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Sales and Marketing Glossary for Beginners

Sales and marketing are undeniably important to any business, but as with a lot of things nowadays, they come with their own terms and jargon. This plain English guide explains some of the most common terms to help you navigate the often mystifying lingo of marketers and salespeople. A/B Testing – This is a type…

Sales and marketing are undeniably important to any business, but as with a lot of things nowadays, they come with their own terms and jargon. This plain English guide explains some of the most common terms to help you navigate the often mystifying lingo of marketers and salespeople.

A/B Testing – This is a type of testing to confirm which design and text elements of a piece of email or web marketing perform better. This is done by showing different variants of the same piece of content to different groups. The term refers to the concept of separating the users into an “A” group and a “B” group who each receive the different variations, though you can test more than two variations if you need.

Cold Calling – Refers to unsolicited contact with a view to confirming a sale from the recipient, and generally refers to telephone calling, through direct mail or email where no prior contact has been made can also apply. The recipient of the call will have had no previous contact with the person/company making the call. It is opposed to a “warm” call where contact between the prospect and the salesperson has been made in the past.

Content Marketing – This type of marketing involves the regular creation of content (such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc.), and sharing that content on social media and media sharing sites in order to generate interest in the company and raise brand awareness, as well as being a perfect opportunity to share your experience and advice, in turn proving your expertise in your field.

Conversion – The point at which a member of the public completes an action you want them to complete. This is usually meant in terms of an online purchase, but can refer to any kind of desired action, no matter how tiny. Some examples include responding to an online form, clicking on social media post or advert, accessing your website, opening a marketing email, etc.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – CRM tools allow you to keep track of your potential and existing customers. As well as storing the contact details of your prospects and clients, modern CRM systems usually track other elements of the relationship between you and the prospects/clients; such as email conversations, customer service issues, appointments, and how close each contact is to making a purchase.

Cross-Sell – This is where a salesperson successfully sells or attempts to sell a product or service of equal value compared to one that the customer has originally bought or intended to buy.

Inbound Marketing – This refers to the kinds of marketing that draw prospects to you rather than you having to reach out to prospects. Some examples of inbound marketing are: blogs, videos, podcasts, search optimisation and use of social media.

Landing Page – A landing page is a specific type of webpage that fulfils certain criteria. Firstly, it must act as a point of entry to your website, but must also contain some kind of form that requests that the user fills in their contact details, turning them into a lead. The best performing landing pages usually offer some incentive for users to share their details, such as a lead magnet or access to a special offer.

Lead – A lead is a prospective customer who has shown interest in your company, product or service and has shared their contact information with you with a view to doing business in future.

Lead Magnet – This is a piece of content that you offer as a free giveaway in return for the viewer’s contact details. If you’ve ever downloaded a free resource or tool but the site requested that you enter your name and email address before you access the content, this download is a “lead magnet.” It gives the reader an incentive to provide their details, which of course turns them from a complete stranger into a lead.

Marketing Automation – This refers to the practice of using technology to automate certain marketing practices, such as separating leads into different categories (segmentation), sending email campaigns targeted to each category, performing certain analytical functions, etc. The full definition is complicated and fascinating, and I recommend you read Quicksprout’s article here.

Outbound Marketing – This refers to kinds of marketing that involves reaching out to prospects rather than drawing them to you (as with inbound marketing). Some examples of outbound marketing are: direct mail and email, cold calling, print and broadcast advertising.

Persona (Buyer/Client) – This is a partly fictional character based on market research and real data about existing and potential customers. It is meant as a representation of a particular kind of ideal client, and can include demographic info, buying habits, behaviour and motivations. The point of creating these personas is as an exercise to pin down client needs and behaviour patterns in order to attract new, similar clients. Honor wrote a great article about how to visualise and use personas here.

Qualified Lead – This refers to a lead that has established themselves as a person/organisation that has a need for your product or service, the budget for it and the authority to make the purchase.

Sales Funnel – This is a commonly used visualisation of the sales process, where prospects who are essentially total strangers are positioned at the wide end, and as they go through the sales process they proceed toward the narrow end; progressing through stages such as first contact, becoming a qualified lead, negotiation, agreement to buy, and eventually payment.

Smarketing – This is a fairly recent term to the sales and marketing lexicon; it refers to the conjoining of sales and marketing, and general increased cooperation between the two teams. For example, the marketing team/efforts attract leads and passes them on to the sales team to urge them towards a sale.

Social Selling – This refers to using social media to improve relations between the company and their prospects to help encourage sales. It involves using social media to research prospects, engage more with existing customers, observe the competition, provide after-sales support and perform general market research functions.

USP (Unique Selling Proposition) – A USP is an unique benefit that a company or service offers its clients that differentiates them/it from the competition. It is generally your response to the question “what do you have that your competitors don’t?”

Up-Sell – This is where a salesperson successfully sells or attempts to sell a better product or service than the customer originally bought or intended to buy. For example, if you wanted to get your windows replaced, and the salesperson successfully persuades you into getting your doors replaced too, that’s an up-sell.

Value Proposition – This is a feature of a service, product or company that is intended to make the offering more attractive to prospective customers.

Warm Calling – Opposed to “cold” calling, warm calling is the practice of making sales calls that have been preceded by some level of contact with the prospect.

[bctt tweet=”Having trouble getting to grips with sales and marketing jargon? Check out our handy beginners’ glossary.”]

Think of any important definitions that I’ve missed? Please share them down in the comments!

Book photograph image credit: Blickpixel via Pixabay.

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