comes to a statement of work, for example, there is often a list of milestones (or deliverables) that must be realized for the project to be considered complete.

Demand Generation

A marketing program of campaigns and tactics used to generate awareness and interest in a company’s products and/or services.

Demand Generation Waterfall

A series of stages coined by Sirius Decisions to describe the progression of a sale. This is typically depicted as an inverted triangle and has been widely adopted by B2B marketers to benchmark stages.

Dialer

Also known as an automatic dialer, this is a tool that cycles through a targeted list of numbers until a connection is made. Once the conversation is complete, there’s a slight pause to allow the rep to make notes and then the dialing sequence begins again.

Direct Mail

A marketing tactic or application used to mail physical items to targeted prospects.

Discovery Call

The first call after a prospect expresses interest, used to determine whether they are a good fit and visa versa.

Double Trigger 

A double trigger is a clause that accelerates vesting when an employee is let go, without due cause, during an acquisition.

Drag Along Rights 

A clause in an agreement that allows the majority shareholders to force the minority to go along with the sale of a company. In this case, the minority shareholders must be given the same price, terms, and conditions as the other seller.

Draw 

A pay advance against future earnings or sales. 

Draw Balance

The total pay advance balance that needs to be paid off before commissions can be paid.

Drip Campaign

An automated sequence of marketing activities meant to nurture a prospect. This may be as simple as a sequence of emails or may include logic that changes the sequence as they engage.

DSO 

Days Sales Outstanding. The average number of days after the sale it takes for a company to receive payment.

Dumpster Fire

A common state witnessed by revenue operations professionals. You can clearly see the issues coming and have warned people about impending doom, but nothing is done to fix the problem. All you can do is sit, watch it burn, and wait for management to start asking for the analysis.

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E

EBITA

Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. It’s a measure used to gauge a company’s profitability.

Calculation 1: 

EBITDA = Net Income + Interest + Taxes + Depreciation + Amortization

Calculation 2: 

EBITDA = Operating Profit + Depreciation + Amortization

Emotional Sale

A method of communication that is meant to invoke an emotional reaction to help prospects remember and connect with a company’s brand. This may be used by marketers or sales throughout the buyer journey.

Engagement Scoring

Actions taken by a prospect indicating interest in a product or service. These actions are given a weight and assigned a value, then summed by lead or contact record to create a score. More advanced models introduce a time decay to indicate a decline in interest as time passes after the initial engagement.

Enrichment

The process of using a third party to augment information in a company’s database.

EOD 

End of Day. The end of a business day.

EOM

End of Month. The end of a calendar month.

EOQ

End of Quarter. The end of a calendar or fiscal quarter.

EOY

End of Year. The end of a calendar or fiscal quarter.

Equity 

Common stock, preferred share, or another form of security that represents ownership interest.

ERP 

Enterprise Resource Planning. A centralized database for inventory, billing, contracts, shipping, and fulfillment.

Escalation

Routing an issue to a higher point in the hierarchy. An escalation often refers to customer support tickets or cases. This can be an automated process or a manual process taken after a simple solution cannot be found.

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F

FAB 

Features, Advantages, and Benefits. A process used by a company to determine why customers purchase a product or service and then align marketing and sales to these values.

Farmer

A sales position or salesperson who is meant to grow revenue in an existing customer pool rather than hunting for new logos.

Firmographic

A company attribute used to segment target accounts. Where demographics refer to human characteristics, firmographics refer to company characteristics.

First Touch Attribution

A single touch marketing attribution model that captures the first activity a prospect took at an account before an opportunity is created. This assigns all opportunity influence to the tactic that initially drew a prospect’s interest.

Fiscal Year

A non-calendar year used for tax and accounting purposes. Oftentimes, the new year will start in February rather than January, and quarters will be adjusted accordingly.

Flywheel 

A selling strategy that uses happy customers as the cornerstone to attracting more business. Delighted customers act as happy referrals and make sales more sticky, and these testimonials may be worked into messaging throughout the buyer journey.

FML

F*CK My Life. A term commonly heard during quarter-end, major system deployments, or while fielding silly, time-consuming requests.

FMV 

Fair Market Value. The amount that you would pay in an open, fair market for a product or service. It may also refer to the current value of a share in a company’s common stock.

Forward Revenue

The total forecasted revenue for the next fiscal year.

