The Sales Enablement ABC - A Glossary of common Sales Terms
Sales enablement has proven to be a unique, cross-functional disciplinethat connects multiple aspects in the aim ofoptimising your company’s revenue. Several definitions coexist on the internet, each focusing on slightly different aspects, depending on the perspective of the publisher. However, ifsales enablementis a new concept for you, or if you are looking for a refreshment on your understanding, it’s a great idea to start with the basics.
We have compiled a glossaryfor you (no claim to completeness) of the general terms you need to develop a solid understanding to start your enablement initiative in your company today. Elevate your customer-facing force to the next level!
It may be that the first thing that comes to mind is a somewhat outdated sales approach from the 1990’s – Always be Closing. However, we are referring to a phrase coined by Keith Rosen; “Always be Coaching”. See Coaching to find out how we understand it.
When speaking about account growth, we focus on a strategic approach to grow and manage a set of the most important customers of a company. This is achieved by building a sustainable relationship of value and benefit for all involved parties. This can be achieved through consistent communication and support from your Customer Success team.
Account-based marketing (ABM)
Account-based marketing developed from key account marketing. With this marketing strategy, we define, identify, qualify and individually address target accounts instead of broadcasting to the broad public.
Plans for future actions that are derived from examining primary data, aiding the decision-making process with data-driven evidence. Based on Forrester “74% of firms say they want to be “data-driven,” only 29% say they are good at connecting analytics to action.”
One of the main goals in sales enablement is to successfully and cross-functionally collaborate across all customer-facing departments in terms of communication and work execution.
An analysis is an instrument to gather and process data to develop actionable insights to inform your enablement activities.
For enablement to prove its worth in your organization, pay attention to every detail concerning your internal processes and customer/buyer journey. See Orchestration to see why this is important.
Take a personal and honest approach to your work, especially whilst interacting with customers. They are searching for complete solutions to their business dilemmas, which includes having an honest personal connection to their sales representative. “Be yourself”
BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Time)
A framework for qualification to determine the likelihood of closing a deal.
Business to Business – companies engage with and sell to other companies.
Business to Consumer – companies directly engage with and sell to end consumers.
Business to Business to Consumer – an e-commerce model that combines B2B and B2C.
Business development manager (BDM)
An individual responsible for seeking new opportunities and areas to expand your product/service and business.
Business intelligence (BI)
Business Intelligence is a technology for collecting, integrating, analysing, interpreting and presenting data. ThisThecollectionThe collection of this raw data provides the basis for insights about your sales force and customers that can then be transformed into Actionable Insights
A buyer is someone who shows in interest in purchasing a product or service. There is a certain demand that they want to satisfy, whether its to fix a problem or reach a new goal. They are usually equipped with an estimated budget, timeline, resources and expectations on the outcome of their next purchase.
Buyer enablement supports the buyer and all involved stakeholders in the buying process along the buying journey by providing key information in order to foresee and successfully handle critical activities. It enables the buyer to make a decision and to purchase.
The entire experience of how a buyer interacts with your company is encompassed by the buyer journey. See Customer Journey to see how this relates to enablement.
The buyer persona gives your target group an identity and makes your ideal customer tangible and more human.
A measurement for the number of:
- Customers that choose to discontinue using your product or service
- Customers that end their contract and collaboration with you
- Employees that leave your sales force
This is a useful indicator for gauging how well your company’s actions have achieved their intended result. It is an effective method to identify where, how and to what extent changes can be made to improve the customer experience and to increase the sales performance.
Closed Won/Lost is a step in the sales process during which you identify if and why a deal was successful (=won) or lost
The closing plan defines your tactics for the final steps of closing a deal and getting the approval and signature.
Coaching focuses on how an individual can start to make improvements today. There is a multitude of methods a coach can use when preparing a coachee or learner to tackle internal blockers. See Sales Coaching
Configure – Price – Quote software (CPQ)
Software that allows the sales representative to adapt the pricing and quote to specific customer needs with full flexibility.
Content is any kind of information material, no matter what media, to engage with your customer and your team. We differentiate between enablement (internal) collaterals and sales collaterals.
Content Management System (CMS)
A technology for collaboratively creating, storing and managing the digital content of a company.
Conversational Intelligence Technology (CI)
A tool for gathering insights from sales conversations and virtual interactions with customers. This is essential in understanding what aspects in a sales meeting bring positive and negative customer reactions.
The Conversion rate is a marketing metric that measures the ratio of website visitors to conversion. This does not have to be a sale at the first place. Focus can also be on download of assets or sign-ups for newsletter.
