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Marketing & sales slang terms you need to know in 2021 and beyond

Marketers and sales professionals sure love their acronyms, abbreviations, and slang terms. In the words of Kevin Malone, “Why waste time say lot word when few word do trick.”

So whatever justification you like to use for your marketing and sales slang, here are a handful of terms you’ll find useful throughout the rest of 2021.

By no means a comprehensive list — because I do actually have responsibilities other than researching sales/marketing slang — I did try to include both classic marketing and sales slang along with contemporary terms growing in popularity.

BOFU

Acronym that stands for Bottom of Funnel, relating to the late stages of a buyer’s journey; the time when you close deals or convert prospects into customers

Broetry

A specific type of LinkedIn post marked by its formatting, cliches, generalizations, and pseudo-inspirational feel; the professional equivalent of saying a lot but still somehow saying nothing; term coined by Lorcan Roche Kelly

CAC

Not to be confused with Gak, CAC is the acronym for Customer Acquisition Cost; the amount of money you must spend (basically your marketing expenses) to acquire one paying customer

Churn

The process of mixing sugar and cream into the ice cream that you will inevitably want to eat after a long day of watching clients cancel and leave; term commonly associated with SaaS companies and the loss of recurring revenue in the sales cycle

Conversational text messaging

Also referred to as conversational texting and conversational messaging; specifically refers to communicating with prospects and customers through texting in a completely personal way; can still be run with automations and scheduling features; can also be referred to simply as Skipio

Customer journey, lifecycle, or pathway

The stages people go through as they learn about products or services, buy, and stay a customer; every person seems to have their own favorite metaphor for these stages and some even call it the market funnel

Demo-scovery

The best possible solution when someone wants to jump right to a demo and you don’t know anything about their specific needs; running a demo while simultaneously doing discovery for a prospect

Funnel vision

Getting so obsessed with the sales funnel and its related data that you forget to treat people like people and instead care more about making sales than getting the right customers and giving them a great customer experience; focusing on lead generation, qualification, attribution, etc. to a fault

Ghosting

When a prospect, especially someone who was previously engaging in back-and-forth, suddenly stops responding and interacting; people often ghost before or after meetings

Growth hacking

Marketing buzzword that should be replaced by growth marketing because no one is actually hacking anything — you’re just learning to be efficient

Iteration

A new and improved version of something you previously created and tried; basically anything in sale and marketing can go through iterations, such as brand messaging, ad copy, cold email scripts, etc.; can also be applied when talking about product features and updates

Long code

Designated 10-digit numbers for personalized communication, including phone calls and text messaging conversations; Skipio’s original “bread and butter”

Pain point

That knot in your back that keeps growing when you’re frustrated by a business problem; any problem that you have that keeps you from doing your job efficiently or living your life happily

Pipeline

A way of life for Mario and Luigi and sales professionals everywhere; organized way for tracking potential buyers, often displayed visually to help show you whether someone is progressing toward buying

Product evangelist

Your No. 1 cheerleader for whatever it is that you sell who can talk to anybody and everybody to make them understand why what you sell is important; someone at your company who completely understands the product and the value of its benefits to customers and can easily communicate that value

Qualified lead

A completely subjective term for a potential buyer who seems to be a good fit for what you sell; one rep’s qualified lead is another rep’s bad lead

Short code

Designated 5- or 6-digit numbers leased to businesses to send mass text messages; either assigned randomly or chosen as a “vanity” number; used specifically for text marketing promotions, alerts and notifications, and one-time messages

Swipe file

Screenshots and notes of ads, videos, social media posts, or any other marketing and sales content that you think is highly effective; a collection of inspirational assets that’s really your own best ideas waiting to happen; often saved to the desktop or into a folder never to be looked at again but fortunately can now be created and organized by using Swpely

Thought leadership

A fancy way of saying you have opinions on a topic and people should listen because you’re an expert; people may or may not actually be an expert on the topics they’re writing and talking about

TOFU

Acronym that stands for Top of Funnel, relating to the earliest stages of a buyer’s journey; the time when you generate interest, nurture new prospects, and qualify potential customers; not to be confused with the bean curd made of soybeans that’s especially delicious when fried

The pros and cons of sales and marketing terms

Slang and jargon are undoubtedly fun to use. These terms help us express important concepts in marketing and selling. They come with a warning though.

Speaking only in slang terms and going jargon-heavy as you talk with customers or colleagues doesn’t make you an expert. All it proves is that you know a lot of words, not that you get why you’re using them. This language quickly feels off-putting and disingenuous in certain circumstances.

So learn these marketing and sales slang terms. Use them when relevant and appropriate. Just make sure they don’t get in the way of doing what you do best.

For more on sales and marketing engagement, subscribe to the Sell Like a Human, Skipio’s blog newsletter. Each month I’ll send you a couple short emails to talk about connecting with leads and customers — all through being more like people.

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