Aligning Sales and Marketing: A Quick Guide to Understanding Terms

By Katie Green | September 30 2016 | Business Strategy | 0 Comments

Aligning Sales and Marketing: A Quick Guide to Understanding TermsWhen it comes to communication between sales and marketing, efficiency is crucial. Acronyms can speed up the communication process – and any good digital marketer knows how valuable a shortened phrase can be when character limits are involved.

On the flipside, if one of your sales or marketing reps isn’t sure what a specific acronym means, the entire process is interrupted. Good-bye efficiency, hello frustration. Miscommunication can be the thorn in any sales and marketing department relationship.

As aligning sales and marketing becomes more and more important, the ability to understand one another is becoming just as crucial. Here are a few brief definitions of common sales and marketing terms:

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Taking the form of a simple block of text or an eye-catching graphic, CTAs urge potential buyers to complete a specific action. Phrases like “Call Now!” or “Click Here” are a good example of a CTA.

Why it’s useful: A call-to-action can draw in buyers and enable businesses to engage with their brand. Some of the most successful uses of CTAs involve placement that leads to gated content, which helps move prospects through the sales funnel.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Another metric, KPI is used to evaluate brand success and determine any progression towards goal achievement.

Why it’s useful: When you know your KPI, you are that much closer to making a knowledgeable decision about the effectiveness of your sales and marketing techniques.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

Any individual who has engaged with your marketing (downloading an eBook or subscribing to your newsletter, for example) is a marketing qualified lead. The engagement shows a higher interest in your company and has promising customer potential. 

Why it’s useful: Typically, MQLs are at the top or sometimes middle of the sales funnel. If your marketing and sales teams collaborate properly, you can nurture MQLs into SQLS (see ‘Sales Qualified Lead’ for definition).

Return on Investment (ROI)

The final performance metric on this list is also one of the most important – ROI measures profitability. The formula to calculate return on investment is ROI = (Revenue - Cost) / Cost.

Why it’s useful: With ROI, you can determine if a potential investment is worth the upfront and ongoing costs. Businesses also use ROI to determine if a current investment should be terminated. Note that ROI and profit margin aren’t the same – your company’s ROI can be several times the cost of investment, but your profit margin can never exceed 100 percent.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

Remember MQLs? If properly nurtured, they get passed on to the sales team. An SQL is a lead that demonstrates a high level of interest in becoming a customer and fits your company’s predetermined criteria for a high-quality lead.

Why it’s useful: A sales qualified lead is not only vetted by the sales department, it is also reviewed by your marketing team. So, as long as they are properly engaged, SQLs have huge potential to become customers.

User Experience (UX)

Sometimes referred to as customer experience or CX, this acronym is a simple way to describe a relatively involved process. UX can be defined as every interaction a customer or user has with your brand in each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Why it’s useful: Our experiences inform how we view the world, and in the same way, UX dictates how a buyer perceives your brand. When sales and marketing align to create a positive user experience, it can encourage potential buyers to become customers and delight current customers so they want to stay.

This list is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a great starting point to make your sales and marketing communications that much easier.

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