Critical business issue (CBI)
A Critical Business Issue demands that action be taken by a customer or buyer. There is typically a sense of urgency as the issue may be affecting one or several core organizational units and has a direct economic impact .
Selling other products or services than initially discussed to increase the footprint at the customer as well as selling across divisions in the customer organization .
Customer Acquisition Cost
Customer acquisition cost is a measure of how much needs to be invested before a prospect becomes a customer.
An approach to focusing all processes and activites on the customer experience. Every decision or adaptation triggered by sales enablement is customer centric.
Customer Experience Management
The customer experience is the perception of the received services, offerings and engagement throughout all phases of a customer life cycle along the customer journey (starting from prospecting and going beyond deal closing to service and operations). Actively managing the customer experience helps in building and fostering your relationships with the customer.
The customer journey refers to the stream of interactions between seller and buyer in order to make a buying decision. Sales enablement sharpens the focus for understanding and preparing each stage of your customer journey.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
This number contains a forecast of the expected net profit to be gained from a customer throughout the complete relationship with that customer.
Customer Performance Indicator (CPI)
Customer Performance Indicator is a key performance indicator that is customer-centric. They are the customer’s measures of success by working together and express the perceived value that the customer gains from engaging with you.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Process and technology for managing all customer data and touchpoints in the customer journey.
Building loyal relationships with customers to strengthen their trust in a seller's knowledge, services and/or products.
KPI in business trying to quantify how a company’s products and services meet or surpass customers’ expectations. Closely related to CPIs.
Customer Success as initiative on the seller side encompasses the integration of tasks and activities of Sales, Marketing, Service and Support to develop a sustainable relationship with the customer. On the customer side, it describes the impact and value of your services to the business of the customer.
Customer Success Story
Customer success stories demonstrate how you have helped a customer with your products and services and are proof of how you helped your customer succeed in their business.
Deal closing is a step in the later stages of the sales process during which differentiators are identified (what is your company doing better and different compared to the competition) and the deal is closed.
Stakeholder in the buying process who is making the final decision. However, there are usually several stakeholders involved in acquiring this concluding outcome. Sometimes, decision-makers are also called “decision-making units” (DMUs).
Discovery is a step in the sales process during which information about the potential customer is gathered in order to better understand pain points, root causes, needs, challenges, and the economic impact and value of your solution or services
An evaluation of how well your intended outcomes are fulfilled. Doing the right thing to complete arranged tasks. Effectiveness plus minimal use of resources results in efficiency.
Reaching your goals with a minimal amount of time, resources and energy.
Emotional intelligence (EI)
The competence of being fully aware of your own and other’s thoughts and feelings. This capability is a critical skill for salespeople and marketers alike. It is especially important for interacting with customers in order to understand their circumstances, decide upon the best way to approach their situation and then to correctly deliver a solution in a way that they perceive as providing value so that they are likely to strike a deal and accept your offer. It is key to conducting thorough and valuable conversations, both internally amongst departments and externally with prospects, buyers, customers, suppliers, partners etc.
Recognizing and exploring the feelings of others. Together with Authenticity and Emotional Intelligence, empathy is a critical skill in successful conversations with your customers and employees.
Ensuring that salespeople feel secure in their capabilities and helping them to continuously provide value to your customer. By feeling empowered, salespeople are able perform at their personal best.
The Enablement charter corresponds a business plan for your Sales Enablement initiative. It includes the enablement strategy, tactics, goals. It supports you in keeping track of your purpose, vision, and roadmap and thus ensures the long-term success of your initiative.
See Land & Expand
See Customer Experience Management
Forecasting is the process and attempt of predicting what will happen in the future based on the existing data from past and present. Forecasting enables companies to plan and estimate potential future revenue and revenue growth.
Functions & Features
In the context of solution/product demos, the function describes what something does and is related to a goal. The feature on the other hand contains the specific attributes that support the function.
Gamification means the addition of game-like “fun” elements into activities where you would not expect them to be found. It enriches the user experience with entertaining elements.
A person who is in charge to grant access into a company to speak with the right people, e.g., in order to reach the decision-makers for your endeavor you might need to first convince the gatekeeper.
The plan on how a company is going to launch a product or service after it has been developed. It includes a pricing strategy, the customer journey, as well as sales channels for the new market.
Growth is the process of an increase in size/volume/value. Also, a change in terms of maturity can be defined as growth.
The Hit Rate is a measurement calculated as the number of sales compared to the number of touchpoints (phone calls, website visits,…)
Strategy in which the same product/services are sold to customers independent of the customers’ industry. Antonym: vertical
Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Criteria defined in this profile describe the ideal customer who is a good match for your products and services. Factors to consider for the ICP:
- For which type of organization are your products and services built?
