🪄 Our new AI-powered features are here! Learn more.

77 sales acronyms you need to know

Sales Acronyms

If you’re new to sales, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of acronyms and jargon terms that get thrown around.

These acronyms, although confusing at first, are a crucial part of the job. Not only can they streamline sales meetings and reporting, but they can help you remember key sales methodologies and frameworks that improve your pitches and help you close more deals.

In this article, we’ll define 77 of the most popular sales acronyms and provide a detailed description for each so that you’re never left in the dark again.

Table of contents

77 sales acronyms and terms you need to know

Here are the 77 most common sales acronyms:

ABC: Always Be Closing

This is a motivational phrase that encourages salespeople to continuously look for new prospects, make pitches and complete sales.

ABS: Account-Based Selling

ABS is a strategic sales model in which sales reps work alongside the marketing team and other relevant teams to close high-value accounts. In ABS, all teams coordinate to target companies (known as “accounts”) rather than just a single contact at that company.

This way, they can nurture multiple stakeholders with highly personalized content. ABS is also known as account-based marketing (ABM), account-based sales (ABS) and account-based sales development (ABSD).

Note: ABS is a different methodology to activity-based selling.

ACV: Annual Contract Value

This is the amount that a customer pays a SaaS company per year based on their subscription.

See SaaS: Software As a Service.

AE: Account Executive

An account executive is a sales team member who closes deals with key prospects. Usually, the account executive will be the lead salesperson for a particular account.

AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

AIDA is a framework for generating content that generates attention, interest and desire for a product or service. This is a great way to format emails, especially cold emails.

AM: Account Manager

The account manager is the person responsible for managing a group of accounts (or one large customer). They field complaints, find solutions and maintain a positive relationship with those customers.

ARPA: Average Monthly Recurring Revenue Per Account

ARPA is a performance indicator that helps visualize trends in account expansion and evaluate pricing plans. This is calculated by dividing the company’s total monthly revenue by the number of accounts.

Average Monthly Recurring Revenue Per Account (ARPA) formula

total monthly revenue ÷ number of accounts = ARPA

$50,000 ÷ 400 = $125

ARC: Acknowledge, Respond, Close

ARC is a way to deal with objections in sales pitches by acknowledging the concerns, providing a clear response and then closing the deal by providing a solution.

ARR: Annual Recurring Revenue

Annual recurring revenue is the revenue a subscription-based company expects to receive from its customers based on sales. It’s a way to measure predictable revenue in order to judge the health of a business and predict future growth.

B2B: Business to Business

B2B is the process of marketing and selling to another business. An example of this is when one business is seeking materials for its production process, such as purchasing raw materials from another business.

B2C: Business to Consumer

B2C is the process of marketing directly to consumers. This is the traditional business model and involves any company that sells directly to customers, such as retail and e-commerce stores.

B2C2B: Business to Consumer to Business

This is a special approach to the B2B model where a business that wants to sell to another business starts by selling to key employees within that business to achieve organizational buy-in.

BAB: Before-After-Bridge

A methodology for writing effective email marketing content. “Before” represents the current problem, while “After” is what the world would look like without that problem. The bridge is the path a customer can take to get there.

BANT: Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline

BANT is a sales qualification methodology you can use to determine whether a prospect is a good fit. This qualification is based on the prospect’s budget, ability to buy, how much they need the product and their purchase timeline.

BD: Business Development

The process of developing business relationships (or the team that’s charged with developing these relationships).

BDR: Business Development Representative

A BDR is a senior sales role responsible for developing new business relationships, including partners and opportunities.

BOFU: Bottom of the Funnel

A BOFU lead is highly qualified and likely to make a purchase. They just need a little extra push to become a customer.

See TOFU: Top of the Funnel and MOFU: Middle of the Funnel.

BR: Bounce Rate

The bounce rate can refer to two things. One, the number of people who visit your website and then leave quickly. Here, a high bounce rate indicates that your content needs improving (among other potential issues).