FUBAR

F*CKED Up Beyond All Recognition. This can and is used in a variety of scenarios. For example, “Wow, our reporting schema is FUBARd with all of the new requirements rolled out by accounting.”

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G

Gatekeeper 

A term used by sales to describe someone who is obstructing a sale or limiting access to a key decision-maker.

GBU 

Global Business Unit. A way to organize a company by product, initiative, customer segment, or new innovation that spans the globe. For example, a company may have a cloud business unit that has its own leadership team, sales organization, and operating departments. Similarly, a business may split into segments that address B2B and B2C selling motions and product subsets.

Go-to-Market Strategy

A very broad term to describe the market-facing targeting and messaging strategy of a business. Typically this involves organizing resources to deliver a consistent, unique value proposition across all departments.

Goose Egg

A complete bust or $0 sold for a given time period. “Charlie goose egged again this quarter. I don’t see him staying with the sales team much longer unless he pulls off a sale ASAP.”

GTM

This could refer either to the Go-to-Market Strategy or a Go-to-Market Team. The Go-to-Market Team is the customer-facing side of the organization and may refer to any combination of marketing, sales, and customer success.

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h

Hockey Stick

A quarter sales pattern where most of the sales are backloaded at the end of the quarter. The first two months make up a small amount of sales, and the majority of sales are closed in the last week or weeks of the quarter.

Hunter

A salesperson with the mentality needed to track down fresh (new logo) sales. They are comfortable with cold calling and know how to form relationships from the ground up.

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i

IaaS 

Infrastructure as a Service. Vendors who do the work of physically hosting and/or supporting IT infrastructure for businesses. They may handle security, physical computing resources, scaling, or data backup services.

ICP

Ideal Customer Profile. Defines the perfect buyer for your company’s service or product. Typically, consultants or marketers will do market research, including customer interviews, to develop fictitious customer profiles that mirror the ideal buyer.

Incentive Structure

Incentive structures are detailed outlines of how an employee is going to be compensated. Specifics are given around variable elements that are structured to encourage certain behaviors. Examples of incentive structures include sales-related commission or bonus programs, annual performance bonuses, profit sharing, project milestone bonuses, and ad hoc bonuses.

Intellectual Sale

An intellectual sale is the sale of intellectual property to a buyer. While you are not selling physical assets, you are selling how to make a product and/or the code and build specifications. When a company does not obtain proper funding and can’t find a buyer, they often sell the intellectual property.

Intent

Intent to buy could refer to either a temperature check by the salesperson or third party buying signals purchased from publishers (internet content providers). Bombora, 180ByTwo, and G2 are just a few examples of intent sellers.

IPO

Initial Public Offering. A company’s stock market launch where underwriters arrange for shares to be listed on one or more stock exchanges.

ISR

Inside Sales Representative. This term may be used interchangeably with BDR or SDR. Inside sales representatives typically handle the initial qualification of prospects and then transfer the opportunity to a full cycle seller.

ISV 

Independent software vendor. A company that specializes in developing software and bringing it to market. Also known as a software publisher.

IVR 

Interactive Voice Recording systems. A voice-operated, computerized menu system that users can interact with after dialing a number. Common examples include call center response systems that can help users with simple issues (like inquiring about a balance) or route them to an operator.

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k

Key Accounts

Salespeople often identify accounts that are central to their revenue attainment strategy. These are typically larger organizations with the potential for multiple upsells or cross-sells.

KPI

Key Performance Indicator. A business measurement used to gauge whether or not an individual or department is achieving key business objectives or making progress on initiatives.

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l

Land and Expand

A common selling strategy. A salesperson starts with a small sale into a large organization and then tries to sell the company on additional products and services. It’s easier to navigate past an assertive legal organization with a very small sale. Once a relationship is established, it’s often easier to sell additional products under the radar.

Last Touch Attribution

A single-touch marketing attribution model that assigns “credit” for a sale to the last activity (often campaign activity specifically) that happened prior to the opportunity being opened. Less commonly (and to make things confusing), the activity immediately before an opportunity being opened is sometimes called the Middle Touch and the Last Touch refers to the activity that happens prior to finalizing the sale.

Lead Scoring

This refers to any of a number of methodologies used to indicate a prospect’s interest in the company. This could be an accumulation of points tallied after a person takes specific actions (form fills, web page visits, content downloads, etc.) and ideally incorporates ICP and Intent data.

