If you want to hatch a career in Sales, you need to know how to walk the walk and talk the talk.

“Sales speak” might feel like a foreign language at first, but taking the time to brush up on the key terms and acronyms before you enter the industry will help you communicate better with your colleagues when you do land that dream position. Additionally, sales is an important part of many industries. No matter what field you’re in, it’s useful to know some of this jargon so you can better understand the business.

But don’t get caught using these words incorrectly! Expand your Sales vocabulary with these 10 common words and phrases.

Quota: This is a target figure that a sales professional would have to reach in a specified time frame. This may be expressed as a dollar amount or in the number of goods or services sold.

E.g. “Steve consistently exceeds his monthly sales quota. He’s an asset to the team.”

Pipeline: Also known as a sales process, a pipeline is a term is used to describe a sales professional’s approach to selling their products or services. It is usually made up of several stages, beginning with the initial contact with a potential customer, to the “close,” or the making of a sale.

E.g. “We need to get more deals in the pipeline if we want to reach our goals for the quarter.”

Sales Funnel: This is a visual representation of how a sale proceeds from customer awareness to customer action. The funnel illustrates the idea that every sale begins with a large number of prospective customers and ends with a much smaller number of people who actually make a purchase.

E.g. “Let’s not focus too much on Customer X, they’re still at the top of the funnel.”

UVP: A UVP, or “Unique Value Proposition, is a statement made to a prospective customer that clearly explains the benefit your product or service provides and how it does it uniquely well. In your statement, you should describe your target buyer, the problem you solve, and why you’re better than the alternative.

E.g. “Make sure you include our key stats in your UVP – we want potential customers to know we get results!”

RFP: Short for “Request for Proposal,” this is a document that an organization sends to companies inviting them to submit a bid for products, solutions, or services. An RFP informs the bidding company of the soliciting company’s needs and expectations.

E.g. “What’s the status on those RFPs? I need them by Friday at the latest.”

Lead: A lead is an individual or organization that expresses an interest in your goods or services. A lead may be generated through advertisements, referrals, or other types of Sales and Marketing efforts.

E.g. “We generated a ton of leads at our last trade show.”

CRM system: Short for “Customer Relationship Management,” a CRM system is a type of technology used to track and maintain essential information about a customer and their activities.

E.g. “Our CRM system has really helped us identify and retain new clients.”

Lifetime Value: Typically expressed in financial terms, this is the value of a customer for a given level time. This phrase is often used to describe the impact of a lost customer.

E.g. “The lifetime value of this customer would be roughly $1,200 over the course of three years.”

Pain point: The pain point is a problem that a business or company aims to solve. Identifying a potential customer’s pain points can help you better target a sales pitch to their needs.

E.g. “We need to do more research on this client to find their pain points.”

ROI: An acronym short for “Return on Investment,” this is a measure of profitability that shows whether or not a company is using its resources efficiently.

E.g. “How do we know that your product will produce a high ROI?”

Check out our Career Guide to learn more about the Sales and Marketing Industry!

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