Accounts are companies (or households for B2C) with whom a company has business relations. Accounts may contain different data, such as customer information, company name, addresses, etc. Each Account can also be associated with other records in a CRM system, such as Opportunities or Contacts.
Ad Hoc Reporting
Ad-hoc reporting is a functionality of business intelligence (BI) tools. “Ad-hoc” literally translates to “as the occasion requires,” meaning reports are usually created for a specific user’s or situation’s purpose. Ad-hoc reports can be as complex and customizable or as simple and plain as desired, and are therefore often utilized by non-technical users. Ad-hoc reports can also describe “one-off” or one-time reports that are created in a quick, unprepared or improvised way.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI stands for Artificial Intelligence and can be defined by creating and using machine processes that carry out actions “intelligently,” mirroring human behavior and responses. Some AI activities of today’s world include: speech recognition, information processing, self-correction, reasoning and problem solving.
BANT is a traditional qualification framework that covers the four commonly-used lead qualification criteria (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline) used by sales teams to decide whether and how to move potential prospects forward and down the sales funnel. While BANT is still used by traditional sales teams, a more modern qualification approach that has been identified is CHAMP. See C.H.A.M.P.
Campaign management refers to the planning, implementing, and gathering of results of marketing activities related to a specific goal (such as the sale of a new product, increasing brand awareness, or promotion of company events).
Campaigns are marketing activities (inbound or outbound) whose purpose it is to build interest and awareness around a company’s products, services and brand. Outbound campaign examples can include email blasts to introduce a new product, print advertisements, cold calling, or company events; inbound campaign examples include web-to-lead forms to collects names of people who want to learn more about a product, search engine optimization (SEO), or social media.
Also called: Trouble Ticket, Enquiry
Cases are records of customer issues that have been raised either by the customer or their sales representative that need to be addressed. They may result in a formal support case, or could simply be changes requested to a customer profile (e.g. updating their address). Cases are similar to Opportunities, but rather used in the post-sales (customer support) functions of a company.
CHAMP is an updated and more modern approach to qualifying prospects. It describes the four essential qualification areas for salespeople to focus on (CHallanges, Authority, Money and Prioritization), and sorts them in a new order (over the traditional BANT approach), to reflect more fittingly the most important aspect (Challenges) to start with in the engagement process of new prospects.
A closed sale refers to a lead that has turned into a paying customer for a company.
Configure/ Price/ Quote (CPQ)
Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software allows salespeople to more easily create the right product mix based on a customer’s needs, as well as optimize their sales bundle based on additional product requirements (for example, if selling a motor, prompting to add fluids, maintenance tools or other required additional items), and finally to present a more appealing sales quote to the prospective buyer.
Contact roles describe how a contact relates to a given Case, Opportunity or Account. Contact roles can be defined multiple times (for example, John Smith could have both the role of a customer and a partner), whereas contacts should only be defined once.
Contacts are individuals associated with an Account with whom a company has done business with or might do business with in the future.
Also called: Contract Administration
Contract management is the process of managing rules and regulations of a company with its vendors, partners, customers, and/or employees. Contract management deals with contract lifecycles (meaning when contracts expire or renew), and how the terms may change from period to period. Legal teams are the primary users of contract management systems.
A converted lead refers a lead’s status change; it indicates that an Account, Contact and/or Opportunity has been created for the lead in the CRM system. A lead is usually converted after it has been qualified by the sales team as worthy of pursuing, however depending on the organization’s internal processes and guidelines, rules and timelines for lead conversion may differ.
CRM Analytical Reporting
CRM analytical reporting describes reports run within a CRM system that provide specific insights on customers, such as buying trends, customer demographic snapshots, multi-dimensional analysis, and period-over-period comparisons.
Also called: CRM System, CRM Platform
CRM software is the technology used to keep track of a company’s relationships with existing and potential customers. Some of the data stored in CRM software can be account information, contact logs (when and by whom a customer was last contacted), customer issues, questions or inquiries, and purchase history.
Customer Experience (CX)
Customer experience describes the perception a (potential) customer gets after and while engaging with a company, its people, its brand or its assets. This engagement can include interactions with employees of the company or simply brand elements (company website, social media channels, whitepapers, etc.).