LMS

Learning Management System. This is an online education system meant to familiarize customers with your product or internal employees with products, processes, or procedures. They often combine slides, videos, and quizzes.

LOE 

Level of Effort or the number of resources needed to complete a request or project. Commonly used in revenue operations to describe the amount of time a project will take.

Lone Wolf

A salesperson who doesn’t like to play by the rules and prefers to work alone. They often refuse to use standard sales decks and have been known to toe the line when it comes to ethics. They may be successful sellers, but most sales leaders view them as more trouble than they’re worth.

Loss Aversion

An economic term that describes people who focus on avoiding loss at the expense of missing out on potential gains. For example, a loss-aversive person will be less happy receiving a $300 watch than they would be unhappy breaking the $300 watch they purchased some time ago.

Low-Hanging Fruit

An easy project, sale, or another win.

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M

Machine Learning

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence where a computer is able to learn from historic data without human intervention/code updates.

MAP

Marketing Automation Platform. A centralized database of prospects and customers used to automate marketing campaigns. Traditionally this is an email campaign tool with website plugins, although now MAPs are typically integrated with additional tools to enable multi-channel marketing tactics.

Margin 

This is the total revenue of a sale minus the expenses of creating and shipping the product divided by total revenue.

(Revenue - Expenses)/Revenue = Margin

Mark-Up

A percentage increase to the sales price over the margin to cover overhead.

(Revenue - Expenses)/Expenses = Mark-Up

Marketing Attribution

Refers to a number of models, both multi-touch and single-touch, intended to help marketers estimate their contribution to sales that don’t typically close in a short period of time.

Mid Funnel

A prospect who knows they have a problem and is actively seeking a specific solution is in the consideration phase of buying. They are aware of your brand and are actively seeking content to help them choose a vendor.

Mid-Market

A firmographic measure that indicates a company’s size. Typically mid-market encompasses companies with 100 to 2,000 employees or $10 million to $500 million in revenue.

Mirroring 

Adopting prospect’s body language and speech patterns to quickly establish rapport. Practitioners need to be cautious because this method can come off as really creepy.

MOPs

Marketing Operations. People who are responsible for the technology, insights, and processes related to marketing.

MQA

Marketing Qualified Account. An account that has a cumulative amount of activity from associated contact and leads that indicates it is engaging in a buying pattern.

MQL

Marketing Qualified Lead. A lead that performs an action that is deemed a strong buying signal. This may be a form fill or someone who has engaged with a representative at an in-person event.

MRR 

Monthly Recurring Revenue. A predictable amount of revenue that a business can rely on every month. For example, if a company has purchased a 12-month subscription at $12,000, your organization can expect $1,000 of MRR from just that sale.

MSA 

Master Service Agreement. A contract that provides a framework for what needs to be accomplished, how future sales will be managed, and how any disputes will be resolved.

MT or Multi-Touch Attribution

Multi-Touch Attribution is a type of model used to assign a “credit” to actions leading up to a sale. Typically a company will define a period of time to consider (e.g., one year before the sale closes) and assign credit to actions (campaigns, sales tasks, etc.). There are several multi-touch models such as W-Shaped or Time Decay that denote which events are given more weight than others.

Multi-Threading

A sales tactic where the salesperson forms relationships with multiple decision-makers instead of focusing on one point of contact.

MVP 

Minimum Viable Product. The minimum features a company feels they need in order to sell their first unit of product. This is a concept formed by Lean Startup that encourages learning through experience and iteration.

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n

NPS 

Net Promoter Score. The likelihood your customers would refer your product or services to a colleague. This is typically asked in a multi-question survey.

NSAs 

Non-Sales Related Activities. Any activity that doesn’t lead to closing another sale. This does not refer to prospecting, learning about the product you are selling, learning more sales techniques, engaging with customers who could potentially buy, or collaborating with internal resources to push a sale forward. This may refer to “administrative” work such as call logging, meeting logs, and internal meetings that take time away from finding the next prospect.

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o

Objection

A reason someone refuses to purchase a product or service. Objection handling is the process of identifying common prospect objections and figuring out how to either dispel a myth or escalate an issue to product development teams.

OKR

Objective and Key Results. A collaborative process to set challenging goals that are aligned with key company initiatives. An OKR can contain KPIs to measures whether or not a team is successful in achieving its OKR.

