Common Sales Terms Demystified

What does a funnel have to do with revenue? If you’ve ever wondered what your process teams were going on about, you’ve come to the right place.

You know the feeling. You’re meeting with someone from sales or marketing and you’re listening attentively as they passionately describe their project. You want to understand what they’re talking about, but you don’t have an MBA and some of the vocabulary is just lost on you. However, you don’t want to sound clueless, so you don’t ask. We hope this post with common sales terms definitions offers some relief and can serve as a handy reference in the future!


An acronym that stands for Attention/Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. These are the individual steps of the sales funnel (see below), in which your pool of potential customers moves from large to small as prospects get closer to a sale.


An acronym used for qualifying leads, which stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. Salespeople use this to assess whether a prospect has the money and the decision-making power to result in a sale, and also whether your product or service solves a critical customer problem in the right timeframe. In other words, BANT helps salespeople determine if all the stars are aligned for a deal to take place.

Buyer Persona

Based on research and outlining what, where, when, why, and how a customer buys. Buyer personas are often provided to salespeople to educate them about the ideal prospect and about the most effective way to approach that prospect.

Churn Rate

A metric based on the value of the customers you retain. To calculate churn rate, you take the number of customers you lost in a given time period and divide it by the total number of customers you had at the very beginning of the period. For example, if you had 100 customers at the start of the year and only 80 customers at the end of January(discounting brand new customers), your churn rate would be: (100-80)/100 = 20/100 = 20%.

Closing Ratio

The percentage of prospects that a salesperson closes successfully. This ratio is used for all sorts of things, including individual salesperson performance, evaluation of profits, and sales forecasting. The better qualified a salesperson’s leads are, the less likely they are to be turned down (and the higher their closing ratio generally is).

Qualified Lead

A prospect that learned about your product or service, was interested, and contacted your organization to receive additional information. This kind of lead is most likely to result in a sale because half of the work is already done!

Sales Funnel

The process of converting prospects into sales. All prospects are fed into the top of the funnel and converted sales drop out at the bottom. As a sales opportunity moves down the funnel, time to closing decreases and the probability of the sale occurring increases. The sales funnel metaphor allows you to visualize where all of your prospects are in the buying process at a particular point in time.


An acronym that stands for Unique Perceived Benefit, this is a customization of your product or service based on detailed research of your prospect’s organizational needs. A prospect is more likely to buy from a salesperson with a strong UPB because it is clear how the product or service solves an immediate, pressing problem.

Check out some of the CRM and Sales Management Applications in the QuickBase Exchange.

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  • Improvement Needed

    Would you also say, that UPB also includes competitive analysis? Or rather, competitive analysis should be part of coming up with your UPB?