- Which challenges are companies facing that you can help solve? Which desires do companies have that you can help achieve?
- Who is involved (or should be) in the buying decision and delivery project?
Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that specifically targets your ideal customer persona, mostly online. Compared to outbound marketing, it does not aim at a broad reach and its effectiveness can be measured more precisely since it can be tracked better. Cf. Outbound marketing.
In sales enablement, an initiative is a specific action launched by your enablement unit. Enablement uses a variety of initiatives and tools that work towards attaining its core principle of supporting salespeople readiness.
See Actionable Insights
See Customer Journey
Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is measuring the specific performance of a task within an organization. In order to reach the goals for KPIs, SMART goals should be used.
A motivational meeting to start a project or the fiscal year with the goal of setting expectations and creating a common understanding of the goal to be achieved.
See Land and Expand
Land and Expand
A strategy to win (land) a customer with a small deal and then up- or cross-sell to broaden the customer’s footprint (Expand).
see Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) & Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Leadership is key to maintaining the structure and execution of enablement initiatives throughout your organization. An enablement champion or leader will ensure that employees and executives are guided towards adopting better practices and mindsets in their everyday work.
Learning and Development (L&D)
A systematic approach to upskill employees to increase efficiency and effectiveness of their performance.
Learning Management System (LMS)
A Learning Management System is a tool to provide learning material and which supports the organization and management of learning activities.
Line of Business (LOB)
A Line of Business is a set of products/services managed by a dedicated team/department/business unit/organizational unit.
Gathering information and effectively guiding the customer journey requires top-quality listening skills. Salespeople must attentively listen for insights that will help in better understanding the customer in order to be able to deliver greater value.
Marketing-qualified Lead (MQL)
A marketing-qualified lead is a prospect who shows more than a first interest, is a fit to the ideal customer profile (ICP) and can be handed over to sales.
State of development. Mature stands for fully developed.
Qualification Methodology which stands for:
M – Metrics
E – Economic Buyer
D – Decision Process
D – Decision Criteria
I – Identify Pain
C – Champion
Variations can be MEDDICC (including Competition) or MEDDPIC (including Paper Process).
Mentoring can be done formally and informally. It is the process of guiding a colleague through a specific situation/problem/challenge, e.g., during onboarding.
Number or formula for measuring and tracking performance.
Minimum viable product, the smallest package that is of use to customers. The MVP is relevant for the go-to-market strategy and is the basis for more feature-rich future versions.
A need defines the urgency and desire of a prospect or potential customer to buy a product/service.
Negotiation is a strategic task in the sales process normally involving only the final decision makers. The goal of the negotiation is to reach an agreement that is acceptable for all involved parties and to close a deal based on this agreement.
A Negotiation Plan includes the strategy and tactics for the negotiation phase. Elements include clearly defined goals, negotiable elements, walk away points, BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) – ideally for both sides .
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score is a KPI that determines the likelihood of a referral of a product or service by your customer that can be simply measured.
In sales conversations, customers will articulate their opinions including objections to your offered solution/service. Objection handling provides techniques to salvage the trust and connection during critical moments in customer relationships by acknowledgint, addressing and relieving the customer’s issues.
Objectives & Key Result (OKR)
A methodology for setting goals in a collaborative environment. “Used by teams and individuals to set challenging, ambitious goals with measurable results. OKRs are how you track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around measurable goals”
Onboarding is the systematic process to get new employees enabled to understand their job and to fulfill their tasks. This covers a brought range of areas of understanding the company, getting to know the team and co-workers, learning how to use specific tools and acquiring skills needed to complete expected tasks.
Operations includes all activities and processes to support effective and efficient running of the company/department/organizational unit.
An opportunity is buyer or existing customer/account committed to engage and work with you and has been qualified. For opportunities, pains and needs are understood and the buyer or existing customer/account is a fit to your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Cross-functional arrangements and collaboration for achieving a common goal and supporting the business strategy.
Outbound marketing is an active marketing strategy to generate leads through more “traditional” marketing activities that aim for broad outreach. The purpose is to establish awareness of your company and values in areas where you were previously unknown.
A specific problem of a buyer or customer. Pain points are as diverse a buyers and customers.
See Sales Process
Productivity is the ratio between output and input.
Profit is what remains of the revenue after deducting all expenses directly related to its generation.
The ability of a company/product/service to earn profit.
A written plan or suggestion put forward for consideration by the buyer/customer.