Opportunity Influence

A model that associates campaigns with an opportunity. Typically, the default configuration aggregates the campaign activities that have happened on the contacts associated with an opportunity’s contact roles. This may also include campaigns manually added as the “primary campaign” or the “add a campaign” button in the opportunity influence section.

Opportunity Source Reporting

An attempt to measure the department primarily responsible for bringing the opportunity to the table. While we recognize a business is attempting to determine whether all teams are pulling their weight, most long-cycle sales with buyer committees are sourced through multiple channels.

OTE 

On Track Earnings. It is the expected pay if a salesperson hits all objectives. Actual income may be higher or lower depending on the salesperson’s performance.

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P

Pain Point

A reason someone may be compelled to purchase your product. This is a problem that is causing enough discomfort to inspire someone to change their current behavior.

Pear Shaped

A colorful term to describe an opportunity going sideways. 

Example:

“Is your big order coming in?”

“Nope. It went pear-shaped at the last minute when legal got involved.”

PIP 

Performance Improvement Plan. A formal document that sets specific milestones an employee must achieve to remain in good standing with the company. If the employee fails to meet all requirements, they are either transferred, demoted, or fired. Any employee in any position may be put on a PIP, but it’s commonly seen with salespeople who don’t hit their quota.

Pipeline Coverage

The ratio of pipeline the business needs in order to hit its revenue number. This is calculated by dividing a quarter’s bookings at the end of the quarter by the total open pipeline at the beginning of the quarter over several quarters. This ratio is then used to determine how much pipeline the sales team needs to have in the system at the beginning of each quarter if they want to hit their total quota.

Point of Contact

This is the person at your company who fields any questions or issues that transpire with a customer. The first point of contact is the first face of your business an external person may see. This may be an ISR, SDR, BDR, or marketing sending out mass communications.

Positioning Statement

An internal tool meant to align go-to-market departments that describes the product, the target market, and the problems the product solves for your target market.

Post-Money Valuation

The of a company after an investment has been made, but not necessarily the market value. It assumes preferred stock has the same value as common stock (which usually isn’t the case). It’s calculated by taking the investment received divided by the price per share.

Proof of Concept (POC)

A free or steeply discounted product trial that is ideally tied to a project with defined key objectives. This is an agreement to purchase should the product meet all requirements outlined in the proof of concept.

Profit Margin

Is the ratio of profit to total sales. It’s calculated as (revenue - expenses)/revenue.

Prospecting

The prospect of cold contacting people who fit your company’s target profile.

PQL

Product Qualified Lead. The process of using signals in a product to qualify a lead for upsell. This is a good practice for B2C2B models that use a web-based service single license approach to build a business case for an enterprise to purchase more advanced licensing, but it has broader applications in B2B and B2C.

Puppy Dog Close 

Offering a free trial with zero obligation to purchase in hopes that the prospect will fall in love with the product and commit to a purchase.

Purple Squirrel

A term used by recruiters to describe a very difficult candidate profile to fill.

Example:

“You want someone who is a SQL expert, a salesforce developer, and a marketing automation platform admin? Talk about a purple squirrel!”

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Q

Quota

A sales goal that must be hit in order to hit OTE or on track earnings.

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R

Referral partner

A contact or company that earns a fee should they refer a prospect that converts into a sale within a given amount of time.

Reseller

A business partner that sells your product on behalf of your company. They often benefit by adding on professional services to help install and maintain the product (and these partners are often called Value-Add Partners).

RFP

Request for Proposal. A formal process in the private sector or public sector where a company or agency submits a formal write-up that outlines the scope of the project and solicits bids from qualified businesses/vendors/contractors. The write-up typically outlines all requirements that the applicant must meet in order to be considered for the contract. See also CFP.

Rookie

A salesperson in their first year in a position. This may refer to the first year of their career or the first year at a given company.

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S

SaaS

Software as a Service. A means of delivering software that is hosted over the internet rather than on-premises. Salesforce is a great example of SaaS.

SAL

Sales Accepted Lead. Point in the demand generation funnel when sales acknowledges that a marketing qualified lead is a good fit and tries to contact them for follow-up.

Sales Architect

A technical seller who is able to design a complex product solution to fit a specific prospect’s environment and business requirements. This may be used interchangeably with the term Solutions Architect.

Sales Disablement 

An offensive term for an operations team or legal team that is perceived as adding rather than removing friction from the sales process.

Sales Engineer (SE)

A sales engineer is focused on selling complex technical products. They know the ins and out of the technology including use cases. They aren’t necessarily interchangeable with a sales architect as sales architects often design custom configurations for a specific prospect.