Two, an email engagement metric that refers to the number of emails that don’t reach people’s inboxes. This can indicate that your email list needs optimizing or that your emails are being flagged as spam.

CAC: Customer Acquisition Costs

This includes all expenditures used to acquire a new customer. To calculate CAC, divide all costs (spend, salaries, commissions and overhead) by the number of new customers acquired during that time.

CAN-SPAM: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing

CAN-SPAM is a U.S. law introduced in 2003 that prevents businesses from spamming people with unsolicited messaging (like emails). It introduced requirements to help avoid email abuse such as having to include an unsubscribe option in your email marketing messages.

CCR: Customer Churn Rate

The churn rate refers to how many customers you’ve lost over a period of time. It’s a vital metric used to gauge customer retention.

CHAMP: Challenges, Authority, Money, Prioritization

Similar to other methodologies like BANT, the CHAMP methodology outlines questions that sales reps can ask to better qualify their leads. This method helps find out what challenges the lead is facing, whether they have the authority to make a purchase decision, whether they have the budget for your services and what their timeline is for the project.

CLTV: Customer Lifetime Value

This is the total amount of money a customer is expected to spend with your business during the lifetime of their relationship with you. This metric can help you estimate future revenue and focus your remarketing efforts on your most valuable customers.

CMRR: Committed Monthly Recurring Revenue

This measures monthly recurring revenue (see MRR: Monthly Recurring Revenue) for the next fiscal year. It’s calculated by adding the current MRR to the predicted MRR and then subtracting any customers likely to churn.

CMS: Content Management System

CMS is content marketing automation software that helps create, edit, manage and distribute content. Usually, this refers to an application that helps people run a website without knowing how to code. Using this software, people can easily populate their site with content without having to hire a professional web developer.

COB: Close of Business

Close of business typically refers to 5 P.M. The phrase is commonly used when giving a certain action a timeline. For example, “we need to close this deal by COB”. This means the same thing as End of Day (EOD).

CPC: Cost-Per-Click

The amount of money a publisher charges per click on an online advertisement.

See PPC: Pay-Per-Click.

CR: Conversion Rate

The CR is the percentage of prospects who convert to customers. This is calculated by dividing the number of people who convert by the number who didn’t. For example, if you reached 100 people with your email campaign and 30 call you back, your CR is 30%.

Conversion Rate (CR) formula

conversions ÷ non-conversions = CR

30 ÷ 100 = 0.30

0.30 x 100 = 30%

CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization

A higher conversion rate means more sales. Conversion rate optimization is the process of improving your CR by analyzing and improving your marketing strategy, website, landing pages and so on.

CRM: Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management is the process that companies use to nurture long-term relationships and generate loyal customers. In recent years, CRM has become synonymous with customer relationship management software that helps companies collect and analyze large amounts of customer data to convert leads and retain customers.

CTA: Call to Action

CTAs are included within content marketing material to drive customers into the sales funnel. A CTA is usually a link, button or image that tries to get readers to take an action like calling, signing up or attending an event.

CTR: Click-through Rate

Click-through rate is the percentage of people who take the next action after seeing some of your marketing material. For example, it could be the percentage of email recipients that follow a link back to your website to read more.

CL: Closed: Lost

CL represents deals that were closed because they were lost. This abbreviation for sales teams comes from the terminology used in sales automation software.

CW: Closed: Won

CW describes deals that have been closed because they were won. This acronym also comes from the terminology used in sales automation software.

CX and UX: Customer Experience and User Experience

CX refers to the sum of interactions that customers have with your brand throughout the buying process. The better the experience, the more likely the customer is to view your brand favorably and stick around in the long run. UX is the same, but it refers to the experience customers have when using your products or services, rather than the total sum of interactions.

ESP: Email Service Provider

A company that enables you to deliver email campaigns (like Gmail).

FAB: Features, Advantages, Benefits

This is a sales acronym used to remind salespeople to focus on the benefits and advantages of the product or service in order to convince people to buy.

FFF: Feel, Felt, Found

A well-known framework for overcoming sales objections, FFF reminds reps to empathize with an objection, name another example where the objection was brought up and then provide a solution that satisfies that objection.

FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt

A sales methodology used to convince customers to avoid or leave competitors by triggering fears and doubt.

ICP: Ideal Customer Profile

An ideal customer profile (also known as an ideal buyer profile) is the perfect customer for your company. It’s a made-up buyer persona that is the best fit for the solutions that you sell. By generating ICPs, you can focus your sales efforts on people who are most likely to convert.

ILV: Inbound Lead Velocity

The growth rate at which inbound leads are increasing every month. ILV is a good indicator of future revenue. This is different to sales velocity, which is how quickly your deals progress through your pipeline.

IPO: Initial Public Offering

This is an important step in the growth of a company, allowing them to access new funds by offering shares of the company to public investors.

ISR: Inside Sales Representatives

Inside sales reps focus on leads generated by inbound marketing, like demo request forms and webinars, rather than outbound efforts or cold calling. This is one of the many abbreviations for sales roles used in the industry.

L2RM: Lead-to-Revenue Management

L2RM is a set of methods that help generate revenue throughout the customer’s lifecycle. Lead-to-revenue management starts at lead generation and extends throughout the customer’s journey with your company. The purpose is to optimize customer engagement using revenue as a metric.

LAARC: Listen, Acknowledge, Asses, Respond and Confirm

This sales technique helps salespeople deal with negative feedback or objections during sales pitches. First, you listen and acknowledge their problem, then assess the situation until you fully empathize with their position. Then, you respond and confirm whether you’ve addressed their concerns.

LACE: Listen, Accept, Commit, Explicit Action

A method of dealing with sales objections where you start by listening and accepting the sales prospect’s problem. Then, you get a commitment from the prospect to purchase if you can solve their problem. With the commitment in hand, agree on an explicit action to move the deal forward.

LAER: Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, Respond

Another way of dealing with objections. Start by listening and acknowledging your prospect’s problem. Then, explore the problem through conversation before responding with a solution.

LAIR: Listen, Acknowledge, Identity, Reverse

This is a sales technique used to counter objections during sales pitches. You listen to the problem and acknowledge it, then you identify their primary objection and reframe it in a positive manner to reverse their concerns.

LDR: Lead Development Representative

The person responsible for connecting with prospects early on in their customer journey to drive them down the sales funnel.

KPI: Key Performance Indicators

KPIs are a measurement used to gauge whether a company’s marketing and sales efforts are paying off. These support your sales strategy and help your teams focus on the most important activities. Examples of KPIs include profit margins, customer retention rate and customer satisfaction.

MAP: Marketing Automation Platform

Marketing automation software helps marketers by automating communications according to predefined workflows. This increases efficiency by streamlining several repetitive marketing and sales activities.

MOFU: Middle of the Funnel

A MOFU lead has narrowed down their choices and is evaluating your brand as an option.

See TOFU: Top of the Funnel and BOFU: Bottom of the Funnel.

MOM: Month-Over-Month

This is how a single metric changes (as a percentage) compares to the previous month. For example, a 10% drop in new customer sign-ups. This is more volatile than measuring changes in a yearly manner and can help reflect short-term changes like holidays.

MQL: Marketing-Qualified Lead

A marketing-qualified lead is a lead that your marketing team has identified as being more likely to become a customer. This might be based on the customer’s activities, such as whether they visited your website, followed a particular link or interacted with a social media post.

See SAL: Sales Accepted Lead and SQL: Sales Qualified Lead.

MRR: Monthly Recurring Revenue

The amount of revenue a company receives from subscriptions in a month.

MTD: Month-to-Date

A period of time starting at the beginning of the month you’re in and ending at the current date.

OKR: Objectives and Key Results

OKRs is a collaborative goal-setting framework that helps set achievable goals and track outcomes.

NPS: Net Promoter Score

NPS is a metric used to estimate how likely your customers are to recommend your company to others. It’s measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with lower scores being less likely to recommend.

