Dictionary to help sales and marketing people communicate


I think 90% of workplace conflict is because people don’t understand what their colleagues are saying. And no I don’t mean because people aren’t talking to each other or enough. But working with the same definitions. (Thanks Derek for the idea on this post)

Here is my dictionary that sales and marketing people need to agree on to make sure everyone is on the same page:

  • lead = someone who wants to buy something, has approval to buy something, knows when they want to buy it and the when is soon. (Soon depends on your business, I’d say 6 months in mine)
  • suspect = someone who meets the profile of someone who might buy stuff
  • prospect = someone who wants to buy stuff later
  • CRM = database for leads and customers
  • CRM โ‰  address book
  • customer = person who bought something and would buy from you again
  • customer โ‰  someone who bought something once but is currently using your competition, or doesn’t really want to hear from you again
  • presentation = a way to communicate a key message to a predetermined audience
  • presentation โ‰  powerpoint slides
  • sales presentation = a presentation meant to drive a lead or a prospect into making a decision. This may require background info on the company, the industry and some facts and stats on the space from the analysts or influencers. The goal: convince the prospect to buy something (or say they aren’t so the sales rep can move on)
  • company presentation = a presentation that discussion the company history, recent events, products, positioning, place in the market. The goal: educate the audience on the company.
  • sales presentation โ‰  company presentation
  • white paper = really long document or report on technology. Think term paper. Typically used by prospects for research. Can be used as a lead or prospect generation tool.
  • technical brief = the cliff notes version of the white paper.
  • landing page = a webpage who’s sole purpose is to collect information on suspects by promising a goodie like a white paper or other content
  • email blast = mass email sent out to a lot of people with a standard mass message
  • news release (or press release) = news ‘story’ or article that gets sent to the wire service for SEO, awareness or branding
  • lead generation = programs to generate leads (but make sure the word lead has been defined and agreed upon by sales and marketing teams)
  • lead generation โ‰  name generation (remember, you need to define what a lead is before you can generate one)
  • SEO = search engine optimization
  • collateral = any piece of content that marketing puts out. This is a leave behind. Use this term sparingly, it isn’t very specific to any type of document. Collateral can include white papers, case studies, tech briefs, product sheets, press releases. The list goes on forever, so before talking about collateral, be specific on the type of piece and the goal of the piece.

I am sure I have missed a lot of other terms…feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.

Sales and marketing people, before you start complaining that one of you isn’t supporting the other. (Ahem, see the examples below)

  • Sales: marketing leads suck
  • Marketing: sales never follows up on my leads
  • Sales: we don’t have enough collateral
  • Marketing: There are 400 white papers in the library
  • Etc.

My suggestion, define your terminology upfront. It is impossible to talk if you aren’t using the same language.


One thought on “Dictionary to help sales and marketing people communicate

  1. I love the definition of a “Lead”. It’s basically the BANT Model. Does this “Lead”
    Have Budget?
    Have Authority to Make the Decision?
    Have a Need for what you do?
    Have a timeline that is within a reasonable window (As Jame said – 6 months)?

    Sales Professional – When you get one of these Leads, hug your Marketing Professional, and get to selling !

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