Sales Methodology

A structured format for selling products or services. There are many sales methodologies in the market.

Sales Prevention Department 

An unflattering term for a company’s internal legal department or operations team if they are perceived as slowing down sales.

Sales Process

A set of specific, repeatable steps that can be taken to close a sale. This may also refer to the different phases captured by a company’s salesforce opportunity stages.

Sandbagging

A tactic used by salespeople to hide how many opportunities they have in-flight so their boss (or boss’ boss) doesn’t harass them throughout the quarter.

Example:

“I don’t believe John’s $500K commitment. That sandbagger. He always hides half of his advanced pipeline.”

SAO

Sales Accepted Opportunity. A step in the demand generation waterfall that is typically used when an inside sales representative passes an opportunity to the full-cycle seller, and then the full-cycle seller marks the opportunity as “Qualified.”

SDR

Sales Development Representative. This may be used interchangeably with ISR. Refers to early-cycle sellers who specialize inbound lead development rather than cold prospecting.

Side Selling 

Selling a complimentary product to a prospect who already has a competing solution. Sometimes companies have the budget available to purchase two products instead of doing a pre-sale bake-off.

Six Sigma

A set of tools used to improve processes introduced by Bill Smith in 1986 at Motorola.

SLA 

Service Level Agreement. A commitment from a provider to achieve specific benchmarks throughout the engagement.

SMART Goal

A structure for goal development that ensures the goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

Social Selling

The process of using social media to identify, attract, engage, and obtain customers.

Solutions Architect

A person with a blend of business and technical skills who can gather a customer’s requirements and design a solution for their environment.

SOL

Shit out of luck. A phrase for when things just don’t go your way.

SOPs

Sales Operations. The department responsible for supporting all sales activities, usually including systems, deal desk, analytics, and process.

SOW

Statement of Work. A document that outlines specific milestones for a project-based sale. This is more often related to services provided rather than technology.

SQL

Sales Qualified Lead. This is a point in the demand generation funnel where the sales team confirms that the lead is qualified prior to opening an opportunity.

SSDD

Same Shit Different Day. A spicy way of saying that things are happening as usual.

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t

TAM

Territory Account Manager. A full cycle seller that is given either a geographical, vertical, or named account patch to mine for opportunities.

Technical Debt

The amount of time and resources that would be needed to complete every outstanding request. This includes data management, integrations, initiatives, and implementations.

Time Decay Attribution

This is a model of multi-touch attribution that applies a formula that reduces the weight of an action’s contribution according to how long ago it happened from the time an opportunity opened (or closed).

Time Kills All Deals

An accepted reality in sales that the longer sales linger, the less likely they are to close.

Tire Kicker 

A prospect who requests demos, free trials, and other perks without any intent to buy.

Top of the Funnel

Marketing activities intended to increase brand awareness. Advertising, cross-promotion, and press releases are all common examples.

TSM

Tele-Set Meeting. Refers to a meeting (or early-stage opportunity) set by the ISR, SDR, or BDR for the full-cycle seller.

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u

U-Shaped Attribution

An attribution model that applies the most weight to activities that happen at the very beginning of a sales engagement and the very end.

Unicorn

This could refer to a startup or privately held company with a value over $1 billion. This could also refer to an employee that has an unusual amount of skills and is more proficient than normal at those skills.

Upsell

This may also be referred to as an expansion sell. This is either adding additional products/services or a longer subscription term.

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v

Value Proposition

A differentiator of your product or service that provides a benefit to customers. It may or may not separate you from the competition.

Value-Add Partner

A business partner that sells your product on behalf of your company and provides or sells professional services to help install and maintain the product.

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w

W-Shaped Attribution

A multi-touch attribution model that applies more weight to the first and last touch, and a lesser weight to the middle touch, and a small percentage to the remainder of activities.

Weighted Pipeline

A calculation that takes opportunity probability into account when estimating a close amount. This is usually calculated as an aggregate of an opportunity’s amount x probability.

Whale

A big sale that is often very difficult to close. Like Captain Ahab and Moby Dick, the whale may be all-consuming and can be a big problem if the salesperson’s only late-stage sale is the whale.

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z

Zeroed Out 

When a sales rep earns enough commission to make their draw balance equal to zero, they have zeroed out their account and can start earning commissions again.


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