Industry Sales Terms

If you are going to be in sales, you need to know the jargon

To fully immerse yourself in sales it is useful to have a reference for some of the more common and lesser known terms in the industry. Whether you are in a sales meeting or around the water cooler, you are likely to hear many of these terms.

Account Executive (AE)

Deals with existing clients as opposed to new business

Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)

Amount of revenue generated by and attributed to an account on a yearly basis.

Appointment Setter

Role in an an organization responsible for getting appointments set for sales people.

Base Pay

The amount of salary or hourly pay sales people earn not including commissions or bonuses.

Boiler Room

A roomful of cold calling, business development reps generating leads and/or closing sales.


Extra incentive paid to sales team members to incentivize them to achieve specific goals.

Book of Business

Your database of customers who buy from you.

Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline (BANT)

A qualifying methodology to determine if a prospect is the right fit for you customer model.

Business to Business (B2B)

Selling directly to other businesses

Business to Consumer (B2C)

Sold directly to the consumer market. Usually retail.

Business Development (BizDev)

Numerous titles associated with and under the umbrella of the sales department.

Business Development Representative (BDR)

Can have numerous meanings, but most often attributed to dedicated person who qualifies leads for senior sales representatives.

Client List

Your customers that that you regularly maintain and stay in touch with.


An individual or specific role in an organization that has a talent for or the responsibility of closing the sales.

Cold Calling

Making a phone call with the intention of selling someone or booking a lead without any prior communication.


An incentive paid to sales reps based upon amount of sales closed.

Commission Only

Sales position where there is no salary or hourly pay. These reps are paid based only on what they sell.


Binding legal agreement setting expectations of working relationship, cost, deliverables, etc.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Software intended to help sales people to keep track of contacts and sales opportunities


A useful activity to summarize and review key points after a client call with fellow team members.


Large companies. Threshold usually determined by your industry standards.

Field Account Executive (FAE)

Person who meets with clients outside of the home office.


The use of historical data and likelihood of existing leads that will close to estimate how much business will be sold in an upcoming time period.

Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Qualifying criteria based on multiple factors to assess new prospects and utilize in target marketing efforts.

A Lay Down or a Lay Up

What is likely to be an easy sale.

Lead Generation (LeadGen)

A department, process or person whose role is to create leads for sales people to qualify and sell.

Lunch & Learn

An event where the company purchases lunch for team members in exchange for them to gather together and learn about some aspect of business.

Lifetime Value (LTV)

An accounting evaluation on how much revenue the average client brings in over the course of their total engagement with the company.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

A standard set to evaluate quality of a lead.

Moments That Matter (MTM)

In the sales model there are key moments that matter to customers.

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

Amount of revenue attributed to an account on a monthly basis.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

A scoring system to determine how likely it is that a client would recommend your business.

Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

Legal documentation that allows companies to share confidential information.


Sales opportunities are specific needs that have been identified where a sales person has reasonable belief that a contract could be sold to a prospect or existing customer.


Engaging another party for the purpose of working out the details of making a deal.

Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

A corrective measure for sales reps that have not performed satisfactorily in their role.


All of the opportunities that have been identified at the moment that are going through the sales process.


Usually another name for the presentation of a solution to a client.

Point Of Contact (POC)

Person in a company that you have communicated with as a prospect or a person you communicate with the most in an existing client relationship.

Point Of Sale (POS)

Most often referred to in retail stores. The device or software used to process a sale. Example: cash register.

Price Shopper

Someone who is considered a lead but is only calling around to compare who has the lowest price.

Purchase Order (PO)

An accounting identification number that confirms order and purchase amount has been approved by the company. It is intended to be included in contracts and invoices for tracking purposes.


The actual slide deck or meeting intended to showcase the solution being proposed. Also a step in the sales process.


Minimum goals set by management (usually revenue) that a business development person should be expected to achieve.

A Rainmaker

Sales representative with a reputation for being able to bring in business when sales have been slow for others.

Recoverable Draw

Commissions paid on future sales to a sales person when they first start out but are intended to be recovered as their commissions increase.

Request For Proposal (RFP)

A detailed document provided by a prospect that outlines requirements needed and is often given to multiple companies to bid on the work.

Return On Investment (ROI)

Financial calculation to determine profitability of a purchase.

Ride Along

When a new representative joins an experienced rep on a sales call to gain experience.

Role Play

An exercise where a manager practices with a rep, with one pretending to be the customer and the other being the prospect.

Round Robin

A fair and unbiased lead assignment process where each person is in a line up to receive the next lead regardless of quality.

Salesforce Dot Com (SFDC)

Largest and most well known CRM, SAAS platform.

Sales Accepted Lead (SAL)

Determination of the quality of a lead by the sales department.

Sales Development Rep (SDR)

Sales executive who is often responsible for outbound lead generation and lead qualification.

Sales Engineer

Has not only the ability to sell, but has the technical experience of doing the work as well.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

Minimum standards of a lead that are set by the sales department rather than marketing.

Sales Qualified Opportunity (SQO)

Minimum standards for a sales opportunity that are set by the sales department rather than marketing.

Sales Representatives (Rep)

Any person who is participating and directly interacting with prospects or clients in the sales process.


A choice made by a sales rep to hold off on closing a deal so as to allow it to be attributed to next months numbers. This is often done to start off the next month stronger since there may not be an additional incentive to close during the existing month.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Contract that sets legal terms and conditions for all future engagements between two companies.

Small to Medium sized Business (SMB)

Designation for size of a company. Can be determined by number of employees, revenue, etc.


Short term, instant gratification, motivational incentive.

Software As A Service (SAAS)

Online platform that provides use of proprietary software to consumers or business via the internet.

Statement of Work (SOW)

I detailed document setting up the details of work or products to be provided in a sale.

SWOT Analysis

Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat. A market evaluation process that can be applied to your company, competitors, brands, etc.

Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

Verbiage and talking points that clearly explain your offerings to potential buyers.

Very Small Business (VSB)

A classification in your industry detailing size of a company. Sometimes too small to be your ICP.

What’s In It For Me? (WIIFM)

A sales teaching philosophy where the salesperson, before making a declarative statement, considers how the prospect would view the statement.