PPC: Pay-Per-Click

Pay-per-click refers to the type of publisher who charges advertisers based on how many people click on the ad. In other words, advertisers only pay per action taken rather than for exposure.

See CPC: Cost-Per-Click.

QOQ: Quarter-Over-Quarter

This is a way of measuring how a single metric changes (as a percentage) compared to the previous quarter. Typically more volatile than month-over-month but less volatile than year-over-year.

QTD: Quarter-to-Date

A period of time beginning at the start of the quarter you’re in and ending at the current date.

RFP: Request for Proposal

This is an invitation sent by a company asking for potential suppliers to submit bids for a particular product, solution or service. The goal is to assess the proposals to find the best vendor and plan for accomplishing a new project.

Download the Sales Presentation Templates ebook

Nail your sales presentations with this guide containing the 8 slides you need and tips on how to make them.

ROI: Return on Investment

ROI is a key performance metric that measures how profitable a venture has been (or will be). It’s calculated by subtracting the initial cost from the total revenue produced, then dividing this value by the initial cost, and multiplying the result by 100.

Return on Investment (ROI) formula

(revenue – initial cost) ÷ initial cost x 100 = ROI

$175,000 – $120,000 = $55,000

55,000 ÷ 120,000 = 0.46

0.46 x 100 = 46%

ROI can tell you whether it’s worth committing to an investment or leaving it behind. This is similar to the Return on Sales ratio (ROS).

SaaS: Software as a Service

SaaS is software licensed as a subscription and hosted by the provider. Usually, this software makes life easier for companies by streamlining vital processes (like content creation). Pipedrive, Google Apps and Dropbox are examples of SaaS.

SAL: Sales-Accepted Lead

A sales-accepted lead is an MQL (see MQL: Marketing Qualified Lead, which is a common marketing abbreviation) that has been passed over to the sales team. The sales team will then review the lead and decide whether or not to pursue it.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the process of optimizing content so that search engines are more likely to find it and rank it on the first page of results. There are many factors to SEO, including the relevance of the content, the presence of particular keywords and how authoritative the website is.

SFA: Sales Force Automation

Sales force automation is the use of software to make your sales processes more efficient. It does this by automating repetitive administrative tasks like data entry.

SLA: Service Level Agreement

An SLA is an official document that outlines the role of your marketing and sales teams in your sales processes. For example, it might define the number and quality of leads that the marketing team should generate every month as well as how the sales team will go after them. An SLA is one of the crucial parts of making a “smarketing” team.

SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound

The SMART process is designed to help sales managers create more effective sales goals.

SMB: Small and Midsized Business

Also known as Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), these are small and midsize companies with revenue and employee numbers that fall below certain limits. In the United States, SMB criteria are set by the Small Business Administration.

SPIN: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need

SPIN selling is a sales methodology used to explore a prospect’s needs in order to sell to them more effectively. Read our article to learn more about SPIN selling and how it can bolster sales activities.

SQL: Sales-Qualified Lead

An SQL is a lead ready to become a customer and is one of the most common abbreviations for salespeople. To progress, a lead must first be vetted by the marketing team to become a marketing-qualified lead (see MQL: Marketing-Qualified Lead). Then, if the sales team agrees it’s a high-quality lead, it becomes an SQL.

SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

This problem-solving model helps you identify what a person or organization is doing well and where they/it can improve.

TOFU: Top of the Funnel

A TOFU lead is in the first stages of the customer journey. The goal is to increase their awareness of your brand and build trust with them, pushing them down the sales funnel.

See MOFU: Middle of the Funnel and BOFU: Bottom of the Funnel.

WOM: Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is the way information is passed from person to person. This is important for sales and marketing because it’s one of the major ways people find out about your products and services.

YOY: Year-Over-Year

This is how a single metric changes (as a percentage) compared to the previous year.

Final thoughts

Being effective in sales often involves taking time to learn new methodologies, frameworks and approaches. While sales coaching and sales training is vital for salespeople, you have to start somewhere. Understanding the most common sales acronyms allows you to move on to bigger and better things.

Driving business growth