Customer Experience Management (CXM / CEM)
Customer experience management (CXM or CEM) describes a company’s tools and processes to manage and improve customer interactions with their business. With effective customer experience management, a customer’s loyalty, lifecycle or lifetime value can be improved, prolonged or increased respectively.
The customer journey covers a customer’s entire lifecycle from the prospect’s first sign of a desire to purchase, throughout the evaluation and purchasing cycle, up until and including the post-sale and potential resale or renewal cycle.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. In its core, CRM describes the way a company builds and fosters connections (relationships) with potential and existing customers. CRM helps businesses improve their customers’ experience, thereby increasing likelihood of (re-)purchase, customer lifetime value and reducing their own business costs.
Customer Self Service (CSS)
Customer self-services describe tools offered by a business (often through their website or an external portal that is cloud-based and available 24/7) that let customers handle different aspects of the business relation at their own convenience, time and control. Examples include profile and account management, bill processing, information requests, as well as accessing peer communities, support tickets and knowledge bases to help with product-related issues or questions.
Customer Service and Support Automation (CSS or CS&S)
Customer service and support automation is software to help manage and automate processes related to a company’s customer service and support department (e.g. help desk). Examples include any customer-related complaints or problems, technical issues, a ticket system, or a call management system.
Customer Success Management
Customer success management refers to tools and processes a company uses to retain customers through continued engagement and nurture activities. Customer success management is sometimes referred to as account management.
Data enrichment refers to the process of enhancing CRM records with additional data, such as a company’s merger & acquisition (M&A) history, a contact’s work history, or a contact’s business connections and social circle. The purpose of data enrichment is to provide more in-depth insights and information about contacts and accounts with minimal manual effort required by the salesperson.
A dead lead refers to a former lead that has abandoned the buying or evaluation process. A dead lead will no longer be pursued by a company’s salespeople as they have disengaged with the buying process.
Demand generation describes the targeted marketing efforts, activities and programs built to create interest in a company’s products, services or brand from a specific audience or target market.
An escalation describes the process of routing a customer’s issue to higher-up company departments in order to help resolve the customer’s issue quicker and more efficiently. Escalations are needed if the initial department does not have enough knowledge, resources or power to help with the customer’s request and, effectively implemented, are a way to lower a business’s operational costs.
First touch describes a potential customer’s first interaction or engagement with any aspect or asset of a company or brand. This could be their website, a flyer, banner, eBook, social media post, review or actual product (trial download, etc.). The goal of first touch is to lead them further down the conversion funnel to ultimately turn them into a customer.
Funnel velocity describes the time (or speed) that contacts and leads take to move from one stage of the funnel to the next.
A “hot lead” is a term typically referring to a contact who displays a strong intent to buy. A sales representative may classify a lead as “hot” after a strong initial meeting, or an automated lead system may tag a lead as “hot” when a prospect performs acts commonly associated with intent to buy, such as requesting a free trial or a meeting with a sales representative.
A junk lead refers to a contact that may have shown interest in buying a company’s goods or services, however has been identified as not being qualified (e.g. not in a decision making position within their company or not in the right geographic region the company is targeting, etc.) and will no longer be pursued or invested in.
A knowledge base is a digital repository where a company stores all of their support documents, and which is accessible to customers, prospective customers and employees. Through a successfully managed knowledge base a company can improve customer support practices by increased self service, which in turn leads to lower support costs and increased customer lifetime value.
Last touch describes the last occurrence a customer engaged with a company or its brand before converting (becoming a customer and purchasing the company’s product and/or service).
Lead Conversion Process
The lead conversion process describes the steps to be completed in converting a lead, i.e. a salesperson’s steps to create a Contact, Account, and/or Opportunity for the lead in the CRM system.
Lead Conversion Rate
The lead conversion rate is the number of successfully converted leads divided by total leads pursued (successful and unsuccessful) in a specific time period.
Lead generation refers to the activities and processes carried out to find potential customers and their contact information (names, emails, addresses, company insights, etc.) in order to plan a future follow-up and introduction to a company’s products or services by a salesperson.
Lead management is the process of finding and organizing prospects for a company. Lead management usually includes several steps where both marketing and sales departments are involved, and often starts with the process of Lead Generation. The goal of lead management is to effectively engage with contacts, in order to guide them further down the purchasing funnel, and with the ultimate goal of the close of a sale.