A prospect is a potential customer early in the sales process who is unaware, aware of or in the consideration stage for your offered services and products. The prospect has not yet shown intent to buy and their willingness to change is low or not existing. The impact of change is not clear or not evaluated and therefore there is no awareness and considerations regarding an estimated budget, timeline, resources,…
Prospecting is the first step in the sales process to identify a potential buyer to further develop them into a customer.
The reason why you do something. The purpose should be clear and transparent for all enablement activities and involved stakeholders.
Qualification is a task in each sales process phase to evaluate a prospect or potential customer if they are a fit to your products and services based on a specific set of criteria. The qualification outcome defines if it is worth to pursue this prospect further and to invest more time. The evaluation includes also your company’s competition and ecosystem as well as understanding everything which can have an impact on the decision making (deal).
Questioning is a key skill for successful and effective communication. Questioning techniques include different types questions to explore and gain understanding of your prospects and customers needs. They also support relationship building and fostering an engaged discussion.
A sales target set for a defined time, region, team or individual person.
The ramp-up time is the time span from the introduction of a new process/tool/program/time until it becomes active or from the development of a product or service to its launch or from the onboarding of a new employee to their complete fullfilment of their role.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
A Request for Proposal is an announcement to create an offer where various vendors are asked to submit their bids including a specification of what the buyer wants.
Return on Investment (ROI)
The ROI is a metric which displays the relation between profit and investment.
The process of creating awareness of areas in the sales process in order to unlock hidden potential through specific communication skills and agreed-on methodologies.
Sales enablement is a multi-disciplinary approach to improve sales performance through strategic, people-centric educational, process-related and technological measures. It supports the seller in bringing the buyer to a buying decision and orchestrates all customer-facing activities in an organization, covering strategy, production, marketing, sales and service.
The sales funnel describes the sales process from a large number of prospects to a (smaller) number of buyers and customers towards the end of the process. Based on your sales data, it defines how many Sales Qulified Leads (SQLs) are needed along the sales process to achieve the desired win rate.
A sales methodology is a set of rules, techniques, tactics, of how you sell your products or services. The sales methodology ideally covers the full customer journey.
A Sales Playbook is a guide to support your sales team through the sales process along with best practices, Dos & Don’ts.
The sales process is a series of actions/steps/tasks performed by a salesperson to guide a prospect along the customer journey with the goal of closing a sale and developing a long-term customer relationship.
Sales readiness describes whether a salesperson or sales team is prepared to close deals. Assessing and certifying the sales team is key to ensure that they are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to engage with prospects and buyers along the customer journey.
Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL)
A sales-qualified lead meets the criteria of the ideal customer profile, has a clear intention to buy but requires some clarification before arriving at the decision making stage. Sales-qualified leads are also called opportunities.
Sales Technology Stack
All software and IT tools used by the sales team to support their daily tasks.
Goal setting methodology. In order to be successful, goals should fulfill the following criteria:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – achievable
R – result-oriented
T – time-bound
Small and medium-sized enterprises.
Process to build connections and relationships with prospects and buyers through means of social media.
A stakeholder is a person with a specific position and interest, e.g., in the decision process.
Analytic approach to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
The number of sales a salesperson or team is supposed to close in a given time frame.
A clearly defined group of customers/regions to which a company wants to sell its products/services.
Temperature questions are a set of questions to understand where the prospect stands and how ready he/she is to move forward in the buying and sales process. Temperature is here considered as the willingness, interest, or engagement of the customer, with a very interested customer being “hot”.
The process of change from a current to the desired state.
The attitude of being open, honest, and clear in business regards.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
The unique selling proposition is the outstanding feature/benefit of your product/service that gives you the unique advantage compared to your competitors and clearly differentiates you from others.
Up-lift stands for improvement and/or optimization, e.g., improvement of a person’s skill set.
Selling the a different more expensive product or service to a customer than originally discussed.
The value is the economic measurement of a business process. Value is defined on the customer side of a deal, cf. Warren Buffett's famous quote4(via Benjamin Graham): "Price is what you pay; value is what you get."
The value message is a statement summarizing the value a company will deliver to a customer. This message should transfer the main reason why a product/service should be bought.
The value proposition is the explanation and reasoning of how a product/service creates value for a customerby solving a specific problemor relieving a specific pain point of the customer.
Strategy in which the same product/services are only sold to customers in the industry or sharing the same properties. Antonym: Horizontal.
The ability to be seen and recognized in the market.
Voice of the Customer (VOC)
The feedback of the customer on their expectations of and experience with products/services. This feedback is essential for understanding the customer needs, for identifyingimprovement opportunities, and for improving the customer experience.
The Win Rate is a metric to measure the percentage of converting buyers to become customers divided by the overall/total number of deals in the pipeline.