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Common Sales and Marketing Acronyms: A Quick Guide

By Callie HinmanSep 5, 2016

Sales and Marketing AcronymsAcronyms can make correspondence between sales and marketing more efficient. (And any digital marketer will tell you they’re also helpful when you have character limits.)

But if a sales or marketing rep doesn’t know what a particular acronym stands for, he or she will have to ask someone to translate and then efficiency goes right out the window. And misunderstandings can lead to frustrations, which can lead to further strain on the already-tense relationship between sales and marketing.

Since aligning these departments is becoming more and more important, it's crucial they understand one another's jargon. This post will define some of the more common sales and marketing acronyms.

CRM: Customer Relationship Management (software)

What is it?
Software used to centralize customer data (including contact information and user behavior) into one easily accessible database. CRM software is also used for marketing and sales force automation.

Why is it important?
Customer relationship management software gives you valuable insights into prospective and current buyers, which help marketers and sales reps provide more personalized experiences.

CTA: Call-to-Action

What is it?
Graphics or text urging buyers to complete a specific action—for example, Click Here, Call Now or Learn More.

Why is it important?
Calls-to-action draw buyers in and allow businesses to start (or continue) engagement with their brand. Placing CTAs to gated content within a blog post or email can help move prospects through the sales funnel.

CTR: Click-Through Rate

What is it?
A performance metric calculated by the number of clicks a link or ad receives divided by the number of times the link or ad is viewed.

Why is it important?
Marketers can see how effective their efforts have been by looking at the click-through rate. A high CTR usually means the offer or content is relevant and interesting to the audience, whereas a low CTR indicates a need for tweaking.

PRO TIP: Don’t evaluate CTR in a vacuum. A high CTR doesn’t always imply good performance. It could just mean your language is too broad. Always consider conversion rate (which is the percentage of users who perform a desired action—for example, download a piece of content, sign up for a newsletter or watch a webinar) as well.

CX/UX: Customer Experience/User Experience

What is it?
Every interaction a customer or user has with your brand throughout each stage of the buyer’s journey—Awareness, Consideration and Decision.

Why is it important?
Customer experience dictates a buyer’s perception of your brand, so make sure every time an individual engages with your brand, it’s positive and helpful. A positive experience encourages prospective buyers to become customers and current customers to stay.

KPI: Key Performance Indicator

What is it?
A key performance indicator is a metric used to evaluate a brand’s success and its progress toward achieving its goals.

Why is it important?
Key performance indicators are objective measurements that help companies make informed decisions about the effectiveness of their sales and marketing techniques.

MQL: Marketing Qualified Lead

What is it?
An individual who has engaged with a brand’s marketing (for example, downloading an eBook or signing up for a newsletter), indicating they have a higher interest in a company and could become a customer.

Why is it important?
MQLs are usually in the top or middle of the sales funnel but can be nurtured into SQLs (defined below) when the marketing and sales teams collaborate.

ROI: Return on Investment

What is it?
A performance metric that measures profitability and is calculated using this formula:
ROI = (Revenue - Cost) / Cost

Why is it important?
ROI helps businesses determine if a potential investment (for example, marketing automation software) will be worth the upfront and ongoing costs or if a current investment should be continued or terminated.

PRO TIP: ROI isn’t the same as profit margin. ROI measures the relationship of the costs incurred to the profit gained from those costs; profit margin measures the relationship of revenue to profit—in other words, the percentage of a brand’s revenue that is profit. A company’s ROI can be several times the cost of the investment, but the profit margin cannot exceed 100 percent.

SAL: Sales Accepted Lead

What is it?
An MQL who has been passed to the sales team, has been reviewed by a rep for quality and is determined to be worthy of pursuing.

Why is it important?
Having defined criteria for what qualifies an MQL to become an SAL helps a sales rep decide whether they should invest their time and resources into following up on a lead.

SLA: Service Level Agreement

What is it?
An SLA officially defines what the sales and marketing teams expect from each other. A marketing SLA specifies the quantity and quality of leads marketing is responsible for delivering to the sales team, and a sales SLA establishes how the sales team will pursue each qualified lead received from the marketing team.

Why is it important?
A service level agreement ensures that every party involved—sales, marketing and the client—are all on the same page regarding expectations.

SQL: Sales Qualified Lead

What is it?
An SQL who has demonstrated a high level of intent to become a customer and who fits the predetermined criteria for a high-quality lead. SQLs are ready to be contacted by a sales rep directly.

Why is it important?
SQLs have been vetted by both the marketing and sales departments and have the highest potential to become customers, as long as the sales rep engages them correctly.

PRO TIP: Sales enablement is a great way for sales and marketing to work together to convert SQLs into opportunities and opportunities into customers.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it can certainly make communication between your sales and marketing departments a bit easier. Be sure to bookmark this post to use as a handy reference the next time you have an email that looks like alphabet soup.

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Additional Topics: Inbound Sales
The Author

Callie Hinman

Callie's passion for writing started when she began drafting short stories in elementary school. That adoration led her to earn a B.A. in English from the University of Texas. Prior to joining Kuno, she oversaw the retail marketing compliance team for a global auto manufacturer. She then managed the digital marketing efforts of several enterprise SaaS companies across the U.S. There was no denying her first love, though, and when Callie started at Kuno, she knew the world of inbound marketing was where she belonged. When she's not creating thoughtful and strategic marketing content, Callie can be found playing soccer and kickball or cheering on the Horns.
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