Lead qualification describes the process of determining whether prospects meet all of a company’s requirements to classify them as prospects worth pursuing.
A lead is an unqualified sales opportunity. A lead can be a company or an individual who has expressed interest in a company’s product and/or service. In a CRM system, a lead is usually the starting point of a person’s record.
Lead-to-cash is the process of converting a sales lead to revenue for a company.
Machine learning is an area of artificial intelligence (AI) and refers to machines and systems automatically learning new behaviors and processes from experience without needing to be specifically programmed for them.
Marketing-Accepted Lead (MAL)
A marketing-accepted lead is a prospect that has been identified as a “good fit” as a customer based on demographic and/or geographic criteria (e.g. company size, region, industry, etc.) – that could be both interested in a company’s product, as well as in a position to buy.
Marketing automation describes the use of software to automate, streamline and measure any marketing-related activities, such as customer communication (e.g. sending out newsletter eBlasts), customer and audience segmentation, or tracking, scoring and forecasting of leads. Automation refers to the use of tools and software so that manual processes and efforts can be reduced. Typically, marketing automation is used by larger companies to manage lead volumes that are sent to sales for follow-up.
The marketing funnel is a cylinder-shape (wide top, narrow bottom) visualization of the different stages (awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, purchase) a potential customer goes through from first touch point to converting to a customer.
An effectively set-up marketing funnel also helps track future customers and guides them as closely as needed through each step. A marketing funnel can also give insightful feedback on any roadblocks that need to be addressed to help influence consumers at each stage, such as follow-up telephone calls or sending them positive press reviews.
Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL)
Marketing-qualified leads are records that have been classified by the marketing department as worthy of receiving a follow-up from sales. MQLs are leads in a company’s database that have shown interest in buying the company’s product and/or service, and have passed a set of marketing’s lead qualifications, in order to move further down the purchasing funnel.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Natural language processing is an area of artificial intelligence (AI) processes and refers to computers’ ability to dissect, understand, analyze, and interpret meaning from human language (spoken or written).
An opportunity is a potential sales deal or revenue-generating event. An opportunity can be with an existing Account or with a new Account. CRM software can be of use in enhancing opportunities as it helps track, manage and organize all information and activities related to Opportunities.
Opportunity are potential sales deals or revenue-generating events. An opportunity can be with an existing Account or with a new Account. CRM software can be of use in enhancing opportunities as it helps track, manage and organize all information and activities related to Opportunities.
Opportunity management refers to the management of deals inside an organization’s sales pipeline. Opportunity management is the main focus of sales force automation (SFA) initiatives, with the goal of sales professionals closing as many deals as possible with the least amount of effort. CRM software aids in opportunity management by both organizing the data and activities related to sales opportunities, as well as ensuring rules, regulations and best practices are being followed in the process.
Pipeline management refers to the process of sales individuals helping their leads move further down the sales pipeline in order to convert them to customers.
Predictive analytics is an area of artificial intelligence (AI) and describes the process of filtering out information from both new and historical data sets, and within that, finding patterns, trends and predictions for likely future outcomes. Predictive analytics uses forms of statistical algorithms, advanced analytics and machine learning techniques to make likely forecasts, including a level of reliability, what-if scenarios and risk assessments.
As an opportunity makes its way through the sales stage, its likelihood to close (i.e. generate revenue) increases. This likelihood is the probability to close and is typically expressed as a percentage.
A prospect is a potential customer that been qualified by a sales or marketing professional to be a “good fit” as a customer for the company, meaning that they fit the company’s target market audience (company size, geographic region, etc.) and they are in a position within their company to influence, decide on and complete the purchasing process. Prospects don’t need to have shown any actual interest in the goods or services or company/ brand yet; they just have to meet the initial company’s criteria.
A raw lead is an unqualified contact that was generated by marketing activities such as requesting the download of an asset, social media interaction with the brand, webinar participation, or in-person attendance of company events. A raw lead simply describes a person requesting information from the company, but has not been verified or qualified by a salesperson yet.
Also called: Customer Relationship Intelligence, Business Relationship Intelligence, Relationship Intelligence Data
Relationship intelligence describes software applications that will “intelligently” search and filter through a company’s (or an individual’s) information and data on past (or likely future) relationships and provide useful insights, trends, connections and recommendations on engaging with the individual or company.
Remarket leads are leads that were created through outbound sales or marketing activities, however did not qualify as an Opportunity yet. Since they are not sales-ready yet, they will be passed to marketing for continued nurture.
Sales-Accepted Lead (SAL)
A sales-accepted lead (SAL) is a marketing-qualified lead (MQL) that has been transferred over to sales for further lead qualification.
Sales Force Automation (SFA)
Also called: Sales Force Management System, Sales Automation Software
Sales force automation describes software used to automate sales tasks, such as contact management, order processing, inventory control, order tracking, sales forecasting or performance analysis.
Also called: Conversion Funnel, Purchasing Funnel, Revenue Funnel
The sales funnel refers to the cylinder-shaped visualization of a company’s entire sales opportunities in progress, sorted by sales stage. Sales management and executives often refer to the sales funnel as a way of quickly gauging sales performance; a robust funnel across all stages is good, but a funnel with few or no leads across certain stages can signal future dips in revenue and subsequently operating cash-flow. A business typically has more early-stage, less “ready-to-close” opportunities in the funnel (wider top) than close-to-won opportunities (narrow bottom), thus the resemblance to a funnel.
Sales Performance Management (SPM)
Sales performance management is the practice of monitoring, training and guiding salespeople and their procedures in order to improve their sales and people skills, tracking and organization of customer data, and overall end results. Included in sales performance management are also goal setting and the compensation for reaching set goals. Sales performance management software programs are available to facilitate, streamline and/or automate certain processes.
Also called: Pipeline
A sales pipeline is a company’s repository of all combined sales opportunities that currently exist for a company across every stage of the sales progress. The sales pipeline typically ranks opportunities from lowest probability (least likely to close) to highest probability (most likely to close). Also see Sales Funnel.
Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL)
A sales-qualified lead is a prospective customer that has been confirmed by the sales department as a contact worth pursuing. An SQL has demonstrated clear intent to buy and has met the company’s lead qualification criteria that determine whether they are a good fit to be moved further down the sales funnel.
Sales-Ready Lead (SRL)
A sales-ready lead is a marketing-qualified lead that is both trying to solve a business need with a company’s product and/or service, as well as a decision maker within their company to navigate the purchasing process to a likely close. Usually, marketing teams refer internally to a SRL when speaking about a lead “ready” for the sales team; and conversely, sales teams often refer to the same as a marketing-qualified lead (MQL) internally.
The sales stage describes the different steps an opportunity goes through in the lead-to-cash process. CRM systems come with pre-set sales stages where customers can configure these sales stages to align with the stages in their existing sales process.
Also called: Pipeline Velocity
Sales velocity refers to how quickly deals move through the sales stages set forth by an organization. Typically, a strong sales velocity describes deals that are moving quickly through the pipeline to a “closed won” stage. Conversely, deals that stall in early or mid-level stages indicate poor sales velocity. CRM software can help increase sales velocity by creating reports and visual dashboards that offer users the ability to see pipeline velocity at a glance. These insights can indicate whether the sales team is on the right track, whether there are roadblocks identified, or any other trouble spots that might need attention.
Self Service Portal (SSP)
A self-service portal is a digital platform (usually on a company’s website) that includes resources (such as Knowledge Bases), procedures and tools for customers to access and utilize to solve some of their own issues related to a company’s product (see Customer Self-Service). An effectively managed self-service portal helps improve customer experience and lowers operational costs.
A suspect is a potential customer identified by a company (for example through a list purchase) that has not been contacted yet, nor has contacted the company in any form.
Transactional reports provide information about (completed or not yet completed) transactions between a company and a customer, such as monetary amounts dealt, currencies, parties involved (incl. financial institutions), and any specific agreements or regulations concerning the transaction.
Voice of the Customer (VoC)
The “voice of the customer” describes customers’ needs, requirements, wishes, and feedback, both stated and unstated. The voice of the customer can be “heard” in different ways: through direct engagement, interviews, surveys (both on- or offline), focus groups, product reviews, observation, social media interaction, warranty issues, or field reports.
A warm lead is a contact that has shown significant interest in buying a company’s product and/or service, but has yet to show intent (or means) to buy.
A workflow is a series of steps (tasks, events, interactions, activities) necessary to complete a business work process. In a sequential workflow, each step is necessary to be completed before the next step can be started; in a parallel workflow, two or more steps can occur at the same time.